Thursday, 28 November 2013

TWO COMMENTS ON SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE, bRIT IMPERIALISM AND THE eNGLISH (COLONIALIST) LEFT


Every single leftist organisation in england has taken a colonial-unionist position on Scottish Independence. english left like to go on about anti-war and internationalism, but one is reminded of Marx when he said the english left love to go on about Russian oppression in Poland, but when it comes to english oppression of the Irish, they side with their own english ruling classes. - Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm


By James Stuart

One of the most common arguments I hear from leftists against supporting Scottish independence is that this will somehow weaken or divide the British Labour Movement & the struggle for socialism. You will hear this line from Labour Party hacks to anarchists.

But it completely fails to address this simple fact. There is NO united British labour movement. There is NO struggle for socialism. There is not even anything approaching a serious resistance to cuts.

There is nothing happening now that will in anyway be threatened by Scottish independence.

Quite the contrary is true. Scottish independence will actually, pretty much at a stroke, meet the demands of most of the campaigns that do actually exist; whether it be over the bedroom tax, immigration rights, ending welfare cuts, anti-war, anti-nuclear, etc.

And by doing so this can only provide a positive example for those fighting against the commonly held belief south of the border that cuts & war are necessary, that there is no alternative. Because the alternative will be right there, just next door. Far from weakening the position of the working-class in this island, it will strengthen it.

Really, the real fear behind this argument is this; that independence will weaken not the spurious & ill defined 'labour movement', which no longer even exists in any meaningful sense anyway, but the Labour Party. That without Scotland, England will be condemned to endless tory governments. We will put aside the rather offensive implication that the nation of Scotland should continue to have to suffer Tory governments that is never votes for, just on the off chance that Labour get elected sometimes, and point out two things.

One, Scotland has only twice provided enough Labour seats to determine the outcome of a UK general election. Twice. And the last time was 38 years ago. Every other time a Labour government has been elected, it has been elected on a majority of English seats.

Second, F*** Labour. Does anyone still actually believe that the Labour Party & the trade unions are just holding back waiting for their moment before they take power & nationalise the top 200 monopolies & send the Royals into exile? Has anyone ever seriously believed that at any time in the last 20 years?

Labour MPs couldn't even be bothered to vote for their own bill to end the bedroom tax. It could be gone, right now, and the ConDems left in disarray. But no, they couldnt even bring themselves to do that. And meanwhile the biggest trade unions, largely based in the public sector, are falling over themselves trying not to rock the boat as they continue to implement government cuts on their behalf.

So much for the 'British labour movement'.

So what then is left of the argument? 'We want fewer borders, not more'. By keeping powerful, aggressive imperialist states intact? Nice try hippy. But if there is ever to be unity of peoples it will only come about when the imperialist states have been broken & shattered, and THEN we could see some global unity being actually able to develop - and even then it wont be coming from anywhere north of the Med or the Rio Grande.

Unless by breaking down borders you mean you just want the British Empire back ruling the world, which, frankly might not be far from the truth when it comes down to it for some of these white 'one-world' defenders of 'universal human values'. You know, the ones who dropped spreading 'civilisation' for delivering 'civil-rights'. On cruise missiles.

Okay, so I guess that's it. Dont be coming at me with your 'no borders', trying to claim the red in the Union Flag is for some mythical 'working-class unity', when we know it is the stain of the blood of the workers of the world. It just won't wash.

They call us 'narrow nationalists' & hint at fascism & racial hate, division & sectarianism, oppression & impoverishment, even though they know it is contrary to the ideals of every single political formation in Scotland that supports independence.

But these are the defining characteristics of the Kingdom they wish to keep 'united'. Of the people they find themselves standing alongside. This insatiable need to dominate & divide, hate & plunder, all wrapped up in the red, white & blue. That is the nationalism the 'internationalists' defend when they oppose Scotland's independence.

Because in the final analysis, it really is this simple. Breaking the British State will be the greatest achievement of the people of this island in 700 years of bloody Union. And it will be the greatest gift we can give to a world where not one corner has not at some point felt the boot of British imperialist brutality on it's neck. And where far too many still do.

'Yes' in 2014 isn't just for the people of Scotland. It is for all the people of this island. All of the people of this world. It really is that big. This small little corner of northern Europe can make a decision that really will make a difference world-wide. A modest one perhaps, but it is real & it is very much achievable. No, it isn't the Bolshevik revolution. No one ever claimed otherwise. But it is revolutionary. And if you can't understand why, then you really do need to go homeward & think again.

