Tuesday, 11 September 2018

ALL UNDER ONE BANNER DEMONSTRATION IN EDINBURGH, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6th




     The RIC National Forum held in Edinburgh RIC on August 11th, undertook to
host a republican and Scottish internationalist contingent for the 'All Under 
          Under Banner' demonstration in the city on October 6th. 

          There will be three new banners. The first will read:-

For an Independent Scotland
FREEDOM COME ALL YE
For Scottish Internationalism

          The second will read:-

ANOTHER SCOTLAND IS POSSIBLE
ANOTHER EUROPE IS POSSIBLE
ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE


   The RIC-Edinburgh banner, with its red-flag capped Edinburgh Castle and its 
          call for a Democratic, Secular Scottish Republic, has been seen on 
          many demonstrations.  However, following our work with Women's and 
          LBGTI groups, with the Scottish Greens and environmental groups, and with 
          social and economic campaigns and trade unionists, we are now updating this 
          to:-

FOR A DEMOCRATIC, SECULAR, INCLUSIVE, SUSTAINABLE, 
SOCIAL SCOTTISH REPUBLIC.
        
           We are calling upon people to join us with their own organisation and 
           campaign contingents, and with their own banners and materials. We are 
           asking people to bring red flags, Scottish republican flags, Catalan Republic 
           flags and Palestinian flags. 
       
                           Hope to see you all in Edinburgh on October 6th. 
______

For a fuller explanation of the background to the revived 'Yes' movement see:-



                                                               https://www.conter.co.uk/blog/2018/9/7/the-yes-movement-the-left

                                                                                                             ______________

                                                                                                                            also see:-


Tuesday, 4 September 2018

VIGIL AT SIKH GURDWARA IN LEITH, 30.8.18




The Sikh Gurdwara in Leith was severely damaged in an arson attack on 28th August. Th police suspect it is a hate crime and have arrested somebody in relation to this attack.

A vigil was organised on the Thursday evening of 30th August. Several hundred people attended. They mainly came from the immediate area in Leith and from Edinburgh. The organisers were very pleased at the turnout. RIC-Edinburgh members attended, but kept tour banner under wraps in acknowledgement of the nature of the vigil.

__________

A REPORT OF THE ANOTHER EUROPE IS POSSIBLE MEETING HELD IN GLASGOW ON 30.8.18

Allan Armstrong attended the meeting entitled organised by Another Europe Is Possible in Glasgow on 30th August. He was asked to write up his proposal for a Scottish-iniiated Ratification Referendum. This had been agreed at the RIC AGM on June 30th. (see http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-case-for-eu-ratification-referendum.html)

__________



THE CASE FOR HOLYROOD TAKING THE LEAD 
ON A BREXIT DEAL REFERENDUM

On Wednesday 30th August, The Left Against Brexit organised its first meeting in Scotland. Kirsty Haigh (Another Europe Is Possible) chaired the meeting in Strathclyde University Union. Tommy Sheppard (SNP), Maggie Chapman (Scottish Greens), Liam McCabe (NUS-Scotland President) and Michael Chessum (Labour Party and Momentum) addressed the meeting.

The platform speakers were largely agreed upon the need for a Left campaign against any likely Brexit deal, or the prospect of no deal. The negotiations remain in the hands of the May's Tory government, with the main pressure coming from the further Right, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson, and from Arlene Foster's DUP, dependent on the support of the Orange Order and the Loyalists. Thus, we all have an immediate interest in defending workers' pay and conditions, women's and minority rights, and environmental and consumer protection.

A number of contributors from the floor thought that the discrediting of Westminster politics meant priority should be given to winning independence for Scotland. Michael Chessum said that he appreciated that there were keen supporters of independence at the meeting, but he was not asking them to abandon or downplay this, anymore than he would his own support for a future Corbyn Labour government. However, opposition to a Tory Brexit deal or even No deal could still unite us.

