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Social democracy and neoliberalism: victim or vanguard?

By Damien Cahill, Sydney

December 4, 2014 -- Damien Cahill: Thoughts on Politics, Economy and Culture, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Earlier this year Ed Miliband, leader of the British Labour Party, addressed a specially organised gathering of business leaders with the following words: “I would be a prime minister who champions the rights of the consumer and the rights of businesses to succeed and make profits in a competitive market at the same time.”

That such sentiments could be expressed by a Labour leader in the neoliberal era is unremarkable. Social-democratic parties have been falling over themselves during the last few decades to reassure capital that, not only have they jettisoned their socialist inheritance, they are also firmly on board with the neoliberal agenda.

For British Labour, Miliband is just the latest in a series of leaders that have driven the party to embrace neoliberalism.

Escocia: El Partido Socialista Escocés después del referéndum

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4123.]

Por Dick Nichols

12 de noviembre de 2014 -- Viento Sur -- La iglesia Augustine United Church de Edimburgo es un lugar frío cuando sopla el viento, como era el caso cuando el Partido Socialista Escocés (Scottish Socialist Party, SSP) celebró su conferencia anual de 2014 el pasado 25 de octubre.

Sin embargo, el ambiente se caldeó cuando los más de 200 miembros presentes del SSP pasaron a abordar los retos que plantea un vibrante nuevo periodo que se ha abierto en la política escocesa, marcado por una implicación popular sin precedentes en el activismo y el debate sobre el futuro de Escocia. Esta fase comenzó con la derrota de los defensores del “Sí” por un 55 % contra un 45 % en el referéndum por la independencia del 18 de septiembre. El efecto más sorprendente de esa victoria para el establishment del Reino Unido es el hecho de que el “victorioso” Partido Laborista Escocés, el principal partido impulsor de la campaña “Better Together” (“Mejor juntos”) contra la independencia, está ahora en crisis.

Review: 'Britain’s Communists: The Untold Story'

Britain’s Communists: The Untold Story
By John Green (with contributions from Andy Croft and Graham Stevenson)
Artery Publications 2014, 335 pages.

Review by Alex Miller

November 10, 2014 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) was founded in 1920, as one of the parties of the Third International promoted by Lenin and the Bolsheviks as an alternative to the Second (Socialist) International, whose member parties had discredited themselves by supporting their national governments in World War I.

Spirited Scottish Socialist Party conference tackles post-referendum challenges

The Scottish Socialist Party played an important role in the Yes campaign. This video explores the aftermath for the party and the future of Scotland.

For more on the Scottish Socialist Party, click HERE.

By Dick Nichols

October 29, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Edinburgh’s Augustine United Church is a cold place when the wind is howling, as it was when the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) held its 2014 annual conference there on October 25.

However, any feeling of chill disappeared when the 200-plus SSP members present got down to tackling the challenges of an inspiring new period in Scottish politics, marked by unprecedented popular engagement in activism and debate over Scotland’s future.

Britain: Left Unity leader Kate Hudson on creating a new party for the left

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras with Left Unity national secretary Kate Hudson.

October 27, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- Left Unity is a new political group in Britain created out of a call last year by filmmaker Ken Loach for a new party to the left of Labour, which has moved rightwards in recent years and supports anti-worker austerity measures. The call was supported by thousands of people and Left Unity held its founding conference in November last year. Green Left Weekly's Denis Rogatyuk spoke with Left Unity's national secretary Kate Hudson, a veteran campaigner who is also general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

* * *

Left Unity’s platform consists of socialism, feminism, environmentalism and anti-racism, among other features. How was this platform conceived? What was the decision-making process behind it?

The origins of the Left Unity project came in November 2012 out of the common struggle across Europe against austerity. There was a coordinated general strike across Europe on November 14 and we wanted to participate in that in Britain.

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.

