Dec 14 2014

THE WOBBLIES IN THEIR HEYDAY

Murdo Ritchie reviews a new book by Eric Chester, The Wobblies in their Heyday. The Rise and Destruction of the Industrial Workers of the World During the World War One Era.

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AN OPEN UNION IN A POLITICAL WORLD

Using documents that have been concealed or hidden in plain sight, Eric Chester reveals the repression used to destroy the militant union organisers of the Industrial Workers of the World or Wobblies. Just as the USA entered World War One, powerful business groups, the police, private detective agencies organised armed vigilantes; State and Federal authorities including the President and the courts ignored legal and constitutional laws to crush this militant union.

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Dec 04 2014

EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION RIC 2014 conference special magazine

We are posting the two lead articles from Emancipation & Liberation, issue no. 23, produced for the 3000 strong Radical Independence Campaign conference held in Glasgow, in the Clydeside Auditorium on Saturday, November 22nd. The first is by Murdo Ritchie (RCN), the second by Allan Armstrong (RCN).

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WHEN DECADES HAPPEN – AFTER THE REFERENDUM

 

“There are decades in which nothing happens and there are weeks in which decades happen.” Lenin

When 1,517,989 voters (44.7%) declared they were prepared to abandon their primary, legal national identity to build a better Scotland, it was clear that Scottish national independence was coming. The defeated felt triumphant; the victorious worried.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement on the morning of the ballot declaration was filled with wishful thinking, “the debate has settled for a generation or as Alex Salmond has said, perhaps for a lifetime. So there can be no disputes, no re-runs –we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people.” The media may have declared the result decisive but the numbers and mood told otherwise.

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Nov 30 2014

ENGLAND SAYS “YES!”

Murdo Ritchie (RCN) reviews the pamphlet produced by Republican Socialist Alliance, The Crown versus the People. England’s Case for Voting ‘Yes’. 

The Scottish referendum opened space for republican ideas to be discussed not just in Scotland but throughout the rest of the United Kingdom. The Scottish Republican Yes Tendency in the Left Unity party was launched to promote a “Yes” vote in the party. This pamphlet is a valuable part of its case. It will succeed because the enormous consequences for England of the struggle for Scottish national independence are becoming better appreciated after the vote. It is an ongoing process.

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Sep 24 2014

LETTER TO THE MOMENTARILY DISHEARTENED

Murdo Ritchie (RCN) gives his take on the situation we face immediately after the referendum. This was first posted on Murdo’s blog at http://murdoritchie.blog.co.uk/2014/09/23/letter-to-the-momentarily-disheartened-19453755/

 

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It IS a wonderful campaign. David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown are deluding themselves if they really believe the Prime Minister’s press statement that, “now the debate has been settled for a generation or as Alex Salmond has said for a lifetime.”

I’ve met a number of people from the Yes campaign who appear depressed, but I doubt this will last. I never believed it would come near fifty per cent, so I’ve never been disappointed. Indeed I’m amazed that forty-five per cent of a high turnout were prepared to abandon their primary legal national identity to create a fairer Scotland. That’s a big number; that’s a big 1.6 million strong army.

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Sep 21 2014

Weeks when decades happen

Category: Emancipation & Liberation,Issue 23RCN @ 5:52 pm

Murdo Ritchie analyses the result of the independence referendum and
what it means for Scotland the rest of the UK state.

“There are decades in which nothing happens and there are weeks in which decades happen.” Lenin

When 1,517,989 voters (44.7%) declared they were prepared to abandon their primary, legal national identity to build a better Scotland, it was clear that Scottish national independence was coming. The defeated felt triumphant; the victorious worried.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement on the morning of the ballot declaration was filled with wishful thinking, “the debate has settled for a generation or as Alex Salmond has said, perhaps for a lifetime. So there can be no disputes, no reruns –we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people.” The media may have declared the result decisive but the numbers and mood told otherwise.

Though the quantity of the votes may have been counted the quality of the two contesting groups needs to be measured.

From the moment of the Independence Referendum’s launch it was dismissed as irrelevant or a meaningless distraction. The Westminster elite and their Holyrood branch office considered the proposal of no consequence so the easily forgotten failed Scottish minister Wendy Alexander screamed “Bring it on!”

