Nov 07 2017

THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION AND THE FIRST ATTEMPT TO SET UP A POST-NATIONAL WORLD ORDER

This is the second article on this blog addressing the hundredth anniversary of the October Revolution (see http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2017/10/21/national-liberation-and-bolshevism-reconsidered-a-view-from-the-borderlands/). It suggests that a wider focus should be taken, situating this event in the 1916-21 International Revolutionary Wave. This means and looking carefully at other places, showing how Latvia, Finland and Ukraine contributed to this wave. It looks  how decisions taken by the Bolsheviks following the timeline of revolution in Russia sometimes had the effect of thwarting the timelines of revolution elsewhere. This had  negative consequences for the international revolution.

This contribution is taken from is taken from Volume 4, Internationalism form Below: Communists, Nation-States and Nationalism during the 1916-21 International Revolutionary Wave, by Allan Armstrong.

 

THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION AND THE FIRST ATTEMPT TO SET UP A POST-NATIONAL WORLD ORDER

 

 

 

A. DIFFERING TIMELINES OF REVOLUTION

 i) April 1916 to March 1921 or ‘October’ 1917 to August 1991?

History records that the key political date of the last century was October 25th, 1917. The consequences of the events, which happened on this day, determined a great deal of world politics for more than seventy years – up until the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. Elsewhere, in the Western imperial-dominated world October 25th was marked as November 8th. The last Russian Provisional Government of 1917 was overthrown on this date. Nevertheless, the date became universally characterised as the day the ‘October’ Revolution began. This name stuck despite the fact that the victors, the Bolsheviks, soon changed the Russian calendar from the Old Style (O.S.) used in Tsarist Russia to the New Style (N.S.) used in the rest of the Western world. History also places the location of the key events of this day in Petrograd. This city’s name too has been subject to change, earlier from St. Petersburg to Petrograd, then later to Leningrad, and today back to St. Petersburg. Continue reading “THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION AND THE FIRST ATTEMPT TO SET UP A POST-NATIONAL WORLD ORDER”

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Aug 29 2016

NEW RCN STATEMENT

 

Following our AGM held in Glasgow on May 29th, the statement below was agreed at the RCN aggregate held in Edinburgh on Sunday, August 28th.

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RCN banner showing Eleanor Marx, James Connolly, John Maclean and Mary Brooksbank

 

 

NEW RCN STATEMENT

At our AGM on 29th May 2016 on Glasgow there was unanimous acknowledgement that the RCN is no longer an interventionist political organisation, but should continue as a forum to encourage political debate amongst the Left. This means we will no longer affiliate to political organisations as the RCN, but individual members may continue to do so. We will still give donations to other organisations, which themselves encourage debate, e.g. the Republican Socialist Alliance, and those that are involved in important campaigns. Such donations would be agreed at RCN-called meetings. This status may change in future if a majority of RCN members agree that we should again intervene as RCN in a political situation.
Continue reading “NEW RCN STATEMENT”

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Apr 18 2016

EU AND ‘INTERNATIONALISM FROM BELOW’ – SCOTLAND REMAINS, ENGLAND ABSTAINS

The RCN, like most of the rest of the Left, is having a debate on the EU referendum. This is the second contribution by Steve Freeman of the Republican Socialist Alliance. It has been posted on the RSA blog (http://www.republicansocialists.org.uk). A modified version has also been posted on the bella caledonia blog (http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2016/04/13/scotland-remains-and-england-abstains/)

 

EU AND ‘INTERNATIONALISM FROM BELOW – SCOTLAND REMAINS AND ENGLAND ABSTAINS

 

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Introduction

The 12 March RSA meeting unanimously adopted the following:
Continue reading “EU AND ‘INTERNATIONALISM FROM BELOW’ – SCOTLAND REMAINS, ENGLAND ABSTAINS”

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May 01 2014

‘EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION’ RIC SPECIAL BULLETIN, March, 2014

The RCN produced its first Emancipation and Liberation RIC Special Bulletin for the National Forum in March. It included the following articles:

1. Let’s all end our abusive relationship with the UK state

2.The Republican Communist Network and the Radical Independence Campaign

3. A Republican perspective is important for Scotland’s future

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LET’S ALL END OUR ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UK STATE

Osborne, Alexander and Ball’s ‘Dambuster Strategy’ to roll back the ‘Yes’ vote has highlighted the reality of ‘Scottish self-determination’ under the UK state. In effect, this ‘partnership’ leaves the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland trapped in an abusive relationship. Cameron’s subsequent ‘love-bombing’ reveals the classic behaviour of an abuser – but still represents an ‘apology’ beyond the capabilities of Johann Lamont and Labour in Scotland. Unless, we accept our subordinate part in their ‘order of things’ and bow before with rule of the City of London, and, if necessary, are prepared to die for ‘Britain’, then our currently allotted ‘allowance’ under this relationship will be curtly terminated.

