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Statement: Scotland - After the Referendum
19 September 2014
The Scots have exercised their right to self-determination and have chosen to remain in the UK. We argued at the time that that offered the best terrain on which the re-composition of the working class could take place. However the outcome of the Scot's vote will resonate for a long time to come in Britain, Ireland and in Europe also.
There remains an urgent need to clarify the issues that arose in the referendum campaign. The class struggle will not take a holiday and many attacks on workers are still to come.
It must be accepted that the Yes camp had all the fun. The had the romance of the Braveheart myth and strong mobilizations of young people and of sizeable sections of the working class. They were able to point to the reactionaries in the No camp, including the sectarian reactionaries of the Orange Order. They expressed a very deep hatred of the Tories and a growing anger at a corrupt and decaying Labour Party.
The "Better Together" campaign was a gift to the independence movement. Not only did Labour join organizationally with the Tories and Lib Dems, it joined politically in a campaign of threats and fear tactics, allying with sections of big business and banks and bigging up the role of Scotland in various joint wars and imperialist adventures.
The only sub-text that Labour advanced was that there was no need for independence. Ed Millibrand would be elected at the next election and his austerity programme would be better than that of the Coalition.
As a result the working class in Scotland were presented with a choice between the promises of the SNP - the promise that independence under a capitalist government would meet their needs - and a reactionary and corrupt alliance. Under the circumstances the wonder is that the yes campaign lost!
We hold strongly to the view that the majority of socialists capitulated to nationalism. Alex Salmond often appeared to be the equivalent of Patrick Pearse, when he more closely resembled Bertie Ahern. The majority of both Scots and English groups argued that an independent Scotland would, by itself, become a bulwark against austerity without any need for an independent working class movement organized in opposition to the SNP capitalists. Yet again they grabbed the coat tails of a largely spontaneous movement, believing that such a movement, without any structure of class politics, can provide a way of moving forward.
In contrast our own organization argued in the Irish struggle that the workers should organize independently in support of a workers republic. Indeed we argued that such organization was a precondition to a successful struggle!
We are now in a very dangerous situation. We have a movement of youth and workers filled with burning resentment but with no political focus other than nationalism, yet the issues of austerity and class oppression are issues across Britain. The left, having avoided socialist demands in the referendum, would need to move quickly if the movement is not to dissipate.
Cameron, having promised "devo max" to Scotland, has now linked the promise to increased localism across the UK. We believe that the proposals that emerge will be thoroughly reactionary - for example, restrictions on the rights of Scots MPs, support for English nationalism and allowing the local Stormont assembly to lower corporation tax by transferring part of the social budget to subsidise transnational companies.
Our own position on the debate led to a great deal of hyperbole from other organizations. One group seemed to believe that the statement negated almost five decades of opposition to British imperialism in Ireland.
Some comrades and supporters of our organization also expressed dismay and disagreement.
We look forward to analysing the repercussions of the independence and to debating with and answering our critics.
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