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Scotland's new left alliance RISE on local election results: 'The battle to represent working-class interests goes on'
May 12, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal via Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières -- RISE, the new socialist alliance in Scotland, had a very active and strong campaign in the recent UK local elections, but obtained disappointing results. It got 10.911 votes. This is not really surprising giving that RISE held it founding conference in December 2015.
RISE (Respect, Internationalism, Socialism, Environmentalism) emerged out of the Radical Independence Campaign for the 2014 independence referendum and the Scottish Left Project. RISE involves activists from the Scottish Socialist Party, International Socialists Scotland, ex-International Socialist Group (dissolved after the founding of RISE) and independent radical socialists.
Below, Cat Boyd, co-founder of RIC and RISE and its election candidate for Glasgow, Jamie Maxwell, RISE member and its press officer during the election campaign and Carolyn Leckie, RISE voter and columnist for the National give their views on the campaign and the results.
New political force will launch on August 29
August 24, 2015 -- Scottish Left Project, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We are pleased to announce the name under which the new coalition of the left being launched on August 29 will stand. Our name -- RISE, Scotland's Left Alliance -- reflects our political outlook and organisational make-up.
Respect: We stand for a society where we end racism, sexism, discrimination on the grounds of sexuality and where people of all backgrounds, colours and creeds are treated with respect and dignity.
Independence: We stand for Independence for Scotland. But our Independence is based on ending neoliberalism, austerity and the membership of NATO. We are for ending the monarchy and putting people in charge.
Socialism: We are for a social alternative to capitalism where people run the affairs of our society democratically and where the vast resources of society are utilised in common, rather than for the super-rich.
By the Scottish Socialist Party,
August 8, 2015 -- Scottish Socialist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) National Council members have voted in favour of the party becoming an affiliate of a new electoral alliance for the Scottish elections next year.
Party co-spokesperson Sandra Webster highlighted the potential for socialism to grow in this alliance.
At our NC ... the comrades present voted to enter an alliance with the soon to be renamed Scottish Left Project. All of our comrades should be proud of their passionate discussion and resolution. The SSP look forward to being at the heart of the alliance hoping socialists may be elected to Holyrood in 2016. I look forward to continuing to build the SSP and building a movement that is truly grassroots.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon.
Click for more on left politics in Scotland
By Murray Smith
June 4, 2015 – International Viewpoint, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The day after the May 7 Westminster [British] general election, George Kerevan, newly elected Scottish National Party MP for East Lothian, was walking through his constituency. He was approached by a group of young working-class women who recognised him, proudly declared that they had all voted SNP and wanted to take “selfies” with him. When Kerevan asked why, they replied “because this is history”.
They were of course right. The day before the SNP had taken 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland, leaving the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties with one each.
SSP national co-spokesperson Colin Fox.
May 25, 2015 -- Scottish Left Project, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Scottish Left Project welcomes the motion passed at the Scottish Socialist Party annual conference calling for a new left electoral alliance in time for the 2016 Holyrood [Scottish] elections.
Colin Fox, SSP national co-spokesperson said:
The Scottish Socialist Party believes the Scottish Left Project electoral alliance has great potential and we want to help harvest that potential. We bring our experience and expertise as a party, one that has fought all four previous Holyrood elections, with us. And we look forward to meeting our partners in the Left Project in the next few days to see what progress can now be made towards advancing our shared political goals.
Antonio Gramsci – A Great and Terrible World: The Pre-Prison Letters, 1908-1926
Edited and translated by Derek Boothman
Lawrence & Wishart
For more discussion on the ideas of Antonio Gramsci, click HERE
By Bill Bonnar
April 30, 2015 -- Scottish Socialist Voice, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The recently published book on Gramsci’s early political writings, A Great and Terrible World, is a timely reminder of the tremendous contribution Antonio Gramsci made to socialist ideas in the 20th century.