Scotland: Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams comments on referendum result

September 19, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, commenting on the result of the Scottish independence referendum, said, "all of us now need to focus on getting the Westminster elites, the British prime minister and the leaders of the two other main political parties to honour the commitments made -- not least about the north [of Ireland] -- where PM David Cameron said there needed to be extra powers given."

He went on to say, "London was notorious for making and breaking commitments but we will try and keep them to that."

Escocia: el 45% votó a favor de la independencia a pesar de la campaña del miedo

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4062.]

Por Alister Black, Glasgow

21/09/ 2014 -- Sinpermiso -- Después de dos años de campaña, referéndum de independencia de Escocia ha terminado. La victoria ha sido para el NO, para quienes se oponen a la independencia, con un respaldo del 55% en comparación al 45% que apoyó un SI a la independencia.

El referéndum registró un nivel sin precedentes de participación y debate en toda Escocia. Esto se reflejó en la enorme participación sin precedentes del 84,59%, que invierte la tendencia de las últimas décadas de un declive de la participación electoral. Algunas zonas rurales han tenido un 100% de participación.

Los activistas independentistas, especialmente de la Campaña Radical por la Independencia, registraron en el censo electoral a miles de personas, en especial en las comunidades más pobres y marginadas de Escocia, en las que mucha gente había dejado de registrarse y votar desde la campaña contra la contribución urbana (poll tax).

Scotland: 45% vote Yes despite ruling class panic; Business as usual is not an option; Labour for Independence statement

By Alister Black, Glasgow

September 20, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- After two years of campaigning, Scotland’s independence referendum has ended. It saw victory for the No side, the opponents of independence, with 55% compared to 45% who backed a Yes to independence.

The referendum saw an unprecedented level of political engagement and debate throughout Scotland. This was reflected in the huge and unprecedented turnout of 84.59%, reversing the trend of recent decades of dwindling poll turnouts. Some rural areas even recorded 100% turnout.

Pro-independence campaigners, especially around the Radical Independence Campaign, registered thousands to vote in Scotland’s poorest and most marginalised communities, where many had been off the voters roll since the days of the poll tax.

We spoke to people who had never voted and needed the process explained. These alienated communities were enfranchised by the referendum.

Barry Sheppard on Daniel Bensaid's and Ernie Tate's memoirs of the 'tumultuous' 1960s

Paris, May-June 1968.

An Impatient Life, a Political Memoir
By Daniel Bensaid
London: Verso, 2013

Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s: a Memoir: volume 2, Britain 1965-1970
By Ernest Tate
London: Resistance Books, 2014

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal readers can read an excerpt HERE.

Read Barry Sheppard's review of Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s: volume 1 HERE

Reviewed by Barry Sheppard

September 9, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- These books cover the impact of the worldwide youth radicalisation that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s upon two sections of the Fourth International, one in France and the other in Britain. In both countries, this was a period of tumultuous events, including the US invasion of Vietnam and the international movement that erupted against it.

Escocia: Independencia sin fronteras

hands up

"La independencia de Escocia no es una cuestión de fronteras o banderas, sino de la vida de las personas y como cambiar a mejor” -- Cat Boyd en una reunión en la Cámara de los Comunes.

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4022.]

Por Hilary Wainwright

31/08/14 -- Sinpermiso --En la actualidad existe un movimiento político en Escocia que va bastante más allá de lo controlable, que ni siquiera comprensible a través de los mecanismos parlamentarios convencionales, la política reducida a la mera elección-de-un-candidato-cada-cuatro-años.

Muchos de nosotros, al sur de la frontera con Escocia, hemos tenido nuestros sentidos políticos tan adormecidos por las promesas incumplidas de cambio durante tanto tiempo que ha costado mucho que la gente acepte este hecho, pero debemos aceptarlo.

Scotland: Independence without borders

hands up

"Scottish independence isn't about borders or flags, it's about people's lives and change" -- independence campaigner Cat Boyd argued as she presented the case for Yes at a meeting in the House of Commons.The meeting agreed with a resounding Yes vote.