Some supporters of Scottish independence did not see difference between the political situation during IndyRef1 and that during any possible future IndyRef2. But both sides in Indy Ref1 wanted Scotland to remain in the EU. This also meant that, if Scotland had won its political independence, there would be much less economic disruption. The EU would ensure the continuation of the free movement of people and of free trade. If the UK leaves the EU, then any new Scottish independence campaign would have to deal with the arguments about the economic disruption resulting from Brexit and leaving the UK. Project Fear would move into overdrive.

However, one thing should be clear. May's government is not going to allow any referendum, whether over Brexit, any Brexit deal, Scottish independence, or a Border Poll in Northern Ireland. At the moment there appears to be only one way to break this logjam. Holyrood can hold a Brexit deal referendum. A potential parliamentary majority already exists in the SNP and Green MSPs, and if Momentum in Scotland could win over some Labour MSPs this would add to the political impact.  It would also provide an immediate political focus for Another Europe Is Possible in Scotland. Furthermore, this would allow opponents of the Tories to take the initiative, instead of passively waiting for the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. This just leaves politics focussed upon Theresa May and her untenable Chequers Agreement, and Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnston putting forward their delusionary Empire 2, hard Brexit schemes. 

It is important that such any referendum should be over a Brexit deal or no deal - a Ratification Referendum. Scotland has already voted to Remain. There was a 62% majority, far larger than for any No vote elsewhere in the UK. Furthermore, this was achieved despite the rigged franchise. Whatever, the limitations of the White Paper, which accompanied the Scottish government's official Yes campaign in 2014, it outlined the manner in which it saw independence being implemented. Neither of the two Brexit campaigns made any attempt to do this, and issued contradictory statements. Thus a Ratification Referendum would also allow us to win over those, who voted for Brexit, but not for the versions of Brexit now being pushed by various figures in the Tory government. 

But, even more importantly, a Holyrood Ratification Referendum can base itself on the civic national precedent set by IndyRef1. EU residents and all those between 16-18 would get the vote. The racist exclusion of migrants in the Brexit referendum was a disgrace. Prominent Brexiteers avoid taxation and salt away their incomes in overseas tax havens, whilst EU migrant workers pay UK taxes. A big majority of young people are hostile to Brexit, and the chauvinism and racism it has promoted. 

Holding a Holyrood Ratification Referendum would place Scotland once more to the forefront of democratic change in these islands. Providing a civic national and Scottish internationalist example of how to conduct a referendum would put pressure on Westminster. This could follow the collapse of the May's Tory government, because of her inability to get her Chequers deal through parliament. A general election would be a quite likely result. This would give renewed opportunity both for independence supporters and for Corbyn supporters to campaign. 

This would be the situation in which Michael Chessum's acknowledgement of the different politics of those involved in the Left Against Brexit would come to the fore. However, there could still be some political basis for further political cooperation. It seems very unlikely that Corbyn-led Labour could win an absolute majority of UK seats at Westminster. Therefore he would need to approach other parties to be able to form a government. The SNP actually has better record of voting with Corbyn for progressive legislation in Westminster, than the right wing of his own party! It would be a strong indication that Labour had at last broken with Right unionism, if it could seek support from SNP MPs to implement its manifesto commitments, in return for agreeing to Holyrood conducting IndyRef2. Indeed, for the forseeable future, this is the only likely way that such a referendum could gain legal backing. 

There is a principled political basis for future cooperation in the Left Against Brexit campaign. This would mean opposing the strengthening of the UK's anti-democratic powers by upholding the right of self-determination. The Tories are even tearing up the limited Devolution deal brought forward under New Labour. Furthermore, continued cooperation would mean championing workers, women's and minority rights; and defending the free movement of people. 

Or as a celebrated Scottish internationalist, Hamish Henderson, once declared - 'Freedom Come All Ye!'

