Jun 08 2017

LEFT UNITY AND THE GENERAL ELECTION  

We are posting this position paper from Steve Freeman (Republican Socialist Alliance and Campaign for a European Socialist Republican Party) first posted on the Left Unity blog. 

SCOTLAND AND THE TORY BREXIT ELECTION

The general election is an opportunity for the working class in Scotland to build a stronger and more militant opposition to Tory Brexit and all anti-working class austerity policies whether from Tory or SNP governments. It is an opportunity to organise a stronger democratic movement against the Union, including preparing for a referendum on self determination, seeking closer unity with the anti-Unionist workers in England and more broadly with the European working class.

Left Unity will not stand candidates in the 2017 general election in Scotland. We will support any RISE or Scottish Socialist Party candidates whose policies are close to our own. Left Unity is clear in its commitment to socialism and will use the election to advance the following policies aimed to strengthen the working class internationally – opposition to austerity, imperialist wars, Trident, NATO, TTIP; anti-Unionism and support for the right to self determination, republican democracy, migrant rights and Pan European socialist organisation.

In Scotland the central question in opposing anti-working class Tory Brexit is the right of the Scottish people to remain in the EU and the right of the Scottish people to be able to hold a referendum on self determination at a time of their choosing.

On the 28 March the Scottish Parliament voted to hold a referendum. In the event of a Tory victory, Scotland will become a key battle ground. The Tories will strengthen their grip on Scotland by undermining the existing Devolution settlement, forcing Scotland to leave the EU and denying Scottish self determination.

Left Unity in England and wales is supporting Jeremy Corbyn. However, we recognise that politics in Scotland has been changed by the 2014 referendum. The Labour Party must be openly criticised for supporting the Union, refusing to pledge support for the right of the Scottish people to remain in the EU, and failing to support the right of the Scottish people to hold a referendum. In opposing Scotland’s democratic movement Labour is acting as an accomplice of the Tories.

Left Unity would welcome the defeat of the Tories from every seat in Scotland. We will oppose Unionist candidates (UKIP, Tory, Liberal Democrat and Labour) and support anti-Unionist candidates. Whilst we recognise that some socialists in Scotland will vote Labour, we believe the future for working class people in Scotland depend upon fighting austerity and winning a successful struggle for democracy and self determination.

In summary Left Unity’s policy in Scotland at this election is based on total opposition to the Tories and their anti-working class Brexit policies, opposition to all Unionist parties in Scotland.

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also see http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2016/12/07/building-an-alliance-between-rise-and-left-unity/

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May 25 2017

RIC-EDINBURGH STATEMENT ON THE JUNE 8TH GENERAL ELECTION

The Radical Independence Campaign- Edinburgh has produced the following statement in response to forthcoming Westminster General Election.

 

 

Theresa May’s forthcoming general election is not a normal election. It is being called in defiance of the Tories’ own 2011 Fixed Term Parliament Act. It bears a strong resemblance to a presidential-style plebiscite. But in the absence of actual presidential powers, such as those now wielded by Trump in the USA, May still wants to be able to override Westminster, Holyrood, Cardiff Bay and Stormont altogether.

To do this she needs a supine parliament of nodding-head Tories, quite happy to go meekly through the government lobbies. In return they will be able to pocket their large salaries and many ‘fringe benefits’, whilst also making big killings from second (and more) jobs, the rewards of business lobbying and by directly employing their families. Furthermore, in Scotland, David Mundell and Ruth Davidson have already shown they will do whatever May tells them.

The Tories are in the reactionary European Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists, along with Erdogan’s Turkish Justice and Development Party. May hopes to emulate Erdogan’s concentration of personal power after his recent rigged referendum. However, unlike Erdogan she doesn’t need to rewrite the UK’s constitution since it doesn’t exist in a written form. Instead she wants full control of the Crown’s armoury of anti-democratic powers. Thus armed, May hopes to cement the British ruling class behind her hard Brexit. In the face of ongoing global economic and political crises, she seeks to ensure that the ever-rising costs are borne by others, so ‘our’ rulers can continue to live in the manner to which they have become accustomed.

To counter any remaining ruling class opposition to Brexit, May is offering them a mouth-watering deal. There may still be some “bespoke” EU deals for the City and selected corporations. However, to compensate for other possible losses, the Tories are preparing the ground for a major attack on workers’ pay, conditions and remaining trade union rights. They want to step up austerity, which falls most severely on women’s shoulders, and ensure remaining welfare benefits are fully subjected to punitive sanctions administered by ruthless private companies. More than 2 million workers from the EU are to be subjected to the draconian legislation, already in place for other migrants, so that British firms have access to a highly segmented workforce, divided by pay, conditions and residency rights, with the illegal lowest tier subjected to super-exploitation and to act as scapegoats. Civil rights will be further eroded. There is to be an increased militarisation of policing and state surveillance is to be stepped up. Our environment will continue to be sacrificed to corporate profits, as May’s support for fracking in England shows. New trade deals are to be signed with Trump to open up the NHS to full privatisation. The UK is to sign up fully to all US wars for the benefit of the British arms industry, thus bringing untold misery across this planet.

