Sep 11 2018

EDINBURGH OCTOBER 6th – A RALLYING CALL FOR THE LEFT

Allan Armstrong puts the case for building a Scottish-wide Left contingent on the ‘All Under One Banner’ march in Edinburgh on October 6th

 

EDINBURGH OCTOBER 6th – A RALLYING CALL FOR THE LEFT

 

35,000 in Glasgow, 10,000 in Inverness, 13,000 in Dumfries and 16,000 in Dundee – ‘All Under One Banner ‘ clearly represents something significant in Scottish politics. However it requires an examination of a wider politics going back to 2014 to appreciate the nature of this phenomenon.

A thwarted democratic revolution

If we look at the Indy Ref1 campaign we can see that it represented a democratic revolution, with 85% actually voting, following a registration drive which drew in 97% of the potential electorate. This was something unprecedented in UK politics.

After the defeat of IndyRef1, a significant section of the Yes movement joined the SNP, making it by far the largest party in Scotland, and the second largest in the UK. This was followed in the 2105 general election by the SNP taking 56 out of Westminster’s 59 Scottish seats – again something unprecedented in UK history. Even in Ireland in 1918, Sinn Fein only managed to take 73 out of Westminster’s 105 seats.

However, this momentum has not been maintained. During IndyRef1 the dominant politics was fought out between the conservative unionism of the official ‘Better Together’ campaign and the constitutional nationalism of the official ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign. ‘Better Together’ was given a liberal unionist gloss, when the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron  asked Labour and Lib-Dems to front his campaign, because of his party’s weakness in Scotland. ‘Yes Scotland’ was very much dominated by the SNP, but also involved the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Socialist Party.

There was also a more radical component of the wider ‘Yes’ movement. Initially the SNP leadership decided they wanted to conduct a pretty conservative campaign. To indicate their willingness to meet the needs of the great and powerful, the SNP’s October 2012 AGM ditched party opposition to NATO. Many members and two MSPs resigned. This created the political space for the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC), which was launched the following month. 800 people attended the founding conference. RIC involved Socialists, people from the Left of the SNP and Scottish Greens, and from various campaigning organisations. At its best, RIC constituted the republican and Scottish internationalist wing of the ‘Yes’ movement (1).

Reactionary unionism was kept at arm’s length by the official ‘No’ campaign. UKIP made no impact. ‘Better Together’ did not welcome the 20,000 strong anti-independence, Orange Order march in Edinburgh the week before the referendum vote. The Loyalist and neo-fascist rampage on September 15th, celebrating their ‘No’ victory and held in Glasgow’s George Square – the ‘Tahrir Square’ of the Yes campaign – was an embarrassment to the official ‘No’ campaign organisers too.

Nevertheless, despite Cameron getting his ‘No’ vote, sections of the British ruling class and unionist political establishment had been profoundly shaken. The liberal unionist promises made, especially by Gordon Brown, were soon abandoned. On the very night of the ‘No’ victory, Cameron already indicated his new job was to appease reactionary unionism, as he raised the issue of ‘English votes for English laws’. This was because Cameron knew he had to conduct the defence of  conservative unionism on another front – continued membership of the EU. Glasgow’s then Labour controlled city council began to woo the Orange Order by supporting its Orangefest in George Square on June 7th, 2015.

The mainstream political parties, as in the other states of the EU (and beyond), had been experiencing a growing crisis of political legitimacy. This was due to their inability to deal with the legacy of the 2008 Crash. Despite Thatcher’s earlier support for the Maastricht Treaty to open up the EU to a more stringent neo-liberalism, and the various exemptions it put in place to favour British business, the UK’s competitive record against Germany, in particular, had not been favourable. Indeed, it was such worries that meant that the majority of the British ruling class never became liberal Europhiles, but remained conservative Eurosceptics. Such thinking has been  central to an increasingly concerned British ruling class, which once dominated the world and is imperialist to its very marrow. And this has also been true of its leading political representatives from Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown through to Cameron.

