All Hail …

The Executive Committee of the Socialist Party of Great Britain on the 2nd August adopted the following as a statement on the Scottish Breakaway Referendum on 18 September:-

“Most of us don’t own a single square inch of Scotland.

It doesn’t belong to us: we just live here and work for the people who do own it. In or out of the Union, that won’t change.

In Scotland, society is run in the interests of those who own the wealth. They argue among each other over billions of barrels of oil, GDP rates, profits and exports, because where the borders lie matters to them. Every border is an opportunity to wring cash out of other property owners. Scotland will remain dependent upon their whims and interests whatever the outcome of the referendum.

They’ll try to sway us one way or another with crumbs (or the promises of crumbs) but we’ll only get what they feel they can spare to protect their privilege and wealth. We will remain dependent upon their investments making a profit for them before we can get our needs and interests seen to.

The only way to stop this dependency would be for us to take ownership and control of the wealth of the world into our own hands. We could, together, use the wealth of the world to meet our mutual needs and grant the true independence of being able to control our work and our lives in free and voluntary association of equals.

Though the outcome of this referendum is irrelevant, it is an opportunity for us to tell our fellow workers that this is what we want. We don’t have to suffer in silence, we can go to the ballot stations and write “NEITHER YES NOR NO BUT WORLD SOCIALISM” across the voting paper. Then, join The Socialist Party to fight for an independent world.”

SPGB Glasgow/Edinburgh branch blog
http://socialist-courier.blogspot.com/

SPGB Official Blog
http://www.socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-independence-referendum.html

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  1. haggis68 says:

    ‘cos that’ll fix things…

  2. Erchie says:

    The title says it “breakaway”

    Donald Findlay once refered to his jacket as his “Tommy Sheridan jacket”, Red on the outside, orange on the inside.

    More of the same. They’d rather fail in the Union than succeed, even in a small way, in Scotland, and use that to show the world

  3. lastchancetoshine says:

    I’m not sure our fellow workers will get the opportunity to read the spoilt ballot papers, It doesn’t seem to be a terribly efficient way to pass the message on. may be worth a go though?

  4. Yea good luck with that.

    I’ll just put a cross in the Yes box on my ballot paper if you don’t mind.

    It’s not like I’m going back in my box after the referendum.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Yeah … it was just put yup as a weee joke

  5. macgilleleabhar says:

    Aye well say what you like but Alistair Darling is the epitomal socialist. All red flag and equality until he gets a tenner in his pocket. Then it’s ‘The working class can kiss my………. Same old ,same old….

  6. EMD says:

    I honestly do not believe what I have just read. So instead of taking Scotland’s future into our own hands and away from right of centre governments in London we should deface our voting papers. You may as well vote ‘no’ if you intend to do this. When is the referendum for ‘world socialism’?

  7. Thistle says:

    Yup that is going to help us create a fairer society, get rid of food banks and remove trident. Maybe not think I will vote Yes. Sadly reminds me of the heated conversation I had in George Square with the communists who were pushing out leaflets with stuff straight from the unionist printing press in London, really sad to see.

  8. Les Wilson says:

    I am not impressed.

  9. Alba og says:

    I could just imagine Fidel and Che sitting down and saying, ” let’s not have this revolution in Cuba, we have to wait till we can free all of America.”. Aye Right! As Che said ‘the revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. Sometimes you have to make it fall’.

  10. Fearchar says:

    Shouldn’t that have been the royal “we”, Les?

  11. Tossers! Belongs in ‘Life of Brian’!

  12. Iain says:

    This is always the problem with purist socialist theorists. They offer nothing except hopeless dreams or bloodshed.

  13. Auld Rock says:

    Do these people really live on the same planet as myself. Like most Scots of Irish/Scottish Celtic and Norsk heritage I firmly believe in a ‘Fairer, more Equal Society’, and a getting rid of the archaic idea of privilege passed on through families, families if you research history you’ll find just either happened to be the biggest/strongest bullies around or occupied the same bed as some would be monarch at the right time. Their legitimacy is totally corrupt and unacceptable in a modern 3rd millennium State. But I own my own, “Wee Bit of Hill and Glen” for which I worked and saved bloody hard for. Now I’m no different from millions of others but I do take my hat off to those early International Socialists who bled and died for the cause of international justice. However what these people are advocating is the Socialism of the early 1900’s and we have moved on, sadly they have not. At the end of the day these people have something to contribute but they must get away from their ‘socialism of jealousy’ and move on and embrace the humanity of the new Scottish Society once we are freed from the shackles of colonialism

    Auld Rock

  14. JimnArlene says:

    I know you’ve put this up as a wee joke, bffs, is that really what “socialists” want us to do? Throw away our only opportunity, to make a break from the sh*thole of Westminster, by voiding our ballot, so we continue to suffer shoulder to shoulder.
    To use a phrase “no thanks”, I’ll still be putting my X next to YES.

