Apr 07 2017

THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND

Steve Freeman of the Republican Socialist Alliance and the Left Unity Party draws on the revolutionary democratic political tradition in England, linking the Levellers, the Chartists and the Suffragettes. He outlines its strengths compared with the social democratic and economist political tradition of Labour and most of the British Left sects. Steve argues that Socialists should be championing the revolutionary democratic tradition today.

THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND

“Westminster? It’s old, defunct, a waste of time. I hate the place” – Mhairi Black MP *

Westminster does not look or work any better from the inside or the outside. In May 1991 Tony Benn MP proposed fundamental reform. He introduced the Commonwealth of Britain Bill in the House of Commons, intended to make Britain a federal republic. The current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn MP seconded the Bill. The Bill’s first hurdle on the parliamentary road to a republic was to get permission from the Queen to submit it to the Commons. Then there has to be majorities in the Commons, Lords and then finally with the royal assent the Bill becomes law.
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Nov 25 2013

2nd RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CONFERENCE – ‘AFTER THE UK: THE FUTURE OF 4 NATIONS’

 

The RCN received the unanimous backing of  the Edinburgh branch of RIC to ask the  RIC National Steering Committee to organise a session at the second national RIC conference on November 23rd in Glasgow, entitled ‘The break-up of the UK – the case for ‘internationalism from below’’. This was then unanimously agreed by the Steering Committee, subject to availability of speakers and any modifications required by the overall conference programme. In the event, the session was renamed ‘After the UK: the future for 4 nations’.

The initial choice of speaker for Ireland was agreed to be Bernadette McAliskey, and for Wales, Leanne Wood, a republican and the president of Plaid Cymru. Leanne initially indicated her interest, but later had to give her apologies because the conference clashed with a Plaid Cymru event, which also meant that a substitute speaker could not be arranged. Steve Freeman of the Republican Socialist Alliance was also proposed as a speaker for England, and after the organisers’  consideration this was also agreed. The organisers were left to arrange a speaker for Scotland. In the meantime, Mary McGregor (RCN and Dundee RIC) was proposed to chair the session. Later the organisers came back and, in the interest of preserving gender balance, transferred Mary to speak on Scotland. Tony Kenny, a republican and former SNP member and council candidate was asked to chair the meeting instead.

Below we provide a video link which shows Bernadette’s contribution to this session. After this we provide both videos  and the full texts of Steve Freeman’s and Mary McGregor’s contributions (which was slightly curtailed because of time considerations).

This is followed by a reply to David Torrance’s report of the conference in The Herald.

Videos by Patricia Kirk and John Lanigan

 

Bernadette McAliskey, Mary McGregor, Steve Freeman and Allan Armstrong at the RIC conference

Bernadette McAliskey, Mary McGregor, Steve Freeman and Allan Armstrong at the RIC conference

 

 1. BERNADETTE McALISKEY’S CONTRIBUTION CAN BE SEEN AT:-

http://youtu.be/biwdlxRElI4

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Jul 26 2002

How republicans around Britain and Ireland are celebrating the jubilee

Category: Emancipation & Liberation,Issue 02RCN @ 7:13 pm

Socialist Alliance in England

It is the queen’s jubilee time and the Socialist Alliance in England supports all republican activities which seek to expose the lack of democracy at the heart of British society. The jubilee does not end on June 4. That is just the beginning of the monarchist jamboree up to the 50th anniversary of Elizabeth Windsor’s coronation, which is in 2003.

Socialist Alliance branches should discuss ways they can raise republican sentiment where they organise: in the localities, trade unions and in the campaigns they support. Rather than celebrate an unelected parasite on a throne for 50 years and the constitutional system she represents, the working class and socialists should celebrate the republican tradition of Britain. The Levellers and Diggers, Thomas Paine, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the Chartists, the Suffragettes, William Morris, Tom Mann, the formation of the Communist Party, the general strike of 1926 and even diverse characters from society from Oliver Cromwell to the Sex Pistols. We should take the opportunity offered us in the following weeks to make propaganda for a democratic republic, the abolition of the House of Lords, proportional representation and a democratic society.

For this to happen, the working class needs to take a lead on democratic questions. The Socialist Alliance has a role to play in this. Our activities against the jubilee celebrations should seek to raise republican sentiment among the working class and to organise republican and anti-monarchist events across the United Kingdom Socialist Alliance National Council resolution, February 2002. However the June extended Bank Holiday should not be the end of it. Socialist Alliance policy is to seek to establish an ongoing organised working-class campaign for a republic after the jubilee celebrations. On the basis of activities by republicans both in and outside the Socialist Alliance we should seek to build an ongoing campaign.

What you can do:

  • Hold republican social events on the June bank holiday weekend: picnics, Barbecues, street and estate parties. Get your friends, family & comrades together to celebrate republicanism.
  • Apply for funding for your republican activities from your local authority. You probably won’t get approval, but send a press release saying that legitimate activity relating to the jubilee year is being blocked by the council.
  • Demonstrate when the queen visits your area. To find out her tour dates go to: Golden Jubilee – now defunct
  • Hold a gig, invite local bands.
  • Hold a public meeting on republicanism, the monarchy and democracy.
  • Hold a Socialist Alliance members meeting on the question of the republican tradition.
  • Have a debate with monarchists.
  • Write letters to the national and local press. Don’t let the republican voice be silenced.
  • Raise the matter in your trade union.
  • Hold a public event/stunt at your local town hall against the monarchy. Invite the press.

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