Born in Sardinia in 1891, he was one of the founders and leaders of the Italian Communist Party until his untimely death in 1937. Despite crippling ill health and eight years spent in a fascist prison, his contribution to the theory and practice of socialism marked him out as one of the great Marxist thinkers of his time.
By Colin Fox
May 11, 2015 -- Scottish Socialist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the end the polls got it wrong, badly wrong. And all the commentators who placed so much faith in them looked foolish. There was no hung parliament. No horse trading between Westminster parties, no weeks of instability before a coalition government was formed. The Tories thumped Labour and won a clear majority.
May 9, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party won a clear victory in Britain's May 7 general elections. In Scotland, however, the Scottish National Party (SNP) dramatically rose from six seats to 56 out of 59, in a clear sign of opposition to the brutal austerity backed by the major parties in Westminster.
The big loser in Scotland was the Labour Party, which was nearly wiped out. Previously the largest party in Scotland, it kept just one seat. It was ruthlessly punished for its support for austerity and its role in opposing Scottish independence. Although the “no” vote won, Labour paid the price for a nasty campaign in which it appeared as just one more voice of the London establishment.
By Alister Black, Edinburgh
May 4, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International journal of Socialist Renewal -- Britain's May 7 general election is set to be the closest in living memory. In the polls, the two leading parties, Labour and the Conservatives (Tories), are within points of each other. The polls have not shifted despite the best efforts of Tory Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband to secure a breakthrough.
Why are the polls so close?
May 2, 2015 -- Irish Republican News, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- With just days to go before a potentially historic Westminster general election on May 7, a further rise in support for the Scottish National Party (SNP) is already creating a crisis in British politics which will likely have implications for Ireland.
Most recent polls indicate that the SNP will sweep almost all of the 59 Westminster seats in Scotland, and is well placed to win the balance of power in London. The development appears to have taken the British establishment by surprise and thrown the opposition Labour Party into chaos.
All but one or two of the 59 MPs elected by Scotland could now be won by the SNP by the time counting concludes, creating a political imperative for independence which is directly comparable to the 1918 "Sinn Fein" election in the aftermath of the Easter Rising in Ireland.
A confused Labour Party leader Ed Miliband told a television election special that he would refuse any pact with the SNP -- even if it meant giving up the chance of power to David Cameron’s Conservatives (Tories). On May 1 he repeated that there would be “no deals or coalitions”.
April 16, 2015 -- Scottish Socialist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A commitment to a £10 an hour minimum living wage for all, defiance of austerity and the eradication of insecure zero-hour contracts are at the heart of the Scottish Socialist Party’s manifesto, launched today at the Augustine Church in Edinburgh.
On the demand for a £10 an hour living wage, to be implemented immediately:
“The other parties contesting these elections may cry crocodile tears about this widening divergence in earnings between working people and their bosses but they stand full square behind the neoliberal economic system that manufactures such inequalities. A competitive, modern Scottish economy cannot be constructed on slave wages.”
Other measures proposed include vastly expanded carer rights:
Tony Benn discussing politics with Ralph Miliband (right) at the Socialist Society Conference, Chesterfield in 1988. Photograph: John Harris/reportdigital.co.uk.
By Andrew Perchard
April 16, 2015 -- History Workshop, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In the midst of last year’s Scottish independence referendum campaign, a friend and fellow historian of modern Britain, visiting from the north west of England, recounted his Damascene moment in grasping the national conversation in Scotland.
He had been visiting friends several weeks before and was taken to a bar one night in a former mining village in central Scotland. There he had been struck by the overwhelming number of those in the bar, whose politics he typically associated with the Labour Party, who openly declared they would be voting in favour of Scottish independence.
For more on Scotland and independence, click HERE.
The People’s Referendum: Why Scotland Will Never Be the Same Again
by Paul Geoghegan
Luath Press 2015
Review by Alex Miller
April 16, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The UK-wide general election for the Westminster parliament scheduled for May 7, 2015, looks set to be a very close, perhaps even closer than the 2010 election that resulted in the Labour Party being replaced by a Conservative Party-Liberal Democrat coalition government.
