The Republican Communist Network has submitted the resolution, reproduced here, to be debated at the SSP’s annual conference being held in February. It attempts to get the SSP to take the lead in building and concretising some practical steps to unity with socialist organisations across England, Wales and Ireland. Unfortunately, the Conference Arrangements Committee has seen fit to make this the penultimate item on the agenda, which means that it may not be debated at the conference. However, the resolution, together with Bob Goupillot’s article E&L 3, have started to stimulate debate.

SSP Conference Motion L

Socialist unity

(RCN Platform/Midlothian Branch) Conference believes that:

  1. The SSP should publicly declare, as one of its aims, that it will aid socialist unity in England, Wales and Ireland and to have a real debate within the SSP on how to do it.
  2. The SSP, whether in the form of branches, platforms or individuals, makes every attempt to communicate directly with Socialist Alliance members out with Scotland, much as we did during the Poll Tax, when again Scotland was in the lead. Again using the experience of the Poll Tax, SSP branches could twin with SA branches and build up personal and political relationships.
  3. The SSV should regularly cover Socialist Alliance activities out with Scotland.
  4. The SSP should take the lead in organising a conference of all those individuals and organisations that believe that building SSP type parties in England, Wales and Ireland would be a step forward. Joint campaigns should be launched
    1. against the permanent war drive
    2. in support of asylum seekers
    3. against trade union/ employer/state partnership deals
    4. against privatisation/ labour flexibility/austerity drives
  5. The SSP and the Socialist Alliances should work towards a common platform for the next Westminster (and Euro) election.

Marc Jones (Cymru Goch):

I’m sure the motion isn’t intended to give succour to the pro-Brits who lurk in the SSP, but that was my reading of some parts of it… most notably:

5. The SSP and the Socialist Alliances should work towards a common platform for the next Westminster (and Euro) election.

The implication is that this is a step towards a UK-wide organisation as advocated openly by the CPGB (and covertly by the SWP). There is a motion being put forward by the lone CPGB’er in Wales for the WSA to merge with the English SA; the opposition to this is merely to affiliate to the SA – merger by any other name. The proposer of this alternative has justified it in terms that Neil Kinnock would be proud of – Wales could never survive without subsidies from England

From an outside perspective, I think the SSP would be better served working towards a pan- European alliance or platform for the Euro-elections and beyond rather than jumping into bed with the SA, which is staggering from crisis to crisis and now seems to have lost its most prominent left Labourite, Liz Davies.

Bob Goupillot (SSP/RCN):

I must say that I feel the political habit of spotting the Brit left everywhere seems to be the mirror image of the CPGB seeing the left nationalists all over the place. Like the ISM and others, Marc is in favour of a pan-European alliance but not a common platform with folk in England. I thought England was in Europe?

Even now are we not in favour of coordinated campaigns against the impending war and in support of the firefighters?

Allan Armstrong (TCT/RCN):

The motion isn’t a pro-Brit motion. I see three broad positions in the
SSP at the moment.

  1. Scottish nationalist – most obviously the SRSM, but increasingly the ISM too (with their old Westminster parliamentary orientation being replaced by a Holyrood parliamentary orientation).
  2. British bureaucratic internationalist – most obviously the CPGB and AWL, but also (more opportunistically, because it is often hidden) the SWP. Their emphasis is on building The British Party (and often tail-ending the British Labour Party and the British road to socialism.
  3. – our own (TCT –Ed), which we think reflects the tradition of Connolly and Maclean – internationalism from below – attempting to unite the actions of English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish workers in united front type campaigns. From the perspective of ourselves in Scotland we are Scottish internationalists not Scottish nationalists and wish to unite with English, Welsh and Irish internationalists.

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