Mar 29 2017

PADDY BORT – 1954-2017

Allan Armstrong writes about the contribution made by Paddy Bort, who died on February 17th, to our understanding of Scottish and Irish cultural and political links.

 

PADDY BORT – 1954-2017

Eberhard Bort, Germano-Scot and Germano-Irish by choice, “in essence the ultimate European”, and known to most acquaintances in Scotland and Ireland as Paddy, died unexpectedly on February 17th. Steve Byrne, founder member of the folk group, Malinky, and convenor of the Hamish Henderson Archive Trust, wrote what has become Paddy’s much circulated obituary. It begins with the strikingly appropriate words, “A hole the size of Arthur’s Seat is in the Edinburgh folk scene today.”
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Dec 09 2016

BEFORE AND AFTER THE ‘RETURN OF THE BRUTE’

 

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As the official celebrations and the unofficial commemorations of the centenary of the First World War continue, many personal accounts, poems and novels written about this period have been published or republished. One novel, not yet republished, is Return of the Brute, written by Liam O’Flaherty. David Trotter, in The Cambridge Companion to The Literature of the First World War, argues that, unlike most British war novels, it was written by an author of proletarian origin. Whilst O’Flaherty was Irish, Trotter is right in considering  Return of the Brute to be a British war novel. It is based upon the author’s experiences fighting in the British army on the western front.  The novel “intended to do justice to the brute’s point of view” [1], where the “brute” stands for working-class soldiers. If so, the “brute” refers to atomised, alienated and demoralised workers, brutalised by life on the western front.
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Dec 08 2016

DEBATES AND DISCUSSIONS ON THE EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION BLOG ABOUT THE EU AND MIGRATION

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Our Emancipation & Liberation blog has posted articles about the EU and Migration since it was set up. The earlier postings covered  the Republican Communist Network’s involvement, when it was a platform in the Scottish Socialist Party. The first debate was in 2002 over whether the SSP should back joining the euro in the event of a referendum over the issue. The majority in the SSP was anti-euro, although there was a small pro-euro minority. The RCN formed another minority, which was for a campaign of active abstention.
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Dec 07 2016

BUILDING AN ALLIANCE BETWEEN RISE AND LEFT UNITY

RISE held a national members’ meeting in Glasgow on saturday 3rd December. The leaflet ‘Building an alliance between RISE and Left Unity’ was circulated. Steve Freeman and Allan Armstrong (of the Republican Socialist Alliance – RSA) addressed the meeting. Steve has subsequently written a report for Left Unity. These two ianti-Unionist alliance items have been posted below.

This is followed by giving the links to articles on this blog which have argued for  greater unity, on an anti-unionist basis, between the RSA , the Radical Independence Campaign, the Left Unity Party and RISE.

 

1. BUILDING AN ALLIANCE BETWEEN RISE AND LEFT UNITY

Steve Freeman speaking at first Left Unity Conference

Steve Freeman speaking at first Left Unity Conference

Preamble

Left Unity was set up in 2013 to organise a party standing in opposition to neo-liberalism and the politics of New Labour. The party aimed to unite democratic socialists and communists into one party to resist austerity politics. The majority of LU members were in England with a small membership in Scotland and Wales. Left Unity had no policy on the national question until the Scottish referendum in 2014 when the party voted to take an abstention position.
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Dec 03 2016

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

Allan Armstrong, of the Campaign for a European Republican Socialist Party, draws some political conclusions from the online discussion (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2016/11/20/from-farages-brexit-to-trumps-brexit-plus-plus-plus-and-on-to-madame-frexit/)  of the political situation in the UK in the aftermath of the Trump vote. 

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

a) Brexit and the change in British ruling class thinking

Since the Brexit vote, the Tories, under Theresa May’s leadership, have been moving away from the recently shared politics of the majority of the British ruling class and mainstream British political parties. A central feature of these politics was based upon the globalised neo-liberal economics pushed by Margaret Thatcher, in the interests of a turbo-charged City of London. The City had really taken off after Nigel Lawson’s ‘Big Bang’ deregulation in 1983. Following New Labour’s 1996 election victory, they adopted the same unquestioning pro-City path. This was shown when Chancellor Gordon Brown abolished the few remaining government controls over the City’s operations. Under Tony Blair, Butskellism gave way to Blatcherism.
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Dec 02 2016

ST. ANDREWS DAY OR JOHN MACLEAN DAY?

The Irish Workers' Republican Starry Plough does not have an equivalent accepted by the working class in Scotland

The Irish Workers’ Republican Starry Plough does not have an equivalent accepted by the working class in Scotland

Today is St. Andrews Day. It is not yet a full-blown public holiday, although there is some partial observance. The following article was written by Allan Armstrong for the Lothian SSP bulletin in November 2007. It is even more relevant today, when Scottish nationalists try to subsume all of us under the saltire.
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Nov 27 2016

MULTI-MILLION £ HOUSING BENEFITS SCAM EXPOSED!

