the global commune, edinburgh, saturday 22nd may

Following the success of January’s Global Commune day school (see here) we are holding a further day of discussions in Edinburgh on 22nd May.

There will be workshops on ‘After the election – what next?’; ‘Internationalism from below – a communist perspective’; and ‘How do communists organise?’ Continue reading “the global commune, edinburgh, saturday 22nd may”

the general election: the view from scotland

by Allan Armstrong

The General Election results on 6th May came as somewhat of a surprise. This did not lie in the failure of the Tories to win an overall majority; the Lib-Dems inability to make their much-heralded breakthrough; the collapse of the SNP surge; nor even in New Labour making a limited recovery, especially in their London, Scottish and northern English heartlands. What was surprising to most was the increased level of voter participation, especially after the mounting anger and public disgust over Westminster sleaze.

Can the increase in electoral participation be put down to the wider interest created by televised debates between the three main party leaders? Quite clearly, despite all the media hype, especially around the ‘Clegg phenomenon’, the final division of votes, between the mainstream parties, bore little relationship to the initial opinion polls. Continue reading “the general election: the view from scotland”

flying the flag for socialism in scotland

Ewan Robertson, Scottish Socialist Party candidate in Aberdeen North, contributes to our ongoing debate on participation in elections

I am a postgraduate student at Aberdeen University (MLitt Latin American Studies), and I am a member of the Scottish Socialist Party and Republican Communist Network, and an active supporter of the Tripping up Trump campaign.

In this short piece I’d like to explain firstly, what the approach of the SSP is to the 2010 General Election and how we have a fundamentally different approach to the election than the other parties, and secondly, why in my view it is useful to stand in elections in general. Continue reading “flying the flag for socialism in scotland”

global commune day school, edinburgh, 22nd may

Following the success of January’s Global Commune day school (see here) we are holding a further day of discussions in Edinburgh on 22nd May.

There will be workshops on ‘After the election – what next?’; ‘Internationalism from below – a communist perspective’; and ‘How do communists organise?’ Continue reading “global commune day school, edinburgh, 22nd may”

crown powers and scottish independence

The Republican Communist Network’s Allan Armstrong spoke at the 13th February Republican Socialist Convention

Allan Armstrong (SSP) welcomed the participation of the veteran campaigner, Peter Tatchell, a ‘republican in spirit’, to the Republican Socialist Convention. However, there was a formalism about the republican principles Peter advocated. This was because Peter had not analysed the real nature of the British unionist and imperialist state we were up against, and the anti-democratic Crown Powers it had its disposal to crush any serious opposition. Nor did Peter outline where the social and political forces existed to bring about his new republic.

Back in the late 1960s, socialists (e.g. Desmond Greaves of the CP and those involved in Peoples Democracy) had been to the forefront of the campaign for Civil Rights in Northern Ireland – equal access to housing and jobs, and a reformed Stormont. The particular Unionist/Loyalist nature of this local statelet, and its relationship with the UK state, was largely ignored or downplayed, in an otherwise militant and vibrant campaign. Every repressive institution used by the UK state is prefixed by ‘royal’, e.g. the RUC, ‘her majesty’s, e.g. the prisons, whilst ‘loyalists’ is the name given to those prepared to undertake the more unsavoury tasks the UK state doesn’t want to own up to in public. Continue reading “crown powers and scottish independence”

the global commune: communism for the 21st century

On January 16th Edinburgh played host to the ‘Global Commune’ day school, hosted by Scotland’s Republican Communist Network and supported by The Commune.

Although we are faced with the greatest crisis of capitalism for decades, the majority of socialists today are not prepared to make the case for a viable alternative social order to get us beyond the ever-deepening capitalist crisis.

The objective of the day school was to develop communist thinking on what kind of society we want to create and how that relates to our activism and our slogans in the context of today. Continue reading “the global commune: communism for the 21st century”

on the electoral strategy of the scottish socialist party

Scotland’s Republican Communist Network have produced this document looking at organisational and political aspects of the Scottish Socialist Party’s electoral strategy in the wake of the recent by-election in Glasgow North East.

1. How did the SSP publicly assess the by-election result?

The Republican Communist Network (RCN) welcomes the decision of the SSP Executive Committee (EC) to open up the discussion to members about the lessons we can draw for future electoral work from the Glasgow North East by-election. Continue reading “on the electoral strategy of the scottish socialist party”

the global commune

by the Republican Communist Network

It is now 20 years since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. For most people this signalled the end of communism. However, there has always been another view, which understands that the USSR and its satellites and emulators were never communist, socialist or workers’ states. They represented the negation of communism. The socialist transition is not based upon ‘The State’ taking over the functions of private capital, nor ‘The Party’ taking over the functions of a self-organised working class.

Today we face the worst economic crisis for nearly eighty years, accompanied by growing environmental deterioration, and increased powerlessness and loss of hope. Yet the majority of socialists today are not prepared to make the case for a viable alternative social order to get us beyond the ever-deepening capitalist crisis. Often we get little more than vague populist sloganeering – ‘Make Poverty History’ or ‘Make Greed History’. To most workers these sound as hollow as the world of ‘virtual reality’ pushed by the corporate media to divert our attention from the very mundane, or sometimes, desperate reality, we face in our everyday lives. Furthermore, calls for people’s largely passive support through five minutes spent at the polling station can seem a poor alternative, even compared to the promise of ‘five minutes of fame’ in the corporate media spotlight. Continue reading “the global commune”

the global commune

by the Republican Communist Network

It is now 20 years since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. For most people this signalled the end of communism. However, there has always been another view, which understands that the USSR and its satellites and emulators were never communist, socialist or workers’ states. They represented the negation of communism. The socialist transition is not based upon ‘The State’ taking over the functions of private capital, nor ‘The Party’ taking over the functions of a self-organised working class.

