RCF Statement 2021
The RCN has renamed to the RCF, see the reasoning in our 2021 statement.
What We Have Learned up to 2021
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.
2) “The history of all hitherto existing class society is the history of class struggles.” The enforcement of patriarchy over women marked the beginning of a whole series of class societies, culminating in the current global capitalist order. We are subject, in varying degrees, to exploitation by the dominant class, to state oppression designed to maintain ruling class control, and to alienation resulting from the lack of control over key aspects of our lives.
3) Capitalism is a global system based on wage slavery, but still resorts to other forms of exploitative labour to maximize profits. The capitalist state, whatever form it takes, is organised to maintain our exploitation. Capitalism has massively contributed to environmental degradation. This now threatens many vital life-giving natural circuits, e.g. air, water and nitrogen (in the soil), as well as biodiversity and unique natural habitats. Reversing this situation necessitates a global-scale response.
4) Capitalism is a system that can only renew itself through ever more destructive crises. It will either take all of us down with it or the working class and oppressed of the world will build a new society. Only a revolutionary transformation of society can provide the basis for the change we need
5) Against exploitation we raise the banner of emancipation. Against oppression we raise the banner of liberation. Against alienation we raise the banner of self-determination. The end of class society comes through revolutionary change with the abolition of wage and domestic slavery, in a society based on the principle, “from each according to their ability; to each according their needs”. The state gives way to communal self-administration, where “the government of persons is replaced by the administration of things and the direction of the processes of production”. Our social and individual self-determination is based on the principle that “the freedom of each is the condition of the freedom of all.” Communism is the society based on these principals.
6) We champion ‘being’ over ‘having’ in our struggle for social and individual self-determination. The ruling classes attempt to control us by stifling both individuality and cooperation through the creation and marketing of false needs. A 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.
7) 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. We oppose all attempts to promote sectarian organisational advantage above socialist and working class unity of the exploited and oppressed. Organisations and coalitions that are democratic, transparent, and accountable are ones that can learn and grow.
8) We recognise that all forms of slavery – wage, domestic, sex, chattel (one person owning another), and debt – still exist and are linked under patriarchy and capitalism. We need to overcome patriarchy as we act to break the rule of the capitalist class. We seek to integrate the most advanced thinking from feminist and queer studies. We also need to overcome the divisions caused by imperialism. Migrants and asylum seekers are key parts of the international working class and we support the free movement of people. We seek to integrate the most advanced thinking from anti-imperialist and post-colonial studies. We bring a global, systemic scientific analysis to the major issues of the day. We support the solidarity of the exploited and oppressed based on the principle of unity in diversity. It is through popular struggles and liberation movements that the scourges of bigotry and violence based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, age, or physical ability can be eradicated.
9) We engage in economic and social struggles against exploitation and democratic struggles against oppression, viewing these as schools of struggle. It is through these experiences that we can build independent, democratic, grassroots class organisations, which gain the confidence to create a revolutionary transformation of society. In addition, cultural struggles against alienation can contribute to the development of ‘communities of resistance’.
10) 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 only 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.
11) We fight for the democratic sovereignty of the rank and file in the organisations of the exploited and oppressed against the state, employers and bureaucrats. Today, few trade unions have any 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. Neither corporate nor state funded and controlled political parties, e.g. the SNP and the Labour Party are able to challenge global capitalism. We need independent political action to achieve our goals.
12) Until we, as the exploited and oppressed, have asserted our full sovereignty over our own class struggle organisations, we fight for an Immediate Programme* based on the sovereignty of the people. The whole world is now dominated by capitalism, each state a link in an integrated global order. The Immediate Programme is both national and international. However, the possibility of moving beyond this programme depends on the ability of our independent organisations to assert our power.
13) A key part of our Immediate Programme is a recognition that we are republicans. upholding the sovereignty of the people. We view the continued existence of the UK, with its unionist, imperialist and monarchist state, based on the sovereignty of the Crown-in-Westminster (and its devolved offspring), with its anti-democratic Crown Powers and the 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. We will campaign for a democratic, secular, socially just, environmentally sustainable, Scottish Republic based on the sovereignty of the people
14) We promote an ‘internationalism from below’ republican strategy for Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland in order to counter the bureaucratic ‘internationalism’ of left unionism and the ‘go-it-alone’ separatism of left nationalism. We advocate close working relations between independent class organisations throughout these islands.
15) We view the existing world order, dominated by corporate capital, the IMF, WTO, the World Bank and G7, and by US imperialism and its allies through NATO, along with the existing states-based EU bureaucracy 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.
