|ROUND IN CIRCLES|
The left nationalists in Scotland having suffered a set-back by the referendum defeat where they propped up the SNP now seek to offer themselves as the left opposition to their former allies.
RISE – Scotland’s Left Alliance is a coalition formed by the SSP and various other groups with the noticeable exception of Sheridan’s Solidarity. http://www.rise.scot/
They have taken a cue from George Galloway’s party RESPECT by using an acronym to name itself:
Respect Independence Socialism Environmentalism
And similarly to “Solidarity - Scotland's Socialist Movement” they require to add a qualifier on what they are – “RISE - Scotland’s Left Alliance”.
The RISE party logo is very appropriate, as you can see for yourself, for a political organisations that is going around in circles.
The SSP have said that they will not stand any candidates next year in order to maximise the attention upon RISE, although, of course, its leading lights such as Colin Fox will be favourites to stand as candidates for the new party. It is a marketing re-brand offering voters the same old same presented as something different. It’s not. RISE offers very little new in its policies and positions from all the previous political alignments of the Scottish left-wing such as the Scottish Socialist Alliance. RISE are merely re-packaging previously flawed ideas and faulty analysis.
The left nationalists urge Scottish workers to reject this historic solidarity with their English and Welsh fellow-workers, on the grounds that it is impossible to achieve progress at a British level; only in Scotland. But they are wrong if they think that a more radical, more socialistic agenda will emerge in an independent Scotland. The new Scottish state would find its policies constrained exactly the same sort of undemocratic and technocratic rules of globalisation that left nationalists stringently oppose. As with the formation of the Irish Republic, the political landscape will be dominated not by a consciousness of class but of “national interest”. Working people will be spun the line that sacrifice for the good of the nation is the symbol of patriotism despite the pain and privation. A new Scottish state would have an overwhelming incentive, like Ireland, to cut business taxation to gain a competitive advantage over its larger neighbour and would actively discourage collective co-ordinated action by workers across all of the nations of the United Kingdom. Scottish English and Welsh workers do not respond to an abstract appeal for “international solidarity”, they don’t need one, they act out of their already existing unity. The fact is that we live in a single state with a single economy and trade unions have created an organic unity with identical interests and a common consciousness. Independence will tear the fabric of unity apart. In Britain a division of the working class along national lines would be a huge step backwards for the workers movement, even from the weakened state it is currently in. For though class struggle is at a very low level, those struggles that have taken place, including in Scotland, have arisen out of nationwide disputes. The creation of an independent Scotland would break that unity and make the task of advancing the workers movement more difficult.
The left nationalists must ask themselves if the possibility of a few seats in a Scottish Parliament is a worthwhile exchange for an abandonment of basic socialist principles. Is such miserly gains worth draping themselves in the Saltire rather than the Red Flag. The truth is that there are "socialists" of the RISE-ilk who regard vote-getting as of supreme importance, no matter by what method the votes may be secured, and this leads them to hold out inducements which are not at all compatible with the uncompromising principles of a revolutionary party. They seek to make their propaganda so attractive— eliminating whatever may give offense to bourgeois sensibilities— that it serves as a bait for votes rather than as a means of education. Votes thus secured do not properly belong to socialism and do injustice to the movement as well as to those who cast them. These votes do not express socialism and in the next ensuing election are just as easily swing to another political party. Socialism is a matter of growth of understanding by education, but never by obtaining for it a fictitious vote. We should seek only to register the actual vote of socialism, no more and no less. In our propaganda we state our principles clearly, speak the truth honestly, seeking neither to flatter nor to offend, but only to convince those who should be with us and win them to our cause through an intelligent understanding of the Socialist Party's mission.
There is an alternative to nationalism and spreading false hope amongst workers in Scotland. It’s called class politics and it comes with working class unity and being honest with the working class, even if it’s not what some want to hear, rather than peddling cynical opportunistic shortcuts up deluded blind alleys to gain some supposed influence amongst workers. The Socialist Party rejects the idea that Scottish independence represents a way of advancing the interests of the working class. All the arguments for independence are in essence nationalist and pro-capitalist whatever the left-wing gloss may be placed upon them. Our opposition to independence is not support for the status quo but for the unity of the working class. The workers movement would be weakened by a process where regional capitalist classes try to corner local resources and endeavour to win the workers over to defend them. The task for socialists in all countries, whether that be Scotland, Britain or Ireland, is indeed independence - not of nations or of regions - but of the working class political action. This class independence, in terms of politics and organisation, is the very foundation of the struggle for socialism. It is because Scottish nationalism and the call for independence throw up yet more barriers to this unity that we urge workers in Scotland to reject the siren song of separatism
Our task as socialists is to try to provide clarity on the class basis for taking a position. And our position must always be based on what is going to be in the interests of the working class movement. We socialists want to show workers that their interests lie in the maximum unity of all workers against all oppressors. We want them to identify their interests with the oppressed everywhere, to discard the blood-stained Saltire along with the blood-stained Union Jack. But we will not do that without understanding clearly who our friends are and who are our enemies. Our job is to propagate a class-conscious understanding in order to help workers discard harmful popular prejudices. If we don’t do that, then there’s really not much point to our existence, since it is only through discarding the beliefs that keep us shackled to capitalist ideas that we will be able to build a movement capable of building socialism. The fact that good, well-meaning people have been misled must not prevent us from seeking truth from facts. The fact that left-nationalists Scots wish to see British capitalism weakened, and hope that by voting for independence they will achieve this aim, does not prove that that is what will actually happen.
Put your class first, not your country. The world is a “global village”. Each region may have its own particular traditions and distinct customs, but they are part of a greater system of society that is world-wide.
That "the emancipation of labour is neither a local nor a national but a social problem, embracing all countries in which modern society exists…" (From the rules of the First International) should be the guiding principle of the working class of the world.
John Lennon sang “Imagine no countries and the world will be as one” RISE and the left-wing nationalists who constitute it lack imagination.
|RISEN FROM THE DEAD|