Tuesday, 4 December 2018

COMMEMORATING JOHN MACLEAN'S RELEASE FROM PETERHEAD PRISON ON 3rd DECEMBER 1918



 RIC-Edinburgh banner in McPhater Street Glasgow


 Gerry Mulvenna sings a song in support of the Catalan hunger strikers

Pauline Bradley and Gavin Paterson from johnmaclean100 sing


The legendary Arthur Johnstone songs Freedom Come All Ye and the Internationale

The newly formed johnmaclean100lscot organised a series of events on Monday December 3rd to commemorate the exact centenary date  of John Maclean's release from Peterhead Jail, his train journey to Aberdeen, and then on to Glasgow, where he received a hero's welcome from a waiting crowd, estimated to be 100,000 strong. Information about this can be seen at:-


The event began in Aberdeen, at 8.00 am, when a group from Aberdeen Trades Council celebrated the welcome given to John Maclean as he changed trains on his way to Glasgow. In Glasgow, about 80 people walked the exact route that John Maclean had followed from McPhater Street to Calton Place on the south bank of the River Clyde. 

This was followed by a brief introduction from Alan Smart of johnmaclean100, in which he emphasised the significance of John Maclean in linking the National and Social Questions, and pointing to his relevance today. In particular, Alan highlighted the need to support those women in Glasgow who had taken strike action for equal pay against the now SNP controlled Glasgow council, after their let down by Labour in the previous administration. Alan also supported the pay claim being made by Scottish teachers in the EIS.

After Alan's introduction  a number of performers played a variety of songs, many about John Maclean, as well as about various struggles from the Wobblies in the USA to the 1984-5 Miners' Strike. The performers included johnmaclean.100 members, Pauline Bradley, Shaun Moore, Gavin Paterson, and Alan Smart. RIC-Edinburgh's very own Gerry Mulvenna sang a song he had written about the current situation in Catalunya. He spoke of the significance of the current hunger strike to force the European Court of Justice to press for the release of the Catalan political prisoners held by the Spanish state. The legendary Glasgow traditional music performer, Arthur Johnstone finished off proceedings with Freedom Come All Ye and the Internationale.

The RIC-Edinburgh banner was there. This went some way to make amends for the role of Edinburgh in John Maclean's life. It was in Edinburgh's Calton Jail that he was first imprisoned in 1916 for his opposition to the First World War. It was in Edinburgh's High Court on 9th May 1918, that John Maclean made his famous Speech from the Dock, before being sent to serve a punitive labour sentence in Peterhead Jail. Perhaps, not surprisingly, Maclean did not return to Glasgow via Edinburgh! 

However, the great James Connolly has gone a considerable way to retrieve Edinburgh's reputation. He saw two Edinburghs - the one from below (quite literally from The Cowgate) - and the one from above - "the snobs, flunkeys, mashers, lawyers, students, middle class pensioners and dividend hunters". It was with the support of the latter that Edinburgh's High Court was able to jail John Maclean. Today, RIC-Edinburgh places itself in that other tradition - the city from below. 

_________________ 

Gavin Paterson also has a programme on the Celtic Music podcast. The most recent one had the following playlist:- 

Come In Come In - Andy Stewart
The John MacLean March - Tonight At Noon Gavin Livingstone
Oh, Freedom - Pete Seeger
The Glesca Eskimos - Glasgow Song Guild (Josh MacRae)
Ding Dong Dollar - Glasgow Song Guild (Nigel Denver)
The Twa Corbies - Andy Hunter
If You're Black Get Back (Black Brown & White) - Danny Kyle memorial page
Bearsden Breakdown - Allan Tall
Maggie's Pit Ponies - Nancy Nicolson
Farewell To The Monty - Gerda Stevenson
In The Vale Of Aberfan - Freddie Anderson
When This Bloody War Is Over - Rab Noakes
The Red Clydesiders/Mrs Barbour's Army/Don't Sign Up For War -  Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust
The John MacLean March - Arthur Johnstone

The Eskimo Republic - Jimmy Ross
The Ballad of John Maclean - Pauline Bradley & Bernadette Collier
The Man In Peterhead - Alastair McDonald & Gavin Paterson
The Freedom Train To Glasgow - Alan Smart
The Singing Dominies - Shaun Moore
Scottish Breakaway - Liam Clancy
When Dawns The Day - Andrew MacDonald
Thomas Muir Of Huntershill - Dick Gaughan
We Shall Overcome - Pete Seeger
Freedom Come All Ye - Glasgow Song Guild (Jack O'Connor)

This podcast can be seen in two parts  at:-







WHERE NOW FOR BREXIT?


