what can we tell from the scottish local election?

By Allan Armstrong

The Scottish local council elections, held on May 5th, have attracted much wider interest than would normally normally be the case for such an event. The primary reason for this is the mounting speculation arising from the SNP Holyrood government’s promised Scottish independence referendum in 2014. The media has become more aware that the current UK constitutional arrangements face a real challenge. Therefore, whenever any Scottish election occurs, the runes are carefully being read to see if support for independence is growing or falling away.

The usual presumption is that votes for the SNP can be directly interpreted as support for Scottish independence. There are a number of problems with this. A vote for the SNP represents different things in different contexts. This can be seen by examining the very different voting patterns in the Westminster, Holyrood and local elections; and also by comparing these to polls showing the levels of support for Scottish independence (however this is understood). Continue reading “what can we tell from the scottish local election?”

The paradox of Nationalism as Internationalism from below

Barry Biddulph replies to Bob Goupillot and Allan Armstrong on communists and Scotland’s referendum.

Maclean – For a Scottish Workers’ Republic

Bob Goupillot and Allan Armstrong of the Republican Communist Network (RCN), want to create a new global order. Yet their starting point for a communist transition is a national territorial framework in general, as they acknowledge, and Scotland in particular. They argue that they are not nationalists, but internationalists, with a strategy of internationalism from below, in which small nation nationalism can be transformed into internationalism. This is a  paradox. What is their tactical and strategic standpoint? Continue reading “The paradox of Nationalism as Internationalism from below”

Communists and Scotland’s Referendum

In the light of the SNP’s referendum initiative, Bob Goupillot and Allan Armstrong of the Republican Communist Network continue our debate on Scottish independence.

To better understand our approach to this issue it is useful, by way of a preamble, to provide a thumbnail sketch of our understanding of the international context.

The modern form of capitalism is a developed imperialism dominated by the United States. US imperialism relies on a series of local allies at strategic locations around the world. In western Europe the USA’s main ally is the UK state, which thereby provides a linchpin for the whole system.

In this context we see our role as communists to work towards the transformation of the existing states on these islands into becoming part of a federation of European socialist republics in a transition to a stateless world – a global commune. Continue reading “Communists and Scotland’s Referendum”

the free hetherington is invincible

By Liam T of Scottish Socialist Youth – http://ssy.org.uk/.

Tuesday 22nd March was a day that will be remembered for sensational events at Glasgow University. Dozens of Police and security guards swooped on the Free Hetherington, in an attempt to clear students out of their 50-day occupation of the disused Research Club building. Following eviction, protesters went on to occupy the luxurious Senate building. Astonishingly, this resulted in a late-night capitulation from management, with an invitation for us to return to the Hetherington in exchange for vacating the Senate. Continue reading “the free hetherington is invincible”

holyrood and councils brandish the cuts knife

Allan Armstrong reports on the cuts in Scotland and the incipient resistance

The ConDem government is cutting back the Westminster block grant to Scotland by over £1 billion. A Holyrood general election will take place on May 5th and the signs are that the SNP will lose out to Labour. Just as in the run-up to last May’s Westminster vote, the governing party here is being very coy about announcing exactly how the full cuts would pan out.

Of course there have already been many cuts, but so far only very piecemeal and partial fightbacks. In the SNP/Lib-Dem controlled Edinburgh Council, the 216-year old Blindcraft workshop for disabled people was closed down in January. The council cultivated division amongst their employees by suggesting moving to a three day week, with no longer term guarantees. Individuals were asked to sign up to this ‘deal’. The able-bodied staff saw this as a method to cut redundancy pay. Many of the disabled staff, with virtually no prospect of future work, felt they had little option but to agree. The 53 employees were divided between three unions, and the council was able to get away with a closure that hit the most disadvantaged workers particularly hard. Continue reading “holyrood and councils brandish the cuts knife”

third global commune report, trade unions – are they fit for purpose?

It was generally agreed by participants that the third Global Commune event, jointly hosted by the Republican Communist Network (RCN) and the commune, on Saturday, January 29th, was a very worthwhile day. Writes Allan Armstrong.

A union official addresses London dockers, 1947.

Once again, the event was held in the ‘Out of the Blue’ Centre in Leith (Edinburgh) and involved, as well as the organising groups, members of the Independent Workers Union (IWU) in Ireland, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Permanent Revolution, the Autonomous Centre in Edinburgh (ACE), current and ex-members of the SSP, and the Anarchist Federation. Continue reading “third global commune report, trade unions – are they fit for purpose?”

trade unions – fit for purpose? edinburgh global commune, 29th january

In both the UK and Ireland today, the overwhelming majority of trade union leaders have signed up to social partnerships. These effectively reduce unions to a free personnel management service for the employers. However, the traditional Broad Left response of electing alternative leaders has shown itself unable to counter social partnerships. Indeed many current union leaders, who now accept social partnership, were themselves earlier Broad Left members.

The third Global Commune event, jointly sponsored by the Republican Communist Network and The Commune, asks the question – “Trade unions – Are they fit for purpose?” A number of different approaches to organising workers will be discussed in workshops over the day. All welcome: registration 10.30 for 11.00-16.30 meeting, at the Out of the Blue Centre, Dalmeny Street, Leith, Edinburgh. Continue reading “trade unions – fit for purpose? edinburgh global commune, 29th january”