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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Jun 24 2014

LABOUR AND SOCIALIST LEFT UNIONISM IN THE SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE DEBATE

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Allan Armstrong (RCN) prepared a talk for the Conference of Socialist Economists Day School held in the Out of the Blue Centre in Edinburgh on June 21st. The article below also incorporates some of the discussion points that were raised. It provides a socialist republican analysis of the British Left and the case for an ‘internationalism from below’ alternative in the Scottish independence referendum campaign.  This talk is also a chapter in the extended article, Making Plans For Nigel, which can be viewed at:- http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2014/06/26/making-plans-for-nigel/ A shortened version of this talk was also given as a contribution to the debate in the Left Unity Party – Glasgow South branch,  on December 13th.

 

On the British Left, continued support for maintaining the UK state and for upholding the internationalist nature of all-British party and trade union organisation stems from their understanding of the British ruling class and the United Kingdom. They view these as having played a key historical role in replacing the older feudal order in these islands, and other pre-capitalist societies in many parts of the world.

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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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Nov 05 2013

THE CASE FOR THE REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PLATFORM IN THE LEFT UNITY PARTY IN ENGLAND

There has been considerable interest shown in the proposed Left Unity Party in England and Wales, which it is intended to launch on November 30th. We have already posted one proposed platform – the Socialist Platform (see http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2013/08/12/5722/). In an interesting development, some members of  the Republican Socialist Alliance in England are Making the Case for a Republican Socialist Platform.  They argue from a similar ‘internationalism from below’ stance to the RCN.

The Chartists' republican tricolour

The Chartists’ republican tricolour

 

A CASE FOR THE REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PLATFORM

“British politics urgently needs a new force – a movement on the Left to counter capitalism’s crisis. If a new, networked movement of the Left could agree on some key principles, and avoid creating another battleground for ultra-left sects, it could give a voice to million … a movement uniting all those desperate for a coherent alternative to the tragedy of austerity, inflicted on this country without any proper mandate”. (Owen Jones ‘Independent’ Sunday 20 January 2013)

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Oct 29 2013

SOCIALIST UNITY – THE RCN ASKS 12 QUESTIONS

The RCN has been involved in preliminary discussions with Frontline, the International Socialist Group (Scotland), individual members of the International Socialist Network and Defense of Our Party faction in the SWP, as well as other individuals mainly from an SSP background. Frontline  published the views a number of socialist organisations, which we reposted at http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2013/06/10/socialist-unity/. Stemming from these initial discussions, the RCN has framed 12 questions, which it has sent out to those organisations participating in socialist unity discussions. We will post each response as receive it. We would like to thank Alister Black of Frontline (http://www.redflag.org.uk) and James Foley of the International Socialist Group for the first responses to our questions.

 

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 1. ALISTER BLACK OF FRONTLINE  REPLIES TO THE RCN’S 12 QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROSPECTS FOR SOCIALIST UNITY

 

1.     After the demise or major setbacks for Left unity and Socialist unity projects in these islands (SSP, Socialist Alliance, Respect, Forward Wales, United Left Alliance-Ireland), there have been a number of new initiatives recently – the Peoples Assemblies, the proposed Left Unity Party (LUP) and the Socialist Unity Platform (SUP) and International Socialist Network/Socialist Resistance/Anti-Capitalist Initiative (ISN/SR/ACI) unity proposals. However, these have mainly been confined to England and Wales. Why do you think things are less advanced in Scotland at the moment?

The Scottish political environment is now very different to that in the rest of the UK state. The left has faced the problems of its own fractures but also of the ascendance of the Scottish National Party. The left lacks credibility but also has been slow to recover from the self-inflicted wounds of the last few years. At the same time the SNP has presented themselves as social-democrats through reforms such as free prescription charges and abolition of tuition fees (whilst being very friendly to union-busting big business outfits like Amazon).

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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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