In response to the announcement that we are going to have to pay £369M to refurbish Buckingham Place, Allan Armstrong and John Tummon of the Republican Socialist Alliance wrote the following letters to The National, which were both published.

 

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Letter 1

Queen Lizzie is probably being shielded from the concerns of many of her subjects, who are being asked to cough up £370 million to do up Buckingham Palace. This, at a time when not only the usual “undeserving poor” but the “just about managing” JAMs are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Should she ever be informed, though, I’m sure she will answer: “Let them eat Tunnock’s Teacakes.”
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Jul 15 2016

PEOPLES, NATIONALITIES, NATIONS, NATION STATES, NATIONALISM AND NATIONALISTS

A young comrade after reading the UK State, Britishness and the ‘Racialised’, ‘Ethnicised’ and ‘National’ Outsiders (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2016/03/02/britishness-the-uk-state-unionism-scotland-and-the-national-outsider/) has asked Allan Armstrong to clarify the differences between Nationalities, Nations and Nation States. Here is a section of Allan’s book, Internationalism from Below, volume 1, which explores these concepts.

 

PEOPLES, NATIONALITIES, NATIONS, NATION STATES, NATIONALISM AND NATIONALISTS

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Nationality, nation, nation-state, nationalism and nationalist are five words that can provoke very different responses on the Left. In a world of officially recognised nation-states and national movements seeking UN approval, both nationalities and nations are often seen to have collective personalities. When asked to describe a particular nationality or nation, the response can be enthusiastic – “I support the Palestinians”; or hostile – “I oppose the Americans”. There is another response, the loftily aloof – “I’m above such petty nationalist concerns”. This view appears to rise above the fetishisation of national identity. Yet those who adopt this distanced attitude usually find others very easily give them a national identity, usually by virtue of the language, dialect, or even the accent they use.
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Jul 04 2016

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

Allan Armstrong, who first became politically active in 1968, gives his political assessment of the political situation in the aftermath of the June 23d EU referendum.  Allan is on the Editorial Board of Emancipation & Liberation,  a supporter of the Republican Socialist Alliance, the Radical Independence Campaign and, in the ‘Spirit of 68’, a dissident member of the SSP and RISE.

The International Revolutionary Wave from 1968-75, encompassing the world from Vietnam to Paris, was contained. However, a group of socialists helped to put some new life into the possibility of a social order beyond the discredited models of Social Democracy and official Communism. Sadly today, we have one of 1968’s leading proponents, Tariq Ali, in his role as a prominent Lexiter, reacting to the situation created by the EU referendum more in the manner of the French CP in 1968, diverting a potential European Democratic Revolution on to the path of national reformism. Today this can only reinforce the Right across Europe.  However, others of Allan’s generation, including Bernadette Devlin/McAliskey, have seen a very different potential in the current situation.

It is to be hoped that the short-lived International Revolutionary Wave of 2011, encompassing the ‘Arab Spring’ and the Indignados of Greece and Spain, will prove to be a 1905 International Revolutionary Wave-style prelude to a new revolutionary wave. For the moment the 2011 wave has ebbed back to the communities of resistance in Palestine and Kobane, and to the electoralism of Syriza and Podemos.  

Allan’s contribution is based on a talk he gave at the Edinburgh RISE circle on June 28th and has been extended, updated and written in the form of an appeal from a member of the 1968 generation to those of the new young 2011 generation. 

(* FUKers are supporters of a ‘Free UK’. They stretch from the Fascist and Loyalist Far Right, through the Right populist UKIP to the reactionary Right Tories.)

AFTER JUNE 24th – THE FUKers’* BLACK FRIDAY or RED FRIDAY FOR A EUROPE’S DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION

Migrant Solidarity Network march in Edinburgh oransised after Brexit vote on June 24th

The 500 strong Migrant Solidarity Network march in Edinburgh on June 24th  the same day as the Brexit vote  24th

 

The significance of Friday June 24th
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Jul 03 2016

AN OPEN LETTER TO LEXITERS

AN OPEN LETTER TO THOSE LEXITERS* OPPOSED TO A SECOND EU REFERENDUM, BUT TOO NERVOUS TO CALL A DEMO FOR A ‘FREE UK’ TO IMMEDIATELY BREAK WITH THE EU, WORRIED WHO MIGHT TURN UP!

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Dear comrades,

June 24th hasn’t quite panned out as you Lexiters claimed it would. All those workers “justified” in supporting Brexit have not followed up their crushing victory over Cameron by taking to the streets or striking against the Tories’ austerity drive; nor does a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour Party look particularly likely to replace the Tories in any immediate general election.
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