Scotland is in the frontline of May’s attacks. The British ruling class wants finally to see off Scotland’s attempted democratic revolution of 2014, where 97% of people registered to vote and 85% actually did so. This level of political engagement is without precedent in UK politics. Furthermore, this and the massive surge in support for Scottish independence, from 30% in 2012 to 45% in 2014, was done in defiance of the UK state, the EU bureaucrats, the US State Department and the British media, including the BBC. Open political, social and cultural meetings and events across the length and breadth of Scotland, supplemented by new independent media sources, massively contributed to this.

This why the real purpose behind the Unionists’ shrill ‘No to IndyRef2’ is to shut down this mass participation, so that things can return to normal – politics run by self-serving careerists, subservient to the British establishment and corporate power. This is one reason why Tories, Labour and Lib-Dems all cynically tried to hijack the recent Scottish local council elections to deny the Scottish people the right to hold the referendum agreed by Holyrood on March 27th, on the basis of prior election commitments.

However, May wants to go even further. The Tories, having played Labour for fools in Better Together during IndyRef 1, now want to finish them off as a major electoral party. May will also undermine the existing devolution arrangements in Scotland and Northern Ireland and take whatever harsh measures are needed to deal with the consequences. To achieve this, May will fall back on the Crown’s Supreme Court ruling that she, with supine Westminster backing, can override any devolved assembly powers. Cameron’s, Miliband’s and Clegg’s pretended liberal unionism is to be buried by May’s very real reactionary unionism. UKIP’s and the DUP’s politics have been mainstreamed by May’s Tories. Sadly Jeremy Corbyn, loyal to British Labour and Westminster above all else, just can not see this.

The Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) has members in the SNP, Greens, socialist organisations, Labour supporters of Scottish independence, and a majority in no party at all. Therefore, as in the 2015 Westminster and the 2016 Holyrood elections (when RIC-Edinburgh held hustings), we will not be making specific voting recommendations for the June 4th general election.

Nevertheless, we call on RIC supporters to recognise May’s attempt to turn this election into a personal plebiscite to centralise UK state power in her hands, to be wielded on behalf of her big business backers. A prime target is the democratic right of the Scottish people to exercise our right to self-determination. Brexit is to be used to reinforce all the most reactionary features of Britishness. Instead of a Brexit fiasco we need an Ex-Brit (or break-up the UK) strategy to help us break free from the UK. In RIC’s spirit of internationalism from below, this involves the people of Northern Ireland, Wales and England too. Therefore, we call for the rejection of all Unionist candidates.

We also recognise that the Tories want to use the UK’s profoundly anti-democratic powers to mount a major attack on the overwhelming majority. We will continue to work in and with trade unions, community organisations and all those campaigns we have supported to prepare both a defence against the planned attacks and to create a new society based on RIC’s 5 Principles:-

1)         For a social alternative to austerity and privatisation

2)         Green and environmentally sustainable

3)         A modern republic for real democracy

4)         Committed to equality and opposition to discrimination on grounds of       gender, race, disability, sexuality or age

5)         Internationalist and opposed to war, NATO and Trident

We remain adamant that Another Scotland, Another Europe and Another World are Possible.

RIC-EDINBURGH, 25.05.17

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also see:-

http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2017/04/06/radical-independence-campaign-statement-defend-democracy/

or

https://radical.scot/radical-yes/

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Jul 18 2016

THE UK AFTER CHILCOT

Steve Freeman of the Republican Socialist Alliance, Left Unity and RISE gives his assessment of the state of the UK after the Chilcot Report.

THE UK AFTER CHILCOT

Pointing two fingers at the guilty

Pointing two fingers at the guilty

 

The UK is a conservative country where republicanism, the sovereign power of the people, exists in disguise. It is a love that dare not speak its name. The issue of sovereignty appears, for example, in the Labour Party in the contest between MPs and rank and file members over who can elect or remove the Labour leader or deselect local MPs. The coup against Corbyn is an attempt to overthrow the sovereignty of the members.
Continue reading “THE UK AFTER CHILCOT”

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May 02 2016

SUPPORT THE JUNIOR DOCTORS

 SUPPORT THE JUNIOR DOCTORS

NO COMPROMISES, NO BACKDOOR DEALS

DEFEND THE NHS

 

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For months, the junior doctors of the National Health Service have stood firm in the face of an onslaught from the Conservative government in Westminster. Socialized medicine works and, indeed, it is extremely popular. With a national health service, access to medical care is free and available to all. Everyone has the right to see a doctor when sick and for periodic preventative check-ups. Yet years of underfunding have taken their toll. Doctors are overworked and stressed out. It can take several months to get an appointment to see a consultant. There are also too few nurses and support staff, so those providing care are harried and unable to give the careful attention patients need.
Continue reading “SUPPORT THE JUNIOR DOCTORS”

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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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Apr 12 2016

A POLITICAL COMPARISON BETWEEN THE 2012-14 SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE AND THE 2016 EU REFERENDA CAMPAIGNS

 

Allan Armstrong (RCN) has written a second piece on the forthcoming EU referendum. This is a contribution to the debate in the RCN and the wider Left. Allan has spoken on this issue at the RIC national conference (Feb. 20th), SSP National Council (28th Feb) and the Glasgow Assembly for Democracy (2nd April).