  15. Clootie says:

    What a stupid statement. They suggest a move that will help the very people they complain about to maintain control.

    A chance to change Scotland and they propose an empty gesture which will merely be listed as a spoilt paper yet could wreck Independence hopes

    Does the Exec suggest the same tactic for every future election?
    That will really make a difference!

    Was the meeting in a pub?

    I assume that the Socialist Party of Great Britain has nothing to do with The Scottish Socialist Party?

  16. andygm1 says:

    The political equivalent of lying on the railway tracks in the hope that you can damage the train.

  17. neilgdavey says:

    That’s certainly not what the Scottish Socialist Party wants us to do. The statement by SPGB is ludicrous at best. The SSP are strong backers of independence along with decentralisation of power and bottom-up governance befitting the communities of Scotland in a fair, democratic and just manner – something we’ll never have under the auspices of Westminster. It’s no wonder that the UK is leaning further and further to the right if this is the kind of garbage that the SPGB are spouting!

  18. Dave W says:

    Speaking as a socialist of 30 years standing they can shove that up their ar**s. Many thanks to the bunch of Glasgow wimmen at Stirling OU in 1984 who pointed out to me that what I believed was actually socialism. Up until that point I thought I was just grumpy. Vote YES for The Great Leap Forward.

  19. Big Jock says:

    So in order to change the world comrades! Just dinnae bother voting and let the Tories back in to run Scotland from London.If socialism is about bringing local democracy to the citizens.Surely moving the government 400 miles closer and in the same country might be a good place to start.

  20. wanvote says:

    Personally I distrust the motives of anyone who advocates either the spoiling of a ballot paper or not casting a vote.

  21. Raise the Red Flag not the Saltire

    http://socialist-courier.blogspot.com/2014/07/raise-red-flag-not-saltire.html

    I’m alright Jock

    http://socialist-courier.blogspot.com/2014/06/im-alright-jock.html

    The Internationale not the Flower of Scotland. The argument that the Scottish people will benefit more from independence is a fallacy. It is as if the folk in Edinburgh’s Niddrie or Pilton benefit by having the financial centre of Charlotte Square on their doorstep. It is the question of who owns and controls resources which matters: otherwise the argument becomes one of whether we want our exploiters to have an English or Scottish accent, or a mid-Atlantic drawl. A Yes vote at the referendum is simply handing the keys of Scotland Inc. to its Edinburgh offices.

    http://socialist-courier.blogspot.com/2014/05/against-nationalism.html

  22. Jeff says:

    Erm, won’tthe folk in Edinburgh’s Niddrie or Pilton benefit from getting rid of a Tory government they never voted for?

  23. hamishsg says:

    One of the most fascinating aspects of all these discussions is the ‘assumption’ that an independent Scotland would have a socialist government. I understand that there is a very strong left wing sense in Scotland but not that long ago Scots were very much of the old-school Liberal (not the bunch of charlies masquerading as LibDems). And in many ways, the SNP take a very right-wing view to their policies and statements.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      This was posted as a joke. Sorry.

      1. Illy says:

        Poe’s Law strikes again, I’m afraid.

        Hell, sometimes people think that “The Onion” is serious.

  24. Why be sorry about initiating debate and discussion.

    i note on your blog-roll you link to the Glasgow Anarchists. One of their members expresses much the same sentiments as the SPGB.
    “Simply put, there is no reason to believe that in an independent Scotland libertarian socialist organizing would be in real terms any easier or that because of its existence we would see an upsurge in class struggle….We need to argue against Scottish nationalists or anyone who pushes state solutions from co-opting the term ‘self-determination’ because it could only ever truly mean workers’ directly democratic control of society.”
    http://libcom.org/library/independent-free-glasgow-anarchists-take-scottish-independence

  25. Jeff says:

    We are in the real world here though, mate. The international socialist revoulution just aint gonna happen anytime soon – honest. Just vote Yes and show the establishment how thrawn we can be when we want to. Or are you really suggesting that we should stick with the Tories?

