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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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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Mar 24 2016

DEBATE ON THE EU REFERENDUM

The RCN is in the process of conducting a debate over the EU referendum on June 23rd. Where differences of opinion occur, we like to bring other socialists’ attention to these, so they can make their own minds up. Eric Chester (RCN and IWW) and Allan Armstrong (RCN and RISE) offer two different perspectives. Eric argues that we should leave. Allan argues that we should remain.

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1. LEAVING THE EU: A SOCIALIST PERSPECTIVE – Eric Chester

The referendum to determine whether the United Kingdom will leave the European Union is playing out in terms very similar to that of the Scottish independence referendum. In both cases, the establishment, and this includes the trade union bureaucracy, has lanched a campaign of fear designed to cajole voters into accepting the status quo. Underlying this campaign is a crude statement of capitalist power, that is should the majority vote to leave corporations will curtail investment and the economy will collapse. Similar threats and tabloid hysteria succeeded in sinking the independence referendum. It remains to be seen if the same blatant threats will succeed in swinging a ‘yes’ vote on the EU referendum.
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Mar 02 2016

THE UK STATE AND BRITISHNESS

 

This article, written by Allan Armstrong (RCN) in 2015, has now been updated to include a new section 3 on Scotland. It has been moved from its earlier site.

Section A –  The UK State and Britishness

Section B –  From the Irish-British and ‘Ulster’-British ‘Insider’ to the Irish ‘Racialised’ and ‘Ethno-Religious Outsider’ to the new ‘National Outsider’

Section C – Britishness, the UK State, Unionism, Scotland and the ‘National Outsider’ 

 

A. THE UK STATE AND BRITISHNESS

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Introduction

The purpose of this article is to examine the concept of the national outsider in relation to Britishness, for the people of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This has been done through the further development of the concept of the outsider used in Satnam Virdee’s significant book Racism, Class and the Racialised Outsider [1]. Here he outlines the creation of the racialised outsider [2]. Mary Davis’ earlier, but also significant, Comrade or Brother? A History of the British Labour Movement (3),  wrote, in effect, about the gendered outsider, without using the term.

The first part of this article will look at the historically changing position of racialised and gendered outsiders in the UK before the second and third parts address the changing position of the national outsider. Here it will be shown how the post-war British Labour government provided widely accepted ‘insider’ Britishness status for those who held hybrid Scottish and Welsh and ‘Ulster’ British identities. This though excluded the Catholic Irish living in Northern Ireland, giving a continued basis for an Irish nationalist politics based on the Irish national outsider. For a brief period in the 1960s the development of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement raised the possibility of widening the sectarian nationality-based ‘Ulster’-Britishness to create a new more inclusive Northern Ireland-Britishness, However,  an alliance of the Ulster Unionism, Loyalism and the UK state  thwarted this, leading to the re-emergence of a reinvigorated Irish republicanism, which drew support from those still treated as national outsiders by the UK state.

Furthermore, in the context of a  continued imperial decline of the UK, the 1960s saw the existing Scottish-British and Welsh-British identities becoming more effectively challenged. This led to a prolonged attempt by the liberal wing of the British ruling class to try to democratise these identities within a political framework of Devolution. The failure of the Sunningdale Agreement in the face of reactionary unionism, and the 1979 Scottish and Welsh Devolution Bills through conservative unionist opposition, followed later by the lukewarm liberal unionist nature of the 1997 ‘Devolution-all-round’ settlement, have contributed to the emergence of significant numbers of Scottish and Welsh national outsiders in relation to the UK state, whilst still not fully integrating the previous Irish national outsiders. Today, the apparent inability of the UK state, with its strong conservative unionist, and growing reactionary unionist forces, to sustain a more widely supported political settlement has led considerably greater numbers to reject any notion of ‘Britishness’, particularly in Scotland.

 

1) The notion of ‘outsider’ and ‘toleration’ in relation to the role of the UK state in creating and maintaining Britishness

In some ways the position of black people in the UK from the late eighteenth century, addressed in Virdee’s book, represents an updated version of the toleration that appeared in the early days of capitalist development. This toleration was extended both to religious and ethnic minorities who performed a significant economic role within certain states. Such toleration was found in some city-states, e.g. Venice [4]and then in some mercantile capitalist states, e.g. the Netherlands, England, then the UK. These states produced regulations and developed practices that altered the status of those they tolerated, either for better or worse.
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Mar 25 2015

DEFINING REPUBLICANISM

John Tummon (Republican Socialist Alliance) responds to Murdo Ritchie’s (RCN) Promoting Republicanism (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2015/02/24/promoting-republicanism/)

Murdo Ritchie’s ‘Promoting Republicanism’ is a very important contribution to something we Republican Socialists need to keep working on until we have a theoretically rigorous and internally-tested critique of the poverty of any socialist analysis that fails to incorporate a full understanding of democracy and republicanism; only when this is in place can we think about breaking through to a position of genuine influence on the Left, let alone wider society outside of Scotland.

