Aug 12 2015

THE RCN AND THE SCOTTISH LEFT PROJECT

THE RCN AND THE SCOTTISH LEFT PROJECT

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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 [1].

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 [2]. We became involved in the setting up of the Radical Independence Campaign affiliating at its first conference in Glasgow in November 2012 [3].
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Jan 11 2015

THE RCN’S UPDATED ‘WHAT WE STAND FOR’

Over the RCN weekend away from November 7th-9thm 2014 held near Dunfermline and our aggregates held on January 11th in Edinburgh and February 21st, 2015 in Glasgow, we updated our What We Stand For in the light of our recent engagement with the struggle for Scottish self-determination and our ongoing discussions on communism, secularism and patriarchy.  Here are the results of our discussions and debates.

 

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WHAT WE STAND FOR

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.
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Oct 11 2014

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

In the aftermath of the September 18th Scottish independence referendum, Allan Armstrong(RCN) updates his  earlier piece (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2014/09/03/up-to-and-beyond-the-september-18th-independence-referendum-a-socialist-republican-perspective/).

 

A Movement-in-the-making

The campaign for Scottish independence has been the largest movement for popular democracy seen in these islands since the Irish War of Independence. In terms of electoral participation it was unprecedented. Voter registration was 97% and voter turnout was 85%.

The ‘Yes’ alliance faced the biggest ruling class offensive, backed by the UK state, since the Miners’ Strike. Only this time it brought together the combined Tory/Lib-Dem/Labour ‘Better Together’ ‘No’ alliance, UKIP, Ulster unionists, the Orange Order, other Loyalists, British fascists, the BBC, the Pope and the Free Presbyterian Church, and the US and Chinese governments!

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May 07 2014

EXPLOITATION, OPPRESSION AND ALIENATION: EMANCIPATION, LIBERATION AND SELF-DETERMINATION

The RCN has based much of its analysis of capitalism on the notions of exploitation and oppression, to which we counter the ideas of emancipation and liberation – hence the name of our main publication. However, we have been conducting discussions on capitalism’s  third prop, alienation, and its antithesis, self-determination, understood in its widest sense. In the article below, by Allan Armstrong (RCN), which comes from Volume 1 of Internationalism From Below: Reclaiming a hidden communist tradition to challenge the nation state and capitalist empire, explores the relationships between exploitation, oppression and alienation, and between emancipation, liberation and self-determination. 

 

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Communists, and sometimes others on the Left, use three key terms to help us understand social relationships between human beings in class societies. These are exploitation, oppression and alienation.

Exploitation, oppression and alienation have become more developed in the later forms of class society, particularly capitalism. However, the ideologies used to disguise or justify class society have also become more sophisticated.
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May 01 2014

WHAT MAY DAY MEANS IN THE UKRAINE CRISIS

In the second article from the RCN’s May Day Special Bulletin, Allan Armstrong (RCN) outlines the significance of current events in Ukraine, the dangers of inter-ethnic conflict allowing imperialist intervention, with the  growing threat of inter-imperialist conflict.

 

“Take a neighbour of ours {Germany}. Our relations are very much better than they were a few years ago. There is none of that snarling which we used to see, more especially in the Press of those two great, I will not say rival nations, but two great Empires. The feeling is better altogether between them.”

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May 01 2014

‘EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION’ RIC SPECIAL BULLETIN, March, 2014

The RCN produced its first Emancipation and Liberation RIC Special Bulletin for the National Forum in March. It included the following articles:

1. Let’s all end our abusive relationship with the UK state

2.The Republican Communist Network and the Radical Independence Campaign

3. A Republican perspective is important for Scotland’s future

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LET’S ALL END OUR ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UK STATE

Osborne, Alexander and Ball’s ‘Dambuster Strategy’ to roll back the ‘Yes’ vote has highlighted the reality of ‘Scottish self-determination’ under the UK state. In effect, this ‘partnership’ leaves the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland trapped in an abusive relationship. Cameron’s subsequent ‘love-bombing’ reveals the classic behaviour of an abuser – but still represents an ‘apology’ beyond the capabilities of Johann Lamont and Labour in Scotland. Unless, we accept our subordinate part in their ‘order of things’ and bow before with rule of the City of London, and, if necessary, are prepared to die for ‘Britain’, then our currently allotted ‘allowance’ under this relationship will be curtly terminated.

