The Republican Communist Network (Scotland)
What We Stand For – From Theory to Practice
As a network we regularly review our tactics and strategy in view of our principles of emancipation and liberation and our vision of the global commune. We discussed and updated these at our annual weekend away, held this year in Perthshire, between May 26th-27th, 2012. The points that follow summarise where we stand today, in the context of social, economic, and political developments as they are unfolding.
1) Another world is possible– a joyful, creative, new world communism which emancipates us all from oppression and frees us all from exploitation, and which forms a new sustainable relationship between humanity and the environment.
Socialism is not the ultimate aim. It can either be a phase on the way to communism or a temporary high point reached before a descent back into capitalism. The new society will have no resemblance to the statist autocracy of the Soviet Union, and will go well beyond the “welfare state” of social democracy.
2) We champion ‘being’ over ‘having’. The ruling classes attempt to maintain control over us by stifling both individuality and cooperation through the creation and marketing of false needs. This culture of consumerism represses our collective attempts to assert ourselves and gain control of our lives. Nevertheless, alternatives to this are constantly being explored, for example in the sphere of the creative arts. As a source of pleasure and power, they are a vital part of our struggle to help build a new society.
3) We view the integration of feminist, humanist, and socialist principles and programme as a basic component of the revolutionary process. We recognize that all forms of slavery – wage, domestic, sex, chattel (one person owning another), and debt – still exist and are linked under patriarchy and capitalism. It is through popular struggles and liberation movements that the scourge of bigotry and violence based on gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual preference, or physical ability can be eradicated.
4) We are revolutionary democrats. A new society can only be built by a profound and militant extension of democracy. The fight for wider democracy and complete equality is the key to building support for a total transformation of society through continuous mass participation. Top down revolutionary changes have led to new ruling elites and new repressive regimes. The economy, when planned, must not just be for the people, but it must be by the people.
5) We are principled internationalists and aim to bring a global, systemic, analysis to the major issues of the day. We view the existing world order, dominated by corporate capital, the IMF, WTO, the World Bank and G8, and policed by US imperialism and its allies through NATO, as being responsible for the current economic crisis, continuous wars, mounting environmental degradation and the destruction of democratic and civil rights. We oppose attempts by other ruling classes and states to advance themselves up this imperial hierarchy.
6) We are republicans. We view the continued existence of the UK, with its unionist, imperialist and monarchist state and its anti-democratic Crown Powers and enforced partition of Ireland, as the biggest obstacle to immediate democratic advance in these islands. Therefore, the struggle for democracy today necessarily takes the form of militant republicanism. Only a popular republican movement to confront the UK state and its powers, and its complicity with US imperialism, can prepare the ground for socialism.
7) We fight for working class independence from the state and employers and for democratic control of all organisations formed to advance working class interests. Only rank and file control and real democracy can do that. Nor can corporate funded and controlled political parties, such as the Labour Party or the Scottish National Party, provide an electoral alternative to meet the needs of working class people. Independent organisations and independent political action are required in order for us to achieve these goals. Today, trade unions have no vision beyond making deals with the bosses and the state. Under conditions of capitalist crisis, they are no longer fit for purpose. They need to be reclaimed by the membership or, where this is no longer possible, new organisations built.
8) We value both individuality and collectivity. We come from various political backgrounds and have distinct personalities and styles of communication. Through acceptance of these differences we have found our commonalities. In both our internal and external work, we encourage comradely, respectful, debate as the norm for our organisations and the broader republican-socialist-communist movement. This means being committed to sharing information, skills, and leadership roles; and being prepared to engage with and listen to different points of view. Organisations and coalitions that are democratic, transparent, and accountable are ones that can learn and grow.
9) We advocate a Scottish workers’ republic, and seek the creation of one Scottish political organisation comprised of all communists, socialists, socialist feminists, and socialist republicans who are in general agreement with our basic principles. While we recognise that moves in this direction are extremely difficult in the current political climate, we are optimistic that it is a goal within the reach of the Scottish working class.
10) We promote an ‘internationalism from below’ strategy for England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland in order to counter the bureaucratic ‘internationalism’ of left unionism and the separatism of left nationalism. We advocate close working relations between revolutionary socialist parties and organizations throughout these islands. We oppose the top-down bureaucratic control sought by British unionists and the ‘go it alone’ separatism of the nationalists. We oppose all attempts to promote sectarian organisational advantage above socialist and working class unity.
11) We practice and encourage increased international cooperation and coordinated action between communists, socialists, socialist feminists, and socialist republicans from across the UK, the rest of Europe, and around the world who share our principles and practices. Toward this goal, we advocate democratic discussion and debate, affirmation of secularism, genuine comradeship, and shared social and cultural enjoyment across borders. Socialism must be international and working class solidarity is of the utmost importance. We seek an international federation of socialist republics to help us create a stateless global commune.
Before deciding upon this new ‘What We Stand For’, the Republican Communist Network was a platform in the Scottish Socialist Party. We were united under the slogans:-
Independent working class organisation
Revolutionary Democracy & Culture
Internationalism from below
International Socialist Revolution
We see the fight for republicanism as integral to our fight for world communism.
We fight to form a genuine communist wing in the current anti-globalisation/anti-capitalist movement, fighting against exploitation and oppression by championing human emancipation and liberation.
The aims of the RCN are:
To promote awareness & understanding of republican communist ideas within the wider socialist & working class movement.
To organise educational meetings & to coordinate joint activity.
To deliver concrete solidarity to working class, republican, anti- capitalist and anti-imperialist struggles
To promote internationalism.
To promote & develop the cultural aspects of the struggle for socialism.
On January 22nd, 2012 the RCN issued a statement ending the RCN’s platform status in the SSP. This can be found at:-
The RCN’s account of the rise and fall of the SSP can be found at:-