Allan Armstrong, Radical Independence Campaign, 31.8.18
_____________

This was first posted at:-  https://www.anothereurope.org/holyrood-must-take-the-lead/ 

Thursday, 23 August 2018

DUNDEE 'ALL UNDER ONE BANNER' DEMONSTRATION, 18.8.18








RIC-Edinburgh joined the RIC-Dundee and Dundee Against Austerity contingents on the 'All Under One Banner' march held in Dundee on 18th August. There were flags from many countries, with Catalunya featuring prominently, as well from Ireland, Wales and England. The Lothians-based Trade Unionists for Independence banner was also there.

The march of 16,000 people went from Baxter Park to Magdalene Green. The local SNP MP, Chris Law, emphasised Dundee's radical links. William Wallace had been educated in Dundee, whilst Magdalene Green had been used by Chartist and Women's Suffrage campaigners.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

RIC- EDINBURGH REPORT TO NATIONAL FORUM IN EDINBURGH, 11.8.18

We have 123 members

a.         RIC- Edinburgh Assemblies

i)         30.5.18 - Rail Nationalisation 

            Speaker- Craig Dalzell, Commonwealth Head of Policy & Research
            Facilitator - Pat Smith

            A report can be seen at:- 

            http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.com/2018/07/rail-nationalisation.html

ii)        30.6.18 - What Now for the Scottish Independence Movement?

            Speaker - Jonathon Shafi, RIC National Convenor
            Facilitator - Pat Smith

            A report can be seen at:- 

            http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.com/2018/07/what-now-for-scottish-independence.html

iii)       25.7.18 The Resistable Rise of the Far Right - How do the Build the Resistance?

            Speaker - Willie Black - Trade unionist, community activist and campaigner against the   
            Far Right
            Facilitator - Eileen 

            A report can be seen at:-

            http://radicalindyedinburgh.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-resistible-rise-of-far-right-how-do.html

b)         30.6.18 - RIC National AGM - Glasgow

            5 people from Edinburgh attended.

            A full report can be seen at:-


            i)          Action taken in support of motions;-

           
            ii)         Discussion on All Under One Banner events at National Forum, 1.8.18


c.         RIC-Edinburgh Organising Meetings

            i)    30.4.18 
            ii)   4.6.18 
            iii)  3.7.18 
            iv)  31.7.18 

d.         Next RIC-Edinburgh Assembly

            18.9.18, 19.00  - Organising for the All Under One Banner demo in Edinburgh on    
            Saturday, October 6th
            Speakers from RIC, Catalan Solidarity Campaign and Scottish CND

e.         Other events supported by RIC-Edinburgh

i)         10.5.18 - Solidarity with Shabaz Ali, Tollcross 
            

ii)        15.5.18 - The New Scottish Social Security Bill - What It Will Mean To You? 15.5.18, 
            Muirhouse Millennium Centre  

iii)       25.5.18 - Public Meeting to save Edinburgh Central Library, Central Hall

iv)        Connolly150 Event, Augustine Church, 2.6.18
            
            Speakers:-  The Lives of Connolly- 12.15-14.00 - Chair, Roisin  Mclaren                                      
                                    Peter Buckingham - Professor of History, Linfield  College, Oregon                                             
                                    Brian Hanley - Historian, Edinburgh University
                                    Frankie Quinn - 1916 Society, County Tyrone
                                    Chloe Alexander - Lecturer, Aberdeen University
                                    Connolly Lives- Chair, David Maguire
                                    Alan McCombes - Author and land campaignee 
                                    Donal Fallon - Dublin historian and broadcaster
                                    Paul Mclaughlin - Community activist and Project, Manager of MOJO                                            

            Performance of James Connolly's playUnder Which Flag - Spartaki Theatre Company
            Musicians - Gerry Mulvenna, Stephen Dodds

v)         14.7.18 - Anti-Trump Protest, Edinburgh
            

iv)        30.7.18 - Where Now for Catalan Independence? Edinburgh University
            
            A report can seen at:-





Saturday, 4 August 2018

WHERE NOW FOR CATALAN INDEPENDENCE?



