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Scottish Socialist Party

Eyewitness to Cuba: Report by the Scottish Socialist Party's delegation to Cuba

Che memorial statue, Santa Clara. Photo by Gerry Corbett.

In February 2009 for two weeks, a nine-strong delegation from the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) visited Cuba at the invitation of the Communist Party of Cuba (CPC). Bill Bonnar reports on the visit.

The delegation had a number of purposes: to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, to cement relations between the two parties and to allow the delegation an insight into the development of socialism in Cuba in the first years of the 21st century. The invitation to send a delegation followed a meeting in Edinburgh between the SSP and Teresita Trujillo, a political officer attached to the Cuban embassy. They were keen to re-establish contact with the SSP following the split with Solidarity and, with that, the removal of elements from the SSP who were hostile to the Cuban Revolution. The delegation, when assembled, represented a cross-section of the party with members from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Fife. Two of the nine delegates were women.

The program organised by the CPC was both demanding and insightful. It involved stays in Havana, Santa Clara and Pinar del Rio and involved travel of more than 700 miles.

Wave of workplace occupations aims to reverse tide of closures; August 5: Thomas Cook workers arrested

Avril Boyne, more than eight months' pregnant, who has nine years' service at Thomas Cook, protesting at the closure of the travel agency and the redundancy package offered to staff at the Thomas Cook office, Grafton Street, Dublin. Thomas Cook is offering five weeks' pay for each year of service but workers are holding out for eight weeks. Photograph by Matt Kavanagh/Irish Times.

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STOP PRESS: Thomas Cook sit-in raided by police, workers arrested!

Send protest/solidarity emails to wendy@thomascook.ie and fennj@tssa.org.uk

Anti-capitalist European Left: capitalists not workers must pay for the crisis

May 6, 2009 -- British left groupings Socialist Resistance and the International Socialist Group have joined the Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, Scottish Socialist Party and others of the European anti-capitalist left in endorsing this statement for the European elections. The statement was agreed at a conference in Strasbourg on April 3, 2009.

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It's not for people and workers to pay for the crisis, the capitalists should pay!

The next European elections will be held during the worst crisis capitalism has known since 1929. Economic, social, financial, banking, food, climatic, it is a global, general crisis.

Once again, the ruling classes want to make workers and peoples pay for the crisis. Governments have given hundreds of billions to banks but at the same time millions of layoffs fall on employees. Unemployment is going through the roof. The purchasing power of wages is falling. The destruction of public services continues.

It's not for people and workers to pay for the crisis, the capitalists should pay!

This policy of European Union institutions has been rejected by the "No" votes in France, the Netherlands and Ireland.

We reject the plans of EU governments that save banks and not people.

We put forward an emergency social and democratic plan:

Scottish Socialist Party: ‘Little Britain’ politics and the left

By Alan McCombes

April 24, 2009 -- Voters who want an isolationist Britain will be spoiled for choice in the European elections on June 4th. On the far right, the BNP and UKIP both demand an independent Britain. Left of centre parties that want British withdrawal include Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Parry and the NO2EU Yes To Democracy coalition. While these four parties promote British independence, the Free Scotland Party campaigns for an independent Scotland outside the European Union.

What should be the attitude of Scottish socialists towards Europe? Should the left back British separatism? And does the NO2EU Yes To Democracy campaign represent a progressive step forward?

`For international solidarity between workers' -- British left debates Lindsey oil refinery strike wave (updated Feb. 7)

Below are a range of views from the British and Scottish left on the strike wave that erupted at the Lindsey oil refinery and rapidly spread across the country. Statements from Socialist Resistance, Scottish Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, Respect MP George Galloway, the Socialist Party, the Morning Star, Lenin's Tomb blog and the Socialist Unity blog.