In the face of a continued decline in the UK’s world rankings, the Eurosceptic Cameron wanted to reopen negotiations to seek further concessions.   Thus the UK’s continuing relationship with the EU became a hot political issue. And after the unexpectedly close vote over IndyRef1, British ruling class panic over the future of their state came to the fore. It was time to batten down the hatches on the good ship ‘Britannia plc’. And,  following the success of seeing off IndyRef1 to his Left, Cameron  thought he could resort to ‘Project Fear’ once more and also see off the challenge to his Right  – hence his decision to conduct a referendum on continued EU membership.

The rise of reactionary unionism

However, in seeking to renegotiate the Maastricht Treaty, Cameron opened up a can of worms for himself. The Eurosceptic Cameron thought he could utilise the  Europhobic Right’s anti-EU campaign to win greater concessions from the EU. In an attempt to pander to their reactionary unionism, he restricted the referendum franchise to exclude EU residents and 16-18 year olds. This  highlighted the contrast between the EU and IndyRef1 referenda.

The reactionary unionists, until now largely represented by Farage’s Right populist UKIP (after seeing off the BNP), saw their chance. They fronted their longstanding anti-immigrant politics with the demand to ‘Take Back Control’. An important section of the British ruling class and its political representatives seized upon this. For them to ‘Take Back Control’ meant reinforcing all the most reactionary elements of the UK state with its anti-democratic Crown Powers. It also means abandoning the liberal unionist promises made during IndyRef1 campaign and reining in some of the recent concessions made under Blair’s post-1998 ‘Devolution-all-round’ settlement. Indeed for Lawson this even opens up the prospect of overthrowing the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty and bringing the 26 counties back under the effective control of the UK state and City of London (2).

The UKIP challenge also led to a breach in the Conservatives’ ranks. The long-simmering Europhobic Tory Right began to organise quite independently of Cameron. These were not latter-day marginal Enoch Powells, ‘exiled’ to South Down, but people like Nigel Lawson and Boris Johnson, leading Conservatives and past or present cabinet ministers. Petty bourgeois outsiders they were not. Furthermore, the most widely read sections of the press, and the increasingly influential right-wing online media, were all strongly anti-EU. The Brexiteers’ referendum spending also (illegally) exceeded that of the Remainers.

So, in contrast to the political line-up of the 2012-14 Indy Ref1 – constitutional nationalism versus conservative (dressed up as liberal) unionism – the line-up in the 2015 EU referendum campaign line-up was conservative unionism versus reactionary unionism. And, in contrast to ‘Project Hope’ versus ‘Project Fear’, it was ‘Project Fear’ versus ‘Project Hate’.

Since the Right have won their Brexit vote victory, reactionary unionism has come to dominate UK politics. Theresa May became the PM. As Home Secretary she had been responsible for creating the ‘hostile environment’, which led to the notorious ‘Go Home’ buses in London (an inspiration for Farage’s even more notorious ‘Breaking Point’ trailer) and to the Windrush Scandal. The post-2016 Tory government is propped up by the DUP. This is the most reactionary government since the post-1918 War Coupon Coalition.

Scotland’s democratic revolution rolled back and the ‘Yes’ movement stalled

The sharp shift in UK politics to the Right, and a new reactionary unionist dominance, have rolled back the UK’s ‘democratic revolution’ and stalled the ‘Yes’ movement. Back in 2014, just as the British ruling class and the unionist parties had taken fright at the impact of the massive ‘Yes’ campaign, so the SNP leadership was worried by the development of a grass grassroots campaign beyond their control.

If there had been an independence vote victory, then the SNP leadership wanted politics refocussed upon the UK state. The ‘Yes’ movement was to be closed down, and its activists demobilised; whilst negotiations over Scottish independence were to be conducted between a Scottish side (led by the SNP but which would include Scottish unionists) and a British side nominated by the UK government. The SNP’s own ‘Independence-Lite’ proposals left the UK’s Crown Powers, the British High Command’s control over the armed forces, continued participation in NATO, and the City of London’s control of the currency untouched.

Nevertheless, despite the ‘No’ vote, the IndyRef1 campaign had created a mass movement, which did not look as if it was going to go away. RIC’s third annual conference, held two month’s after referendum vote, was its largest, with 3000 in attendance. An already concerned SNP leadership tried to limit RIC’s wider appeal by organising its own conference right next door on the same day. Nicola Surgeon was ‘anointed’ as the new SNP leader. 12,000 people witnessed this directly. The next job was to ‘hoover up’ as many as possible from the demobilised wider ‘Yes’ movement into the ranks of the SNP. Here ‘Yes’ supporters’ more radical ambitions could be contained and smothered within the party’s formidable centralised and top-down management structures.

