[Marxism] Scotland - to Michael Keaney

Philip Ferguson plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz
Tue Jun 22 19:01:28 MDT 2004

What I wrote on Scotland on the 7-Stars group was in response to people
who, in my view, vastly overplayed the idea of Scotland being oppressed
by England, rather than being an integral part of British imperialism.
Peter Urban, who I would generally regard as a political co-thinker,
reached absurd levels of trying to prove how much more oppressed
Scotland was and how much more radical than the English working class
the Scottish working class is.  His method was purely economistic -
Scottish workers are more radical on bread and butter issues.  As I
argued, that is not serious class consciousness.  A real measure of
class consciousness in Scotland would be the attitude of Scottish
workers, as part of the British working class, to the freedom struggle
in Ireland and Scottish workers are every bit as backward as English
workers on that issue, not least because of the role of Scots
historically in the British oppression of Ireland.  And the oppression
of Ireland is *not* (or *not simply*) by England; it is by *Britain*.  I
see no reason for pretending otherwise and/or letting Scotland off the

If I was discussing or debating with people who totally opposed Scottish
independence in any circumstances, I would have argued something
different.  In other words, what part of a political analysis or
position anyone emphasises at any point in time depends on what they are
arguing with/against. 

My *overall* position is basically the same as the CPGB/Weekly Worker
people.  This is that if most people in Scotland (and/or Wales) wanted
independence, that should be respected but that this does not mean that
Marxists *advocate* it themselves, let alone try to take a lead
campaigning for it.

I think the CPGB/Weekly Worker position on Scotland is a solid Marxist

I should also add that I generally wouldn't get into this kind of
debate, because I'm not in favour of people in one country having a
'line' on other countries.  The only reason I have a particular view on
this is that I lived for quite a long time in Britain and Ireland and
was heavily involved in Irish republicanism so I do have a legacy of
attachment and involvement; I'm not just an outsider pontificating on
the issue.  

However, the fact that I now live 10,000 miles away, and have done so
for a decade, means that debating Scotland is not of much interest to
me, and not really much of my business.  So, just as I stopped debating
it on Seven Stars, I won't be having anything further to say on the
subject on the Marxism List.


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