Edinburgh-RIC Assembly, November 28th

WHERE NOW FOR BREXIT?

Speakers - Maggie Chapman Co-Convenor, Scottish Greens
                Neil Davidson - RS21

Facilitator - Pete Cannell

The contributions from Maggie and Neil can be seen at:-



This was followed by questions and answers. Tony Martin of the Peoples Vote campaign spoke in favour of giving the people a new vote over Brexit. This followed the stalemate and inability of the government to put forward any unified Brexit option. Who should resolve this - May and her shrinking band of supporters, Westminster or the people? He talked about the Peoples Vote street campaign in East Lothian.

Some were worried about the boost that any attempt to rerun the Brexit referendum would give to the hard Right, with their shouts of betrayal and taking to the streets. You can not write off all Brexit voters as racist and many held quite legitimate grievances over the EU. The conduct of the EU towards Greece should not be forgotten. There were real limitations on what a Left government could achieve within the EU. 

Others argued that the hard Right would make advances, in both the dump Brexit and Brexit scenarios. In the dump Brexit scenario, though they would face a major defeat, since Brexit has been at the forefront of the Tory Right, UKIP, BNP and EDL agenda for some time. The Far Right would go ballistic, but they would not have become politically mainstreamed.  In any Brexit scenario, the creation of a new border and the stepped up immigration laws, would provide the far Right with the scope for vigilante action to supplement the already very reactionary UK laws and state activities over immigration. Many of the hard Right's arguments would enter the political mainstream. Their position in relation to the UK state would more resemble that of Loyalists to the old Orange Stormont regime. There were also major limitations in what you could achieve in the UK, with its anti-democratic powers and subservience to The City. 

The need to place an emphasis on the plight that EU migrants and asylum seekers now faced was agreed by all. The need to understand the reasons why many workers voted for Brexit, and not to dismiss them as the liberal elite did, was also agreed. As a consequence of Brexit, some of the middle class was now experiencing the economic blows for the first time that had fallen upon many of the working class for decades as a result of Thatcher's neo-liberal offensive. 

There was a discussion about the need for new types of organisation to replace those that the neo-liberal offensive had broken up, and those still existing bureaucratised unions, which were no longer fit for purpose,. The possibilities of community-based unions were discussed. Although fewer young people were involved in trade unions, their willingness to become involved in campaigns, which challenged the current order, was also emphasised - Occupy, the Radical Independence Campaign, the Living Rent Campaign. MeToo, and now Extinction Rebellion. 

_______________

On 27.11.18, The National published a piece, Why the 'Lexit 'Campaign was a Huge Missed Opportunity  by Cat Boyd:-


Cat has been a prominent member of RIC. T  She has her own column in The National and the views she expresses are personal ones. Cat's article argued for a new Lexit or Left Leave campaign. RIC does not have a position on Brexit. We have Remainers, Leavers and Abstainers amongst our members and supporters. However, RIC has never been afraid of organising debates around this issue, as the discussion on 18.11.18 shows.

Allan Armstrong sent a reply to The National on 27.11.18, which, knowing space would be limited,  only addressed one aspect of Cat's arguments. This letter was not published, so we are posting it below, as a further contribution to the debate.

A letter to The National

Cat Boyd has provided a damning indictment of the Lexiters in and since the Brexit referendum campaign. Yet she still tries to offers her advice about how a Lexit campaign could be revived. In this Cat completely ignores the elephant in the room - the creation of a new border. This is fundamentally what Brexit is all about.

The Lexiters and Right Brexiters both want a strengthened UK border to keep out the aspects of the EU membership they don't like - for the LexIters - the EUs neo-liberal constraints on public spending and nationalisation; for the Right Brexiters  - the EU's workers', consumers' and environmental safeguards. However, they are united in accepting that Brexit means the ending the free movement of people within what has been the wider EU.