I see Murdo’s ‘Promoting Republicanism’ as a key stage in that development – and a very welcome one at that – and my comments, including my attempted development of aspects of what Murdo has written, are put forward in that spirit. What I increasingly find is that the most interesting left thinking in Britain comes from Republican Socialists, which was born out by the impressive quality of discussion at the recent RSA AGM in London; much of what passes as debate within the rest of the British (certainly the English) Left is stale repetition and, within Left Unity, the recycling of stale certainties from past eras in the name of ‘doing politics differently’. Unless we think politics differently, a failed practice will recur.

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Sep 03 2014

UP TO AND BEYOND THE SEPTEMBER 18th INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM – A socialist republican perspective

Allan Armstrong (RCN) has written an account of the Scottish independence campaign since the SNP launched its official ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign in 2012 up until the last two weeks before the September 18th referendum. This is based on several contributions Allan has already made on this blog. It is also a contemporary update of his historical piece, The Making and the Breaking of the UK State (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2012/01/11/internationalism-from-below-2/). This article also looks at the possibilities beyond September 18th.

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UP TO AND BEYOND THE SEPTEMBER 18th INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM – A socialist republican response

 

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a)                   The Scottish independence referendum – not an exercise by the UK of the right of self-determination

b)                   The SNP leadership’s strategy

c)                   Cameron’s strategy pushes Labour into the frontline of the defence of the Union in Scotland, whilst he controls things at a UK level

d)                   Attempts to widen the political base of support for the Union

e)                   The new challenge to social liberalism and the ‘New Unionist’ settlement from UKIP, the Tory Right, the Ulster Unionists and Loyalists

f)                    Enter the unexpected – a new movement from below

g)                   The lack of class confidence underpins both official campaigns and the inherited weaknesses of the Left affect RIC too

h)                  After September 18th

 

a)         The Scottish independence referendum – not an exercise by the UK of the right of self-determination

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Jun 26 2014

MAKING PLANS FOR NIGEL

Allan Armstrong (RCN) examines the situation Socialists face across these islands in the light of the recent European election and the ongoing Scottish independence referendum campaign. 

 

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A SOCIALIST REPUBLICAN ANALYSIS OF THE STATE OF THE UK AND ‘NEW UNIONISM’ IN THE LIGHT

OF THE RISE OF UKIP AND THE FORTHCOMING SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM

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CONTENTS

 

Introduction

 

1.         How the British ruling class sees their strategy for retaining control over these islands

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Jun 10 2014

2 NEW PIECES ON UKRAINE

The RCN co-sponsored a tour by Zakhar Popyvych of the Left Opposition in Kyiv to Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow from May 16th-18th (see http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2014/05/13/ukraine-caught-between-east-and-west/).  Patricia Kirk (RCN) videoed Zakhar’s talk in Glasgow, whilst John Lanigan (RCN) took a number of photographs. Two of these photographs and the video link are provided below.

This is followed by an interview with Vitaly Dudin, also of the Left Opposition in Kyiv on 24.5.14. Vitaly is a pro-bono lawyer for the independent trade union, Zakhyst Pratsi (Defense of Labour).

 

1. ZAHAR POPYVYCH SPEAKS IN GLASGOW

 

 

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Zakhar Popyvych (right) with chair, Christine Bird (centre) and notetaker Campbell MacGregor (left)

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Zakhar with RCN members and supporters after Glasgow meeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For the video of Zakhar’s talk see:-

http://youtu.be/WnKbgMp8HWc

 

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2. TO BUILD THE HOME CALLED SOLIDARITY IN UKRAINE – An interview with Vitaly Dudin

Vitaly Dudin

Vitaly Dudin

 

Q. How do you characterise the politics towards Ukraine of the Russian Federation on the one hand and of the USA and the European Union on the other, if indeed you consider the latter to be a united bloc?

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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

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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 12 2014

THE SNP AND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE

Eric Chester (RCN) outlines some of the problems that the SNP government’s White Paper Independence-Lite proposals would pose for genuine Scottish self-determination.

Matin Carney, Governor of the Bank of England outlines Scotland's future financial and fiscal subjection under  sterling

Matin Carney, Governor of the Bank of England outlines Scotland’s future financial and fiscal subjection under sterling

As the referendum campaign unfolds, it becomes increasingly obvious that Alex Salmond and the SNP have no interest in a truly independent Scotland. Instead, a ‘yes’ vote is a vote to authorize Salmond to engage in a series of confidential negotiations that will strip an allegedly ‘independent’ Scotland of much of its powers, while binding it as a subordinate entity to the UK, the United States and the European Union. This underlying reality has become even clearer after the recent debates concerning the sterling zone and the Bank of England.

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