By Hilary Wainwright

August 2014 -- Red Pepper, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- There is today a political movement in Scotland that is quite beyond anything containable by or even comprehensible through the terms of conventional parliamentary, tick-some-scoundrel's-name-every-four-years politics.

Scotland's independence vote: 'For a modern democratic republic' -- Scottish Socialists

The Scottish Socialist Party pamphlet, For a Modern Democratic Republic, written by SSP national spokesperson Colin Fox (pictured above), highlights the need for an elected, representative and accountable head of state as part of Scotland’s constitution. The book is available from local SSP branches priced £3.99, and from its online shop for £5 (inc. p&p). Here is a taste of the pamphlet’s contents.

* * *

By Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party national co-spokesperson

August 26, 2014 -- Scottish Socialist Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Review: 'In Place of Fear II: A Socialist Programme for an Independent Scotland'

In Place of Fear II: A Socialist Programme for an Independent Scotland
By Jim Sillars
Vagabond Voices Publishing, 2014

Review by Alex Miller

August 13, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Jim Sillars is a well-known and well-respected figure on the Scottish political scene. He was elected (UK) Labour Party MP for South Ayrshire in 1970 but subsequently shifted away from mainstream Labour Party politics as a result of his commitment to devolution from Westminster and the setting up of a Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. It's worth remembering that the infamous "40% rule" that blocked the narrow majority vote in favour of devolution in the 1979 referendum was the work of UK Labour Party MP George Cunningham (with the support of fellow Labour MPs George Robertson, Robin Cook and Tam Dalyell).

Britain: Behind the strong vote for far-right UKIP

Anti-UKIP protest.

For more coverage of the 2014 European elections, click HERE.

[See a table containing the results for the European left, Green and left nationalist parties HERE.]

By Dave Kellaway

May 26, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- Despite a strong support for the far right, the radical anti-austerity left maintained and increased its votes in some countries such as Greece, but also Spain and Portugal.

Britain: UKIP leads race to the gutter

By Liam Mac Uaid

May 24, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- From the coverage of the English local election results and the relentless Nigel Farage mania you would think that the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) had romped to first place with the Conservative Party (Tories) a close second. You’d also be forgiven for thinking that the Labour Party had received a hammering and the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) don’t exist. The main story in most of the press, from the BBC to the Daily Telegraph, is that Labour is in crisis as a result of the election.

Yet what actually happened was that it was the two parties of Britain's coalition government -- the Tories and the Liberal Democrats -- that have been hammered. Labour’s result reflects the party’s polling figures over the last few months. It would have made them the largest party in parliament if repeated in a general election, though just short on an overall majority.

Britain: Left Unity moving in the right direction

For more on Left Unity, click HERE.

By Dave Kellaway

May 10, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- Several hundred members joining in a week after a Ken Loach Guardian article and a Salman Shaheen appearance on the Daily Politics show … new branches opening up every week and a well-attended national policy conference in Manchester … a dozen or more candidates baptising our electoral intervention in the May local elections.

This is Left Unity (LU) only six months after its founding conference. Who would have thought a new broad party of the left launched by an internet appeal and sustained through a Ken Loach cinema documentary would still be around a year later with nearly 2000 members and more than 50 branches? Occasionally on the left we need to acknowledge that we have done something right. Even in a very difficult period where we have suffered a series of defeats it is possible in a small way to build something to the left of the Labour Party that has the potential to draw in wider layers than the revolutionary left normally engages with.

Britain: New party Left Unity is on the move

The Left Unity conference backed the health policy commission’s “10 point plan to re-instate, protect, and improve the [National Health Service] NHS”.

By Tom Walker

April 2, 2014 -- Left Unity -- Left Unity’s national conference on Saturday, March 29, saw delegates come together in Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry to make decisions about the policy of this new party.

The party’s founding conference in November set Left Unity’s broad direction as a new party of the left and set up its constitution. This conference looked in more detail at policy areas including economics, health, housing and anti-racism, based on months of work put in by those who volunteered for the party’s policy commissions as well as many submissions from branches. (You can see the motions booklet here.)

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