May 11 2015


Jim Slaven of the James Connolly Society in None of the Above calls upon socialists and republicans to have a closer look at the nature and record of the SNP. This was first posted at:-

Murdo Ritchie (RCN ) in his Abandon the Mind-forg’d Manacles offers an alternative analysis of the rise of the SNP.




None of the above? This is the question I’ve been asking myself for the last few weeks. Or perhaps more accurately for the last few years. Having never been a member of a political party, I’m what pollsters call a floating voter. Granted, as someone who has been a political activist for nearly 30 years, I might not be the stereotypical floating voter but nonetheless I have no tribal loyalty to any political party.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jan 21 2015




Photo of RCN banner – Patricia Kirk & John Lannigan


A) The emergence and clash of Left British unionism and Left Scottish nationalism

B) The politics of the Scottish independence referendum campaign

C) How the Left responded to the demand for greater national self-determination in Scotland

D) Carrying over lessons learned from the SSP experience

           i)   the need for political platforms

           ii)  the need for a revolutionary pole of attraction

           iii) the need for political balance sheets to avoid repeating earlier mistakes

E) Promoting socialist republicanism and ‘internationalism from below’

           i) The political legacy of the Republican Socialist Conventions and the Global Commune events

           ii) Debating with other socialists during the Scottish independence referendum campaign

           iii) promoting socialist republicanism and ‘internationalism from below’ in RIC

           iv) the debate over secularism

           v) the debate over Ireland

F) Debates and differences within the RCN

          i) in the lead up and during the referendum campaign

          ii) since the September 18th referendum

          iii) the future for RIC, the all-islands Republican Socialist Alliance and the Scottish Left Project






Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nov 25 2014

Emancipation & Liberation, Issue 22, 2013


We are posting a new link to an electronic version of the special issue of Emancipation & Liberation, issue no 22, the RCN produced for the second Radical Independence Campaign conference, held in the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow on November 23rd, 2013.

This will provide some basis for assessing the changes, which have occurred in the political situation in Scotland over the last year, and how RIC has met the new challenges.

In addition there is a link to the RCN initiated, Edinburgh RIC sponsored session at this conference, After the UK: the future of 4 nations’:-

There is also a link to the electronic version of the special issue of Emancipation & Liberation, issue no 21, the RCN produced for the first Radical Independence Conference at:-

Our political assessment of this conference held can be found at:-

Since the last conference, RIC has also had a number of National Forums. The special Emancipation & Liberation bulletins, the RCN has produced for these can be found at:-

 October, 2014 

August, 2014

May, 2014

March, 2014

The RCN will be producing another special issue of Emancipation & Liberation for this year’s conference. Get your copy at the second Radical Independence Conference being held in the Clydeside Auditorium in Glasgow on November 22nd.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aug 14 2014


Jim Slaven of the James Connolly Society wrote the following article for the Irish-based 1916 Societies. Here Jim examines the implications of the Scottish referendum for Ireland.



As Scotland enters the final three months of the independence referendum campaign it remains too close to call. The No campaign have been consistently ahead throughout but the gap has been steadily narrowing. It seems certain that barring some unforeseen catastrophe befalling one of the campaigns the referendum will go right to the wire. While constitutional nationalists in Ireland, and their supporters in Scotland, have insisted on sitting on the fence on the future of the UK state the 1916 Societies have been clear about our commitment to campaigning for a Yes vote. We will continue to view the constitutional debate in Scotland as an opportunity to offer a republican analysis of the UK state and to link Scotland’s referendum with the campaign for an all Ireland constitutional referendum.

Continue reading “THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nov 24 2013

Why we don’t wear a poppy

Category: Issue 22RCN @ 9:06 pm

Jim Slaven of the James Connolly Society explains why socialists and antimilitarists do not wear red poppies on November 11th, especially as the British ruling class is getting ready to launch its centenary of the First World War. This celebration of the UK and British Empire is part of their campaign against Scottish self-determination.

