Feb 27 2020

COMPETING STRATEGIES IN THE FACE OF THE BREAK-UP OF THE UK AND THE CASE FOR A SOCIALIST REPUBLICAN ‘INTERNATIONALISM FROM BELOW’ ALLIANCE

Allan Armstrong has added an addendum to his book From Pre-Brit to Ex-Brit  (https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/from-pre-brit-to-ex-brit-1.pdffollowing the December 12th UK and February 8th Irish general elections.

 

COMPETING STRATEGIES IN THE FACE OF THE BREAK-UP OF THE UK AND THE CASE FOR A  SOCIALIST REPUBLICAN ‘INTERNATIONALISM FROM BELOW’ ALLIANCE

 

 

 

 

Although Johnson gained an overall Right Populist electoral victory in the UK on December 12th, this disguises the fact that in Scotland the constitutional nationalist SNP emerged as the electoral victor, pushing the Tories and Scottish Labour into retreat. In Wales, the still largely liberal unionist, Welsh Labour and the constitutional nationalist, Plaid Cymru retained an overall majority, but the Tories made substantial gains. In Northern Ireland, the reactionary unionist DUP lost its overall majority, giving a tentative constitutional nationalist (Sinn Fein and SDLP) and liberal unionist (APNI) alliance a majority. Furthermore, there are wider national democratic movements in Scotland, Wales and Ireland/Northern Ireland, which will be prepared to challenge Johnson’s reactionary unionist clampdown. This is a recipe for continued constitutional crisis, with Scotland in the front line at present. Continue reading “COMPETING STRATEGIES IN THE FACE OF THE BREAK-UP OF THE UK AND THE CASE FOR A SOCIALIST REPUBLICAN ‘INTERNATIONALISM FROM BELOW’ ALLIANCE”

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Feb 09 2020

PEAT AND DIESEL AT THE BARROWLANDS

Allan Armstrong reviews Peat and Diesel playing at Glasgow’s Barrowlands on 25.1.20

 

PEAT AND DIESEL AT THE BARROWLANDS

 

 

As a fan of traditional and folk rock music since the 1960s, I have had some great nights out. But straight into my top 5 would be Peat and Diesel performing at Glasgow’s Barrowlands on 25th January. Peat and Diesel is a three-piece band from Stornoway. They feature fisherman, Callum ‘Boydie’ MacLeod, guitarist and vocalist; electrician, Innes Scott, accordion player; and delivery driver, Uilleam ‘Uilly’ MacLeod on drums. They produce a very full sound for a three-piece band – think Runrig meets the Pogues!

With my partner, Myra, we only first heard of the group, seeing them perform on BBC Alba this Hogmanay. It reminded us of a similar experience, when we saw the Pogues on TV in the 1980s. Our friend, Calum, described the Pogues at the time as the Dubliners meets the Sex Pistols. Myra immediately began googling to see if Peat and Diesel were performing anywhere. As it turned out they had a whole series of gigs, starting with the Barrowlands (part of Celtic Connections), covering Scotland, Ireland and England, before finishing there again here on November 27th. But both the Barrowlands and many other events were already sold out! Continue reading “PEAT AND DIESEL AT THE BARROWLANDS”

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Feb 04 2020

FROM ILLUSIONS IN A LEXIT BREXIT TO A DISILLUSIONED LEXIT FROM BREXIT POLITICS – THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION AND INDEPENDENT SOCIALISTS ACROSS THESE ISLANDS

Allan Armstrong has published an article entitled From Illusions in a Lexit Brexit to a Disillusioned Lexit from Brexit Politics (https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/socialists-and-december-12th-election-5.pdf) The contents of this book are shown below, followed by the last two chapters and conclusion. This  article follows The Impact of the December 12th General Election across the Constituent Parts of the UK. (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2020/01/24/the-impact-of-the-december-12th-general-election-across-the-constituent-parts-of-the-uk/)

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FROM ILLUSIONS IN A LEXIT BREXIT TO A DISILLUSIONED LEXIT FROM BREXIT POLITICS 

Telegraph backs Lexiters’ ‘revolution’ and ‘Peoples Brexit!

