REPORT OF MEETING TO SET UP
THE CAMPAIGN FOR A EUROPEAN REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PARTY
OUT OF THE BLUE CENTRE, DALMENY STREET, LEITH, EDINBURGH,
15th OCTOBER 2015
12 people attended the meeting, called by the RSA (Scotland), to set up the Campaign for a European Republican Socialist Party. 12 people gave their apologies.
Those present also belong as individuals to a number of organisations including Assemblies for Democracy, Independent Workers Union – Ireland, Left Unity Party, Radical Independence Campaign, Republican Communist Network, RISE, Scottish Socialist Party, World to Win.
A. Introduction – The Reality of the European Democratic Revolution – Allan Armstrong followed by discussion
Allan spoke to an abbreviated version of the paper, The Reality of the European Democratic Revolution, (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2016/10/18/the-reality-of-the-european-democratic-revolution/) which had been sent out before the meeting, emphasising that right wing ideas and movements were rampant across large parts of Europe and that we can only succeed against this on a pan-European and internationalist basis.
Paul and Penny offered some cautionary remarks. Paul and Penny highlighted that there were people who had voted Brexit because they opposed the anti-democratic and pro-neo-liberal nature of the EU. Paul also highlighted the national democratic traditions in Ireland, which were not dependent on the EU. Penny quoted Lenin from On the Slogan for a United States of Europe to show his concerns in 1915 (see https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1915/aug/23.htm) to highlight his opposition to the slogan. Steve thought that the United States of Europe was a useful slogan, especially in the present historical circumstances, (http://www.republicansocialists.org.uk/blog/?p=185).
John T pointed out that formally promoting the slogan United States of Europe at this stage could be easily misunderstood, thereby limiting its resonance and receptivity. Other comrades gave examples of different names, which could also be misleading. The majority agreed.
Bob, John L, John T, Lewis, Mary, Nick and Steve also made other contributions in broad agreement with the sentiments in Allan’s paper.
Allan replied to Paul and Penny that he did not want to give the impression that the EU had done wonderful things. He used the analogy of Marx building upon the new political situation arising from the Industrial Revolution to push for international Democratic Revolution between 1848-9. This was done in opposition to those, including some socialists, who wanted to retreat back to the pre-industrial world, in the face of the disruption and misery caused by the Industrial Revolution. Whilst basing his politics on the new socio-economic situation bequeathed by the Industrial Revolution, Marx was still strong in his condemnation of the brutality of the rising capitalist class and the Industrial Revolution’s brutal effects on the subordinate classes. Allan applied this analogy to the situation today that had been created by the European capitalist socio-economic integration which had occurred under the EU, and the need to advance from this through European Democratic Revolution, rather than support a nostalgic return to purely national state roads to socialism.
The following motions were discussed and unanimously ageed. John T. suggested these become collectively known as the ‘Dalmeny Declaration’.
1. Setting up the Campaign for a European Republican Socialist Party
i) This meeting, convened by the RSA (Scotland), agrees to set up the “Campaign for a European Republican Socialist Party” – identified as “The party of European Democratic Revolution”.
ii) The campaign agrees to promote the slogan/policy of a new federal, social and secular European republic, with a written constitution and a Bill of Rights based on the democratic principle that economic and political power shall be in the hands of the sovereign people of Europe. The constitution will include the democratic “right of nations to self-determination” including the right to leave.
iii) This meeting agrees to set up a Committee as a temporary body to organise activity and plan for a meeting in 2017, which will agree a constitution and organise democratic elections from the membership.
iv) Establish a bank account with a membership subscription set initially at £2 per month
v) Organise a rally or rallies to promote the campaign
This meeting notes the merger taking place between Another Europe is Possible and Democracy in Europe 2025 (DiEM25). Whilst this campaign has different aims and policies, there are common themes of pan-European democracy and internationalism which means we should seek to have discussions over co-operation.
3. Assemblies for Democracy
This meeting supports the Assemblies for Democracy’s aim of holding a citizen led convention on the constitution aiming for sovereignty resting with the people and the right of nations to self-determination.
4. Scotland’s republican constitution
In 2014 the Scottish government published a proposed Scottish Independence Bill based on Scotland becoming Independent under the British Crown. In recognising that Scotland may hold another independence referendum in the next two years, republican socialists will promote the idea of a Scottish Republican Constitutional Convention to discuss and produce an alternative or proposed amended version of the 2014 Bill.