Part of this de-radicalisation strategy was the attempt to promote Nicola as the leader of a social democratic Scotland – a social democracy which had been long abandoned by the Labour Party. And Scottish Labour was committed, not only to Blatcherite neo-liberalism, but also acted as the main political prop for the Union. The success of the SNP’s strategy seemed to be confirmed by its amazing electoral gains in the 2015 general election.

The SNP leadership’s failed attempts to link with Labour to promote ‘Devolution Max’ then IndyRef2

An often forgotten aspect of the 2015 general election was the SNP’s attempt to cement a new constitutional nationalist/liberal unionist alliance. This was designed to deliver the unionists’ referendum promises to implement ‘Devolution-Max’ (sometimes wrongly termed ‘Federalism’ – a constitutional impossibility under the Crown Powers). This appeal was directed at David Miliband-led Labour. However, as soon as Cameron aimed his fire at a Miliband, claiming that he  was  in the pockets of Alex Salmond and Gerry Adams, Miliband collapsed. He said he would rather have a Tory government than depend on the SNP to deliver his own very modest social democratic election manifesto. He got his wish! After this, the SNP had to angle for much smaller fish in the Westminster pond – Plaid Cymru and the Greens.

Once the Conservatives were re-elected, the possibility of further constitutional advance through the devolution of more powers evaporated. The British ruling class were united behind ‘No second referendum’ in Scotland.  Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson,  led this  mantra for the  continuity ‘Better Together’ alliance. Nor did they did not want any political concessions, which could further whet the appetite of constitutional nationalists.  However, this political stalemate was ended following the Right’s victory in the Brexit vote. They wanted not the devolution of power, but its centralisation and the further strengthening of the anti-democratic features of the UK state.

The 2016 general election saw the Left social democrat, Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. However, Corbyn showed no more ability to break from unquestioning British unionism than Miliband had. Labour strategists must have known they had no chance of winning back the majority of the seats they lost in Scotland to the SNP in 2015. Once again, the prospect of any social democratic government at Westminster depended on  the SNP (and Plaid Cymru and the Greens).  Corbyn could have offered a deal over the implementation of Labour’s own policies in return for the recognition of Holyrood’s right to hold Indy-Ref2. Corbyn’s manifesto was to the Left of Miliband’s, but contained little that could not be supported by the SNP. Indeed, Corbyn would likely have faced more opposition from Labour’s own strongly placed neo-Blairite MPs.

In Scotland, there is the additional problem that a section of the Labour Left is unionist like the Right in the party. During IndyRef1, the Red Paper Collective opposed a ‘Yes’ vote on the grounds that the UK state represents a historic gain for the working class (with some doubts over Ireland/Northern Ireland), and that Socialist, Labour and the trade union organisation should mirror that of the UK state. This they believe opens up a British road to socialism. Therefore, it should not be surprising that, having opposed Scottish independence they also, as Lexiters, supported the UK leaving the EU. Like so many others on the British Left, the Red Paper Collective dismiss national democratic challenges to the UK state as ‘petty nationalism’, whilst being completely blind to their own British nationalism.

Furthermore, Labour was possibly even more divided over Brexit than the Tories. The majority of working class, especially amongst its most exploited and oppressed, Black and Irish nationalist sections, were opposed to Brexit. But in those areas of England’s North and Midlands, devastated by Thatcher’s de-industrialisation drive, there was now a more fragmented, demoralised and alienated working class. Workers, their families and communities had seen their own organisations broken or undermined. Many now looked for saviours and scapegoats. Hence the successes of UKIP and the Brexit vote there.

In May’s ill-judged 2016 general election, and in the face of the intense media hostility directed at Corbyn, Labour  unexpectedly clung on, not only to most Labour seats, but took seats in the largely Remain voting south east and university cities – including Lib-Dem leader’s Nick Clegg’s Hallam seat in Sheffield. However, Labour also lost seven seats it had held for generations in the Brexit-voting North and Midlands. The net result of this has been Labour paralysis. This makes Corbyn unable to challenge the Tories. Indeed, when it has come to crucial Brexit votes, May has come to depend on Labour as the other leg of Westminster support to supplement that of the DUP. This is the extent to which reactionary unionist politics now dominates the UK.