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For international solidarity between workers

Socialist Resistance statement

The Scottish Socialist Party: the biggest small party

By Richie Venton

SSP - For a workers MP on a workers wage

July 26, 2008 -- What a phenomenal result in the July 24 Glasgow East by-election on two parallel levels: the earth-shattering defeat of the Labour Party in Red Clydesider John Wheatley’s seat, Labour’s third-safest seat in Scotland, held by them since 1922; and the tremendous achievement for the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) in winning fifth place, the highest position for any of the smaller parties, despite all the apparently insurmountable obstacles we faced.

If we compare the votes with those of the 2005 Westminster election in the identical Glasgow East seat, Labour has gone into freefall from 18,775 to 10,912; the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) rocketed from 5268 to 11,277 -- in a turnout down from 48.2% in 2005 to 42.1% this time.

Scottish Socialist Party: Free public transport for all: travel doesn't have to cost the Earth

 

The Scottish Socialist Party’s campaign for free public transport is an ``audacious, eye-catching idea'' according to Douglas Fraser, political editor of The Herald newspaper.

In the Belgian city of Hasselt, which covers an area double the size of Dundee, congestion was eliminated in the late 1980s after the introduction of a totally free public transport system.

Free public transport would be the biggest single pro-environment policy enacted by any national government anywhere on the planet, dramatically slashing car use and CO2 emissions.

Free fares would represent a major shift of wealth in favour of the many thousands of people who currently pay sky-high fares to subsidise the transport companies.

Left regroupment: issues and prospects

The left in Britain has been better at coming apart than coming together in the last year. Gregor Gall, a member of the Scottish Socialist Party, examines the prospects for left regroupment in Britain and Scotland, and looks to Europe to see if there are lessons to learn.

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Broad parties and narrow visions: the SWP and Respect

By Murray Smith

January 4, 2008 -- The crisis which has led to a split in Respect is an important development, affecting as it does the principal force of the radical left in England. The future will tell us whether the current crisis represents just another failure, another dead-end, another missed opportunity for the English left, or whether, as seems increasingly possible, it offers Respect itself the chance for a renewal and is perhaps a step on the road towards a broader formation.

Whichever way you look at it, the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) is at the centre of the crisis. It is or was the central component of Respect, as it had been of the Socialist Alliance which preceded it, and it has been one of the main protagonists in the conflict that has engulfed Respect. So I want to look at what has happened from the point of view of the relationship between the SWP, a traditional far-left organisation, and the broader left formation that Respect is. I think there are some lessons to be learned which go beyond Britain.

Is the bottle half full or half empty?

Review by Alex Miller

Gregor Gall, The Political Economy of Scotland: Red Scotland? Radical Scotland? University of Wales Press, 2005.

This is not the time for the empty conceits of vainglorious demagogues, but the occasion for well-grounded marxians smartly able to seize the upsurging opportunities to rouse and lead our class to victory. English labour is bound to respond to our call if we in Scotland strike out boldly for political conquest.—John MacLean, 19201

Scottish independence and the struggle for socialism

By Alan McCombes

Alan McCombes is the editor of Scottish Socialist Voice, the newspaper of the Scottish Socialist Party.

For socialists, internationalism has always been a sacred principle. "The workingmen have no country", declared the founders of scientific socialism 150 years ago.

In 1863, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels founded the International Workingmen's Association, the First International. The movement was created in recognition of the fact that the world was not a patchwork quilt of hermetically sealed national states, but a chain of interlinked nations in which major events in a single country could have continent-wide, and even worldwide, repercussions.

This world view was dramatically borne out by the events of 1917-1919, when the successful Bolshevik revolution immediately ignited a forest fire of mass revolutionary movements across Europe.

More recently, in the 1960s, the US ruling class expounded the "domino theory", and attempted to bomb Vietnam into oblivion for fear that "godless communism" would sweep through the whole of east Asia.

Internationalism and international links

By Murray Smith

The development of the Scottish Socialist Party [SSP] is not an isolated phenomenon, but part of a process of rebuilding the left internationally. In this article, we look at the relationship between the building of national parties and an international movement.

