Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Our anti-nationalism

Labour Party should allow Scotland to hold another independence referendum if the Scottish parliament votes for one, the second most powerful man in the party said, Labour’s John McDonnell told an event at the Edinburgh festival fringe. 

We would not block something like that. We would let the Scottish people decide. That’s democracy,” McDonnell was quoted as saying. 

The Socialist Party does not, of course, defend the present British state. But we offer no support to a separate sovereign Scotland. The Socialist Party must tell the workers the truth even if it is unpopular. And the truth is that nationalism, no matter how it is dolled up with patriotic progressive phrases and skilfully disguised by socialist terminology, represents no way forward for working people. On the contrary, we fight against it. We resist every effort to divide the organisations of the working class along nationalist lines. It is entirely wrong for socialists to sentimentalise their ideas and parrot their prejudices. We bear the message, even if it is unwelcomed and unpalatable, nothing very much would change in an independent Scottish state. The Socialist Party have a responsibility to our fellow-workers to warn them of their mistaken course. Our opposition to independence is based on a class opposition. The Socialist Party will defend our class point of view and expose the false and dangerous demagogery of the nationalists. It is an obligation upon the Socialist Party to stand firm in defence of the fundamental ideas and principles of Marxism.

An independent Scotland within a capitalist world would not solve a single problem facing the working class and would have grave social and political consequences by weakening the unity of the working class. The cause of the British working class would be put back as national and regional rivalries return. The Scottish working class cannot succeed in a socialist revolution alone, nor can British workers win in isolation. What is required is a world revolution. The oppression and exploitation of working people is a product of capitalist society and can only be removed by the socialist transformation of society. This, in turn, requires the unity of all workers, irrespective of nationality or gender or race. That is why the idea of workers' unity is vital.

We must resolutely struggle against nationalist movements or parties while campaigning for the ideas of socialism. We must constantly press upon our fellow-workers that nationalists ally themselves with the ruling class. We must do education work and popularise Marxism in order that working people shall not forever become side-tracked. Scottish nationalism present itself as a progressive movement and many sincere people become involved with it but in some years’ time, they discover they have been most cruelly misled and have been wasting their time in a diversion which they will then have most fiercely to destroy. Socialists are not deceived by the progressive facade of nationalism. Those who believe nationalism to be progressive, and can therefore be used either do not understand, or opportunistically refuse to accept the negative role of nationalism.

The remedy can only be socialism. There is no intermediate transitional stage. Socialism and nationalism are mutually exclusive. Nationalism is a horrendous condition that has been used by the owning class to turn worker against worker in wars and has led to millions of death. If it wasn’t so tragic it might be called comical that workers, many of them without a job, should take to the streets to support ‘their’ country. It is our business in the Socialist Party to develop class “patriotism.” o love your country, and be willing to sacrifice and battle for it, that is patriotism. To have no home, to be unable to provide self and loved ones with food, clothing and shelter, that is poverty.

Someone who owns no part of the country, yet is prepared to fight and die for it is called by the media a patriot yet a person who is prepared to fight to protect family, friends and neighbours against the curse of poverty, is called a rebel. While patriotism attacks and destroys all the finer sentiments of the human heart, exploits and corrupts those sacred things called tradition, the socialists says this further proof of capitalist class ignorance.

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