The SNP’s own anti-Brexit campaign joined the ranks of ‘Project Fear’. There was no outline of a possible Scottish internationalist ‘Project Hope’, which stretched its hands out to English, Welsh and Irish internationalists on the one hand, or to an alternative vision of Europe to that of the EU on the other. The SNP leadership has no vision beyond ‘Independence-Lite’, alongside the remainder of the UK (rUK) within the existing EU and the NATO-policed global corporate order.

The EU is not a state. It has no armies or police force. It is a treaty organisation between existing states. And Scotland is not an existing state. Many people may have chosen to forget President Van Rumpoy’s anti-Scottish independence interventions in IndyRef1. However, the EU leadership’s total lack of response to Spanish state repression over the Catalan referendum highlights the EU’s basis of dependence upon existing states.

After the 2015 Brexit vote, Nicola Sturgeon thought she could widen the basis of SNP government support by appealing to No-voting Remainers. But, having signed up to the ‘Project Fear’ during the EU referendum campaign, it is not surprising that SNP appeals in this direction have been largely unsuccessful. If your campaign hypes up the dire economic consequences of breaking with the an EU, within which Scotland is very much economically integrated, then it is little surprise that ‘No’ voting Remainers throw their hands up in horror at the likely economic consequences of also leaving a UK, within which Scotland is even that ‘more economically integrated.

The SNP leadership is conscious of the lack of success of  its recent strategy, so something else  has begun to emerge – the Growth Commission Report. This takes the SNP back to the pre-IndyRef1 politics of looking for sympathetic support from global corporate capital. It also means an acceptance of imperialist policing by the US and NATO. Back in 2007, the SNP leader, Alex Salmond, with the help of Sir George Mathewson, one time Chief Executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, drew up the SNP’s general election manifesto. Prior to this Salmond had attacked George Brown for not removing the last remaining regulatory constraints upon Scottish banks. Salmond  was supporter of ‘Fred the Shred’, and courted both Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump. The political battle was between the SNP’s Scottish neo-liberalism and New Labour’s  UK’s neo-liberalism. To gain an edge in this  ‘race to the bottom’, Salmond had to appear more  neo-liberal than Blair and Brown.

Looking to the neo-liberal ‘Irish Tiger’, Salmond wanted the creation of a neo-liberal ‘Scottish Lion’, where the proceeds of corporate profitability could ‘trickle down’ to the people of Scotland. Then came the 2008 Crash, and the people of Scotland, like the people elsewhere in the UK and EU found their incomes ‘syphoned up’ instead to bale out  the banksters running the global corporate order. These banksters included the managers of the Royal Bank and the Bank of Scotland.

But corporate capital has a way of saving the economy – or more properly saving capitalism. Profitability has to be restored, which means the economy has to be rebuilt around low wages and short-term or  zero hours contracts, and social spending has to be slashed with any remaining social provision privatised. But instead of us “all being in it together”, the corporate bosses, and their political representatives have to be given special rewards. Their incomes have increased during the long recession, and wealth has been further concentrated. Our incomes have been held back and our share of social wealth has decreased.

This is the world of the Growth Commission Report, drawn up under the auspices of corporate lobbyist, Andrew Wilson. In effect, it promises that after a decade of imposed austerity, “things can only get better”! Back in 2007, the SNP’s ‘Scottish Lion’ economy may have been wildly optimistic, but it hadn’t been tested to breaking point. The 2008 Crash did that. The wider political and economic conditions to take us back to the pre-2008 world just do not exist. The earlier certainties, like the EU, major international trade agreements like NAFTA, and possibly the WTO, are being undermined or dismantled.

Thus, such is the overall shift of politics to the Right that the SNP leadership have returned to total acceptance of the existing world order. To win over big business and the Right’s support for Scottish ‘independence’, an independent Scotland must be able to undercut any potential competitor, be it in terms of taxes or employees’ pay and working conditions. And an independent Scotland would be up against a rUK, whose principal Brexit advocates are looking to complete Thatcher’s counter-revolution. Therefore the SNP’s wannabe Scottish ruling class would have to be pretty mean.