COMMONSPACE held a forum at the University of Edinburgh on 30 July on where now for Catalan independence, co-sponsored by Bella Caledonia and ANC Scotland. 
Speakers: SNP MP for Edinburgh West Joanna Cherry; co-authors of Catalonia Reborn George Kerevan and Chris Bambery; human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar; head of the Catalan National Assembly Elisenda Paluzie. There was also a surprise guest appearance from exiled Catalan former Education Minister and St Andrews University professor Clara Ponsati.
 A full report of this can be seen at:-

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF THE FAR RIGHT - HOW DO WE BUILD THE RESISTANCE?




Speaker - Willie Black - Trade unionist, community activist and campaigner against the Far Right

Facilitator - Eileen 


 Willie's introduction can be seen at:-  


There was followed a discussion to which everyone contributed

The following issues were raised:-

1.      How much success can be claimed by the Left for the failure of the SDL again to mobilise significant forces in Glasgow on July 15th? Their poor showing was to be welcomed compared to the Football Lads Alliance's (FLA) 15,000 strong march in London in support of Tommy Robinson. However, the police had put a strict 100 maximum on the SDL, a half hour maximum presence and had then completely kettled them in. Although the Left again considerably outnumbered them SDL, the numbers were not enough considering the growing opportunities for the Right since the Brexit vote, and the support Trump has given to the Far Right, including Tommy Robinson. 

Steve Hedley, the assistant general secretary of the RMT, had been physically attacked after the Far Right demo in England. There were RMT members at the Glasgow anti-Far Right demo, but certainly no large-scale mobilisation.

2.      The world we now face is different from the past. Many young workers, who are on temporary or zero hours contracts, working in several jobs, are not members of unions. Not only has trade union membership declined, but where it can still be found, most members have relatively little contact with official union structures. Many young people are very suspicious of parties, seeing them only as a means to advance careers.

A lot of the Far Right activity took place on-line, with widely read Alt-Right websites. For young people the motivating factor in opposing the Far Right is opposition to their sexism, homophobia and anti-trans activities. Most young people also have friends from abroad whom they work with, and they want to oppose the anti-migrant actions of the Far Right, following the stepped up physical attacks on migrants since the Brexit vote.

The strength of UKIPs support, particularly in the North and Midlands of England, was due to its appeal to a fragmented, atomised and alienated working class, devastated by Thatcher's' de-industrialisation offensive. Atomised people look to saviours (Farage and Trump) and scapegoats (migrants and asylum seekers).  However, the current teacher strikes in the Trump heartlands of West Virginia, Kentucky and Arizona showed the possibilities for a new type of organisation that extended beyond the traditional unions and involved their local communities. 

There had also been significant Left and related currents since 2008, including Syriza, Podemos, Corbyn in England, and Sanders in the USA. IndyRef1 had a very high mobilisation amongst the working class. The Catalan Republic independence vote also was a blow against the Spanish state, the Rajoy government and the Right 

3.      The continued deep cuts in local services in England has further broken up working class communities. However, the cuts have also provided an opportunity for community campaigning. This could sometimes bring the Left into contact with people who blamed migrants for particular problems, as Willie had found out with housing campaigners in north Edinburgh. However, drawing people into action, and showing the connections between those suffering the consequences of the cuts, and pointing to those really responsible, was a good method of overcoming racist attitudes.

         It was also pointed out that although still not so advanced in Scotland as in England, Scottish local councils were also imposing punitive cuts now, as in the case of East Dunbartonshire local council.   

4.      The difficulties of creating a wider anti-Far Right alliance were raised. Many SNP and Labour supporters were not prepared to undertake joint activities, which involved the presence of the other party. In addition, the Left was still suffering from the aftermath of Tommygate, with people boycotting events, which gave a platform to either side in the original dispute.

