Aug 31 2018

CRISIS IN THE SSP


The SSP is currently going through another crisis. It survived the traumatic experience of Tommygate, but despite promises, the leadership declined, once the court case was over,  to have  a full debate on the lessons to be drawn. Instead those who raised these issues (including the RCN) became the subject of attack. However, the position of the SSP continued to decline, and the leadership coalition that had prevented such discussion, also began to fall apart, beginning with the collapse of the Women’s Network. The leadership became even more centralised around  Colin Fox, Richie Venton, Ken Ferguson and Bill Bonnar.    

However, the Scottish independence referendum campaign provided another opportunity for the SSP break out of the laager and relate to a mass democratic movement.  The Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) (with successive conferences of 800, 1100 and 3000) was able to reunite many of those who had ended  up on different sides over Tommygate.  Solidarity, the Tommy Sheridan Fan Club, went into decline, abandoned even by the CWI/SPS and SWP, which had opportunistically given him their backing. The SSP leadership joined the official ‘Yes’ campaign, whilst also keeping a foot in RIC. In the process it attracted quite a lot of new members, particularly from the 2011 generation. Continue reading “CRISIS IN THE SSP”

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Jul 07 2017

ADDRESS TO THE LEFT UNITY CONFERENCE ON JUNE 24th

Allan Armstrong was delegated at the RISE National Forum held in Edinburgh on 8th April to be its representative at the LUP conference on May 20th. Due to the General Election this was postponed to June 24th. Attached is the full version of the talk he prepared for the conference held in London. In the event, because of time constraints, the oral version was slightly abridged.

This was first posted on the LUP blog:- http://leftunity.org/rise-speaker-addresses-lu-conference/

ADDRESS TO THE LEFT UNITY CONFERENCE ON JUNE 24th

I would like to thank the LUP for providing me with the time to address your conference as a visiting representative from RISE. Many of you here today are old enough to remember the heyday of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), which had a considerable impact throughout the UK. The SSP united the overwhelming majority of socialists in Scotland and at its height had 6 MSPs. It inspired the Socialist Alliance (SA) in England and Wales. Although the SP and the SWP managed to sabotage the SA, the SSP’s downfall was an almost entirely Scottish affair. This can be largely laid at the feet of a certain Tommy Sheridan.

After 2004, socialists in Scotland were very divided. IndyRef1, though, provided an opportunity for socialists to regain political influence. Young socialists, largely unaffected by ‘Tommygate’, initiated the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) in 2012. This coalition, or united front, brought together, not only many of the previously divided socialists, but the Left in the SNP and the Greens and a majority not involved in any party. Continue reading “ADDRESS TO THE LEFT UNITY CONFERENCE ON JUNE 24th”

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Nov 28 2012

UNITING THE LEFT IN SCOTLAND ON A PRINCIPLED BASIS

On February 5th, 2011, after the ending of the court proceedings arising from ‘Tommygate’ [1], the SSP held a special meeting in Glasgow to discuss the lessons to be learned from the whole affair. The SSP annual conference, held in Dunfermline in April, also considered aspects of this.

It became quite clear, that not only was the leadership of the SSP not prepared to examine its own conduct during this period in a critical manner, but that it had also retreated from the decisions made at the party’s post-split Conference in 2006. Then the leadership had advocated a unanimously supported pro-socialist unity strategy. That conference had also pledged the party to oppose any initiation of action in the bourgeois courts, or resort to the bourgeois media, over disputes amongst  socialists, a decision that was subsequently breached.

The sometimes highly personalised attacks, either made by, or allowed without any criticism from the leadership, upon comrades who had stuck by the party through the whole of ‘Tommygate’, led to both resignations and the emergence of party dissidents not in any platform.

Continue reading “UNITING THE LEFT IN SCOTLAND ON A PRINCIPLED BASIS”

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