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Murray Smith

Scottish politics after May 7 Westminster general election

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.

Escocia: Esta derrota lleva las semillas de la futura victoria

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4076.]

Por Murray Smith

28/09/2014 -- Simpermiso.info -- Tras una campaña que ha durado dos años, Escocia votó el 18 de septiembre a favor o en contra de la independencia, Sí y No. Y fue el No el que se llevó la victoria por una mayoría del 55% frente al 45%. De modo que fue una victoria para el establishment político británico y una derrota para las fuerzas de la independencia. Y como buenos demócratas, los perdedores han aceptado el veredicto.

Écosse: Cette défaite porte les graines d’une victoire future

[English at Scotland: Independence loss contains seeds of future victory.]

Cliquez ICI pour en savoir plus sur l'Ecosse et de l'indépendance.

Cliquez pour plus de français.

Par Murray Smith

Après une campagne qui aura duré deux ans, l’Écosse a voté le 18 septembre pour ou contre l’indépendance – oui ou non. Et c’est le non qui l’a emporté. C’était donc une victoire pour l’establishment politique britannique et une défaite pour les forces de l’indépendance. Et en bons démocrates, les vaincus ont accepté le verdict des urnes.

Scotland: Independence loss contains seeds of future victory

By Murray Smith

September 25, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- After a campaign that lasted two years, Scotland voted on September 18, for or against independence, yes or no. And it was the No that carried the day, by a majority of 55 per cent to 45 per cent. So it was a victory for the British political establishment and a defeat for the forces of independence. And as good democrats, the losers have accepted the verdict.
Yet those who were expecting to see the supporters of independence dispirited and those who hoped that the issue of independence was settled for at least a generation were quickly disappointed.

'Broad left parties': Murray Smith replies to Socialist Alternative's Mick Armstrong

Mass rally for Greece’s opposition Syriza party in Athens in May 2014.

By Murray Smith

June 23, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Mick Armstrong of Socialist Alternative, Australia, has written an article which sets out to criticise what I have written over the last 15 or so years on broad left parties ("A critique of the writings of Murray Smith on broad left partes" (PDF), Marxist Left Review, Summer 2014). I would like to reply to some of the points that he makes.

Discussion: Murray Smith on what Russia is doing in Ukraine

Russian troops in Crimea.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published a range of views from the left on developments in Ukraine and Crimea HERE.

By Murray Smith, translated for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Dick Nichols

March 11, 2014 -- Déi Lénk (The Left), Luxembourg -- So, the Crimean parliament has voted to reunify with Russia. The notorious referendum, initially set for May 25, then brought forward to March 30, will finally take place on March 16 and “will serve to confirm” the decision of parliament. Clearly, they are already on their way to joining Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Over there, you never hold an electoral consultation without having decided the result beforehand.

We must grasp the enormity of what has just happened. For the first time since 1945, a country has annexed by armed force part of the territory of another country. Up until now we have had armed interventions, bombings, even wars in the Balkans. But never this. And for the time being, nothing indicates that it will remain an isolated case.

Europe: Socialism and the European left -- an interview with Murray Smith

Joonas Laine of the Finnish publication Revalvaatio interviews Murray Smith on socialism, the European Union and the perspectives of the European Left.

December 12, 2013 -- Revalvaatio -- Murray Smith is a Scottish socialist who has been involved in leftist politics in various Western European countries since the 1960s. Since 2009 he has lived in Luxemburg, where he takes part in the activities of the left party déi Lenk and was elected to be the party’s representative in the European Left Party’s executive bureau in 2010.

* * *

Luxembourg: Election opens new political chapter

Symbol of the anti-capitalist party déi Lénk.

Click HERE for articles by Murray Smith. For more on Luxembourg click HERE. For more on Europe, click HERE.

By Murray Smith

November 1, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Legislative elections were held in Luxembourg on October 20. The immediate outcome was that the ruling (practically non-stop since 1945) Christian Social People’s Party (CSV) looks headed for the opposition benches. A new three-party government is in the making, under the aegis of the Democratic Party, the most thoroughgoing liberal party in Luxembourg and the big winner in these elections, obviously taking votes from the CSV.

The anti-capitalist party déi Lénk (the Left) made less spectacular but solid progress.

Murray Smith: The real European left stands up

By Murray Smith

May 10, 2013 -- Left Unity, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Murray Smith's permission -- Having followed with sympathy the emergence of Left Unity and the possibility of a new party of the left being launched, I read with interest the two-part article by an anonymous figure, who may or may not be called Michael Ford, which may or may not be a pseudonym. I’m sure we’ll find out. For the purposes of this article, I will refer to him as Ford. In any case, whoever wrote it, the aim of the article is clearly to try and discredit the perspective of building a new party to the left of Labour and validate that of working with/within the Labour Party to drive it to the left.

