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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.

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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.)

Scotland: Tariq Ali on independence

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On March 14, 2014, renowned Marxist author Tariq Ali presented, as part of Edinburgh University Sociology Department's Independence Lectures series, "Dismantling the British State: Strategy, Tactics and Ideology". It was held in association with Pluto Press and Wordpower Books.

Britain: People's Assembly conference a step forward in anti-austerity struggle

By Dave Kellaway

March 17, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Bob Crow’s family sent a message of solidarity to the People’s Assembly conference on March 15. They recognised that he was fully supportive of this movement. A truly nationwide movement if you listened to the accents and checked the delegate lists of those attending yesterday. A broad movement with over a dozen major unions affiliated. A movement that is not a top-down coalition, as some of its ultraleft critics have suggested, but one that is embedded in over 80 local groups. More than 660 people registered and there were around 500 in attendance. As someone remarked to me, you could tell it was a broad mobilisation because you did not recognise many people.

The Emmanuel Centre with its biblical exhortations beautifully marked out on the walls was full with activists actually fighting for some of those good intentions in a 21st century where hundreds of thousands have to go to food banks each week.

An Irish republican perspective on Tony Benn

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness in conversation with Tony Benn.

Introductory comment by Stuart Munckton

March 17, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following article provides an Irish republican perspective on Tony Benn. In some ways Ireland is a great prism through which to view Benn, his contradictions and his political development and radicalisation.

I read a book recently featuring essays by a range of British left and labour movement on Ireland and its struggle for self-determination that came out in 1985 -- the height of the troubles.

Benn's essay was fascinating because he was a cabinet minister when the then-Labour government sent in British troops to occupy Ireland's north. Benn, at the time, did not oppose it and said he knew very little of the situation. He said no one in the Labour government actually knew the first thing about Ireland and just did what they were told. He said he tried to get a debate started about it at one point, but was shot down.

Tony Benn (1925-2014): A great communicator of the socialist cause

By Phil Hearse

March 15, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- It is a bitter irony that Tony Benn has died in the very same week as Bob Crow, two giants of the labour movement who will be cruelly missed.

Numerous instant obituaries and comments have concentrated on Benn’s determination, his speaking and writing talents, his humour and his personal kindness. Of course. But in celebrating his life the important thing for the left, especially the younger generation, is to make an assessment of Benn and Bennism as a political phenomenon, why it constituted such a threat to the existing powers that be (including in the trade unions and Labour Party) and why such an array of forces gathered together to attempt to put an end to it.

Britain: Bob Crow's death 'a huge blow to militant class-struggle unionism'

By Liam Mac Uaid

March 11, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- We are deeply shocked at the news that Bob Crow has died suddenly early this morning of a heart attack at the age of 52.

We send our heartfelt condolences and solidarity to his family and friends and to the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and its members. His death is a huge blow to the RMT and to the wider trade union movement and to the cause of militant class-struggle trade unionism. During his 12 years as general secretary, the RMT has grown in both size and stature. He has been prepared to support strike action to defend the wages jobs and conditions of his members, and has done so very successfully.

As a result of this he has been vilified by the employers, government ministers and the likes of London mayor Boris Johnson, but has enjoyed strong support among the rank and file of the union. To say that he will be sorely missed is a gross understatement.

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Exclusive excerpts from Ernest Tate's 'Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s'

March 5, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Resistance Books (Britain) has kindly given permission for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to publish excerpts from long-time Canadian revolutionary socialist Ernie Tate's just-published two-volume memoirs, Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s. Links readers are urged to order a copy; to do so email terryconway@tiscali.co.uk.

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Preface by Phil Hearse

It’s a great pleasure to write the preface for Volume II of Ernie Tate’s memoirs of the 1950s and ’60s. I first met Ernie and his partner Jess MacKenzie in 1967, when I was part of a small group of young socialists from the London Borough of Ealing recruited to the International Marxist Group (IMG). So it’s the British part of the story that I know well.

Scotland: 'The English left need to shut up and listen' on independence

Click HERE for more on Scotland and independence.

By Pam Currie

February 20, 2014 -- Morning Star -- Is Scotland, as is often claimed, really more progressive than the rest of Britain? This is an argument traditionally dismissed by the left: the working class of Glasgow have more in common with the working class of Birmingham and Liverpool than they do with the opulent suburbs of their own city, or the tiny aristocratic elite who still own the vast bulk of Scotland's land mass.

This is true -- but it ignores several important arguments, and trotted out by the London-based left it can seem as out of touch and dismissive as Westminster's politicians.

Let's take the seemingly unstoppable rise of the far-right United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), for a start.

There's a real prospect that the right-wing party will significantly increase its representation in the European elections later this year, and with the Liberal Democrats' vote both north and south of the border in freefall it's conceivable even that they could be coalition partners in Westminster after 2015.

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