The EU, in relation to its citizens, guarantees free movement from which millions, including UK subjects, have benefitted. The EU, in relation to the outside world has the Schengen Wall, which has contributed to the deaths of thousands of asylum seekers and migrants. What has been the UK's attitude to Schengen? The same as its attitude to workers right's - it wanted exemptions to impose worse conditions. For successive UK governments, the 'walls' weren't high enough. This led to the degrading Calais camps. When asylum seekers and migrants were desperately trying to cross Mediterranean Sea, and drowning in their thousands, the British navy, stationed at Gibraltar and Cyprus, only rescued a handful. The navy's main task was getting involved in, or providing logistical support for, US bombing in the Near and Middle East. Yet it was these brutal attacks on Libya, Iraq and Syria that had mightily contributed to the exodus of millions, who were mainly absorbed by their neighbouring poor countries. Some did make it to the EU's shores. How did the UK address this massive humanitarian crisis it had helped to create? It took in 187 Syrians, compared to Germany, with no Mediterranean navy, taking in 30,000.

We now have the new UK/EU Deal. May is touring the country trying to sell it. What does she claim is its greatest benefit? She says that the UK can now control immigration. The human tragedy of detention centres like Dungavel and Campsfield, and the draconian 2015 and 2016 Immigration Acts, are not enough. Nobody is challenging this - certainly not Corbyn. This is because he also accepts the need for a new border. Both May and Corbyn want this border to be porous for commodities and profits. The makers of those commodities will be denied free movement, whereas the takers of those profits will retain free movement. There is already a glaring gap, whereby Saudi Arabian billionaires with their domestic slaves, and Russian oligarchs with their gangster entourages have free movement (paying Tory MPs handsomely to look after their interests), whilst the cruelly injured victims of British bombs and arms sales in Syria and Yemen are excluded.  People as people get abandoned under any Brexit Deal.

What Brexit in any form will lead to is a new harsher system of immigration control. Both May and Corbyn are moving towards a form of the old German gastarbeiter system, whereby employers decide upon the labour they want. The state will enforce a hierarchy of contractual rights. These will determine the length of stay, the level of pay and working conditions, and access from other countries by family members. This will involve vastly increased state surveillance, which the Far Right will supplement by vigilante activity and worse. The Tories will relish this new opportunity for divide-and-rule, Corbyn will be shamefaced about it. However, the racist politics reinforced by any Brexit will dominate, since if you try and set up a new border, these go with the terrain. Lexit had not been able to escape this in the past, and nor would its revival be able to do so in the future. 

____________

also see:-



1. Report of the Another Europe is Possible meeting held in Glasgow on 30.8.18



2. The case for an EU Ratification Referendum


3. RIC National Spring Conference, 10.3.18



4. The UK, Brexit and Self-Determination


5. The EU Referendum

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

JOIN THE PROTEST AGAINST STEVE BANNON IN EDINBURGH, 14.11.18

PROTEST AGAINST STEVE BANNON AND THE FAR RIGHT



Wednesday, November 14th, 9.00 - 12.30
Edinburgh International Conference Centre,
Morrison Street

see SUR statement on 


___________/

Nick Gott's of RIC-Edinburgh has also issued the following letter:-

I am writing to express my anger and disgust that the BBC and EBU are providing the far-right racist liar Steven Bannon a platform to repeat his lies at News Xchange 2018. The statements by the BBC and EBU defending this decision are  not simply unconvincing, but dishonest. It is claimed that an invitation “is not an endorsement of any position or viewpoint”. But I don’t believe for a moment the BBC and EBU would extend an invitation to an apologist for ISIS, or an overt Nazi. The invitation to Bannon, therefore, is an implicit statement that his views and actions lie within the range of acceptable expression and rational debate; it clearly normalises those views and actions.

That Bannon is both a racist and a liar is beyond honest dispute. His position in Trump’s inner circle both during and after the presidential campaign is sufficient evidence on its own, but more recently, he has told activists for the European far right to wear the labels of “racist” and “xenophobe” as a badge of pride, and while running the fake news website “Breitbart”, he was happy to propagate ridiculous and poisonous conspiracy theories and to play host to open white supremacists and holocaust deniers. He has declared, absurdly, that Donald Trump has never lied to the American public despite the copious and blatant falsehoods Trump repeats on a daily basis. He has described himself as an “anti-elitist” while being himself a multi-millionaire, and cheerleading for Trump’s cabinet of billionaires – a lie shamefully parroted by the BBC in describing him as “a powerful and influential figure… promoting an anti-elite movement”. He is a strong supported of “Tommy Robinson” – another racist liar (and in his case, convicted thug and fraudster) who the BBC has been only too happy to provide with a platform while he whines about being silenced.