But the UK is not a marriage between just two partners, however unequal. The British ruling class’s Union is designed to maintain their abusive ‘ p o l y g a m o u s ’ relationship with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK, being an imperial, unionist and monarchist state, with an established religion, has a whole panoply of powers, both under the Crown and Westminster, with which to promote division between the peoples, and in particular, the working class, living on these islands.

To prevent one ‘partner’, Scotland, from breaking free from this abusive relationship, Tory, Lib-Dem and Labour politicians have fallen over themselves act as mouthpieces for the City and big business. This has highlighted just who is in control. The UK’s longstanding treatment of Ireland should already have provided one warning of the violence the British ruling class can resort to. But isolating one partner, by cynically currying favour with the others, has all been part of their manipulative method, as Scottish people are now finding out.

However, the power of the British ruling class is not unlimited. It depends on the degree of real working class unity that can be achieved – not just within Scotland, but together with our other abused partners in England, Wales and Ireland. More people can see that ‘Better Together’ is part of the shared Tory, Lib-Dem and Labour pro-austerity, pro-war alliance. This will continue whichever party wins the 2015 Westminster General Election.

People outwith Scotland, are beginning to understand that the September 18th referendum is not primarily a vote for a rather timid SNP government, but for constitutional change. This will have far-reaching effects for the continued existence of the UK, and hence for the state which allows the British ruling class to maintain its abusive domination over the working class throughout these islands. We can counter their top-down UK state and British unionist alliance, through our own ‘internationalism from below’ democratic alliance.

This is why the RCN has initiated the following motion passed by Edinburgh RIC, which will be debated at the National Forum on Match 29th in Perth:-

“RIC agrees to provide speakers for events organised by socialist and radical organisations in England, Wales and Ireland where the issue of support for Scottish independence is being discussed.

Therefore, RIC supports the proposal being made by the Republican Socialist Alliance platform to the Left Unity Party that it organises a conference in England around the issue of support for Scottish independence.”

Allan Armstrong (RCN)

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THE REPUBLICAN COMMUNIST NETWORK AND THE RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CAMPAIGN 

The Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) has mobilised a large number of Socialists, Left Greens, Left Nationalists and other Radical Democrats in Scotland. The opportunity to exercise Scottish self-determination is the issue that has brought us together, along with a concern that the SNP government is prepared to settle for something well short of genuine political self-determination.

The possibility of writing a new constitution, reflecting the social needs of the majority of people is a heady prospect. Meetings and street activities have been held all over Scotland. There has been an outpouring of writing, other cultural initiatives and contributions on the social media. Such thinking goes well beyond the usual narrow concerns. It has led to a wide-ranging discussion over exactly what sort of Scotland we want to see, and what sort of wider world we want to live in. Continue reading “‘EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION’ RIC SPECIAL BULLETIN, March, 2014”

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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

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

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Nov 24 2013

Republican Socialist Platform

Category: Issue 22RCN @ 9:19 pm

On November 30th a wide range of socialists and others will be coming together in London to found a Left Unity Party. None of the early proposed platforms, including that of the main organisers, has anything to say about the real nature of the UK state or the current political situation in Scotland. Now, however, some members of the Republican Socialist Alliance are putting forward an alternative platform which addresses these issues.

1. The global financial and economic crisis since 2008 has been transformed by governments bailing out the banks while imposing austerity policies on the poor. This has resulted in a massive redistribution of income and wealth from working people to the rich and powerful.

Continue reading “Republican Socialist Platform”

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Nov 24 2013

The Scottish Republic and the Commonwealth of England

Category: Issue 22RCN @ 9:13 pm

The RCN has been campaigning for socialists in Scotland to organise on the basis of ‘internationalism from below’ since we were founded. We persuaded the Scottish Socialist Party to organise a successful Republican Socialist Convention in Edinburgh, and have participated in two events in England. Steve Freeman organised these two meetings in London, and is a speaker in today’s RIC workshop on ‘The Break-up of the UK’. Here is the outline of his contribution.

Unionism, Nationalism and Republicanism – a Three Cornered Fight

In January 1649 the Commonwealth of England was established. In March parliament abolished the monarchy and the House of Lords, as ‘useless’ and ‘dangerous’. But the Commonwealth did not become a democratic and social republic. It was strangled at birth.