 

Contents

a)  The 2015 general election provided a warning

b)  After 2015 – an increasingly floundering Left

c)  Northern Ireland – a different pattern

d)  Reactionary unionism and Europhobic opposition to the EU

e)  The largest independent Socialist parties walk into the Brexit trap

f)  The official Remain and Leave campaigns – two wings of the British ruling class

g)  The Lexiters’ false arguments

h)  The political options open in the run-up to the 2016 EU referendum

i)  From 23rd May, 2016 to 8th June, 2017 – A victory for the Left or the Right?

j)  ‘Independent’ Socialists and ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’!

k)  Corbyn and the ‘independent’ Socialists unwittingly help Boris Johnson to victory

l)  Independent socialists after the December 12th general election

m) Independent socialists in Scotland and Northern Ireland/Ireland

n) Conclusion

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THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION AND INDEPENDENT SOCIALISTS ACROSS THESE ISLANDS

 

1. Independent socialists after the December 12th general election

On December 12th, Labour’s vote share fell by 7.8% and its number of MPs decreased from 262 to 202. The Tories’ vote share rose 1.2%, but its number of MPs increased from 317 to 365. The gap in the vote share was 11.4%, 32.2% for Labour and 43.6% for the Tories.[1] Not surprisingly a shattered Jeremy Corbyn offered his resignation, opening up the prospect of a new leadership campaign. Continue reading “FROM ILLUSIONS IN A LEXIT BREXIT TO A DISILLUSIONED LEXIT FROM BREXIT POLITICS – THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION AND INDEPENDENT SOCIALISTS ACROSS THESE ISLANDS”

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Jan 24 2020

THE IMPACT OF THE DECEMBER 12TH GENERAL ELECTION ACROSS THE CONSTITUENT PARTS OF THE UK

Allan Armstrong follows up his article, The Continued Rise of Right National Populism and Reactionary Unionism in the Run-up to the December 12th General Election (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2019/12/09/the-continued-rise-of-right-populism-and-reactionary-unionism/). He examines the impact of the general election results across the constituent parts of the UK and the prospects for the immediate future. 

 

THE IMPACT OF THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION ACROSS THE CONSTITUENT PARTS OF THE UK

 

 

a)    The three possible outcomes of the December 12th Westminster general election

b)    How Corbyn’s Left social democracy, its complicity in British chauvinism and racism and its support for the UK state helped to pave the way for Johnson

c)    Other factors undermining the Corbynista challenge to Johnson

d)    The election results in England

e)    The election results in Wales

f)     The election results in Scotland

g)    The election results in Northern Ireland

h)    Conclusion

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  Continue reading “THE IMPACT OF THE DECEMBER 12TH GENERAL ELECTION ACROSS THE CONSTITUENT PARTS OF THE UK”

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Jan 10 2020

FROM PRE-BRIT TO EX-BRIT – The Forging and the Break-up of the UK and Britishness

 Allan Armstrong’s new book From Pre-Brit to Ex-Brit – The Forging and the Break-up of the UK and Britishness is now available online at:- 

(https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/from-pre-brit-to-ex-brit-1.pdf)

 (Originally posted on 10.1.19, this now includes an addendum, this now includes an addendum following the December 12th UK and February 8th Irish general elections – Part Five, Chapter 5)

Below is the Introduction with an outline if the book followed by a table of Contents

 

FROM PRE-BRIT TO EX-BRIT

The Forging and the Break-up of the UK and Britishness

 

An outline of the book

Today, even the United Kingdom’s most diehard defenders realise their state may not be around forever. This is one of the reasons they are putting up such an intransigent defence. And, as far as the British ruling class goes, their sense of entitlement, following their enrichment over centuries of imperialist plunder and exploitation, means there a few lengths they will not go to maintain their privileged position. Continue reading “FROM PRE-BRIT TO EX-BRIT – The Forging and the Break-up of the UK and Britishness”

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Dec 09 2019

THE RISE OF NATIONAL POPULISM AND REACTIONARY UNIONISM IN THE RUN UP TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION

In the lead-up to the December 12th general election Allan Armstrong updates  his analysis of the drift to the Right populist and reactionary unionist politics in the UK and what this possibly means for the future of the Union.

This is followed by an article by  statement from  the Radical Independence Campaign in Scotland on the general election.

Finally we are posting an article by  Tony Greenstein, expelled Labour Party member from Brighton. He predicted the unexpected rise in support for Jeremy Corbyn in 2017, but thinks that Labour’s chances have declined in the run up to the December general election.

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  1. THE CONTINUED RISE OF RIGHT POPULISM AND REACTIONARY UNIONISM 

IN THE LEAD-UP TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION

 

(A fuller explanation of what is meant by Right national populism can be found in the article:- https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/right-national-populism-16.3.19.pdf

Neither the UK nor Great Britain have ever been unitary states. All forms of unionism are based upon the unionist nature of the UK state, which has recognised England, Scotland, Ireland (later Northern Ireland)  and Wales as constituent units. This has led to the adoption of various forms of hybrid Britishness.