As Marxists and internationalists, we do not conceive of building a socialist party just in one country, but as part of an international movement. Until January of this year, the ISM was part of an international organisation based in London, the Committee for a Workers' International [CWI]. We took the decision to leave this organisation as a result of growing political differences which first became apparent when the CWI opposed the launching of the SSP three years ago. It gradually became clear that we had radically different and incompatible views concerning the tasks of Marxists today and the kind of parties we should be building.1

Axes of Marxist internationalism

By Murray Smith

Murray Smith is an international officer of the Scottish Socialist Party and a leader of the International Socialist Movement, a Marxist current within it. This paper has been adopted by the ISM.

The fact that the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) is not part of any international organisation makes it all the more important to have an international perspective. The three axes of the party's international work are participation in the movement against capitalist globalisation, solidarity with workers and oppressed peoples and developing the party's international links, in Europe and beyond. Just as the International Socialist Movement (ISM) has no interests other than those of the SSP, so it has no hidden international agenda. But as with other questions, the ISM has a specific role to play as a Marxist platform. In international terms this means not only playing an active role in developing all aspects of the party's international work. It also means deepening our analysis of international events and taking an active part in the debates that involve all those across the world who are working to build new parties and new international links.

The broad party, the revolutionary party and the united front [2]

By Murray Smith

CONTENTS

John Rees' contribution to the debate over what kind of party socialists should be building today deals with fundamental issues [see page 82]. As such it is very welcome, as is the reproduction in International Socialist Journal of the two articles from Frontline by Nick McKerrell and myself. The issues in this debate are also in one form or another being debated internationally. The three main points that I want to take up here are the nature of the Labour Party and similar parties elsewhere, the united front today and the question of broad and/or revolutionary parties, of what kind of party we need today.

The broad party, the revolutionary party and the united front [1]

By John Rees

CONTENTS

The resurgence of radicalism in the anti-capitalist movement and the trade unions has provoked an important debate across the left internationally. The issue is this: what kind of party should socialists build? Should it be a broad socialist party or a revolutionary organisation? This is a discussion that has recurred many times in the socialist movement since at least the days of Marx and Engels. But it has been renewed today both because of the rebirth of radicalism and because of the decline of Labourism and the traditional Communist parties. Murray Smith and Nick McKerrell have made important contributions to this discussion in recent articles in the magazine Frontline, reproduced in this journal. Murray Smith also raises some important questions about the history of the Socialist Workers Party, and so before we address the substance of this debate it is worth recalling the path that the left has taken to reach its current position.

The united front today

By Nick McKerrell

Nick McKerrell is a leading member of the International Socialist Movement platform in the Scottish Socialist Party. This article is reprinted from issue 8 of Frontline, the ISM's journal in the SSP.

CONTENTS

Regroupment and the socialist left today

By Alex Callinicos

Alex Callinicos is a leader of the Socialist Workers Party in Britain. His most recent book is Against the Third Way: an anti-capitalist critique.

CONTENTS

The millennium was celebrated as marking the entry of the world into an epoch of capitalist prosperity and peace. In reality, the years that followed have been marked by the development of a global economic recession and by the most serious international crisis since the end of the Cold War. In counterpoint to these grim events has been the emergence since the Seattle protests in November 1999 of a worldwide movement in opposition to global capitalism and, increasingly, also to US imperialism's war drive. This has provided the context for a significant revival in Europe of what has come to be known as the radical left - parties to the left of mainstream social democracy. Among the most important developments are the success of Trotskyist candidates in the first round of the French presidential elections in April 2002, the shift leftwards by the Partito della Rifondazione Comunista (PRC) in Italy, and the electoral challenge to New Labour mounted by the Socialist Alliance and the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) in Britain.

Where is the SWP going?

By Murray Smith

CONTENTS

The Socialist Workers Party is the largest far-left organisation in Britain. The international current of which it is the centre, the International Socialist Tendency, one of several Trotskyist or post-Trotskyist internationals, is present in more than twenty countries. The SWP and the IST represent a force that has to be taken into account when considering the processes of recomposition and regroupment taking place on the left internationally, particularly in Europe, and how they evolve can make a positive or negative contribution to those processes.

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