But the UK is not a marriage between just two partners, however unequal. The British ruling class’s Union is designed to maintain their abusive ‘ p o l y g a m o u s ’ relationship with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK, being an imperial, unionist and monarchist state, with an established religion, has a whole panoply of powers, both under the Crown and Westminster, with which to promote division between the peoples, and in particular, the working class, living on these islands.

To prevent one ‘partner’, Scotland, from breaking free from this abusive relationship, Tory, Lib-Dem and Labour politicians have fallen over themselves act as mouthpieces for the City and big business. This has highlighted just who is in control. The UK’s longstanding treatment of Ireland should already have provided one warning of the violence the British ruling class can resort to. But isolating one partner, by cynically currying favour with the others, has all been part of their manipulative method, as Scottish people are now finding out.

However, the power of the British ruling class is not unlimited. It depends on the degree of real working class unity that can be achieved – not just within Scotland, but together with our other abused partners in England, Wales and Ireland. More people can see that ‘Better Together’ is part of the shared Tory, Lib-Dem and Labour pro-austerity, pro-war alliance. This will continue whichever party wins the 2015 Westminster General Election.

People outwith Scotland, are beginning to understand that the September 18th referendum is not primarily a vote for a rather timid SNP government, but for constitutional change. This will have far-reaching effects for the continued existence of the UK, and hence for the state which allows the British ruling class to maintain its abusive domination over the working class throughout these islands. We can counter their top-down UK state and British unionist alliance, through our own ‘internationalism from below’ democratic alliance.

This is why the RCN has initiated the following motion passed by Edinburgh RIC, which will be debated at the National Forum on Match 29th in Perth:-

“RIC agrees to provide speakers for events organised by socialist and radical organisations in England, Wales and Ireland where the issue of support for Scottish independence is being discussed.

Therefore, RIC supports the proposal being made by the Republican Socialist Alliance platform to the Left Unity Party that it organises a conference in England around the issue of support for Scottish independence.”

Allan Armstrong (RCN)

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THE REPUBLICAN COMMUNIST NETWORK AND THE RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CAMPAIGN 

The Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) has mobilised a large number of Socialists, Left Greens, Left Nationalists and other Radical Democrats in Scotland. The opportunity to exercise Scottish self-determination is the issue that has brought us together, along with a concern that the SNP government is prepared to settle for something well short of genuine political self-determination.

The possibility of writing a new constitution, reflecting the social needs of the majority of people is a heady prospect. Meetings and street activities have been held all over Scotland. There has been an outpouring of writing, other cultural initiatives and contributions on the social media. Such thinking goes well beyond the usual narrow concerns. It has led to a wide-ranging discussion over exactly what sort of Scotland we want to see, and what sort of wider world we want to live in. Continue reading “‘EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION’ RIC SPECIAL BULLETIN, March, 2014”

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Nov 20 2013

THE PARTY WE NEED

Bob Goupillot (RCN) makes a positive response to the article, The party we need, by Moshe Machover, founder member of the Israeli Socialist organisation, now living in England.

Moshe Machover

Moshe Machover

 

I was really heartened to read Moshe Machover’s article The party we need (WW November 7th 2013) as it succinctly summarises important aspects of our classes experience around political organisation.

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Oct 29 2013

SOCIALIST UNITY – THE RCN ASKS 12 QUESTIONS

The RCN has been involved in preliminary discussions with Frontline, the International Socialist Group (Scotland), individual members of the International Socialist Network and Defense of Our Party faction in the SWP, as well as other individuals mainly from an SSP background. Frontline  published the views a number of socialist organisations, which we reposted at http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2013/06/10/socialist-unity/. Stemming from these initial discussions, the RCN has framed 12 questions, which it has sent out to those organisations participating in socialist unity discussions. We will post each response as receive it. We would like to thank Alister Black of Frontline (http://www.redflag.org.uk) and James Foley of the International Socialist Group for the first responses to our questions.

 

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 1. ALISTER BLACK OF FRONTLINE  REPLIES TO THE RCN’S 12 QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROSPECTS FOR SOCIALIST UNITY

 

1.     After the demise or major setbacks for Left unity and Socialist unity projects in these islands (SSP, Socialist Alliance, Respect, Forward Wales, United Left Alliance-Ireland), there have been a number of new initiatives recently – the Peoples Assemblies, the proposed Left Unity Party (LUP) and the Socialist Unity Platform (SUP) and International Socialist Network/Socialist Resistance/Anti-Capitalist Initiative (ISN/SR/ACI) unity proposals. However, these have mainly been confined to England and Wales. Why do you think things are less advanced in Scotland at the moment?