April 14, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following articles were published in the April issue #86 of the Scottish Left Review, as part of a round-up of the various positions being proposed by sections of the Scottish left to advance a left agenda during and after the British general election to be held on May 7, 2015.
Greens' Westminster MP Caroline Lucas.
By Terry Conway
April 8, 2015 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Membership and support for the Green parties across Britain – the Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW) and the Scottish Green Party (SGP) – has surged dramatically.
The membership of the GPEW has doubled in the past year and currently stands at 54,500, making it the fourth-largest party in Britain – bigger than the Liberal Democrats and UK Independence Party. It has also been rising in the opinion polls, topping 10% recently, well in advance of the Lib Dems, which has led the broadcasters to propose its inclusion in the TV debates.
Rail union RMT president Peter Pinkney with Greens MP Caroline Lucas. Pinkney is standing as a candidate for the Greens, who support re-nationalising Britain's railways.
By Derek Wall, London
February 23, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A Green surge has hit Britain. Thanks to an ongoing growth spurt, the Green Party of England and Wales has now hit 54,000 members, on top of nearly 10,000 members in the Scottish Green Party.
Opinion polls put the party on the rise, frequently beating the Liberal Democrats, who are governing in coalition with the Conservative Party. The Greens now have more members than the far-right anti-immigrant UK Independence Party (UKIP), whose growing support has generated much media attention.
British politics is changing, the Greens are part of this. The Green Party's success has been built by moving to the left.
The most obvious manifestation of the Green surge has been large rise increase in party membership. At the start of last year, membership in the the Green Party of England and Wales was about 14,000. This grew to 34,000 by the end of the year.
Membership growth this year has been explosive, with nearly 20,000 members signing up in January. On several occasions, the party website broke down and at one point, people were joining at a rate of one every 10 seconds.
Disunited Kingdom: How Westminster Won a Referendum but Lost Scotland
By Iain MacWhirter
Cargo Publishing, 2014,
For more on Scotland and independence, click HERE.
Review by Alex Miller
February 4, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The independence referendum on September 18, 2014, has been hailed by many as the most important single event in the recent history of Scotland.
Industrial Workers of the World poster against WWI.
By Doug Enaa Greene
February 2, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It has been a hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War. The centennial of the “war to end all wars” has seen countless commemorations of the millions of heroic soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice for king and country.
Yet missing from all of the observances of the war are the deeper questions of its causes – to divide colonies among predatory ruling classes – and the heroism of those who opposed the mass slaughter. And for the left, that is how we should remember this 100th anniversary – but honoring those socialists and communists who fought against all the odds to end the slaughter.
The Radical Independence Campaign conference after the referendum, on November 22, 2014, drew 3000 and demonstrated that spirits had not dimmed since the vote.
For more on Scotland and independence, click HERE.
By Alister Black
January 25, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As Scots gathered together at Christmas and Hogmanay last year conversations turned inevitably to politics. Most were agreed that the year ahead would be a very interesting one. The impact of the independence referendum vote on September 18, 2014, is still being felt throughout Scottish society, and that impact is reverberating across the UK state as well.
September 23, 2015 -- Stokokkino.gr, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Scotland is also in the grip of austerity today says Colin Fox, leader of the Scottish Socialist Party (pictured).
"Scotland is also in the grip of austerity today. The right-wing Conservative Party/Liberal Democrat coalition government in London have attacked the standard of living of working-class people. They have cut public spending on our health, education and social services by many billions of pounds. Britain also has unprecedented levels of debt as a result of bailing out greedy, reckless private banks with huge sums of public money.
"While our economic and social conditions have not declined as badly as Greece, working-class people are nonetheless struggling to maintain their living standards. The average family is £50 per week [or 70 euros/week] worse off today compared to 2008. And this despite our economy returning to growth, albeit weak growth. People in Scotland are angry at the London government for making workers families pay for a financial and economic crisis the bankers in the City of London caused.