2nd Indy Ref for Scotland

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ajjohnstone
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Mar 13 2017 14:29
2nd Indy Ref for Scotland

I will cut and paste what i posted on our discussion forum

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Sturgeon opts for a late 2018/early 2019 independence referendum so to stay in the EU once Brexit details are known.

I think i mentioned on another thread that our gut feeling was to oppose independence because it divided workers...Now i think that case is weakened since it is Brexit which will divide workers.

We will no doubt advocate our spoiled vote policy as we did previously and suffer the same insignificant and negligible result being utterly side-lined in the debate.

This time i hope we can raise the profile and should consider joint discussion forums with those who will either share our tactic or go for abstention. I think we have to join together for a much louder voice on the issue of nationalism, either British, Scottish, or European.

Scallywag
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Mar 13 2017 17:56

Where is it copied and pasted from? Is it on Libcom? I can't find the thread.

Last time we had this referendum I didn't vote agreeing with the libcom opinion on the issue, that there was nothing to be gained from the referendum and that it would only further Scottish nationalism, and electoral politics to the determinant of working class organising and the building of class consciousness.

I still agree with that except that the no vote had the same effect anyway, independence and Scottish nationalism just remained as an issue for people to rally around thinking that problems stem from corrupt politicians in Westminster, rather than all government's and the capitalist system itself. I think its always going to be until Scotland is independent, and since we've nothing to really lose or gain from it, it's probably better that it does happen only for people to see that government in an independent Scotland is just as much aligned with capitalism and works against working people as the Westminster one is.

I don't know many anarchists, but of the few ones I do know in person, they voted yes, really strongly supported it and were disappointed when the outcome was against, as were many other young socialists I know. Trying to make the same arguments again this time that we shouldn't vote is going to be difficult, no one outside of libcom will listen to it.

Last time I think we came across as being far too much against independence telling people that they shouldn't vote - that we were pretty much just supporting the status quo or at least seemed like we were.

People voting yes are doing so, because they think it's the least they could do to stem the tide towards reactionary right wing politics, possibly end nuclear weapons (in Scotland at least), end cuts and austerity (again in Scotland at least).

If its not going to have that effect and isn't enough then we should carefully argue why - but there isn't any point in being as against independence as we seemed last time.

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Red Marriott
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Mar 13 2017 20:13

Article about possible implications of Brexit & Scots referendum for Northen Ireland; http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/a-united-ireland-is-there-something-in-the-air-1.3007271

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jondwhite
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Mar 15 2017 22:32
Scallywag wrote:
Where is it copied and pasted from? Is it on Libcom? I can't find the thread.

From https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/forum/general-discussion/2nd-scottish-independence-referendum
Maybe its a semantic dodge but if the question is worded the same as 2014's 'Should Scotland be an independent country?' then wouldn't libcoms vote no to avoid lending support to creating an 'independent country'. I say its a semantic dodge because equally if the question was 'Should Scotland remain part of the United Kingdom?' then wouldn't libcoms vote 'no' as contradictory as this may seem, or abstain?

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Steven.
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Mar 15 2017 23:09

Saw an amusing tweet the other day saying something like the person is looking forward to seeing how the deluded Lexit supporters, who also supported a Yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum are going to get their heads around this one.

Jon, if you're going to have a principled communist position, then you shouldn't vote "no" either as that is an endorsement of the UK state, and a principled communist position (which I hold FWIW) is to reject both UK nationalism and Scottish nationalism.

ajjohnstone
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Mar 16 2017 00:20
Quote:
a principled communist position (which I hold FWIW) is to reject both UK nationalism and Scottish nationalism.

That is the SPGB position, calling for a spoiled ballot paper rather than a boycott

Off the top of my head i think the total number of spoiled ballot papers for any reason in the last referendum was 3000, a minuscule figure compared with the turnout.

If we go back to 2014, i think one thing was apparent, we on the Thin Red Line had no real presence in the debate and, in fact, there was some who took contradictory stances to one another.

I'd like to address that failure and so i have raised the possibility of some sort of coordinated cooperative action such as joint forums/shared meetings, an agreed statement or leaflet, perhaps a poster/sticker campaign. I really don't think we are capable of much more but that would be a helluva lot more than in 2014.

To be brutally honest, i don't expect too much enthusiasm for such a proposal from the SPGB Scottish branches, and i detect an underlying London/Home Counties apathy to anything happening North of Swiss Cottage.

But for the first time in my political life, 2014 was the largest engagement by people in the politics i have ever encountered and i reckoned it was very much a missed opportunity where we failed to reach or interact with fellow-workers who were, for once, receptive to debate and discussion.

Scallywag
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Mar 16 2017 12:14
Steven. wrote:
If you're going to have a principled communist position, then you shouldn't vote "no" either as that is an endorsement of the UK state, and a principled communist position (which I hold FWIW) is to reject both UK nationalism and Scottish nationalism.