    1. Red Deathy says:

      You are sticking with the Tories. The Scottish Tories who will continue to own Scotland.

      1. Jeff says:

        So vote no then? And just sit back and put up with things as they are and await you and your comrades to free us from our chains eh, comrade? I would rather have some change in my own lifetime thanks all the same.

  26. gonzalo1 says:

    Same as the tories, really.

  27. Paddy S Hogg says:

    Ye cany beat some of these comedians! The class will rise and seize the means of production and there will be a dictatorship of the proletariat! alll for our own good! Ha ha

    Aye, we need land reform. Feudal Scotland still exists among our landed estates. Its time the Lairds and Lords (including Jack ME ME ME McConnell were all defunct. The world of title is a joke) Aye we need a re-distribution of wealth through sensible taxation into the Commonweal, where the priority is ALL OF US – that is economic equality, real equal opportunity, not a false freedom based on birth and wealth. And Aye, cultural equality. There has never been equality between England and Scotland. Our complicit elites have taken care of that. Time for it to change. An AYE vote gives us a chance to wash all that crap away. Aye, time for the SCottish Labour party to find its roots again. O that we could wash away all those self-seeking politicians who are careerists, charlatans, corrupt, control freaks. Scotland has a chance to make democracy work for the first time in these islands. Westminster is a parliamentary democracy where power resides in Westminster at the behest of a queen. Scotland wants a democracy where the power resides with THE PEOPLE…Only an AYE vote will give us the power of Democracy.

    1. lenny webber says:

      And the SPGB are called “utopians” Paddy?

  28. Jeff says:

    Well said.

  29. arthur thomson says:

    Scotland needs ‘good enough’ government that anables people to live decent quality lives. That is what can be achieved through Scottish self government. Across the world the fascist left and the fascist right have destroyed millions of decent people in criminal pursuit of their notions a perfect social order. A plague on both their houses. Vote Yes just to make Scotland a better place to live.

  30. setondene says:

    Not surprised at this. Seen this kind of shite all my life from ‘socialists’.

    1. wsmweb says:

      I don’t think you have.You have seen ‘lefty’ masquerading as ‘socialists’ but not telling what socialism is in case it frightens you out of being their slavish cadre.

      1. wsmweb says:

        In otherwords,socialism is the common ownership and democratic control of all the means and instruments for creating and distributing wealth,locallly regionally and globally, in conditions of free access with the abolition of the wages system, not its retention in a ‘fairer’ system with Lefty as the new government.A plague on any party who wants to govern.Adminstering things ourselves withoot politicians with recallable delegates when we need to do this.
        A far cry from what Leftie,Trot,CeePeers and labourites call socialism.

  31. Brian Fleming says:

    I didn’t know the Small Party of Good Boys still existed.

  32. Paddy, there seems to be a prevalent belief that for some reason Scots genetically have a more radical DNA. A look back in history shows that the Scot is as conservative with a small c as his or her English counterpart. The Tories are able to claim that in 1955 they were the only political party to achieve an overall majority of the Scots vote, (albeit just by 0.1% but never accomplished since regardless of land-slide claims). How easy it is also to forget that it was only in 1984 when the Tories lost control of Edinburgh city council.

    There is a fatal fallacy by left nationalists who insist upon placing priority on independence first then after will argue for socialism. History reveals when they do, it is socialism that is subsequently forgotten. We only need to look back at the fate of the Irish socialists who followed Connolly (despite his own earlier scepticism at the wisdom of such a tactic.) The Citizens Army formed to fight the pro-nationalist employer Murphy during the Dublin lock-out ended up disappearing into the ranks of the pro-employer nationalist movement. Despite the sacrifice of their lives, Irish socialism did not emerge any the stronger.

    1. Jeff says:

      “There is a fatal fallacy by left nationalists who insist upon placing priority on independence first then after will argue for socialism.”

      Well Alan, I would suggest that we certainly aint gonna get any socialism by sticking with the status quo. What is it exactly that you suggest the Scottish electorate should do? Enlighten us, please.

  33. wsmweb says:

    He is not sugesting the status quo.He is urging you to get off your arse and make a socialist revolution.

    1. Jeff says:

      Ah, I see. Ok I will get onto that right away. Meantime I’ve to vote ‘no’ in the referendum though eh? Thanks for that advice you fcuking numpty.

