THE RCN AND THE SCOTTISH LEFT PROJECT
The Republican Communist Network (RCN) affiliated to the Scottish Left Project after our aggregate held in Glasgow on 27th July. This was addressed by Jonathon Shafi. Previous to this, our members had been involved in meetings to bring people together in Edinburgh and Dundee. We have also sent delegates to the SLP national forums in Glasgow to prepare for the launch of the new organisation .
The RCN was formed originally as a platform within the Scottish Socialist Alliance in 1998. We continued as a platform within the Scottish Socialist Party until January 2012 . We became involved in the setting up of the Radical Independence Campaign affiliating at its first conference in Glasgow in November 2012 .
We do not see ourselves a leadership-in-waiting, but rather a network, which can contribute to wider debate. We take our Comradely Code Policy  seriously. We seek to encourage a democratic culture, where the main purpose in having discussions and debate is not for one particular group to get its way. Instead we believe that varied contributions, based on different experiences, can produce a higher level of understanding and more effective action.
Of course, there are times when differences emerge which can only be decided by a vote, in which there will be a majority and minority/ies. Some fear such debate because they think it will undermine unity. In reality, fear of debate leads to accommodation to existing backward ideas and to the suppression of vital issues where a majority has yet to be won over. Support for the rights of black people, women, gays, lesbians and the transgendered was for a long time only held by minorities. Socialists should not fear being in a minority. Having a democratic culture allows people to change their ideas.
The RCN publishes Emancipation & Liberation, both as a journal and online blog. Where members hold different positions they are free to express these publicly. Thus we make a distinction between individual articles bearing members names, E&L Editorial Board articles and agreed majority RCN articles. We also welcome non-RCN contributions.
So what are the distinctive ideas the RCN has been putting forward? These stem from our What We Stand For . We believe that only if you have a vision of a possible future, which can develop out of the resolution of the contradictions of today’s global capitalism and its multi-facetted crises, can the exploited, oppressed and alienated successfully struggle for emancipation, liberation and self-determination. So any political organisation has to encourage discussion and debate on what we mean by socialism or communism.
We see the bridge between the present and a possible future lying in the formation of independent class organisations. These can contest the capitalist class in every arena – political, economic, social and cultural. Living in Scotland, we have developed the outlines of an Immediate Programme . This is not to be imposed on any new organisation, but is seen as a contribution to the necessary wider discussions which will inform current activity. Two principles underline our approach in the current period – republicanism and internationalism from below.
Whilst it is always necessary to look to the future, and not become a prisoner of past ideas, we recognise that we come out of a very real tradition of struggle. Our banner has selected just a few of its representatives – Eleanor Marx, James Connolly, John Maclean and Mary Brooksbank . We join with them in making the call – ‘Freedom Come All Ye’.
Emancipation & Liberation Editorial Board, 13.8.15