Aug 17 2017

A CRITIQUE OF JEREMY CORBYN AND BRITISH LEFT SOCIAL DEMOCRACY, Part 3

 

This is the third part of A Critique of Jeremy Corbyn and British Left Social Democracy, written by Allan Armstrong. The first part can be read at:- http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2017/08/09/a-critique-of-jeremy-corbyn-and-british-left-social-democracy/and the second part can be read at:- http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2017/08/11/a-critique-of-jeremy-corbyn-and-british-left-social-democracy-part-2/

 

3. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOCIAL DEMOCRACY, OFFICIAL AND DISSIDENT COMMUNISM

AND A POLITICS BASED ON EMANCIPATION, LIBERATION AND SELF DETERMINATION

 

Contents of part 3

 a.     The limits placed on social democracy during a crisis of global capitalism

 b.     From revolutionary democratic social democracy to existing state-accommodating reformist social  democracy

 c.     A further shift in the meaning of social democracy; the brief emergence of an alternative revolutionary democratic communism; and the descent to state-backed official communism and dissident communism

 d.     Social democracy and official communism morph into social neo-liberalism

 e.     From social liberalism to populism

 

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a.     The limits placed on social democracy during a crisis of global capitalism

i.       We are living through a period of unprecedented global crisis – political, economic, social, and cultural. This means that ideas will be tested continuously. A class-based democratic party will have people from a whole number of tendencies – communist (as outlined 2.f.iii), republican socialist, social democratic, movementist, green socialist, socialist feminist, environmental, etc. Continue reading “A CRITIQUE OF JEREMY CORBYN AND BRITISH LEFT SOCIAL DEMOCRACY, Part 3”

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Dec 02 2016

ST. ANDREWS DAY OR JOHN MACLEAN DAY?

The Irish Workers' Republican Starry Plough does not have an equivalent accepted by the working class in Scotland

The Irish Workers’ Republican Starry Plough does not have an equivalent accepted by the working class in Scotland

Today is St. Andrews Day. It is not yet a full-blown public holiday, although there is some partial observance. The following article was written by Allan Armstrong for the Lothian SSP bulletin in November 2007. It is even more relevant today, when Scottish nationalists try to subsume all of us under the saltire.
Continue reading “ST. ANDREWS DAY OR JOHN MACLEAN DAY?”

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Apr 20 2014

SOCIALISTS AND A SECULAR SOCIETY

Eric Chester  makes a contribution to the ongoing discussion and debate in the RCN about secularism

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The demand for a secular republic has always been central to the struggle for socialism. All too frequently state power is used to bolster a specific religious orthodoxy, with those who adhere to other religions, or to no religion at all, finding themselves the target of discrimination and repression. Nineteenth century bourgeois revolutions, such as the American Revolution and the French Revolution, raised the demand for a separation of church and state, and significant steps were taken toward that goal. Nevertheless, an established church remains entrenched in most countries, receiving special privileges and state subsidies to reinforce its hold on the populace.

Continue reading “SOCIALISTS AND A SECULAR SOCIETY”

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Mar 06 2014

SECULARISM, SOCIALISM AND RELIGION

The issue of secularism was discussed at the RCN weekend away in Fife on 22nd February. Allan Armstrong introduced the session using the presentation he had made to Edinburgh RIC. The following discussion extended beyond the scope of the introductory talk, and brought up issues which Bob Goupillot had written about when the RCN was a platform in the SSP. Below, is an updated version of this, first published in Emancipation & Liberation, no 14, Spring 2007.

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A Marxist understanding of religion

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering.  Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions.  It is the opium of the people.

 Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

Marx understood the religious impulse to be a human response to a world that is sometimes scary, terrifying and out of our control.  Thus the religions of hunter-gatherer people focus on asserting control over their prey animals, the religious festivals of farming peoples focus on marking the passing seasons and placating the gods and goddesses of the earth and sky.  Religion is a human, spiritual response to an uncertain world.

Continue reading “SECULARISM, SOCIALISM AND RELIGION”

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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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Oct 03 2013

SECULARISM: TIME TO SEPARATE CHURCH AND STATE

This is an introduction given by Allan Armstrong (RCN) to the Edinburgh branch of the Edinburgh Radical Independence Campaign on Monday, September 30th. It is followed by some responses from other socialists.

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Two interesting articles were published last week. The first one in The Herald (27.9.13) highlighted the recent Scottish census, which pointed out that, for the first time, those professing no religion had emerged as the largest and fastest growing group in Scotland (37%). The second article in the Sunday Herald (22.9.13) highlighted the growing penetration of Protestant fundamentalist church activity in Scotland’s ‘non-denominational’ schools.

The best way to understand and deal with such issues is to take a secular approach. Twenty years ago, most people, especially on the Left, would have been quite clear what secularism meant. Secularism is the complete separation of religion from the state. People’s choice of religion or of no religion is a private matter.
Continue reading “SECULARISM: TIME TO SEPARATE CHURCH AND STATE”

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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.
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Oct 28 2012

THE RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CONFERENCE – WHICH WAY FORWARD?

Murdo Richie who runs the blog ( http://murdoritchie.blog.co.uk/argues that the Radical Independence Conference faces a choice of taking one of two political paths – tailending the official SNP campaign or developing the best politicies for an independent Scotland

The Radical Independence Convention can only travel in one of two directions after the Conference of Saturday, November 24th. (1)  It can either become a component in a delivery mechanism for a “Yes” vote in the forthcoming Independence Referendum in 2014 or it can attempt to design the best kind of policies for a future independent Scotland.   It is a great mistake to believe that both are possible.

The Conference can become “mood music” outlining a different kind of Scotland from the one on offer from the trinity of Alex Salmond, the Scottish Government and the Scottish National Party to promote an “aspirational” picture that is unlikely to be achieved by voting for the “Yes” on offer.  Or, it can discuss the kind of Scotland that many of the participants want to build.

Continue reading “THE RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CONFERENCE – WHICH WAY FORWARD?”

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