For most of the two years of the campaign, the polls only marginally altered. The No Campaign Better Together was mainly a media campaign that ran adverts, appeared on billboards and sent out mail drops. Unlike the Yes campaigners who were active for the two years and could be seen on the streets, held meetings and delivered their own
leaflets.

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Aug 09 2014

EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION Special Bulletin – The Centenary of the World War I Imperialist Slaughter

 

WORLD WAR I – THE CATASTROPHIC RESULT OF IMPERIALIST RIVALRIES

 

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 On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip, A Serbian nationalist, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire. This incident sparked World War I, that soon engulfed much of the world and led to the deaths of millions of soldiers, and millions of civilians.

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Mar 15 2014

ON HOW THE VESTIGIAL LEFT IS FAILING TO UNDERSTAND THE POLITICAL LIFE OF SCOTLAND TODAY

Murdo Ritchie (RCN) provides his response to the Red Paper Collective’s critique of the Scottish SNP government’s White Paper.

 

THE RED PAPER ON THE WHITE PAPER

or

HOW NOT TO UNDERSTAND CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE

Red Paper on Scotland, 2014

Red Paper on Scotland, 2014

 

As moves toward Scottish national independence happen, the “mainstream” camps have presented their visions, but on the fringes lots of different illusions reveal themselves.  Over the years, there have been some who have painted a picture that national independence would inevitably turn into the dictatorship of the proletariat or, at least, the very first steps towards it.  On the other side, some see only tartan Toryism and the destruction of all the labour movement has historically achieved across the United Kingdom.

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Feb 01 2014

ALEX SALMOND AND THE WRITTEN CONSTITUTION

Murdo Ritchie, a new member of the RCN, writes about the political significance of the issue of a written constitution raised the SNP government’s White Paper.

 

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon present the SNP government's 'White Paper' to a press conference

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon present the SNP government’s ‘White Paper’ to a press conference

 

Although the First Minister has abandoned the SNP’s commitments to referenda on a future independent Scotland’s membership of NATO and the European Union as well as continuing the current monarch as head-of-state, he has remained quite firm on the importance of a written constitution for a future Scotland.  Indeed he has emphasised this policy more strenuously than many others.  It may be the single most important policy proposal he has made.  It is central to a full and proper understanding of the importance of the White Paper (1).

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Mar 18 2013

SINGLE ENDS AND HOBBIT HOUSES

Murdo Ritchie places  the so-called ‘Bedroom Tax’ into the  wider economic and political context of housing provision today.

Inside a  Glasgow single end

Inside a Glasgow single end

When debating supporters of capitalism and capitalist markets I am told about the system’s greater efficiency in the use of natural resources. At this point, I ask my opponent if they have an indoor toilet. They smile at the bizarreness of the question. The answer is always yes. I then ask the obvious question, “Why are you not sitting on it?” Usually they consider me flippant or simply scoring a trivial debating point. But I always add that for decades houses in Scotland were built on the efficient use of natural resources with many houses sharing one toilet usually on the tenement landing. Economic efficiency was socially disgusting.

The single end was term for a one-room house that has largely ceased to exist. It is no longer as common as it once was. As a term, it described more than a kind of accommodation. It was a highly descriptive term of housing despair. The so-called bedroom tax is enthusiastically bringing its return. Some 94,000 Scots will overnight be plunged into rent arrears and forced to move. The single end is a sentence of punishment.

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Nov 13 2012

THE MYTH OF “REAL” INDEPENDENCE

Glasgow socialist blogger, Murdo Ritchie, comments further on the Independence Referendum.

THE MYTH OF “REAL” INDEPENDENCE

As the Independence Referendum moves on the issues get clearer and clearer. The main supporters of the “Yes” vote are attempting to assume all sorts of international treaty obligations and conditions that make the resultant independent Scotland seem more and more similar to life as it is already lived in Britain. On the other, side the “No” vote’s supporters are offering more new powers to the Scottish Parliament so that it remains in the Parliamentary Union with the rest of the United Kingdom. Both versions of the modified status quo appear to be converging.

It is hardly surprising that some people see the independence on offer from the trinity of Alex Salmond, the Scottish Government and the SNP as more and more of a sham.

At present, the level of debate is still along the lines of independence: for or against? But more are asking the important question, what sort of national independence? It is the opening of sufficient political space for this question to be asked that makes the process probably more important than the eventual electoral result.

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