Today we face the worst economic crisis for nearly eighty years, accompanied by growing environmental deterioration, and increased powerlessness and loss of hope. Yet the majority of socialists today are not prepared to make the case for a viable alternative social order to get us beyond the ever-deepening capitalist crisis. Often we get little more than vague populist sloganeering – ‘Make Poverty History’ or ‘Make Greed History’. To most workers these sound as hollow as the world of ‘virtual reality’ pushed by the corporate media to divert our attention from the very mundane, or sometimes, desperate reality, we face in our everyday lives. Furthermore, calls for people’s largely passive support through five minutes spent at the polling station can seem a poor alternative, even compared to the promise of ‘five minutes of fame’ in the corporate media spotlight. Continue reading “the global commune”

scotland – the ruling class division over defending the british union

by Allan Armstrong

The latest talk amongst Scotland’s ‘chattering classes’ is that the SNP Scottish Government’s proposed bill for a referendum on Scottish independence, announced on September 3rd, is doomed. Why? – because a closed-door debate held by the Lib-Dems, last weekend in Dunfermline, finally agreed to uphold their former UK leader, Menzies Campbell’s and current Scottish leader, Tavish Scott’s earlier decision to oppose any such referendum.

queensalmond

There had been considerable opposition amongst the ranks of the federalist Lib-Dems to this stance. The party is committed to constitutional referenda on European Union and on electoral reform in the UK, so opposition to a referendum in Scotland seems somewhat hypocritical to many party members. Furthermore, back in 2007, immediately after the Holyrood election, there had been every likelihood that the Lib-Dems could have joined a coalition government with the SNP. They could have made the inclusion of their favoured federal option for the UK, in any future referendum, a condition of their support. However, as with Labour and the Conservatives, commitment to the Union is far more important for Lib-Dem leaders than any notion of democracy. Continue reading “scotland – the ruling class division over defending the british union”

british nationalism and the rise of fascism

For all the left’s talk of German-style Nazis, fascism has very British roots. In a shortened version of an article he wrote while in the Republican Workers’ Tendency, Chris Ford shows the link between loyalism and fascism

uvf

In an exercise in deception, British Left and Right historians have placed an Italian label on this movement. It better deserves a British one. The first movement of 20th century fascism emerged in 1910 to enforce the unity of the United Kingdom. It was a time of militant workers’ struggles and resurgent Irish nationalism. The crisis over the national question split the British ruling class. The liberal wing advocated devolution within the Union, then called Home Rule. The most reactionary wing, without a parliamentary majority, set its frontline on the Irish question. The Tory Unionist Sir Edward Carson raised the 80,000 strong UVF in defence of empire and against unpatriotic socialists and papist nationalists. Two decades before German generals moved behind National Socialism, British generals were backing the British nationalist UVF as a rallying force for counter-revolution in the UK. Orange reaction set about the sectarian division of the working class. It was the shape of things to come in Europe as a whole. Continue reading “british nationalism and the rise of fascism”

issue 8 of the commune

The October issue of our monthly paper The Commune is now available. Click the image below to see the PDF, or see articles as they are posted online in the list below.

To purchase a printed copy for £1 + 50p postage, use the ‘donate’ feature here. You can also subscribe (£12 a year UK/£16 EU/£20 international) or order 5 copies a month to sell (£4) online here. If you want to pay by cheque, contact uncaptiveminds@gmail.com.

issue8cover
we’re not ‘all in it together’ – editorial of The Commune

update on the activities of our network

tuc congress: an opportunity wasted? – by Gregor Gall

fragile livelihoods at cowley mini factory – by  Brian Rylance

what is the london postal strike really about? – interview of CWU reps by Sheila Cohen

gordon brown’s workhouses for single mothers – by Zoe Smith

‘new’ tactics versus rubbish bosses – by Adam Ford

lessons of the tower hamlets esol strike – interview with two members of teaching staff

how we fought education cuts in tamworth – by Rob Marsden

on the necessity of pluralist communism – by Nathan Coombs

a letter from tegucigalpa: resisting the honduran coup – by a member of Socialismo o Barbarie

political report from the land of the haggis-eating surrender monkeys – by Allan Armstrong

electoral parties: let’s not put old wine in new bottles – by David Broder

a beginners’ guide to cuts – by Robert Kirby

platform of our communist network

political report from the land of the haggis-eating surrender monkeys

by Allan Armstrong, Republican Communist Network

Political developments in Scotland are hotting-up in the aftermath of the decision by Kenny MacAskill, the SNP’s Justice Minister in the current Scottish government, to release Abdelbaset Ali-Mohamed al-Megrabhi, the so-called Libyan bomber, on compassionate grounds.

salmondclinton

Whatever the undisclosed background negotiations behind this move, involving New Labour at Westminster and SNP at Holyrood, the political fallout has been considerable. Earlier negotiations between the British and Libyan government, involving Tony Blair and Jack Straw, had strongly implied a prisoner transfer agreement. Megrabhi would finish his sentence in Libya, in return for BP oil concessions. The Scottish government thwarted this. It denied any right to the British government to interfere with the decision taken by the Scottish judiciary, which had been given original responsibility for Megrabhi’s trial, held at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, in 2000-1. Continue reading “political report from the land of the haggis-eating surrender monkeys”