I won’t be wearing a poppy this year. Of course this revelation is some considerable way short of a shock. However as we are entering that time of year it is worth being clear about why we do not wear a poppy. Republicans do not support the British military and despite all the myth-making wearing a poppy is all about supporting the British military. It’s not about World War One and it’s not about remembering the dead. It is all about supporting the UK state’s war machine. Despite the near compulsion which accompanies poppy wearing in public life there are actually many very good reasons not to wear one. But after recent events in Scotland we also have another reason.

The decision of Police Scotland, the Procurator Fiscal and the military hierarchy to do nothing over the racist and sectarian hate-fest at the Ibrox ‘Armed Forces Day’ has convinced even more people that there is something seriously wrong with this country. Through social media the shocking scenes of hundreds of state forces joining in with thousands of football fans in singing sectarian and racist songs was shared throughout the world. Despite this the country’s politicians remain silent and no action has been taken. We are being encouraged to move along quietly.

Continue reading “Why we don’t wear a poppy”

Tags: , , ,

Nov 22 2013



E&L22 cover0001

Our Emancipation & Liberation Radical Independence Conference Special will be available at the conference on Saturday, November 23rd.





Editorial (also posted below)

Scottish Self-Determination: For a Scottish Wannabe Ruling Class or for Scotland’s People? – RCN

Why is Venezuela relevant to Scotland’s Radical Independence Movement? – Ewan Robertson

Women and Independence – Alice Bowman

Why we won’t wear a poppy – Jim Slaven

The Scottish Republic and the Commonwealth of England – Steve Freeman

Republican Socialist Platform

The Republican Communist Network (Scotland) – What We Stand For – From Theory to Practice

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) a commemoration – Mary McGregor

Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey, a film review – Zofia Walczak

Freedom Come All Ye, Hamish Henderson


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nov 12 2013


Jim Slaven of the James Connolly Society has written the following article on the 100th anniversary of The Dublin Lock-Out. The leadership of the Irish Transport & General Workers Union provided by Jim Larkin and James Connolly in the face of Dublin boss, William Murphy Murphy, stands in marked contrast to that of Len McCluskey of UNITE in the face of the threats at Grangemouth by INEOS boss, Jim Ratcliffe, one century later. 



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

May 22 2013


In the following two articles, Jim Slaven of the James Connolly Society shows that SNP government’s Offensive Behaviour Act represents the latest attempt to create a ‘sectarian’ smokescreen to avoid tacking anti-Irish racism in Scotland, whilst the Labour Party’s ‘opposition’ is nothing but the rankest opportunism from a party that has long upheld the UK state’s divisive role in Ireland.

Celtic fans in Glasgow protest against the Offensive Behaviour Act

Celtic fans in Glasgow protest against the Offensive Behaviour Act

As another football season draws to a close it is fair to say this one will not be remembered for much of the action on the pitch. While off the field the increasingly shambolic nature of the administration of the national game continues to infuriate and amuse in about equal measure. However as we ponder the 2012-2103 SPL season one thing does stand out as requiring further consideration, namely the way in which football fans are policed in Scotland. This issue has been brought into sharp focus with the consistent and ongoing harassment of the Green Brigade and the excellent job the Fans Against Criminalisation group has done to highlight much that is wrong with the treatment of supporters at the hands or the police and the clubs.


Tags: , , , , ,

Nov 11 2012

Ireland and the broader consequences of the 2014 Scottish Referendum

Jim Slaven of the James Connolly Society highlights some of the publicly unacknowledged features of the 2014 referendum, how they fit into the British ruling class strategy to maintain its rule over these islands, and a new challenge to this in Ireland.

The deal between Alex Salmond and David Cameron on the arrangements for the 2014 constitutional referendum has been widely welcomed. Most commentators have focussed on process issues such as timing, number of questions or votes for sixteen and seventeen year olds but there was also a substantial political battle being waged in the run up to what the SNP seem determined to call the Edinburgh Agreement. This political battle saw the UK state attempt to draw very narrow terms of reference for the debate around constitutional change and independence. Since the SNP achieved a majority at Holyrood the UK state has concentrated on two key strategic areas, one specifically about the debate in Scotland and one with broader UK wide implications.
Continue reading “Ireland and the broader consequences of the 2014 Scottish Referendum”


Nov 14 2009

James Connolly – ‘An unrepentant revolutionist’

Category: Emancipation & Liberation,Issue 18RCN @ 8:54 pm

This article, written by Jim Slaven, is taken from the James Connolly Foundation website.