The re-emergence of the `Yes’ movement

The experience of living through Scotland’s attempted democratic revolution was exhilarating. Meetings and discussions took place in Scotland’s housing schemes, inner cities and villages. Mainstream political parties had long abandoned many of these activities and some of these places. The ‘Yes’ campaign was also up against a media that was overwhelmingly unionist. The BBC fell back on the politics suggested by the first initial of its name. Only The National, a direct product of the ‘Yes’ campaign, and later on the Glasgow Herald, bucked the unionist trend. In response a massive online alternative developed. This stretched from the populist nationalist, Wings Over Scotland, through the Scandinavian-style social democracy of Common weal, to bella caledonia‘s “fresh thinking for the new republic”. The expectations raised by ‘Project Hope’ could not be so easily dissipated.

After the 2014 referendum defeat, the populist nationalist wing of the ‘Yes’ movement constituted itself as ‘We are the 45%’ campaign. They seem to believe that all ‘Yes’ voters are Scottish nationalists. To the outside world it appeared that main aim of their motorcycle cavalcades and rallies was to get 50%+1 of the population to fly the saltire and then independence would be home and dry. ‘Hope over Fear’ also adopted a populist nationalism. This campaign  has struggled not to become latest vehicle promoting the celebrity politics of  Tommy Sheridan, following the demise of his earlier fan club, Solidarity.  Tommy’s continued move towards Scottish populist nationalism, mirrors that of his former ally, George Galloway, whose British populist nationalism took him into the arms of Nigel Farage.   On the fringes of the 45% campaign a more stridently populist nationalism has emerged in Scottish Resistance. And beyond them were the further right Soil nan Gaidheal, no longer dressed in military fatigues, but still promoting an ethnic Scottish and anti-English politics.

Soil nan Gaidheal caused some concern when they marched in Inverness behind a ‘Tory {read English} Scum Out’ banner.  Soil nan Gaidheal’s continued attempt to divert the ‘Yes’ movement into ethnic nationalist channels was shown by their new ‘Scotland First’ banner on the August 18th Dundee demonstration. This wording tells us something about their politics. It mirrors that of Trump’s right populist America First and the neo-fascists of Britain First. It is from such ultra-nationalist quarters that the call to exclude people from England from the franchise in  any future  referendum. But, even in the ‘We are the 45%’ milieu, they are  still a small minority.

Furthermore, the civic national version of Scottishness, promoted during IndyRef1, has developed deep roots. On September 7th, Nicola Sturgeon announced that the vote in a future IndyRef2 would be extended to non-EU residents living in Scotland too (3). And this was on the day when Corbyn’s Labour Party agreed to accept a racist supremacist basis for the Israeli state, and potentially expel anyone who disagrees! This, of course, is grist to the mills of all those want to promote racial or ethnic nationalism in the UK.

Given the general drift of politics to the Right, the dangers of a re-emergence of ethnic nationalism in Scotland should not be written off. There has been a worrying report about an Alt-Right attempt to take over the smaller, and hence more vulnerable, Welsh independence movement. They hope, in the process, get rid of Plaid Cymru’s social republican, civic national leader, Leanne Wood (4).

Another group that felt abandoned after September 14th 2014, were many of the local ‘Yes’ groups, which had acted quite independently of the official ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign. The Scottish Independence Convention (SIC), which was avowedly cross and non-party, related to these people. On November 4th, 2017, they organised the 1800 strong ‘Building Bridges’ conference in Edinburgh, with barely a saltire or a kilt to be seen!

‘We are the 45%’ and the local ‘Yes’ groups provided the marchers for the ‘All Under One Banner’ (AUOB) demonstrations in Glasgow, Dumfries, Inverness, Dundee and most recently Dunfermline. The saltires of ‘We are the 45%’ and many grassroots SNP members still dominated, but the organisers and marchers welcomed organisations and flags from many places including Catalunya, but also Euskadi, Ireland, Wales and England.