      1. lenny webber says:

        No, you’ve to spoil your ballot paper, demonstrating that you reject the ridiculous idea that life would be better being exploited by capitalists who claim the same fictional identity as those they seek to exploit. Nationalism is divisive, a divided working class is easy meat for those who seek to prey on us.
        Now I might well be a “numpty” but I’ve worked out something very important, and that is: The most egregious mistake workers can make, is to allow geography determine their identity.

  34. Lesser known James Connolly on nationalists where he lays out the Marxist internationalist case for workers emancipation, exposing the short-comings of the Irish nationalist movement as a path for working class liberation. He mocks their romantic calls of ‘freedom’ and instead calls for unity, not as a nation, but as a class. He calls not for the independence for the Irish capitalist class, but for the working class. Workers have no country, but one struggle.

    Connolly’s words ring as true today as it did back then before he himself in the words of Sean O’Casey ‘…stepped from the narrow byway of Irish Socialism onto the broad and crowded highway of Irish Nationalism’ and that ‘Liberty Hall was no longer the Headquarters of the Irish Labour movement, but the centre of Irish national disaffection.’.

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/connolly/1899/xx/freeirld.htm

    http://comeheretome.com/tag/james-connolly/

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/connolly/1897/01/socnat.htm

  35. John Lewis says:

    Brilliant article in today Times by David Aaronobitch telling it as it is. Entitled “The glory of independence is just a myth” and subtitled “As a separate nation Scotland will end up with less autonomy as it is dragged along in the tow of its bigger neighbour” it includes this unanswerable argument put by an imaginary Marxist:
    “Let us imagine a true Scots Marxist of the old scholarly school and call her Catriona Lenin. Subjecting what has happened since the 1960s to a “class analysis” she would doubtless conclude that the Scottish bourgeoisie found its interests imperfectly represented by British Toryism and so gradually went over to the SNP.
    Catriona would have no trouble in showing how the Scottish elite has got behind nationalism and independence, disguising (as it always does) its own interests in the language of idealism. Imagine how that part of the Scots establishment that doesn’t live in London or Los Angeles stands to gain from independence! Think of all those new ambassadors to the US, Paris, and Buenos Aires! The new Scottish Broadcasting Corporation with its own DG and parallel bureaucracy! All those government contracts
    going to Scottish architects, subsidies to Scottish artists and so on. Valhalla with better food.
    Meanwhile nothing else, predicts grumpy Catriona, will change. She points out the cake-and-eat-it character of Salmondism, in which no difficult choices are made, almost nothing is actually altered — not the Queen, taxes, currency or property — yet everything is somehow different. Young people will be better off with a Yes! There’ll be no austerity in Scotland with a Yes! And no bill.”

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Repeat to yourself: “It’s not about Alex Salmond”.

  36. Perhaps we can also quote Rosa Luxemburg:

    “A “right of nations” which is valid for all countries and all times is nothing more than a metaphysical cliché of the type of “rights of man” and “rights of the citizen”.
    When we speak of the “right of nations to self-determination”, we are using the concept of the “nation”, as a homogeneous social and political entity… In a class society, “the nation” as a homogeneous socio-political entity does not exist. Rather, there exist within each nation, classes with antagonistic interests and “rights”.”

    The following is a statement published in 1916 by the SDKPL (the Polish Socialist Party she was member of):

    “The so-called right of self-determination is also used with the proviso that it will become a reality for the first time under socialism and is thus an expression of our striving for socialism. This proposition is open to the following objections. We know that socialism will do away with all national oppression, because it removes the class interests that furnish the driving force of such oppression. We also have no reason to assume that the nation, in socialist society, will form a politico-economic unit. By all indications it will have the character of a cultural and linguistic unit; for the territorial division of the socialist cultural unit, insofar as this will survive at all, can only follow the needs of production, and this division would have to be determined, not by individual nations separately, from their own power (as the “right of self-determination” demands), but through the joint action of all interested citizens. The carrying over of the formula of “right of self-determination” into socialism arises from a complete misunderstanding of the nature of socialist society.”

    As the SPGB says, it’s about a world without borders, not all about Scotland !!

    1. Jeff says:

      So we vote ‘no’ then? Yes?

  37. The third option is to spoil your ballot which demonstrates a willingness to provide an opinion rather than being mistaken for apathy in an abstention.

    As socialists the most important issue is advancing understanding towards socialism, not diverting workers down dead-ends.