Voting no is just voting for the status quo. I think its possible to vote yes though and at least hope for a more progressive style of politics, an end to austerity, end to nukes - as at least a small improvement of what we've got now and what we are heading towards, and out of recognition that you may as well because no matter what we do what we want isn't an option in this.

I think our options are either to not vote at all or to vote yes in hope of a better outcome, and I don't really understand the aversion to voting yes if its only a choice individuals make rather a position held that voting yes is what anarchists should do.

Its not as if by voting we've signed our soul to the devil, and can no longer call ourselves committed principled anarchists - unless anarchism has no theory or social element to it at all and is only about holding individualist convictions which must be adhered in order for an individual to properly call themselves an anarchist. Not that convictions aren't important, but voting in a referendum really doesn't renounce them.

ajjohnstone
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Mar 16 2017 15:21
Quote:
I think its possible to vote yes though and at least hope for a more progressive style of politics, an end to austerity, end to nukes - as at least a small improvement of what we've got now and what we are heading towards, and out of recognition that you may as well because no matter what we do what we want isn't an option in this

Scallywag, that is a rehash of the 2014 debate.

This is not about a second bite at the cherry but are workers interests better represented by voting for Scotland in the EU and solidarity with EU fellow-workers or alongside UK fellow-workers? A quandary and a dilemma.

I'd suggest that the individualist convictions is from those who look towards reforms and palliatives from either Yes or No camps and not at the bigger class issues...Either Yes is for one section of our ruling class and No is in support of another section. British nationalism or European nationalism...but both are nationalisms...Both Fortress GB or Fortress Europe are against the billions around the globe.

Scallywag
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Mar 16 2017 16:00
ajjohnstone wrote:
Quote:
I think its possible to vote yes though and at least hope for a more progressive style of politics, an end to austerity, end to nukes - as at least a small improvement of what we've got now and what we are heading towards, and out of recognition that you may as well because no matter what we do what we want isn't an option in this

Scallywag, that is a rehash of the 2014 debate.

This is not about a second bite at the cherry but are workers interests better represented by voting for Scotland in the EU and solidarity with EU fellow-workers or alongside UK fellow-workers? A quandary and a dilemma.

I'd suggest that the individualist convictions is from those who look towards reforms and palliatives from either Yes or No camps and not at the bigger class issues...Either Yes is for one section of our ruling class and No is in support of another section. British nationalism or European nationalism...but both are nationalisms...Both Fortress GB or Fortress Europe are against the billions around the globe.

OK, I wasn't thinking about it in terms of Brexit.

TBH though thinking about it in terms of being in solidarity with either UK workers or EU workers through a statist political union seems nonsensical anyway. Like workers elsewhere can fight for themselves so I was only really thinking about in terms of whether its good for workers in Scotland.

Another reason I am thinking it might actually be a good idea, is because I think there is this right wing culture in Britain, that's about obedience, knowing your place, everyone for themselves and being judgemental of other people experiencing hardships who need or ask for help - I associate that with the UK state, and the whole history and culture of Britain, so that maybe independence could maybe deliver a blow to it.

ajjohnstone
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Mar 16 2017 22:43
Quote:
Another reason I am thinking it might actually be a good idea, is because I think there is this right wing culture in Britain, that's about obedience, knowing your place, everyone for themselves and being judgemental of other people experiencing hardships who need or ask for help

Have you been to a Rangers match....wink))

If you choose to go down the road of what is best for Scottish workers then you are led to what is best for Glasgow or Edinburgh or Aberdeen workers, are you not? We enter the arena of parochialism and NIMBYism.

Surely we should base our case on that as anarchists/socialists we represent the interests of workers everywhere. Isn't our task if we are politically active even if it is from the keyboard to espouse our ideas and not give support and succor to the ruling class? They are far better equipped and able to do that for themselves without our assistance (here i am especially critical of the likes of SSP's Colin Fox, teaming up with billionaire hedge-fund managers on the 2014 Yes campaign.) We need to be the dissenting voice.

I will agree that because of demographics, Scottish government immigration policies are much more inclusive than the UKs, but i daily have come across xenophobic racist attitudes by Scots and they seem as common as elsewhere in the UK.

A recent example of the conservatism in Scotland is the MSP who at humanist secularist conference dared to be critical of faith schools and the Catholic Church hierarchy and the SNP mandarins crucified him (pun intended)

Scallywag
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Mar 17 2017 00:36
ajjohnstone wrote:

Have you been to a Rangers match....wink))

If you choose to go down the road of what is best for Scottish workers then you are led to what is best for Glasgow or Edinburgh or Aberdeen workers, are you not? We enter the arena of parochialism and NIMBYism.