News Xchange’s “statement of both philosophy and practice” claims that:

“What is demanded of each session is that it will be competent and well-infomed, representing honest opinions seriously held and convincingly expressed.”

But it is abundantly clear from previous interviews, such as those with the Financial Times, the Economist, and ABC News, that Bannon is not interested in, and probably not capable of, a discussion held in good faith. His response to justified charges of racism and dishonesty is generally to repeat his lies, while accusing his interlocutor of being part of the “liberal elite”. No new information will be gained  by providing him with yet another opportunity to reinforce his position as a “powerful and influential figure… promoting an anti-elite movement”. Why, indeed, would Bannon have accepted the invitation if he did not regard it as a useful step in his campaign of hatred? The invitation is the latest example of the disgraceful role the mass media have played in the rise of the far right, adopting a pose of studied neutrality as between facts and lies, while giving ample coverage to the latter, acting as megaphones for bigotry and “fake news”.

The News Xchange programme includes the sentence “We know that there are problems with trustin journalism.” There most certainly are – and your action in giving a platform to a racist liar shows that this lack of trust is abundantly justified.

THE PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE FOR SELF-DETERMINATION AND THE IHRA STATEMENT ON ANTI-SEMITISM

Edinburgh-RIC Assembly, 31st October

The Palestinian Struggle and the IHRA Statement on Anti-Semitism


Speaker - Sarah Glynn of Scottish Jews Against Zionism
Facilitator - Pat Smith

Sarah's contribution can be seen at:-


This was followed by questions and contributions.

Three Labour Party members were present who talked about the impact of the IHRA in the Scottish Labour Party. Here it was the leaders of  Momentum/Campaign for Socialism which had suspended members without any hearing or appeal!

John Swinney's removal of Scottish government backing for  from the Israel-Palestine school resourced after lobbying by the Scottish  Friends of Israel was also raised.

https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/13431/revealed-swinney-shuts-down-israel-palestine-school-resources-after-lobbying-pressure

The Scottish government adhere to the  the controversial IHRA Statement on Anti-Semitism.

Following the appearance of an organised Zionist group on a Scottish Stand Up to Racism march in Glasgow on March 17th, it was agreed to approach  the STUC organisers of  the St. Andrews Day match against racism, to ensure that any pro-apartheid Israeli Zionist group is excluded.

________

also see:- http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.com/2018/10/ric-edinburgh-statement-on-ihra.html

Monday, 15 October 2018

THE PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE FOR SELF DETERMINATION & THE IHRA STATEMENT ON ANTI-SEMITISM.



 Wednesday, 31 October 2018, 19:00 
Augustine United Church
41 George IV Bridge
EH1 1EL


The UK  is one of the first countries to use the definition of anti-semitism, as agreed last May at a conference of the Berlin-based International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

A Downing Sreeet statement said that the intention of such a definition was to "ensure that the culprits will not be able to get away with being anti-semitic because the team is ill-defined, or because different organisations or bodies have different interpretations of it."

RIC-Edinburgh is hosting this event to explore how the IHRA statement may be used and how it could impact on the people of Palestine and their struggle for self-determination.

We are delighted that Sarah Glynn of Scottish Jews Against Zionism will introduce our discussion. 

Please come along and participate in the discussion.

_____

ALL UNDER ONE BANNER DEMO, OCTOBER 6th, EDINBURGH



The new RIC-Edinburgh banners on Johnstone Terrace one and a half hours before the AUOB march starts off



RIC's red flag bedecked Edinburgh Castle banner and the real Edinburgh Castle not yet flying a red 
flag!



Some well-kent RIC faces on the demo


Jonathon Shafi on the phone asking 'Where is Glasgow?"!


Palestinian and Catalan flags on the demo




Three photos of the RIC-led contingent on the Royal Mile - soon to become the Republican Mile!


Some of the queen's finest - AUOB stewards 'protect' 13 (unlucky) defenders of the 'White British' race



Two of the campaigns which joined the march - 'Trade Unionists for Independence' and 'NHS for Yes'


We're Scottish internationalist.....


... and we're young, nae feart and have hope and drive



RIC banners taking a rest in Hollyrood Park at the end of the demo - not a police officer or helicopter to be seen - truly a historic event (Historic Environment Scotland please note and raise a monument!)

_____________

Thanks for the photographs from Allan Armstrong, Pete Cannell, Grant Keir and Craig Maclean

Thursday, 4 October 2018

ALL UNDER ONE BANNER, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6th