If there is one over-riding feature of marchers on the ‘AUOB’  demonstrations, it is their demand for an immediate IndyRef2. Many are prepared to put aside any reservations they have about the SNP’s leadership’s real commitment to banning fracking, ending Trident, accepting the monarchy, or the doubts they hold about the Growth Commission. They believe that these issues can be solved after Scotland wins independence. This is why they are less patient with the SNP leadership over its prevarication about holding IndyRef and the continuous delays. Many of the arguments are over who supports IndyRef2 the most. To win this debate means calling for the earliest possible date for IndyRef2.

Whilst an SNP leadership, now openly wanting to woo big business, has its own reasons for delaying Indyref2, they also know something else. There is not much chance of the current reactionary unionist Tory/DUP government conceding another legally binding independence referendum (or an Irish Border Poll for that matter). In the absence of a change in the UK government, any attempt to organise an IndyRef2 moves into ‘Catalan territory’.

The majority of those involved in the Catalan independence movement are republicans and they voted for a Catalan Republic. They appreciate the semi-Francoist and monarchist nature of the Spanish state, in a way most Scottish independence supporters don’t fully understand the reactionary nature of the UK state. They see few of its anti-democratic aspects beyond Westminster and the reportage of the state-owned BBC. But as the people of Ireland well know, there are many other unsavoury features of the UK state, hidden behind the Crown Powers, which the British ruling class still has at its disposal. And, as in Catalunya, many more Irish people came to understand the need for a republican approach to politics. Republicanism challenges the UK state’s sovereignty of the Crown in Westminster and upholds the sovereignty of the people.

Socialists and the revived ‘Yes’ movement

The revived ‘Yes’ movement is one place where Socialists should be taking a political lead, in order once to organise the republican and Scottish internationalist wing of the ‘Yes’ movement. Scottish internationalism means looking for support in England, Wales and Ireland and beyond in the other nations (not states) of Europe.

But why have Socialists been slow to do this? RIC itself has been an alliance of Socialists, Left SNP and Left Green members, and people in no political party who are involved in economic and social campaigns and organisations. Some saw Scottish independence as a campaign of convenience. With New Labour having abandoned social democracy and opted for social neo-liberalism, Scottish independence seemed to be the only ‘game in town’. Therefore once IndyRef1 had been defeated, there was a return to campaigning over economic and social issues. When the unexpected re-emergence of Left social democracy in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn came about, for some there appeared to be another ‘game in town’

Corbyn’s social democracy appears to be more left wing in words than Surgeon’s social democracy. But this means ignoring or downplaying the role of the Labour Party machine, the majority of their MPs, MSPs, MWAs and councillors. At Labour’s lowest point in Scotland in 2015 they held out with one MP in ‘Red Morningside’. But right wing Ian Murray courted and depended upon Tory and Lib-Dem votes. Labour in Scotland is still ruling in alliance with the Tories in several Scottish councils. The sort of people who have joined the Labour Party in droves to support Corbyn in England, had already joined the SNP in Scotland. Right wing Anas Sarwar, not the ‘Left’ wing Richard Leonard, won the constituency membership vote in Scottish Labour’s leadership election.

Some Scottish Momentum supporters quietly acknowledge the difference between Labour in Scotland and England. They look to the latter to bring about their social democratic nirvana. However, Corbyn believes the UK’s existing constitutional set-up is quite adequate to bring about his desired social democratic reforms. This represents political naivety to a considerable degree, at a time when the ruling classes of the world are working to undermine the limited democratic institutions and rights we still have. Corbyn also believes in the necessity of keeping the Labour Right on board to win a Westminster majority. Labour’s climb down in the face of the combined Israeli state, Labour Right, Tory, Lib-Dem and right wing media assault does not augur well. Nasty and influential though this alliance is, they have  less political clout than say the City of London. In a time of multi-facetted crisis, they will strongly oppose Corbyn’s quite moderate social democratic proposals.

Unlike the SNP, Corbyn-led Labour is not in office, so his open retreats over economic and social policies are not yet in evidence. But French Socialist Party leader, Francois Hollande, whose 2012 election social democratic promises were similar to those Corbyn, and Greek Syriza leader, Alex Tsipiras, whose social democratic promises were considerably more radical, were soon derailed and forced back on to the neo-liberal austerity road. The SNP leadership, trying to woo both transnational big and Scottish small business, does not want to make any challenges to the existing global corporate order, and is trying to get business on board beforehand. This is why it has already accepted a future neo-liberal austerity road with the Growth Commission.