Surely we should base our case on that as anarchists/socialists we represent the interests of workers everywhere. Isn't our task if we are politically active even if it is from the keyboard to espouse our ideas and not give support and succor to the ruling class? They are far better equipped and able to do that for themselves without our assistance (here i am especially critical of the likes of SSP's Colin Fox, teaming up with billionaire hedge-fund managers on the 2014 Yes campaign.) We need to be the dissenting voice.

A recent example of the conservatism in Scotland is the MSP who at humanist secularist conference dared to be critical of faith schools and the Catholic Church hierarchy and the SNP mandarins crucified him (pun intended)

I don't just mean racism, and xenophobic attitudes. This is kind of hard to describe, but imagine if you were abroad, and now you've just arrived back at the UK, your off a plane and going through UK border security - and it hits you that your back home and its back to business as usual. What do you associate then with being back home, living in Britain and British society? For me I feel this sense of overarching depression which isn't deriving from myself but from society - from the fact it is so conservative, so revolved around work, its soul destroying and other places aren't like this.

I don't know if Scotland is quite as bad (again not in terms of it being less racist and xenophobic) but every English person I've met who has come up north loves it up here says its more friendly and laid back. I am not saying that English people are any more conservative than Scottish people either. I am talking about a cultural phenomenon which I think stems from Britain and its history, the fact that it is such an elitist country - I mean we have a monarchy, and house of lords with their stupid wigs. So I don't know but I've wondered if independence would deliver a bit of a blow to this culture.

As for your concern with parochialism yes your right, but I only meant that workers elsewhere have their own autonomy and should be leading their own fight. Not that we only think of ourselves. I am not really sure how much independence would have an effect on workers in the rest of the UK, but my guess was that it wouldn't have much of an impact - it would just be the same as just now. The only way I've really thought about it is that it would create a slightly more progressive nation up north and leave the south with the same old, but wouldn't really change much for people in the south they would still be fighting their own struggle with the same government, and up north we would be fighting ours.

Yes we should represent workers everywhere and not be dividing into Scottish and English and European working classes, neither as anarchists should we be holding a position in support of the creation of a new independent nation state, but surely as individuals it's ok to vote not out of support for Scottish nationalism, but just hoping it would lead to a better outcome. Maybe I am not understanding the impact it would have on workers elsewhere. I think that the impact of a yes vote in Scotland is just the continuation of the status quo everywhere else, whilst in Scotland its pretty much still the status quo in terms of capitalism and statism, but we've maybe got a slightly more progressive country, and workers in Scotland would maybe start organising against their own country, once they realise nothings really changed.

Also no I've never been to a rangers game, I don't like football.

ajjohnstone
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Mar 17 2017 03:41
Quote:
but imagine if you were abroad, and now you've just arrived back at the UK, your off a plane and going through UK border security - and it hits you that your back home and its back to business as usual. What do you associate then with being back home, living in Britain and British society?

For me that is a real reality every few years and what i associate with is a greasy mutton mince pie and a black-pudding supper with brown sauce (Edinburgh style) smile after a few pints of heavy.

I was fortunate to have been present during the 2014 referendum and as i said in a previous post, the feeling of real political debate and the freedom to express political opinions (practically everybody with a badge of sticker Yes or No) so openly particularly impressed me. Rival campaigners and canvassers able to share the same side of the street without personal animousity. People were not passive spectators.Over 90% voter registration, over 80% turnout. As an SPGBer it restored hope in the potential of our style of politics. For anarchists, this sort of mass participation must give pause for thought. So it was not any sort of depression or pessimism i felt in 2014.

I wasn't there for last year's EU referendum, but from the reporting, it seemed there was a definite lack of voter engagement in the referendum process. No emotional attachment to it despite the fundamentals being very much similar...sovereignty/unity/best interests.

As i began in this topic, what we didn't do last time as a genuine political alternative, we can try to do this time about in sense of advocating and promoting something very much different from the choices on offer.

DigitalSocialist
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Mar 18 2017 21:09
Quote:
"Both Fortress GB or Fortress Europe are against the billions around the globe"

Exactly just like the UK the EU has border agency too called Frontex.

https://libcom.org/news/now-you-will-die-coast-guard-attempt-drown-asylum-seekers-lesbos-03082009

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Mar 18 2017 23:47
Steven. wrote:
Jon, if you're going to have a principled communist position, then you shouldn't vote "no" either as that is an endorsement of the UK state, and a principled communist position (which I hold FWIW) is to reject both UK nationalism and Scottish nationalism.

Playing devils advocate a bit here but hypothetically wouldn't libcoms vote no to the question "should [area] become an independent country?" And also vote no to the question "should [area] remain part of [area]?" Wouldn't both no votes be rejecting the nationalism being proposed?

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altemark
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Mar 20 2017 23:53

So what are Scottish anarchists doing, then?

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Steven.
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Mar 21 2017 10:20
altemark wrote:
So what are Scottish anarchists doing, then?

well, last time the anarchist groups called for abstention. Some articles here: https://libcom.org/tags/scottish-independence