[Marxism] Re: Anti-imperialism in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Paul Cockshott clyder at gn.apc.org
Tue Apr 6 16:23:44 MDT 2004

Danielle writes
The IRSP does not subscribe to nationalist ideology, either.  Its
is republican, socialist, and anti-imperialist.  If the IRSP is critical
the SSP, it's for not taking a consistently anti-imperialist line where
Six Counties are concerned.  The SSP states its solidarity with the 
Palestinian and Colombian struggles, for example, yet it's unwilling to 
state its solidarity with an anti-imperialist struggle taking place a
21 km away.  Surely you wouldn't want people to get the impression that
SSP is only anti-imperialist when it comes to far away struggles?


I must admit that I do not know a great deal about the IRSP politics.
Since this series of postings I have looked at your web site and it
seems to me that your politics combines elements of classical Bolshevism
with a practical preoccupation with nationalist issues.

For instance I see that your conference accepted the motion I quote at
the end, which seems pretty conventional Leninism. At the same time
most of the propaganda pages seem devoted to national issues.

I am dubious about the relevance of the category Imperialism when
at the National questions in Scotland and Northern Ireland. I know that
some Scottish Nationalists have claimed that the relationship between
Scotland and England is a colonial one. I dont think this is realistic.
Glasgow and Belfast were clearly part of the industrial powerhouse of
the British Empire, they expanded in large measure due to supplying
heavy manufactured goods to the colonies and building the ships that
carried trade to and from the colonies. Their decline since the 60s
as industrial centers stems in large measure from the end of empire.

Their relatively poor economic development in the 80s and 90s when
compared to say Dublin or the South of England stems from the effect
of this old orientation towards the colonies and the Atlantic at a
time when the focus of capitalist development has been towards
the EU. England Scotland and Ireland are all developed industrial
capitalist economies that are in the process of integrating into the
greater European Capitalist economy, and it is quite unrealistic
to compare the level of development of any of these areas with 
third world countries like Columbia. 

The real political problem for socialist internationalism in
Europe strikes me as being how to raise the struggle for socialism
beyond the confines of the old nation states which are in the 
process of being supplanted, and re-establish it at the European
political level. The Maximal Program that the IRSP puts forward
below, seems to make sense at a European level but not in a small
nation state which would lack the economic breath to support it
and would be subject to immediate Nato intervention anyway.

When I was in the Workers Party of Scotland, we could talk of
an independent socialist Scotland securing itself by joining the
Warsaw Pact, and inviting in Soviet bases. But that is obviously
now impossible. Any socialist strategy has to be based on a
political struggle at the level of the nascent EU state.

> MINIMUM PROGRAMME (Mixed Economy) 
>                  1) The nationalisation of all banks, with lower interest rates, and an end to what is a
>                  rehashed laissez faire (monetarism) thus allowing more governmental control over the
>                  economy. 
>                  2) The nationalisation of all major industry with no compensation to the present private
>                  owners thus guaranteeing job security for workers. 
>                  3) Closure of pay differentials between higher and lower paid workers. Tax increases to
>                  fund health, education, housing etc. 
>                  4) Higher corporation tax for what would be left of the private sector. Again this money to
>                  go towards socially necessary projects. 
>                  1) Abolition of all private property. 
>                  2) A planned economy based on central and local economic planning for the production of
>                  goods and services serving the needs of the population and not the greed of a few
>                  entrepreneurs. 
>                  3) Workers ownership of the means of production, control and exchange, which will
>                  provide goods, and services of the highest quality. All elected persons in positions of
>                  responsibility will be subject to recallable accountability. Abuse of position will not be
>                  tolerated. 
>                  4) A complete end to the present system of wage slavery and the quasi form of
>                  supply/demand. 
>                  5) A commitment to use value of goods and services as opposed to exchange value. After
>                  all what is the exchange value of a hospital bed compared to its use value? 
>                  6) An end to all forms corruption and profit. Ultimately the democratically elected
>                  representatives of the workers councils and area committees will be the chief arbitrators of
>                  domestic economic policy. 
>                  7) Foreign economic policy will be directed by the democratically elected and accountable
>                  revolutionary socialist/communist party of governance. This will be done in consultation
>                  and, if necessary negotiation with the leading representatives of the workers councils. 
>                  8) A recognition that the market economy is not, as we are constantly told by our present
>                  rulers, the natural order but a synthetic organ of the capitalist economic system. What is
>                  natural about booms (when people are benevolently allowed to work providing they are
>                  profitable) and slumps resulting in mass redundancies for the lucky ones and sackings for
>                  the less fortunate? The latter state of affairs resulting in poverty, homelessness, and often in
>                  extreme cases murder in the household.

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