Scotland's 5th Estate

Self-Determination and Power

Reflecting on the waves of resistance and insurgency in Scotland over the past few decades, here’s a powerful reminder of the need for solidarity and independent thinking. Here’s film from the Self-Determination and Power event from the Pearce Institute in Govan, Glasgow in January 1990 featuring Noam Chomsky.

The Self-Determination and Power event was organised by a loose alliance of the Free University of Glasgow, the Edinburgh Review, then under the editorship of James Kelman advocate Peter Kravitz, and Scottish Child magazine, edited by Rosemary Milne.

The film includes the talk by Chomsky and extensive interview with Jim Kelman on Common Sense philosophy and the “right to self-determination” and readings from Hamish Henderson and Tom Leonard and others.

See also ‘A reading from Noam Chomsky and the Scottish tradition in the philosophy of Common Sense’ by Kelman here.

With thanks to City Strolls. Film produced by Street Level streetlevelphotoworks.org

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9 Comments

  • Gaga Glasgow 8 months ago

    Chomsky was apparently asked around the same time to spend time with some intellectuals from Glasgow’s West End. When they heard he was also intending to visit the group in Govan, the intellectuals advised him against doing so and suggested that the Govan group wasn’t worthy.

    After processing this snobbery, Chomsky cancelled the visit to the West End and came over just to visit the group in Govan. So it goes…

    Our immediate attention needs to be given to the task of achieving Scottish Independence. I’m sick of all the distractions and in-fighting that’s going on.

    I’ll be happy to argue with everybody once we have independence. And I will be happy to bow to the majority view in terms of the complexion of our first new Independent Government.

    Reply
    • Bella Caledonia Editor 8 months ago

      I don’t really know how to respond to this comment. Anyone?

      Reply
      • Alan Stewart 8 months ago

        Why do you feel any need to respond ?

        Reply
  • c rober 8 months ago

    I love this sort of stuff , the socialist intellectual , sitting listening and not asking – which actually annoys Chomsky somewhat. The mentioning of a lowly educated newspaper vendor is a good reflection on local effect = respect.

    Does he still reply to every email I wonder.

    I have watched many hours of Noam , of Wolffe and so on , well the other option of herion in 200 channels isnt for me , more so in that SKY are about to drop the educational Discovery group programming … well Murdoch wouldnt want educated sheep as customers.

    However Chomsky did the indy ref a slight disservice , despite promoting self determination , either just after indy or just before , in that he offered that an independent Scotland was perhaps economically unviable , but on the other haun he was perhaps basing his information on those not to be trusted to offer the truth being the only data he had to hand …. or perhaps he was just making the people themselves ask then “what is the economic model that would work” – its not beyond him to do as such…. he inst a fan of sycophants , well other than the book sales and fees.

    Overall these in the film are the grass roots of old that need to come out of retirement , the kind that stood shoulder to shoulder with strikers , and educated professionals to reject the Poll tax – those that sadly have lost much political ideology since – or as Scottish Labour members perhaps lost that power due to the NuLabour mandate of keeping the union being forced on them by Milliband then Dugdale.

    Come the MAY council elections many more that were perhaps politically educated then , and moved onward and upward in local Socialist politics will again suffer as the result of unionist SLAB head office. I will shed a tear , and hope that it is a catalyst , for a phoenix from the ashes moment to take that party back to Scottish relevance , through ousting what is left of the non left.

    Reply
    • Keef 8 months ago

      As to whether Chomsky still replies to every email, I can confirm he replied to a query from me earlier last year. Not only that he followed up and supplied four very good contacts for me to speak with.

      Reply
  • Willie 8 months ago

    Maybe RISE who promised so much and delivered so little were going to will now re-emerge in time for the may elections. Meanwhile the minority Holllyrood SNP government struggle to get the budget through. Time indeed for folks to come together to get this elusive prize that so many of us want.

    Reply
    • Bella Caledonia Editor 8 months ago

      Peoples obsession with RISE is truly astonishing.

      You use classic archive footage of a key event to bring up RISE?

      I see today that the pro-indy parties in parliamant have worked together to agree the budget. Well done them.

      Reply
      • c rober 8 months ago

        The greens could have asked for just one extra thing , with zero cost to Holyrood , PV roofs on every new house – opening up the state enterprise of eco energy creation. In one swoop supplying a jump in delivery to the carbon reduction , as well as for fuel poverty.

        However they may well be like the SNP and playing that card tight to their chest for post indy – in order to re nationalise the power as a state export – seeing as how the export of Electricity to England is increasing YOY.

        But at least the SNP werent dragged into the poison chalice of increased income tax and the same amount then removed from the block grant. Instead they added 400 quid to the tax bill of the top 10 percent – or more than the lowest paid , the majority of Scots workers weekly wage.

        Reply

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