James Connolly was born in Edinburgh in 1868. He led a truly remarkable life. Before transatlantic flights, telephones or the internet Connolly did not just join the fledgling socialist movement he instigated much of it. He was responsible for the formation of political parties, trade unions, workers armies and newspapers in Scotland, Ireland and the United States. He was a theoretician, military commander, propagandist, playwright, politician, songwriter as well as father, husband, cobbler, labourer and street cleaner.

Ground breaking initiatives

Indeed it is the scope and sheer ambition of Connolly’s writings, interests and activities that allow his significance to be distorted through cherry picking individual grapes from the vineyard of his life. For that reason I’ll resist the temptation to quote him at length and instead appeal to readers to view his life and work in totality. James Connolly was by his own description ‘an unrepentant revolutionist’. He judged every event by its potential to advance the cause of the economic reorganisation of society. This led him to take groundbreaking initiatives and adopt intellectual positions which often jarred with other socialists. He cared not a jot. Believing the role of revolutionary was to lead not follow.

He was unwavering in his support for women’s rights at a time when that was far from popular, even among socialists. Arguing feminists and socialists were ‘different regiments in the one great army of progress’. On religion, where his position is complex and often misunderstood, he rejected the orthodox Marxist view instead embracing a position closer to Feuerbach. While criticising (with some venom) church hierarchies he attempted to find progressive common ground with their congregations.

The great lesson of Connolly’s political philosophy is that the struggles for socialism and national liberation were not antagonistic but complimentary. He rejected the idea that a nation could be free while workers were enslaved or that workers could be free while their nation was enslaved. Furthermore he warned nationalists of the scourge of neo colonialism before the term had been coined. He argued that socialists should not just participate in the national liberation struggles but be in the vanguard. There are of course numerous examples of this phenomenon over the last century from Africa to Latin America.

Having declared during the Boer war that he ‘would welcome the humiliation of British arms in any conflict’ it is not surprising that at the outbreak of the 1914 war Connolly was one of few socialist leaders who opposed the war. Dismayed that other socialists did not oppose the imperialist war Connolly argued it was a great opportunity for revolutionaries in Ireland. This argument echoed Lenin’s call that the only ‘truly revolutionary’ position for workers was to ‘turn the imperialist war into a civil war’. For Connolly this opportunity was not to be passed up and he decided upon a course of action which would change Ireland forever.

James Connolly’s life will always be viewed through the prism of the 1916 Easter Rising. In a revolutionary action which challenged the Empire at its very core and inspired others from India to Egypt, Connolly’s role was crucial not just militarily but intellectually.His influence can be seen in the text of the 1916 proclamation which declares the ‘right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland’ and for a republic which ‘cherishes all of its children equally’. His execution by the British state has led to a distortion in analysis of his life. Nationalists focus on his position in the pantheon of Irish martyrs and socialists reject his involvement in the republican uprising as an aberration. Such partial interpretations have hindered a full appreciation of his contribution.

Permanent memorial

While it is right and proper that we should argue for Connolly to be recognised with a permanent memorial in the city of his birth, as he has been in Belfast, Dublin, New York and many other places. This should not be an argument only about bricks and mortar. The most fitting memorial to Connolly will be the end of the British state and the establishment of a socialist republic. The current constitutional and political juncture offer an opportunity to rescue Connolly from the political margins, recognising his life and work as an example which guides us towards the ‘reconquest’. As Scotland’s greatest poet, the Gael, Sorley MacLean said:

The great hero is still
sitting on the chair,
fighting the battle in the Post Office
and cleaning streets in Edinburgh

Tags: , ,

Next Page »