The Republican Communist Network supports the creation of an independent Scottish Socialist Republic as a significant step towards communism. We look to and would support a Federation of European Socialist States.
Our support is for a genuinely independent Republic, not a sham façade that presents a Scottish nationalism that settles for symbols, not substance. A politically independent Scotland cannot be won primarily through a vote, but rather by building a mass movement that takes its demands to the streets, and creates genuinely democratic institutions by the people and for the people.
A fully independent Scotland is one that is not subject to the UK’s Crown Powers and does not recognise the monarchy; a fully independent Scotland would have a banking system controlled by the people and not the Bank of England or the European Central Bank. A fully independent Scotland is one free of all foreign military bases, including the Faslane Naval Base; one that is outside of NATO, because this is an imperialist alliance dominated by the United States of America and supported by British imperialism. A fully independent Scotland would reject the bankers’ top-down internationalism, because this drives the EU’s current austerity agenda in Europe.
We need a new European unity based on internationalism from below.
Our vision of an independent Scotland is very different from the ‘independence” advocated by the SNP. In the two years until the referendum, we hope to work with others who share our vision of an independent Scottish Republic and are not willing to hand the SNP a blank cheque. We know that Alex Salmond is already bargaining behind closed doors, reassuring the ruling class, here and abroad, that the SNP can deliver an ‘independent’ Scotland subservient to business interests.
When the time comes, we will determine how we will vote, given the options presented, but for now our role is to organize around a Socialist vision of independence. Help to achieve this!
Republican Communist Network, 4th August 2012
Comment on RCN statement on Independent Scottish Socialist Republic
I feel there is some confusion here. Political and economic/social categories are being mixed up. Socialism is a socio-economic category describing the new global order, which could develop out of the contradictions of the existing global corporate capitalist order. Independence is a political category with a more limited field of operation.
In Scotland’s case, today, this means full political independence from the UK state. This state is based on the constitutional principle of the sovereignty of the Crown-in Westminster. The Crown Powers shield the activities of the Executive (the Cabinet, sometimes the ‘Inner Cabinet’ or even just the Prime Minister), City of London, the British High Command, MI5 and MI6, senior police officers, civil servants and judicial figures, from effective democratic scrutiny. In addition the UK incorporates 3 and a bit nations (England, Scotland, Wales and six counties of Ireland), which have no constitutional right to self-determination. The UK state maintains a Protestant ascendency with the monarch acting as the head of the Church of England and with bishops sitting in the House of Lords.
The SNP’s’ Independence-Lite’ proposals do not represent a full political break from this UK state. Such a break could only be achieved in a social, secular and democratic Scottish republic based on the constitutional principle of the sovereignty of the people.
However, this social, secular and democratic Scottish republic would still be operating in a globalised capitalist economy. This would necessitate entering into economic, social and political agreements with other states and bodies beyond Scotland’s borders. Clearly, the more politically independent Scotland is, the greater the capacity to enter into more favourable arrangements. Despite Scotland’s smaller size, a social, secular and democratic republic would enjoy greater freedom of action than the UK state, which, in alliance with US imperialism, is the major upholder of the current global corporate order.
A social, secular and democratic Scottish republic would also provide the best political conditions to develop the independent class organisations needed to move to the direct assertion of working class power. This Workers’ Republic would certainly have greater powers at its disposal compared to a social, secular and democratic Scottish republic and, in addition, would provide an inspiration to the exploited and oppressed elsewhere in these islands, Europe and the wider world.
However, even if a specifically Workers Republic were to be achieved in Scotland, it would still not be likely to survive very long in the face of US/British imperial and EU pressure. It would not be possible to develop a specifically “independent Scottish Socialist Republic” in isolation. Attempts to do this under Stalin’s ’socialism in one country’, or North Korea and Kampuchea, highlight the tragic and dead-end nature of such an approach. This is why a socialist society (the lower phase of communism) can only be achieved on an international, indeed global basis.
The statement partly recognises the problem, when it invokes support for “a Federation of European Socialist States”. However, once you have a federation, you no longer have independent states or other subordinate units. Sovereignty is divided between an upper federal level and lower national/regional or other level/s.
This use of a ‘Socialist’ prefix, i.e. in “Scottish Socialist Republic”, coupled to the invocation of a wider “Federation”, i.e. “Federation of European Socialist States” reminds me of the practice of Militant/Socialist Party.
Currently the Socialist Party of Scotland (SPS) is doing this to provide itself with a political cover for tail-ending the SNP’s own constitutional proposals, i.e. vote ’Yes’. They distance themselves from the Radical Independence Conference (RIC), which challenges the SNP’s’ Independence-Lite’ limitations, because RIC doesn’t use a ‘Socialist’ prefix in its name. However, the Socialism the SPS invoke is at the level of abstract propagandism, without any contemporary meaning or content. This is because specifically Socialist policies can only be put into effect once working class power has been achieved and the struggle develops on an international basis.
I will come back to this later with a specific amendment.
Allan Armstrong, 10.11.12