    1. Jeff says:

      Right. So, lets get this straight. We all spoil our ballot papers and ‘show a willingness to provide an opinion rather than being mistaken for apathy in an abstention’. Then we wake up on September 19th and….what? The revolution starts on the Friday does it? Or after Boris and Nigel get esconced as the new UK prime minister and deputy? Will the revolution be just in the UK, or will it be a worldwide one? Just so all the folk down the food bank know that disregarding this opportunity really was worth it. .

      1. We are talking about a revolutionary process that requires understanding and participation. Rejecting the status quo is simply the first step.

        But what we know for sure is when we wake up on the 19th, regardless of the result , nothing of real importance to our daily lives as workers will have changed.

  38. Jeff says:

    You and I both know that that’s not going to happen. This is navel-gazing stuff.
    Your principles are true, and I agree with them, but it won’t happen in our lifetime, so lets get on with reality. A ‘no’ result will embolden the Tory/NewLabour/UKIP leaderships and make things so much worse for the poor sections of society. A spoilt ballot paper will solve nothing.

  39. And are you saying as the lesser evil the SNP would not be emboldened by a yes vote. You and i both know that it will be treated as a mandate for all the SNP future policies such as cutting corporate taxation…the tried and failed policy of a rising tide raises all boats.

    I agree with you, Jeff, that the task of the socialist movement cannot be accomplished over-night. But it will never ever be achieved by not making it an immediate demand and by postponing its establishment to some far off indeterminate time in the future. Genuine socialism despite the usual side-swipe is not utopian. The technical capacity for a world ” from each according to ability to each according to needs” is no obstacle as it once was which leaves the the only problem being that people do not see socialism as a possibility and an alternative. That is the task – to place real socialism on the agenda. Nationalists want all the headlines over the demand for socialism, that is left to the small-print, if even mentioned.

    You are again perfectly right, Jeff, it is not going to happen – if you maintain your current political aspirations.

    “Without a vision the people will perish” – Proverbs. The nationalist vision is sady myopic.

    To return to an earlier part of the thread perhaps our anthem should be Lennon’s “Imagine”. You know the words:

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too…

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one

    I have tried to link to historic precedents to back up our arguments that independence now – socialism later has strengthened the nationalists and weakened the socialists and i have challenged the false assumption that the Scottish personality in politics is more radical than other regions of the UK. Less than a hundred years ago the Church of Scotland was calling for the deportation of the Irish immigrants.

    The so-called Nordic model is being dismantled in Scandinavian countries, albeit at a slower rate and in a slightly different manner to the clumsy austerity policies of other countries. The Norwegian oil sovereign fund is investing in dictatorships and eco-destroying projects around the world.

    And just to close i add this quote from a member of the first independent Irish government that they were the “most conservative-minded revolutionaries that ever put through a successful revolution”.

    (Since then i am sure some will assert other “liberation” movements deserve that mantle)

    1. Jeff says:

      I am not saying the SNP are perfect (although they are certainly to the left of Labour on most issues).The removal of Trident and removal of first past the post imho makes voting Yes irresistable. You are assuming the SNP will win the elections in Scotland post independence? With a proper democratic voting system the people will get who they vote for. It might be Labour, SNP, SSP even, but I predict won’t be Tory or Lib Cons. Might even be you, Alan if you’re in the running? This is one of the opportunities that independence presents – real democracy. I would suggest that no such opportunity will ever present itself within the UK framework of politics, with FPTP it will be NewLab/Tory/ConDem/UKIP in power for the next millenium and beyond and obviously the mainstream parties will never allow any change.

  40. The Edinburgh and Glasgow branches of the SPGB also posted their statement on the RCN’s ‘Emancipation & Liberation’ blog. My reply can be read at:-

    http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2014/04/01/yes-the-radical-case-for-independence-glasgow-book-launch/comment-page-1/#comment-1476325

    I have also been involved in earlier debate with Alan Johnstone of the SPGB. This can be seen at:-

    http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2010/04/26/a-reply-to-alan-johnstone-of-the-spgb-from-allan-armstrong/

  41. Many thanks for drawing attention to your reply, Allan, and for taking time to actually reply.

    My own reply to you is now at the RCN website you linked to.

    http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2014/04/01/yes-the-radical-case-for-independence-glasgow-book-launch/comment-page-1/#comment-1476325

    Needless to say both yourself and ourselves can add substantially to our arguments so i comradely (or perhaps, cordially, is more appropriate since we still hold politically differences !!) to further the discussion directly with our Scottish branches, following the referendum as regardless of its result, the debate on socialism and nationalism will persist.

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