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By Jamie Sokolowski 

Ramblings on Scottish independence: probably ill-informed, instinctive and confused but I want to start talking about and challenging my opinions on such an important question.

I've never had much knowledge of - or even interest in - Scottish history. I grew up in catholic schools near Glasgow where most of my mates were of Irish descent and I was always far more interested in my Polish roots than Scottish. In no way have I ever identified as Scottish nationalist.

I was raised in a sectarian, violent city and often saw my friends described as 'Fenian bastards' and 'taigs' and told to 'go home , the famine is over'. It wasn't just playground stuff - these opinions were and still are held at the heart of Scottish institutions and caused some of us to really distrust the state and society.

I also don’t necessarily buy into Scottish victim-hood. It's pretty undeniable that Scotland has benefited from the union and, whether we like to admit it or not, colonialism. Our wealth has been built on empire. It doesn't take a genius to work that out when walking in Glasgow or Edinburgh and admiring the architecture. In almost every field of human endeavour - science, philosophy, commerce, and literature - Scots have been disproportionately successful. I'm sure a lot of that is to do with the education system and work ethic (and whatever other special attributes populations ascribe themselves). But it has been mainly possible because of the privilege and platform of Empire. I don't see us as colonial victims (I would like to learn more about our pre-Union history, though): we were the ones holding the guns on the Irish, Indians and Africans so our corporations could plunder. 'Fuck the English' is, in my opinion, an abdication of our own imperialist responsibilities.

I’m also a member of a political party and belong to a wider movement that sees Scottish independence as divisive and a distraction from other, more significant, issues. These are some of the most educated and progressive people I've ever met and there are compelling arguments: ‘independence would divide the British labour movement’, for example.

But, even with all that, I'll still be voting for independence in 2014. Here's a few of the reasons:

I have not heard one convincing argument that imperialism would be strengthened by Scotland leaving the United Kingdom. We can debate history but isn't that the primary question for our movement - would it strengthen or weaken imperialism?

Great Britain is an imperialist union. We all know its blood-drenched history. Why would we not want to rid the world of it? Even at a symbolic level, ripping up the Union Jack and confining it to the dustbin of history would be a massive victory for us and the oppressed nations of the world.

It's only since moving to England from Scotland that I've noticed real differences - political, economic and social - between the two countries.

England has, without much resistance, embraced neoliberalism in all spheres. Everything is being dismantled and sold off at cheap rates for profit. I think they're heading towards a US system and that fucking terrifies me. Scotland has been able to retain a much stronger public sector, trade union movement and a more Keynesian, social democratic model. Both nations are heading in very distinct, contradictory directions. Cameron recently announced that austerity was here to stay – as he stood by a gold throne and tucked in to a luxury banquet with fellow millionaires. That was an insight into the future of Britain - and Scotland is always most vulnerable to its cuts and austerity.

I would also like to live in a country that Tories cease to exist, Labour is weakened and the political landscape is small enough to accommodate a wider spectrum of political views. Scotland, without over-stating it, has a progressive, radical tradition. In fact, its most negative elements are British nationalists - proponents of empire and colonialism that would be irreparably damaged by independence.

There are deeply entrenched anti-immigrant and racist views in England; at a level that I didn't feel in Scotland. And I can only see this getting worse. The Scottish government is welcoming migrants. The British political class is making anti-immigrant sentiment absolutely key to its policy and this permeates down to public opinion. Sure, the 'One Scotland, Many Cultures' campaign was limited (as all state-sponsored multicultural projects are) but it is in sharp contrast to using migrants as political punching bags. Scottish nationalism is largely positive. Nigel Farage was chased down the street in Edinburgh not because he is English but because he is racist, anti-working class and right-wing. And he represents the worst of British politics (and quite possibly its future).

I also think Scottish independence could accelerate Irish re-unification. Our histories are absolutely different but there would be a completely fresh political framework, increased push for self-determination of nations within the imperialist union, and little motivation for England to continue the occupation.

Keysenian? Social Democratic? Revisionist! ...Possibly. But I honestly don't think Marxist dogma is useful in this question. The people of Scotland have an historic opportunity to change their political, economic and cultural lives. I don't think removing Scottish workers would 'divide the British labour movement' or 'delay the revolution' because neither of these things currently exist in reality (and haven't for some time). We're all starting from scratch at the moment and I would much rather start in a political culture amenable (or at least vulnerable) to progressive change than continue to sink with British austerity, privatisation and racism.

Welcome thoughts, disagreements, intellectual-beatings or even ignoring this. Useful exercise in writing down my thoughts on something so complex.

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