This posting covers the Introduction and Contents of the second part of Allan Armstrong’s review of the book, Breaking up the British state, Scotland, Independence and Socialism, edited by Bob Fotheringham, Dave Sherry & Colm Bryce of the SWP. The full article can be seen at:-
This posting covers the Introduction and Contents of the second part of Allan Armstrong’s review of the book Breaking up the British state, Scotland, Independence and Socialism, edited by Bob Fotheringham, Dave Sherry & Colm Bryce of the SWP. The full article can be seen at:-
Part 2 – To Party or not to Party?
1. The limits of Left social democracy and constitutional nationalism
2. Tail-ending Jeremy Corbyn, Richard Leonard and Left social democracy
3. The SWP’s economistic and ‘national exceptionalist’ approach provides no alternative in the political arena
4. ‘Maginot Marxist’ attempts to dismiss the significance of struggles against oppression
5. The shared history of two unionist states – the USSR and the UK
The first part of this review, Breakin’ up is so hard to do, examined the thinking and theories which have led to the SWP adopting Scottish independence. It looked at the political reasons why the SWP is unable to devise an immediate republican, ‘internationalism from below’ strategy’ to resist Johnston’s reactionary unionists, or to provide an alternative to the constitutional nationalists’ floundering attempts to bring about constitutional change.
The second part of this review, To party or not to party? looks into the SWP’s long-standing claim that it provides THE Socialist party alternative to the constitutional parties – particularly the social democrats, be they Labour or the SNP. But it also offers an explanation as to why ButBS is so muted in making any such party claims for the SWP today. It links this to a wider social democratic legacy, which has had such an impact on the British Left. Whilst wanting to reject British Labourism, and the SNP leadership’s social neo-liberalism ButBS is still mired in an acceptance of much Left social democratic thinking.
ButBS wants the SWP to be seen as a Marxist and revolutionary socialist party, adhering to what it claims to be Leninist methods of organisation. Therefore, ButBS embraces Vladimir Lenin (and Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky too). In an attempt to appear orthodox, ButBS uncritically invokes the Bolsheviks’ 1917 Declaration of Rights. This declaration addressed the oppressed nations, which the new Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic inherited from the Tsarist Russian empire. However, for various reasons, this declaration has not left Socialists a legacy which we can champion today. The Bolsheviks’ failure to embrace an ‘internationalism from below’ strategy contributed to this.
Therefore, the second part concludes by advancing the case for a different sort of party – a socialist republican party. It also makes the case that the ‘internationalism from below’ strategy developed in these islands by James Connolly and John Maclean, should make a major contribution to such a party. This is not done with the intention of creating a new orthodox Connollyism or Macleanism, but in an appreciation that they, along with others (some now neglected, some now misunderstood, and some now forgotten) pointed to another way of thinking and organising, which has increasing relevance today.
The first part of this article can be seen at:-
1. A critique of Jeremy Corbyn and British left social democracy – part-2 (c-f)- Allan Armstrong (RCN)
2. The role of platforms- Iain Robertson (RCN)
3. The need for a program – Brian Higgins (RCN)
4. What is republicanism? – articles by Allan Armstrong, Bob Goupillot, Bernadette McAliskey, and Iain Robertson (posted on Republican Socialist Platform blog)