Apr 07 2017

SOME OBSERVATIONS UPON ‘THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND’

Allan Armstrong makes some observations on The Commonwealth of England written by Steve Freeman (see http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2017/04/07/the-commonwealth-of-england/). He examines the likely role that federalism will play in IndyRef2, drawing on the historical precedents for its use in the UK and USSR.

 

SOME OBSERVATIONS UPON THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND

There is a great deal I agree with in Steve’s article. In a later contribution to this discussion I would like to develop Steve’s historic analysis, going back to the days of the Levellers, through the Chartists and on to the Suffragettes. However, in these observations, I will confine myself to the issue of federalism.

The political origins of the idea of British federalism go back to the first attempts to hold together the British Empire in North America, when faced by the challenge of American republicanism. It failed. The challenge of Irish republicanism and the War of Independence from 1919, led to a Westminster Speakers’ Conference. This recommended a federal solution for the UK. It too failed. Although the UK state did instead, after Loyalist pogroms and reactionary unionist Partition, come up with the earliest form of political Devolution in the UK – Stormont. No wonder, it was difficult for others later to win support for devolution in Scotland and Wales, when Stormont formed the precedent!
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Aug 03 2016

DAVID HOPPER AND THE DURHAM MINERS GALA

David Hopper died on July 16th. He was the General Secretary of the Durham Miners Association and last spoke on Saturday July 9th at the Durham Miners Gala. This was attended by 150,000 people. David Hopper was central to the revival of this major working class political and social event, after the defeat of the heroic miners struggle in 1985. Dave Douglass, an ex-miner from County Durham and a member of the IWW and NUM has written the first piece posted here about David Hopper. This is followed by David Hopper’s own last speech given at the Gala.

 

1. DAVEY HOPPER , 1944-2016

Davey Hopper addressing Durham Miners Gala

Davey Hopper addressing Durham Miners Gala

It is impossible to overstate the importance of the role played by the ‘two Davies’ – Davie Guy and Davey Hopper, respectively the late president and general secretary of the North-East area of the NUM and Durham Miners Association.
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Jul 27 2016

2 RESPONSES TO CHAKRABHATI REPORT

 

Julia Bard and Tony Greenstein have written their own responses  to the official Chakrabhati Report into Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Julia Bard is a freelance journalist, a member of the NC of the Jewish Socialists’ Group and the Editorial Committee of Jewish Socialist magazine. Tony Greenstein is a log standing Jewish anti-Zionist and currently suspended member of the Labour Party. Julia Bard’s article was first posted at http://www.chartist.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Chartist-281-spread.pdf and Tony Greenstein’s at http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1114/a-marred-report.

Shami Chakrabati and Jeremy Corbyn at the launch of the report

Shami Chakrabati and Jeremy Corbyn at the launch of the report

 

1. CYNICISM BEHIND ANTI-SEMITISM ROW

Julia Bard dissects the issues in the recent anti-semitism furore in the Labour Party and finds the issue is being instrumentalised for other political purposes.
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May 05 2016

WHAT’S BEHIND THE RIGHT’S ACCUSATIONS OF ‘ANTI-SEMITISM’

 

The British ruling class has been upset by a number of events beyond its control. The huge surge in those demanding Scottish independence and those who voted for Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party have opened up politics beyond of the safe Conservative/Lib-Dem/New Labour pro-imperial, pro-Israel and pro-neoliberal consensus. This is the context in which  the ‘antisemitism’ smears directed against a number of people either on the Left or from a Muslim background are being pushed by the Conservatives, Labour Right and various Zionist organisations. These are being used in an attempt to close down political opposition to austerity, privatisation, war in the Middle East and the continued repression of Palestinians. This is an issue of much wider concern than Labour Party members. We are posting four articles, one a letter to The National, written by Sarah Glynn of RISE, two from Tony Greenstein. and one from Moshe Machover,  both socialists, anti-Zionists and antiracists. Tony has a blog dedicated to these ideas (http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk) (also see http://freespeechonisrael.org.uk/). Moshe has recently spoken at the London Communist Forum and the Republican Socialist Alliance meeting in London.

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1. A LETTER FROM SARAH GLYNN TO THE NATIONAL

CONTRARY to the impression given in much of the media, many British Jews are extremely concerned at the on-going political manipulation of charges of anti-Semitism. This is a blatant and cynical attempt to tarnish Jeremy Corbyn and bring Labour back into the neo-liberal fold, and is part of an alarming growth in political exploitation of the “race card” more generally.
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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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Oct 28 2013

THE CASE FOR THE INDEPENDENT WORKERS UNION – OUR RIGHT TO ORGANISE

In the aftermath of the UNITE leadership’s capitulation at Grangemouth, a key issue socialists need to address is that of how to effectively organise workers. The RCN and the commune organised the 3rd Global Commune conference – ‘Trade Unions- Are They Fit For Purpose’ (see http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2011/02/11/report-of-the-third-global-commune-event/– in which a number of approaches were considered. These included rank and file organisation within existing unions (see Jerry Hick’s response to Grangemouth at http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2013/10/28/after-grangemouth-what-now-for-the-left-in-scotland/) and the possibility of organising independent unions. This article from the Industrial Workers of Great Britain provides a robust defence of this position in the light of attacks from Max Watson, UNISON  NEC member.

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Mar 20 2009

Hands Off The People of Iran: Campaign Update

Category: Emancipation & Liberation,Issue 17RCN @ 3:36 pm

Hands Off the People of Iran (Hopi) is an anti-war, anti-imperialist organisation which organises in solidarity with democratic, secular and socialist working-class forces in Iran. It believes that, while regime change is desirable in Iran (as it is in the western imperialist countries), this must come from the Iranian people and working class itself and not through any “intervention” by the United States and its allies. Hopi’s slogans are No to war; no to the theocratic regime. The SSP voted to support Hopi at its conference in October 2007.

Since then, the campaign has been growing and gaining strength. As well as establishing local groups around Britain and Ireland, it has also won the affiliation of two major trade unions; the Public and Commercial Services union, and the train drivers’ union ASLEF. It has also reapplied for affiliation to the Stop the War coalition, after its earlier bid for affiliation was rejected by the STW Conference in 2007 on the (dubious) grounds that it was “entirely hostile” to STW’s work.

Hopi has been holding meetings up and down the country concerning the threat of war against Iran; considering what the election of Barack Obama will mean for US policy in the region; discussing how the brutal Israeli onslaught against the people of Gaza will affect the politics of the region; publicising the struggles of Iranian workers and students for democracy; and, most recently, debating the history and legacy of the Iranian Revolution, 30 years on.

Hopi does not believe the threat of war against Iran has lessened with the election of the new US president; however, it recognises that imperialist aggression can take more than one form. For that reason, at the Hopi national conference held in London in December, it was agreed to launch a new campaign Smash the Sanctions. This campaign, launched on 16th March by John McDonnell MP, will aim to provide solidarity with the Iranian masses which suffer from sanctions imposed by the West, sanctions whose effect is to target and disempower the poor rather than the ruling class, and which are in effect a form of soft war. I encourage all Emancipation & Liberation readers to get involved in the Hopi campaign.

Further information can be found at the website: www.hopoi.org

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