5.      There had been a move to the Right in the SNP leadership, marked by their pushing of the Growth Commission report. Even, in the non-party Yes groups, there are people who oppose any public opposition to this neo-liberal, pro-austerity report, because they say it feeds into Labour's agenda, since the rise of Corbyn and Leonard. Robin MacAlpine of Commonweal has come under attack from the hard Scottish nationalists. Meanwhile, beyond the ranks of the SNP and independent Yes campaign organisers, an ethnic Scottish nationalism has resurfaced in the form of Soil nan Gaidheal. They have been trying to push anti-English feeling, under the cover of opposing "Tory scum" (the Tories in England control the government, therefore the English in Scotland are Tory agents).

6.      Those in the independent Yes groups who were opposed to the raising of other issues, like the Growth Commission, anti-austerity, the monarchy, etc, often shared an opposition to these with the Left. However they argued that all these issues should be set aside for now, and can be addressed after independence was gained. The Left can argue that if the current Scottish business owners and senior state managers are left in control, then possession is nine-tenths of the law, and their 'independent' Scotland would continue to be run in their interests. However, there was another argument, which could be taken into the Yes groups. The SNP leadership no longer has a viable strategy to bring about the independence they want. The defeat of IndyRef1 and the move to the Right, following the Brexit vote, means that the Tory/DUP coalition is not going to concede an IndyRef2. It is also unlikely the SNP leadership will take up the Catalan option. The organisers of the unofficial Catalan referendum, included republicans (Republican Left-EL) and socialists (Popular Unity Candidacy - CUP), are far more acutely aware of the Spanish monarchist semi-fascist legacy than the SNP or many independence supporters in Scotland are of the Crown Powers possessed by the UK state. So far these people have gone little beyond opposition to two aspects of the UK state - Westminster and the BBC. 

One of the things RIC should be doing in the independent Yes movement is to patiently explain the wider activities of the UK state. In one sense the present government is doing our job for us, highlighted by its rolling back of the Devolution-all-round settlement. This makes RIC’s republican arguments more relevant. Republicanism doesn't just consist of ending of the monarchy, after Scottish independence has been won, but opposing the state's Crown Powers now. 

One possibility for RIC to counter Scottish ethnic nationalists anti-English racism would be to focus people's attention on the main political cause of the damage: the UK state; e.g. have a banner with 'The UK out of Scotland; Scotland out of the UK'.

7.      As well as the Far Right beginning to attack trade unionists in England, in Scotland they see independence supporters as a major enemy. Corbyn and left leaning trade union leaders and the SNP are all within the sights of the Far Right.  This could be seen in the Loyalist and triumphalism in Glasgow on the day IndyRef1 was defeated. The SNP is the subject of strong Loyalist antipathy, and this has extended to the Orange Order inviting the DUP's Arlene Foster to Scotland, in order to oppose Sturgeon, the SNP and IndyRef2, and to cement hard core unionism. 

The Left needs to work hard to ensure that both Labour and SNP supporters can come together to build a wider anti-Far Right movement. In contributing to the building of this movement RIC can show the possibility of uniting Labour and SNP supporters. RIC had already shown the possibility of bringing such forces together in the successful conference held in Edinburgh in March:-


The shared basis for cooperation should include the recognition of the right of self-determination. This did not divide people between pro- and anti-independence.If the right to hold IndyRef 2 was conceded, under a government of a different complexion (e.g. Corbyn Labour needing SNP support to get a majority), then pro- and anti-Scottish independence could be fought out in IndyRef2.


8.      Willie added a cautionary note, saying that the Orange Order and the fascists were not identical. He saw the need to open up a divide between these two forces, drawing on a precedent from an earlier   demonstration in Edinburgh where the Orange Order and the National Front were kept separate. He also said that work was afoot to try and create an anti-Far Right football alliance in Scotland, but he hoped it would be lads and lasses!

9.      There was general agreement at the meeting that the current anti-Far Right forces, including Unite Against Fascism, would need to bring new forces together, with specific appeals to Labour and SNP, to give their public support.  RIC has never seen itself as an organisation, which attempts to set up new front organisations, but has always offered its support to bona fide campaigns, which advance the interests of the working class and oppressed groups. RIC would support such an initiative.