There will undoubtedly be many replies to Ford from people who are directly involved in politics in Britain, which I am not at present. However, an important part of Ford’s argument is to try and demonstrate that the political forces to the left of social democracy in Europe don’t amount to much, either politically or in terms of their support. In doing so, frankly, he paints a picture which has little relation to reality. This is what I want to take up [1].

Europe: Greece, Spain, Portugal – the arc of resistance to austerity hardens

 On September 25-26-27, 2012, up to 50,000 demonstrators tried to encircle the parliament, calling for the resignation of the government and declaring “democracy kidnapped”. There were violent clashes with police.

Read more by Murray Smith. Read more analysis of Greece, Spain, Portugal and France.

By Murray Smith

October 16, 2012 -- Frontline, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- It sometimes seems as if Europe’s sovereign debt crisis has been going on forever. But in fact it really only manifested itself in 2010, a result of the bailing out of private banks with public money and other public spending due to the crisis. And in May of that year Greece became the first country to ask for help and to receive so-called “aid” – really, it cannot be repeated too often, loans that must be paid back – from the now infamous "Troika", the IMF-ECB-European Commission.

France: The rise of the Left Front (Front de Gauche) – a new force on the left

Jean-Luc Melenchon.

[Read more on French politics HERE.]

By Murray Smith

August 2, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Left Front (Front de Gauche) emerged onto the political scene at the beginning of 2009. As the Left Front to Change Europe, it was established by three organisations -- the French Communist Party (PCF), the Left Party (PG, Parti de Gauche) and the Unitary Left (GU) -- with the aim of standing in the European elections of June 2009.

Luxembourg: Class struggle in a ‘haven of peace and social progress’

Steelworkers protest outside in the Luxembourg headquarters of ArcelorMittal, May 2009.

By Murray Smith

May 1, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  – Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in the European Union, and also one of the richest. However, in spite of its small size, it has some features that provide an acute illustration of broader tendencies that exist within the European Union and the advanced capitalist countries in general. The two most striking aspects of Luxembourg are its importance as a financial centre and the multinational character of its workforce.

The Bolshevik Party and democratic centralism: A response to Murray Smith

By Doug Lorimer
In Links No. 26, Murray Smith, a former leading member of the Scottish Socialist Party and now a leading member of the Ligue Communiste
Révolutionnaire (the French section of the Trotskyist Fourth International),
made extensive comments on my article ``The Bolshevik Party and `Zinovievism’: Comments on a Caricature of Leninism’’ printed in Links No. 24., focussing in particular on the issue of the public expression and debate of political differences within the Bolshevik Party.(1)

At the end of his article, Smith argues that ``the idea that
discussions take place within the party and that only the decisions are made public can work only in the early stages in the development of a party, when it has weak links with the working class. In fact, as we have seen, there never really was such a stage in Russia: even in the early stages the key debates were public. But in the far-left groups that developed from the opposition to
Stalinism, this tradition definitely developed. Why? Probably as a result of a
long period of being on the defensive and of relative isolation.’’

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.

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.

Success for second European Social Forum

by Murray Smith.

Murray Smith is an international officer of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) and a leader of the International Socialist Movement (ISM), a Marxist current within it.

The second European Social Forum (ESF) took place in the Paris region 12-15 November. One year on from the highly successful first ESF in Florence in November 2002, the first challenge was to maintain the momentum. The challenge was met. Over three days, more than 50,000 people took part in fifty-six general assemblies and more than 250 seminars, a figure comparable to the 60,000 in Florence last year. There was no possibility of repeating the million-strong anti-war demonstration that closed the ESF in Florence, but the highly colourful and internationalist demonstration of 100,000 in Paris on November 15 can be counted as a success.

The forum was spread over three communes of the Parisian "Red Belt" suburbs—Saint-Denis, Bobigny and Ivry—and the La Villette neighbourhood of north-east Paris. Compared to Florence, this gave it a much more dispersed character, and it was difficult for participants to get an overall picture of the scale of the event as it unfolded. However, the other side of the picture was that this dispersion facilitated the participation of the inhabitants of these working-class areas, which might not have been so easy had the forum been held, for example, in central Paris.

The May-June movement and its aftermath

By Murray Smith

Murray Smith is an international officer of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) and a leader of the International Socialist Movement (ISM), a Marxist current within it.

 

CONTENTS

The government goes on the offensive

The teachers' strike

The 'interpros'

A contradictory outcome

`Chirac's rotten summer'

A government in disarray

In the months of May and June 2003, France experienced the biggest wave of strikes and demonstrations since the historic general strike of May 1968. On several occasions millions of workers struck and demonstrated against the government of Jean-Pierre Raffarin. Their demand was for the withdrawal of the Fillon Plan, a project for pension reform that would put an end to the right to retire at sixty with a decent pension. At the same time, teachers and other workers in education were fighting a project of decentralisation, a first step towards breaking up the state education system.

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