Three key terms used in this article  are:-

Conservative unionism – This acknowledges the unionist nature of the UK state through administrative devolution (or later acceptance of liberal unionist devolutionary measures  which it once opposed, but have become part of the status quo)

Liberal unionism – This also accepts the unionist nature of the UK state but promotes political devolution as a better method of holding the state together

Reactionary unionism – This upholds the UK state and openly celebrates  its most repressive aspects. e.g. the crown powers, the armed forces and judiciary. It is also prepared to mobilise extra-constitutional force to prevent national self-determination, greater measures of political devolution, and reverse political devolution and even some administrative devolutionary measures that have already been accepted.) Continue reading “THE RISE OF NATIONAL POPULISM AND REACTIONARY UNIONISM IN THE RUN UP TO THE DECEMBER 12th GENERAL ELECTION”

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Oct 22 2019

THE CONTRADICTIONS UNDERLYING BREXIT AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE

Allan Armstrong sent  this article to Conter, on September 13th, hoping  to open up one of the debates on the Left in relation to Scottish independence, before and during the Radical Independence Campaign conference in Glasgow on October 26th. There has been no acknowledgement of this article by the Conter editor, despite Allan being a member of RISE, Conter‘s main sponsor. This seems to reflect a unwillingness, highlighted at the founding of RISE, to discuss controversial  issues.

However, since then articles have appeared in Conter, or by RISE members writing for CommonSpace, which have been pro-Lexit. Allan’s article was written in an attempt to ensure that a fuller range of Left opinion was addressed on a specifically Socialist site claiming  to promote wider debate. This could then contribute to  the best traditions of RIC, where such controversial issues have been openly debated. A Left that is afraid to debate issues, in a democratic and respectful manner, is doomed to irrelevance.

Fortunately, both Socialist Resistance (http://socialistresistance.org/the-contradictions-underlying-brexit-and-scottish-independence/18211) and bella caledonia (https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2019/10/24/republican-internationalism-from-below/) have now posted this article. 

 

THE CONTRADICTIONS UNDERLYING BREXIT AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE

 

To date articles in Conter addressing Brexit have concentrated more on the neo-liberal opposition, and those on the Left perceived to be tail-ending this section of the British ruling class. There has been no real analysis of the aims of the hard right and national populist advocates of Brexit, whether the Boris Johnson-led Tories, or the Nigel Farage-led UKIP and now his Brexit Party. Brexit  has not been adequately placed in the context of the global rise of right national populism, highlighted by Donald Trump’s ‘Brexit, plus, plus, plus’, US presidential electoral victory in November 2016.[1] These people are still seen by some on the Left as political outsiders, despite now having their hands  on the US state’s anti-democratic presidential powers and the UK state’s anti-democratic crown powers. Nor have the machinations of such ‘left’ Brexit union leaders as UNITE’s Len McCluskey been addressed.[2]

 

The RIC conference on 26.10.19

The Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) has formed an important arena for discussing such issues.[3] Indeed RIC’s Scottish internationalism is highlighted on its banner – ‘Another Scotland is Possible; Another Europe is Possible; Another World is Possible’. Hopefully, the October 26th RIC conference in Glasgow will extend this opportunity for discussion related to the situation we now face. Understanding the political forces, which the Left is up against, is essential, not only in the UK and wider world, but for us in Scotland, when we consider the future for Scottish independence. Continue reading “THE CONTRADICTIONS UNDERLYING BREXIT AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE”

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Sep 02 2019

REPUBLICANS ADDRESS THE ‘NO TO THE COUP’ DEMOS IN DUNDEE AND EDINBURGH ON AUGUST 31st

On Saturday 31st August demonstrations were held throughout the UK to protest at ‘Boris’s coup’. Mary MacGregor addressed the rally held in Dundee. Allan Armstrong addressed the rally held in Edinburgh.

 

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Speech by Mary MacGregor

 

Comrades and friends,

We are living through extraordinary times. We live in a time where children go hungry, where the poor go to food banks to get by, where  many live in despair and succumb to addiction, where mental health problems have reached epidemic proportions and where we are ruled over by a privileged, unelected elite. Continue reading “REPUBLICANS ADDRESS THE ‘NO TO THE COUP’ DEMOS IN DUNDEE AND EDINBURGH ON AUGUST 31st”

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Feb 20 2019

THE CONTINUING BREXIT CRISIS

The National Forum of the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) held on June 30th, 2018  agreed to take up the issue of a Ratification referendum over Theresa May’s Brexit Proposals (http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-case-for-eu-ratification-referendum.html). A letter advocating this course of action was published in The National on  24.7.18. 