The Scottish political environment is now very different to that in the rest of the UK state. The left has faced the problems of its own fractures but also of the ascendance of the Scottish National Party. The left lacks credibility but also has been slow to recover from the self-inflicted wounds of the last few years. At the same time the SNP has presented themselves as social-democrats through reforms such as free prescription charges and abolition of tuition fees (whilst being very friendly to union-busting big business outfits like Amazon).

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Jun 02 2013

Allan Armstrong (RCN) replies to David Jamieson (ISG) – part 2

Since I wrote the first part of my reply (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2013/03/26/allan-armstrong-rcn-replies-to-david-jamieson-isg/) I have met David for the first time. Face-to-face discussions are a better way of trying to understand the thinking and positions that others hold. They can also help to overcome some preconceived notions. In the pub, after the joint ISG, ISN, RCN and September 15th group meeting on May 11th in Edinburgh, David raised some important questions, and pointed to some of the characteristics of contemporary society, which Socialists do need to address, if we are to move forward.

The RCN has been involved in organised discussions and debate with other Socialists, first in the hope these can lift our mutual understanding to a higher level and then lead to more effective wider political activity.

However, not all debates can be resolved in this way.  Real differences often still remain. These may even prove productive over the course of time, when the practical relevance of previously minority thinking becomes more apparent. Socialist organisations and campaigning coalitions, e.g. the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC), need to give scope for such discussions, because they may have considerable impact as the struggle progresses. Such discussions and debates also need to be real  – a contesting of positions actually held, not attacks on ‘straw men’, which have been so common on the Left.  I think that David would agree with such an approach.

We have often seen people on the Left attempting to avoid such debates. Instead, they emphasise the need for action now around immediate demands. This means that the development of the strategy and tactics necessary for any campaign are left to the ‘thinkers’ (usually a self-appointed celebrity leader and his immediate advisors, or some Central Committee). The rest of us remain mere ‘doers’, implementing the decisions of others or, where we do try to raise important issues of principle, we get dismissed as ‘moaners’ or ‘splitters’.

Even, when top-down led struggles appear to have been successful, they usually lead to new forms of domination or worse still, oppression, either under populist leaders or the Party-state. Such an approach is fundamentally anti-socialist. “The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself”. Our emancipation can come only about through a combination of both thought and action. We all need to be involved in both these activities if we wish to create a new society, which we can collectively control.

After these preliminary comments, I take up some of the other points which David has raised. First this reply provides clarification of possible remaining misunderstandings. Then it addresses the remaining differences, not covered in part 1 of my response to David.

Continue reading “Allan Armstrong (RCN) replies to David Jamieson (ISG) – part 2”

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Mar 18 2013

COMMUNIST RELATIONS TODAY, CAPITALIST RELATIONS TOMORROW

Category: Capitalism and Communism,What is communism?RCN @ 10:46 am

The  article below is written by RCN member, Iain Robertson. Iain is a mountaineer and rock climber. This article represents a continuation of the work the RCN has been posting, not only  on what communism could look like in the future, but on how many elements of such cooperative practice  already exist  today. However, under  capitalist domination such beneficial social activity is constantly being undermined.

 

Sea and Mountain Rescue Services

Sea and Mountain Rescue Services

This article takes a look behind one of the many privatisations going on and argues that, even in the UK, capitalism is not total or absolute and does not go uncontested.

It could be off the Cornish coast, the flooded valleys of Cumbria, 3000 feet up on the Tower Ridge of Ben Nevis, or any other part of Britain and its coastline where life is at risk from accident, heart attack or natural disaster and a military SAR (Search And Rescue) helicopter is required. Today, a cooperative, integrated set of social relationships, designed to serve a social need and profiting no one, will come into play to save life.

The network involves the police (publicly funded), as first point of contact coast guard (publicly funded), R.N.L.I. (a volunteer lifeboat service), the Cave Rescue teams and the Mountain Rescue teams around Britain (volunteer services) the Ambulance service (publicly funded) and finally, where required, the military SAR helicopters (publicly funded) stationed at 8 locations around the coasts of Scotland, England and Wales.

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