But most of the Left support a social democratic road to its own particular version of Socialism or Social Justice. What this means, in effect, is the politics of democracy and political change are left to others, whether it be the liberal unionists or constitutional nationalists. This Left sees its  job as upholding economic and social reforms, whether in independent campaigns, through trade unions, or by putting pressure on their chosen political parties – Labour or SNP.

The revived ‘Yes’ campaign is coming up against the brick wall of reactionary unionism, which will not concede another independence referendum. All those campaigning for desperately needed economic and social changes, such as in the Living Rent and Zero Hours campaigns, will also soon come up against the limitations of the existing political order. Socialists, like many social democrats, very much see the need to advance economic and social reform, but we also see the need to challenge the existing anti-democratic UK state. This is why Socialists should be involved in the ‘All Under One Banner’ demonstrations as an organised bloc.

The Radical Independence Campaign and the ‘All Under one Banner’ demonstration in Edinburgh on October 6th

RIC was involved in the SIC’s ‘Building Bridges’ conference last November. RIC also organised a conference in Edinburgh on the 10th March (5). Some speakers from the earlier Building Bridges conference addressed this event, and sessions were reserved for the current situation in Ireland and Catalunya. There were speakers from the SNP, including Tommy Sheppard and George Kerevan, Maggie Chapman of the Scottish Greens, Rory Scothorne of Scottish Labour Party and Momentum, Gerry Carroll the People before Profit MLA from West Belfast, Cat Boyd from RISE, and the inveterate land campaigner, Leslie Riddoch. The vexed issues of Brexit and Corbynism were addressed in a fraternal and sisterly manner.

This was followed up by the RIC AGM held in Glasgow on June 30th. Here a strategy, in relation to the wider `Yes’ movement and Brexit, was debated . The results of this can be seen on the RIC blog (6). One decision was to support a Brexit ratification campaign. A letter appeared in The Herald (7) and Allan Armstrong attended the ‘Another Europe Is Possible organised meeting in Glasgow on August 30th (8). Moreover, Angus & Mearns RIC also asked for wider RIC support for the ‘All Under One Banner’ demonstration in Dundee on August 18th . Dundee  and Edinburgh RIC, and Trade Unionists for Independence joined the march (9). The RIC National Forum held in Edinburgh on August 11th, undertook to host a republican and Scottish internationalist contingent for the ‘All Under One Banner’ demonstration in the city on October 6th.

There will be three new banners. The first will read:-

For an Independent Scotland
FREEDOM COME ALL YE
For Scottish Internationalism

The second will read:-

ANOTHER SCOTLAND IS POSSIBLE
ANOTHER EUROPE IS POSSIBLE
ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE

The RIC-Edinburgh banner, with its red-flag capped Edinburgh Castle and its call for a Democratic, Secular Scottish Republic, has been seen on many demonstrations. However, following our work with Women’s and LBGTI groups, with the Scottish Greens and environmental groups, and with social and economic campaigns and trade unionists, we are now updating this to:-

FOR A DEMOCRATIC, SECULAR, INCLUSIVE, SUSTAINABLE, SOCIAL SCOTTISH REPUBLIC

We are calling upon people to join us with their own organisation and campaign contingents, and with their own banners and materials. We are asking people to bring red flags, Scottish republican flags, Catalan Republic flags and Palestinian flags. We will produce a leaflet outlining RIC’s strategy and proposals for reviving lapsed branches and to reinvigorate the republican and Scottish internationalist wing of the ‘Yes’ movement.

Hope to see you all in Edinburgh on October 6th.

