Saturday, July 02, 2022

Their Sovereign Scotland or Our One World?


A powerful and potent force for dividing the working class is that of nationality. All over the world workers are taught that the artificial boundary which separates “their” country also confines special qualities like courage, verity and intelligence which are denied to those across the frontier. 

The problem is that wealth is owned and controlled by a tiny minority of society in an undemocratic and unaccountable fashion. This obscene concentration of wealth in a few hands lies at the heart of all major social problems which confront us today. Far from being irrelevant, as some argue, the property question is the most important social question of the modern age. It cries out for an answer.

The Scottish nationalists say everything would be better with independence: the NHS, the environment, the economy, business efficiency, productivity, road safety, more tourists, etc. On top of all this there would be savings of many millions, even billions, of pounds, giving us all more spending power as well as big savings for businesses. The source of these riches is the surplus value wrung from the working class but the SNP seem not to have noticed this. The SNP's aim is really just the same as all the other reformist parties - they try to solve capitalism's problems by merely re-organising.  We support no nationalist movement. Socialism and patriotism are irreconcilably antagonistic. Nationalism is anti-working class.

True, it is not easy to oppose mass patriotic movements but that difficulty is not removed by closing one’s eyes to it, nor is it lessened by postponing it until after independence has been achieved. If those who wish to organise and educate Scottish workers lend themselves to nationalist propaganda now, they will find it immeasurably more difficult to return to working-class principles after they have won for their masters the reality and for themselves the illusion of Scotland’s independence. Our advice to fellow workers is to build up organisations to fight their own capitalist class—they will need them soon enough. Our advice to Scottish  workers is to acquaint themselves with their own class interests.

Scotland is only a small bit of land and a tiny part of an economic system which embraces the whole world. It could never enjoy any real autonomy or self-sufficiency in the face of the world market. From day one of independence it will be buffeted by hostile economic forces entirely beyond its control. We'd still be living in a money-driven, buying and selling economy, still working for wages, still insecure, being hired and fired, still chained by capitalism. What the Socialist Party campaigns for is a worldwide, money-free, production for use society in which  goods and services would be accessible and available to all.

The World Socialist Movement sprung from a handful of workers who understood the capitalist system and the need for its replacement by socialism. An essential clement in this understanding was that of capitalism’s class structure, of the interests which defined that structure and of the role of capitalism in forming those interests. As that understanding spreads, so will the socialist movement grow and branch out.

This movement must be based on a unity which is conscious. It does not rest on blind faith in some super-intelligent vanguard or a manipulative elite who aim to lead the rest to some other, so far undefined, social system. Working-class understanding and acceptance of socialist ideas will be international, just as their present support for capitalism infects the entire world.

For socialism, then, human unity is vital—a unity for the majority in society to establish a system based on majority interests. Socialists have had enough of division, of human beings opposing each other without reason, when the world is desperate for them to unite to change the basis of society.

So we struggle to persuade the working class that all of them—in the words of our Declaration of Principles “without distinction of race or sex”—have the same interests to work together to rid the world of capitalism with its artificial and destructive divisions and replace it with socialism. That will be a society of common ownership and democratic control of the means of life, abundant production and free access to wealth.

For the first time in its unhappy history, humanity will in a socialist society satisfy its needs. Socialism will be abundance, freedom and unity.

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