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A POLITICAL COMPARISON BETWEEN THE 2012-14 SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE  AND THE 2016 EU REFERENDA CAMPAIGNS

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a) The politics of TINA – There is no alternative

A common accusation made by ‘No’ advocates during the Scottish Independence referendum was that support for Scottish independence or the SNP, and for withdrawal from the EU or UKIP, are but mirror images of each other. They have argued that both are based on atavistic nationalism.
Continue reading “A POLITICAL COMPARISON BETWEEN THE 2012-14 SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE AND THE 2016 EU REFERENDA CAMPAIGNS”

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Sep 04 2015

LET THEM IN

The world has been alerted to the horror of the current refugee crisis by the photograph of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year old Syrian Kurd from Kohane, on the beach at Bodrum in Turkey, drowned after trying to make it with is family across to the Greek islands. In 1972, another photo of a young girl, this time from Vietnam suffering from napalm burns inflicted after a US airstrike, caused similar outrage, and contributed to the turn of public opinion against that war.

Today it is Cameron’s UK government which stands exposed in its utter callousness towards the refugee crisis. Yet, British imperial involvement in the Middle East has contributed to the exodus of many of the refugees fleeing the consequences of successive UK government’s (both Labour and Conservative) military interventions.

Below we are posting an article by Mary McGregor (RCN), from the current issue, no.24, of Emancipation & Liberation, which makes the simple humanitarian call – “Let them in.”

LET THEM IN 

A young Vietnamese girl suffering USAF inflicted napalm burns in 1972

A young Vietnamese girl suffering USAF inflicted napalm burns in 1972

The drowning of 3 year old Kurdish Syrian refugee, Aylan Kurdi found on a Turkish beach

The drowning of 3 year old Kurdish Syrian refugee, Aylan Kurdi found on a Turkish beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this article I intend not to use the following terms: migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. The media and establishment have successfully imbued each of these terms with negative connotations. They are conflated, misrepresented and fed into the narrative that is seeking to portray anyone trying to come to this country as people to be reviled and feared.
Continue reading “LET THEM IN”

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Jun 27 2015

THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTION AND THE NEXT STEPS FOR REPUBLICAN SOCIALISM

The RCN and Republican Socialists (Scotland) gave their backing to Steve Freeman who stood as a republican socialist and anti-unionist candidate in Bermondsey in the General Election. Here we are posting Steve’s political assessment of the campaign.

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Introduction

This paper will not address the important question of what is ‘Republican Socialism’ beyond identifying it as the “republican road to socialism” which puts the issue of democracy at the heart of working class politics. This stands in contrast to the dominant idea in the UK and especially England of a “British road to Socialism”. The next steps here are mainly focused on London and do not address how Republican Socialists in the rest of the UK can use our election campaign to advance our common cause.
Continue reading “THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTION AND THE NEXT STEPS FOR REPUBLICAN SOCIALISM”

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Jun 17 2015

THE MINT WITH A HOLE – A review of ‘A Nation not a Rabble – The Irish Revolution 1913-23’

D.R.O’Connor Lysaght of Socialist Democracy (Ireland) reviews Diarmid Ferriter’s A Nation and not a Rabble, The Irish Revolution 1913-1923. This was first posted at:- http://socialistdemocracy.org/RecentArticles/RecentReviewDiarmaidFerriterANationAndNotARabble.html

THE MINT WITH A HOLE

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Diarmaid Ferriter’s new book is good on two counts; it is well written and very well researched. The author has trawled very thoroughly the primary sources recently expanded with the freeing of the various archives in Ireland and Britain, over and above an enormous range of secondary material. This is a book that can be read with ease and should be read by anyone with an interest in Ireland’s history of a century ago. It is a mint of historical material.
Continue reading “THE MINT WITH A HOLE – A review of ‘A Nation not a Rabble – The Irish Revolution 1913-23’”

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Apr 20 2015

REPUBLICANISM AND DEMOCRACY

Allan Armstrong (RCN) was invited to speak on Republicanism and Democracy  at the Assembly for Democracy event in Glasgow on Saturday, April 11th. He gave an update of the talk at the first Radical Independence Conference in Glasgow in November 2012 (see http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2012/11/15/genuine-self-determination-means-acting-as-republicans-now/

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Allan Armstrong speaking at the Glasgow Assembly for Democracy

 

Most of the discussions today we have been having today have been about bringing democracy into our own campaigns and developing an opposition to the ongoing British ruling class offensive.

However, as one contributor to the debate has already said, ‘democracy’ is one of the most promiscuous terms to be found in politics. Indeed, the British ruling class likes to claim that “Westminster is the mother of parliaments”, with the implication that it represents a deeply rooted democratic tradition. So it is worth taking a closer look at this Westminster, based on the political notion of the ‘Crown in parliament’.
Continue reading “REPUBLICANISM AND DEMOCRACY”

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