16) We seek to promote a new federal, social and secular European republic, with a written constitution and a Bill of Rights based on the democratic principle that economic and political power shall be in the hands of the sovereign people of Europe. The constitution will include the democratic right of nations to self-determination.
17) Only when we as the exploited and oppressed have created our own independent class organisations, including armed forces, e.g. militias, in a situation of Dual Power able to enforce our aims, will we have entered a period when a Transitional Programme** becomes relevant.
18) Socialism occurs when our independent class organisations have taken power and are able to take the lead in socio-economic planning for the benefit of the majority and greater control of the natural environment. However, Socialism achieved in one or more states is not the ultimate aim. It can either be a phase on the way to global communism or a temporary high point reached before a descent back into capitalism. Neither social democracy nor official ‘communism’ have created a successful socialist transition towards a higher form of society. Social democracy went little further than welfare state provision, whilst official ‘communism’ led to a state autocracy. Both have collapsed back into forms of neo-liberal or national populist capitalism.
19) When workers have taken power in a particular state, then moves towards a Maximum Programme depend on the effective internationalisation of that power. Therefore, we advocate a Scottish Workers’ Republic, as a contribution to a new global order. We seek an International Federation of Socialist Republics to help us create a stateless global commune. It is only planning at a global level which will enable us to bring humanity into a sustainable relationship with our natural environment,
20)*** We are committed to joining with others to build a Scottish socialist republican/communist political organisation/party based on the exploited and oppressed. We promote international organisation, cooperation and coordinated action across the UK, the rest of Europe, and around the world. As an immediate step toward this goal, we advocate discussions and debate, genuine comradeship, and shared social and cultural enjoyment across borders.
7th March 2021
* An Immediate Programme is not a Minimum Programme. The idea of a Minimum Programme was developed in the Second International. Those national states, e.g. the UK and France, which had developed parliamentary systems, were seen to be ripe for Socialism, and hence in theory no longer required a Minimum Programme addressing the economy. Prussia/Germany was also seen to have a sufficient level of capitalist development to be ripe for Socialism, but still had a more antiquated political system. This led to the of retention of elements of a Minimum Programme with democratic demands. However, many Social Democrats, in states like the UK and France, began to believe that their existing states provided an adequate basis for a transition to Socialism. They tacitly adopted a new Minimum Programme, largely based on increasing top-down state control of capitalism to provide reforms for the working class. The consequences of such thinking became apparent in the outbreak of the First World War, where the main parties of the Second International supported their states in the war.
And this was still a time when most areas of the world had yet to be fully subordinated to capitalist relations. They had many elements of older social and political orders, with tributary or semi-feudal states. e.g. the Ottoman Empire or China. Social Democrats have argued to this day that national Minimum Programmes to bring about full capitalist development are still required in such states
** The calls for Transitional Programmes, without a Dual Power situation represent either attempts by sects to promote abstract propagandism, or opportunist attempts to dress up reformist social democratic programmes in revolutionary colours.
*** This section highlights any unresolved discussions there have been in the old RCN about the type of political organisation needed today. This debate is also likely to occur in the recently founded Republican Socialist Platform. The RCF has urged its members to become involved in the RSP.
What We Stood For
RCN Comradely Conduct Policy
As taken from the post of it.
In line with the RCN becoming a forum where the principles of communism, republicanism and internationalism from below can be discussed and debated, the RCN meeting, held in Glasgow on November 18th, agreed to this simplified our Comradely Conduct Policy.
Anyone attending an RCN meeting or event is expected to act in a comradely manner toward each other. We encourage robust discussion but any personal or discriminatory remarks will not be tolerated.
It is the responsibility of everyone to raise, and if they feel able challenge, any uncomradely behaviour. This should not be left to those on the receiving end.
Any concerns at or outwith a meeting should be brought to the attention of the chair, or another office holder if appropriate (for example , where the chair is involved).
The chair will then attempt to resolve the issue with these comrades and place the dispute on the agenda for the next meeting. If still unresolved, the meeting will hear from those involved and agree a way forward.
Freedom Come All Ye – The New RCN Banner
I have defined the political economy of socialism and communism, the association of free producers and how to reach “to each according to their needs” at my web site http://www.sarovic.com. For the beginning I would recommend reading “The Future if Economics” here http://www.sarovic.com/future_of_economics.htm
All the best,
I’m disappointed that the Republican Communist Network is no longer part of the Scottish Socialist Party — I really enjoy its content & analysis, and I feel the RCN could play a positive role in reversing the SSP’s post-’06 decline.