A ratification referendum could unite those in RIC who supported a Remain vote, and those who supported a Leave vote. The crisis over Brexit has brought about a new situation where Lexiters and Left Remainers have different views of the way to move forward.  RIC has continued to organise discussions,  where both sides could put their case. Cat Boyd  put the case for a new Lexit campaign in her letter to The National on 18.11.18, to which Allan wrote a reply 0n 27.11.18.

(http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.com/2018/12/where-now-for-brexit.html)

But in his new letter published in The National on Sunday on 17.2.19, Allan Armstrong argues that the time for this has now passed. He advocates a different course of action needed to meet the current political situation. Allan’s new letter to the National on Sunday is also written from the perspective of a critical Remainer.

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And ALL includes EU residents and 16-18 year olds denied the vote last time

LETTER TO THE NATIONAL ON SUNDAY, 17.2.19

In all the bourach surrounding Brexit at Westminster, no particular alternative commanding majority support has yet come forward. Last year The National published a letter I had written suggesting that Holyrood organise a ratification referendum over Mays’s proposed Brexit deal (24.7.18). The Scottish people have already voted decisively to reject Brexit, so there is no need to re-run the original 2016 Leave/Remain referendum. One of the most important things about a Holyrood organised referendum is that it could have included all those EU residents and 16-18 year olds who voted in IndyRef1. An additional benefit of a Holyrood run a ratification referendum is that it would have given focus to the Scottish independence campaign at a time when May had put the shutters up on any IndyRef2.

Given the Tories’ continued resort to all the most anti-democratic powers given to the government under the Crown-in-Westminster set-up, it is unlikely that May would then have conceded some separate Scottish deal. Separate deals are only made for those who want to reinforce all the most reactionary aspects of the Union, like the DUP in Northern Ireland. However, it would have forced the smug Scottish Tories to defend their constant Brexit U-turns. But more importantly, by organising a referendum that included those excluded in 2016, this would have shone a spotlight on the profoundly anti-democratic way by which the Right’s Brexit vote victory was achieved. And given that the Cameron government was responsible for agreeing the franchise criteria in both the IndyRef1 and the EU membership referenda, it would also have shown up the Tories’ hypocrisy.

The time has now run out for any ratification referendum in Scotland, and the possibility of supporting the so-called Peoples Vote has attracted SNP MP’s support. To allow a rerun of the original EU referendum is to invite trouble. The people most affected by any Brexit are EU residents and 16-18 year olds. Their voice needs to be heard, as May and Corbyn manouevre to introduce a new gastarbeiter system of labour control in the new Immigration Bill. We have had to fight a series of defensive battles to stop the Home Office deporting people from Scotland. Our most recent success, supported by SNP MPs, has been the case of Iranian born Rezvan Habibimarand and Mozaffar Saberi.

However, instead of mounting a series of rearguard actions to defend people the UK state deems not to be British subjects, we need to start by including EU residents (and 16-18 year olds) as part of our people. Therefore, if a People’s Vote proposal is placed before Westminster,  it should only be backed by SNP MPs, following an amendment restoring the franchise arrangements made for IndyRef1.

 

Allan Armstrong, 15.2.19

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and for an earlier response written immediately after the Brexit vote see:-

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

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Feb 19 2019

FROM BLATCHERISM TO MAYBYNISM

Below is a synopsis of Allan Armstrong’s new pamphlet  The Continuing Shift to the Right in the Transition from Neo-Liberalism to Right Populism

(https://allanarmstrong831930095.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/right-populism.pdf)

This is followed by the last two chapters (relettered) which deal with the impact of Right Populism  since the Brexit vote,

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THE CONTINUING SHIFT TO THE RIGHT
IN THE TRANSITION FROM
NEO-LIBERALISM TO RIGHT POPULISM

 

Allan Armstrong presents a case that the world is leaving the period of Neo-liberal domination and entering a period of Right  populist domination. This is analogous to the earlier move from post-Second World War Social Democratic domination, which ended in 1979/80. He emphasises the role of the 2008 Crash in dividing the UK and US ruling classes. This had led to the rapid growth of Right Populist politics in these and other states. The Right’s winning of the Brexit vote and then the election of Trump (‘Brexit, plus, plus, plus’) has performed a similar role in the transition from Neo-liberalist domination to Right Populist domination that the election of Thatcher and Reagan had played in the earlier transition. Continue reading “FROM BLATCHERISM TO MAYBYNISM”

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