 

References

[1]        http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-story-of-edinburgh-ric.html

[2]       http://www.newstalk.com/Lord-Nigel-Lawson-hopes-Irish-Rpoublic-realises-its-mistake-and-rejoins-UK-following-Brexit

[3]       Tom Gordon, Electorate will include anyone living in country, The Herald, 7.9.18

[4]       http://all-to-human.blogspot.com/2017/08/jac-o-south-and-welsh-national-freedom.html

[5]       http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.com/2018/04/radical-action-for-climate-change.html

[6]       http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.com/2018/07/what-now-for-scottish-independence.html

[7]       http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-case-for-eu-ratification-referendum.html

[8]       https://www.anothereurope.org/holyrood-must-take-the-lead/

[9]       http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.com/2018/08/blog-post.html

 

An version of this article, edited by Jonathon Rimmer,  can be  the seen on the Conter website:

https://www.conter.co.uk/blog/2018/9/7/the-yes-movement-the-left

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also see:-

Scotland since Indy Ref1

 

RIC-EDINBURGH STATEMENT ON THE JUNE 8TH GENERAL ELECTION

 

RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CAMPAIGN STATEMENT – DEFEND DEMOCRACY

 

Trump says Scotland ‘Went Through Hell’

 

THE LEFT IN THE UK, THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN AND THE WIDER IMPACT OF SCOTLAND’S ‘DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION’

 

ROLLING BACK SCOTLAND’S ‘DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION’

 

AFTER THE SEPTEMBER 18th REFERENDUM VOTE – A socialist republican response

 

LETTER TO THE MOMENTARILY DISHEARTENED

 

UP TO AND BEYOND THE SEPTEMBER 18th INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM – A socialist republican perspective

 

 

Wales and the struggle to break-up the UK

 

MESSAGE FROM EDINBURGH RIC TO THE ‘GO FOR IT SCOTLAND’ RALLY IN CARDIFF ON SEPTEMBER 13th

 

WALES AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE – Leanne Wood, President of Plaid Cymru

 

 

England and the struggle to break-up the UK

 

ENGLAND SAYS “YES!”

 

England – nationalism versus republicanism

 

TO SCOTLAND WITH LOVE: A REPORT FROM THE ‘LONDON SAYS YES’ RALLY ON SEPTEMBER 6th

 

SOLIDARITY FROM ENGLAND

 

SOLIDARITY WITH SCOTLAND SPEAKING TOUR – REPORTS FROM ENGLAND

SCOTTISH REFERENDUM: The Crown versus the People – England’s case for voting ‘Yes’

Ireland and the struggle against reactionary unionism

 

NORTHERN IRELAND UPDATE – THE IMPACT OF REACTIONARY UNIONISM

 

TAKING A CLOSER LOOK AT THE REALITY OF NORTHERN IRELAND

 

THOUSANDS MARCH IN BELFAST FOR GAY MARRIAGE

 

LBGT RIGHTS IN IRELAND – A BEACON OF LIBERATION FOR US ALL

 

LIVING THE PEACE PROCESS IN REVERSE

 

IRELAND AND SCOTLAND – MUTUAL SOLIDARITY

 

The nature of the UK state

 

THE UK STATE AND BRITISHNESS

 

 

THE MAKING AND THE BREAKING OF THE UK STATE

 

BETTER TOGETHER, UKIP, THE ORANGE ORDER AND THE UK STATE – What they have in common

REPUBLICANISM AND DEMOCRACY

 

The British Left and the UK state

A CRITIQUE OF JEREMY CORBYN AND BRITISH LEFT SOCIAL DEMOCRACY

 

 

LABOUR AND SOCIALIST LEFT UNIONISM IN THE SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE DEBATE

SCOTTISH SELF-DETERMINATION AND THE ‘ACTUALLY EXISTING’ LABOUR MOVEMENT

 

The impact of the 216 EU referendum

THE BREXIT RATIFICATION REFERENDUM

 

WHICH WAY NOW – ‘BREXIT’ OR ‘EX-BRIT’?

 

FROM FARAGE’S BREXIT TO TRUMP’S “BREXIT PLUS, PLUS, PLUS”, AND ON TO ‘MADAME FREXIT’?

 

JUNE 24th – THE FUKers’ BLACK FRIDAY OR RED FRIDAY FOR A EUROPEAN DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION?

 

RACISM, IMPERIAL NOSTALGIA AND THE EU REFERENDUM

 

A POLITICAL COMPARISON BETWEEN THE 2012-14 SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE AND THE 2016 EU REFERENDA CAMPAIGNS

 

The Catalan referendum

 

CATALONIA: A NATION THROWN FORWARD

 

CATALAN DEFENCE COMMITTEE

 

THE CATALAN REPUBLIC

 

CATALUNYA PREPARES FOR INDEPENDENCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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