Mar 31 2016

WHY NO PITCHFORD ENQUIRY IN SCOTLAND?

 

Allan Armstrong (RCN) asks why the Pitchford Enquiry into undercover policing does not extend to Scotland.

Home Secretary, Theresa May, announces Pitchford Enquiry for England and Wales only

Home Secretary, Theresa May, announces Pitchford Enquiry for England and Wales only

 

Last July, Theresa May, Conservative Home Secretary, set up the Pitchford Enquiry into undercover policing in England and Wales. The Channel 4 Programme Dispatches had highlighted the role of the Met’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) in trying to undermine the family of Steven Lawrence, as they pressed for justice following his racist murder in 1993. This knowledge only surfaced, when Peter Francis, former police spy, turned whistle-blower, provided the evidence.
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Apr 03 2015

THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP – THE TTIP OF THE PACIFIC

Cynthia Phinney of Labor Notes (USA) writes on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which she dubs the “NAFTA of the Pacific”. However, we in Europe will also be able to recognise it as the ‘TTIP of the Pacific’.

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SHOWDOWN NEARS ON FAST TRACKING OF THE BIGGEST FREE TRADE DEAL YET 

This spring the battle is coming to a head over several threatened trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a “NAFTA of the Pacific.”

President Obama announced in this year’s State of the Union address that he would ask Congress to grant him fast-track authority for trade agreements with Asia and Europe. The announcement unleashed a torrent of lobbying in favor of Obama’s request, and galvanized fair trade activists against it.

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Mar 25 2015

DEFINING REPUBLICANISM

John Tummon (Republican Socialist Alliance) responds to Murdo Ritchie’s (RCN) Promoting Republicanism (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2015/02/24/promoting-republicanism/)

Murdo Ritchie’s ‘Promoting Republicanism’ is a very important contribution to something we Republican Socialists need to keep working on until we have a theoretically rigorous and internally-tested critique of the poverty of any socialist analysis that fails to incorporate a full understanding of democracy and republicanism; only when this is in place can we think about breaking through to a position of genuine influence on the Left, let alone wider society outside of Scotland.

I see Murdo’s ‘Promoting Republicanism’ as a key stage in that development – and a very welcome one at that – and my comments, including my attempted development of aspects of what Murdo has written, are put forward in that spirit. What I increasingly find is that the most interesting left thinking in Britain comes from Republican Socialists, which was born out by the impressive quality of discussion at the recent RSA AGM in London; much of what passes as debate within the rest of the British (certainly the English) Left is stale repetition and, within Left Unity, the recycling of stale certainties from past eras in the name of ‘doing politics differently’. Unless we think politics differently, a failed practice will recur.

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Mar 23 2015

THE SCOTTISH LEFT PROJECT

Allan Armstrong (RCN and RIC activist) provides the following initial assessment of the proposed Scottish Left Project. This is the final part of three articles, the first of which examines the role of the UK state and SNP in attempting to derail Scotland’s ‘democratic revolution’ (see http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2015/02/24/british-unionists-and-scottish-nationalists-attempt-to-derail-scotlands-democratic-revolution/) and the second which looks at the inadequate response of the Left across these islands (see http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2015/03/16/the-left-in-the-uk-the-2015-general-election-campaign-and-the-wider-impact-of-scotlands-democratic-revolution/).

 

The Scottish Left Project (SLP) has been mooted in the context of the impact of Scotland’s ‘democratic revolution’, and the success of RIC as a movement within this. There is now a concerted effort by the unionist and nationalist parties to roll back this ‘democratic revolution’ [1]. Therefore, the success of the SLP will depend upon whether it takes up the baton bequeathed by these momentous events, or lets itself become a bit-player in others’ political projects.

 

a) the role of the International Socialist Group (ISG)

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As with RIC, the ISG has been the SLP’s prime mover. It is therefore useful to examine the way the ISG operated within RIC, to come to some better understanding of how it could see its role in the SLP.

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Mar 01 2015

WATER CHARGES: INDEPENDENT MOBILISATION, NEW STATE REPRESSION

The following article from the Socialist Democracy (Ireland) website addresses the political situation in Ireland after the mass demonstrations against water charges held on January 31st. 

 

Anti-Water Charges demonstration in Dublin on January 31st

Anti-Water Charges demonstration in Dublin on January 31st

 

The mass demonstrations across Ireland on the 31st January show the emergence of a new force in Irish politics.

The spontaneous movement on water charges has stood on its own two feet and proved its independence from existing leaderships. It no longer needs the permission of left trade union leaders, the blessing of Sinn Fein or the approval of the left groups.

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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 20 2014

MORE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE RCN’S ‘WHAT WE STAND FOR’

The RCN will be debating new amendments to our ‘What We Stand For’ on our annual weekend away being  held on November 8th. The first set of amendments proposed by Allan Armstrong were posted at:- http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2014/08/09/proposed-amendments-to-the-rcns-what-we-stand-for/. Eric Chester has proposed another set of amendments, which are posted below.

 

Add to point 5: We call for the immediate withdrawal from NATO and the European Union. We will work toward the formation of a federation of European states.

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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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Jun 06 2014

JUST SAY YES? – A Review of ‘YES – The radical case for Independence’ by James Foley & Pete Ramand

Murdo Ritche (RCN)  reviews Yes- The Radical Case for Scottish Independence
 by James Foley & Pete Ramand (Pluto Press, 2014). This was first posted on Murdo’s blog (http://murdoritchie.blog.co.uk) and has been slightly changed. 

JUST SAY YES?

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The cover and the title of this book summarize the contradictory tensions that flow all through the text. The word Yes takes up nine-tenths of the cover referring to the authors desire to give positive affirmation to September’s independence referendum. Much smaller, is the claim that it will present the radical reasons for national independence. However, rallying a vote and constructing a case are two entirely separate tasks. By attempting both, the authors fail to satisfactorily achieve either. The book is entirely constructed out of these kind of incomplete, unresolved tensions.

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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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