5. Support for Migrant Workers, Asylum Seekers and Ethnic Minorities
Migrant workers and asylum seekers are a major target of May’s Tory government Brexit offensive backed by the populist right, particularly UKIP.
A key part of this chauvinist and racist offensive is to place the 2.6 million non-UK EU citizens currently resident in the UK under the same draconian anti-immigration laws (including the latest 2016 Immigration Act) as non-EU residents. The purpose of this is to create a much larger pool of potentially super-exploited workers and to increase the opportunities for racist scapegoating accompanied by more internments and deportations.
Under the latest Immigration Laws employers, landlords and others are being brought into an official policing role; whilst the government is pushing for public sector employees, e.g. teachers and social workers to monitor the activities of Muslim children. They hope to create a political climate, which draws the wider public into hostility to migrants.
Those EU citizens resident in the UK, and those UK subjects living elsewhere in the EU represent a key element in the creation of a new federal, social and secular European republic, which can be achieved through advancing the European Democratic Revolution.
Therefore the CfaERSP agrees to make one of its priorities to work with migrant workers organisations to defend migrant rights and support the free movement of people.
An Acting Committee was agreed with further invitations for volunteers.
Allan Armstrong, Reporter , 19.10.16
Preparatory material for the setting up of the conference.
1. Statement from the Republican Socialist Alliance
2. Resolution from the Wakefield meeting of the RSA, 23.7.16
The following decision has been taken by the RSA at the Wakefield meeting in 23rd July:- .
- This RSA meeting recognises that as an alliance and discussion forum, it is not our purpose to impose policies on the RSA. RSA national meetings enable discussion and facilitate activity amongst those members who wish to act together, as we did during the EU referendum.
- Taking account of the policy passed at the least RSA meeting concerning a European democratic revolution and European federal republic etc, this meeting agrees that those RSA members who are exploring setting up a campaign for a European republican socialist party can use RSA discussion lists to promote this idea and discussion around it.
- This meeting agrees to encourage RSA members to support such a campaign. In addition it was agreed that we should adopt the descriptor – a European republican socialist party, the party of European democratic revolution.
It was agreed that we would work to launch this campaign in the autumn at a meeting in Scotland. Allan said he would seek support from those on the RSA list in Scotland to organise a meeting for comrades throughout these islands to take forward the project of advancing the European Democratic Revolution. He suggested October for this.
3. Letter sent out to RSA List and other interested individuals
The RCN (Scotland)* very much welcomed the support given by the Republican Socialist Alliance (RSA) during the Scottish independence campaign. With RSA assistance we were able to raise the issue of democratic revolution (through support for democratic, secular, social republicanism) in England and put internationalism from below (Another Scotland, Another Europe and Another World Are Possible) into practice through the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC).
The recent EU referendum in which England and Wales voted to leave and Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain has raised these issues once more. However, unlike the Scottish referendum, the initiative for the EU referendum came from the Tories and UKIP and this caused problems for the Left, which was divided over the stance to take. Nevertheless, the RSA, which reflected the Left’s three stances (Remain, Abstain, Leave), did unite in support of the developing European Democratic Revolution and issued a statement that recognised the reality of this –
Some of us in the RCN (Scotland) see the need for a new wider political organisation that recognises struggles which advance the European Democratic Revolution. Therefore, we very much welcome the statement issued by RSA at its Wakefield meeting on 23rd July where, “The RSA aims to develop activity and discussion promoting the idea of a republican socialist party of democratic revolution” – http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2016/08/05/report-of-the-republican-socialist-alliance-meeting-in-wakefield-23rd-july/).
We agree that such a party can not be just declared but involves much preliminary and explanatory work. This could involve people currently in RISE, SSP, LUP, World to Win, ISS and RS21, SNP, Labour Party, in campaigning organisations like RIC and those involved in migrant solidarity.
Therefore, as convenor of the RSA in Scotland, I have organised a meeting to which all RSA supporters and other interested individuals are invited to discuss implementing the Wakefield statement. I also hope to get migrant workers to this meeting. They already represent the new Europe in the making.
If anyone has a particular relevant agenda item they wish to put forward please get in touch, as well letting me know if you can attend.
Allan Armstrong, Acting Convenor, RSA (Scotland)
* Please notice that political the status of the RCN has changed since the RCN affiliated to the Radical Independence campaign and RISE (see http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2016/08/29/new-rcn-statement/)