The origins of the Commonwealth can be traced back to 1638 and the rebellion of the Covenanters in Scotland. What began in Scotland as the ‘Bishops War’ soon spread to England. In 1644 a united front of Covenanters and Cromwell’s holy squadrons, the Ironsides, defeated the Royalists at the battle of Marston Moor near York. It proved to be the turning point in the revolution. In 1645 the New Model Army was established. By 1648 it had become England’s republican army which took power in 1649 as the Commonwealth. Shortly afterwards, Cromwell’s counter-revolution gathered pace. The Levellers and the Diggers were suppressed.

Continue reading “The Scottish Republic and the Commonwealth of England”

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Aug 11 2013

REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST ALLIANCE

Below is a report of the meeting of the Republican Socialist Alliance held in London on 6th July,  written by Steve Freeman. This includes a summary of the address given by Allan Armstrong (RCN) on the political implications of the unionist nature of the UK state. It is followed by the unedited version of this talk.

1. REPORT OF THE REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST ALLIANCE MEETING IN LONDON, 6.7.13

On 6 July the RSA organised its first day school on the theme of the national question in the UK with the main emphasis on England and Scotland and how the left could take up constitutional issues. Steve Freeman spoke about reinventing English identity. Allan Armstrong spoke about current developments in Scotland with the referendum next year. Corrina Lotz introduced a session on the aims of the ‘Agreement of the People’ campaign.

The first session was called “Remaking the English working class” as a reference to EP Thompson’s history of English working class. The left must “grasp the nettle” of the national question in England. England and Scotland are bound together in a political and constitutional union. The Scottish question (will Scotland become an independent state?) will come to a head in the 2014 referendum. The English question is the opposite side of the coin.
Continue reading “REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST ALLIANCE”

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Apr 16 2013

The Bedroom Tax in Northern Ireland

This article on the ‘Bedroom Tax’ in Northern Ireland comes from eirigi. Several parallels (some erroneous and some useful) have been drawn between the ‘Bedroom Tax’ and the Poll Tax. However, even Thatcher’s Tory government never tried to introduce the Poll Tax into Northern Ireland in the context of the Republican struggle there. Today, the UK government feels more confident. This only re-emphasises a most important feature of the successful Anti-Poll Tax campaign – the necessity to organise on an ‘internationalism from below’ basis.  

BEDROOM TAX A PUNITIVE ATTACK ON THE POOR

Fond memories of Thatcher on the Falls Road - where at least there was no Poll Tax!

Fond memories of Thatcher on the Falls Road – where at least there was no Poll Tax!

Next month, as Stormont starts to debate the Welfare Reform Bill, thousands of families in Housing Executive homes or renting from housing associations in the Six Counties face the bleak prospect of losing a substantial portion of their housing benefit if their home is deemed to be “under-occupied”, with only one bedroom allowed for each couple or individual over 16.

More than 32,000 households stand to be affected by this ‘bedroom tax’. Contrary to the impression being created by proponents of this scheme, the vast majority of the homes affected are “under-occupied” by just one bedroom.

The Six Counties already faces a growing housing crisis with almost 35,000 applicants on the social housing waiting list.

Continue reading “The Bedroom Tax in Northern Ireland”

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Oct 08 2012

SCOTTISH SELF-DETERMINATION AND THE ‘ACTUALLY EXISTING’ LABOUR MOVEMENT

A response to the Red Paper Collective’s

Power for Scotland’s People – A labour movement view

The ‘Independent Scotland Debate’ was organised by the Edinburgh Peoples Festival on September 9th. 86 people attended this well-conducted event in the Out of the Blue Centre in Leith. The speaker supporting independence was Kevin Williamson of bella caledonia, who argued from a Left nationalist perspective. The speaker opposing independence was West Lothian Labour MSP, Neil Findlay. Neil is also a member of the Red Paper Collective [1] (RPC), which includes British Left unionists in the Scottish Labour Party and the Communist Party of Britain [2]. Supporters of the RPC handed out their pamphlet, Power for Scotland’s People – A labour movement view [3], to elaborate on the points Neil made in the debate.

This website has already posted critiques of Left nationalist approaches to the SNP government’s 2014 referendum [4]. This posting is a critique of the British Left unionist approach outlined in the RPC’s pamphlet [5].

Continue reading “SCOTTISH SELF-DETERMINATION AND THE ‘ACTUALLY EXISTING’ LABOUR MOVEMENT”

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