Yes or No? A Marxist view.

By Michael Allan and Rachel Gibbs, Labour Party members and supporters of Socialist Appeal, Glasgow

So far the referendum debate has been fought out between the pro-independence camp and the official No campaign, with the ‘Queen and country’ British nationalism of ‘Better Together’ characterised as the voice of those voting no. At present a significant minority of Scots, particularly young people, are looking to vote Yes in 2014 as it seems like the most radical alternative. From this perspective independence is seen as a way of breaking with ConDem austerity budgets and a No vote by extension is a vote for this rotten status quo.

However, a Marxist analysis shows flaws in this logic and the drawbacks of a Yes vote, which in the long term could be highly counterproductive. We understand why many are enthusiastic for an independence which they believe to be a progressive shift for Scotland. Nevertheless, as socialists we must analyse the conditions and not be swept away with this. We have to put forward the case for the unity of the working class in Britain and internationally, as there are no shortcuts in the fight for socialism. On this basis we advocate a ‘No’ vote in the independence referendum, not as support for the Better Together campaign or the British state. That is also why as supporters of Socialist Appeal we back the idea of an alternative campaign that will articulate a no vote on the basis of maintaining working class unity, one that will also push for the adoption of socialist policies in the labour movement to give working people the fighting organisations we need in this period of capitalist crisis.

When considering the question of Scottish independence, or the independence of any other nation for that matter, we must first assert that we support the interests of the international working class and recognise the negative impact of nation states and private ownership of industry upon these interests. Whilst we will always support the right to self determination we must also recognise the limitations of this under capitalism. In the case of Scotland we must see the Scottish parliament as delivering real gains for the Scottish people but also restricted by limited economic powers leaving it dependent on the block grant from Westminster. We support greater powers for the Scottish parliament towards the ends of self determination but we also understand that without the questioning of the British state and private ownership of industry these would be toothless. Whilst some may say only independence offers true self determination we would argue that this would be a false division of the Scottish and the rest of the British working class and would also be unlikely to offer true autonomy; one must consider the independence being put forward – one with the queen as head of state, retaining the pound, British military bases and membership of NATO.

It is clear that the SNP have received a considerable rise in support from 2007 to present and that independence, at times, has been a somewhat popular option (though it has never risen to the majority of polls). In questioning why this is the case we must consider the dismal performance of both the Westminster and Holyrood Labour Party. Traditionally the largest party in Scotland by some margin, the Labour Party succumbed to a disastrous performance at the 2011 Scottish Parliament election. When one reflects upon the programme being put forward this is hardly surprising as it centred around personal attacks on Alex Salmond – rarely political in content – and harsher penalties for those caught carrying knives. Little progressive ideal for the future was to be found and since then this has been reinforced by Lamont’s ridiculous comments on Scotland’s supposed “something for nothing” culture. With such little offered by the Labour Party many have looked towards the nationalists as a more progressive and social democratic option, seeming to offer a Labour-esque programme. However it must be considered that far from all of those that have voted SNP support independence and good Scottish Parliament results have failed to be repeated at Westminster or even last year’s council elections.

Within these circumstances Labour appears to be a dead right-wing duck with the SNP offering a more egalitarian future that they say could only be guaranteed on the basis of independence. However, independence must be seen as a move backwards rather than forwards. Does this declare the British state to be a positive force, much like Labour articulated in the post-war years? No, the decades of Thatcherism have clearly shown that not to be the case. What we are considering here is the case for a unified working class as this is necessary in the fight for socialism. This isn’t borne out of sentimental attachments. Capitalism is now a fully globalised system, which has been shown in the globalised nature of the capitalist crisis, with few countries across the world seemingly escaping for the moment. We have seen revolutions in the Arab world and political impasse in Europe. Even China, supposedly the next super-power, has seen a slowing down of economic growth and mass wild-cat strike action. What does this mean? Well, it shows that the crisis of capitalism lays the basis for international solidarity due to a globalised trend of austerity, leading to workers and unemployed people across the world shaking the shackles of oppression.

For the UK, this can be related to the interlinked nature of the working classes that make up Britain. The Scottish and British working classes have not developed separately but, because of capitalism, have developed as part of one working class. The same shared experience that once linked dockers in Glasgow and Liverpool now manifests itself in the precarious nature of the service sector employment which is all that we have left in the vacuum caused by deindustrialisation. It would be ridiculous to say that Scotland does not have its own national culture and identity but it would be equally absurd to say that class interests have diverged. Large strikes have often evoked sympathy strikes elsewhere (and across the border), this is particularly true in periods of crisis such as the 1920s, 1970s and 1980s where we saw the working class becoming increasingly militant and thus more unified. The great Scottish socialist John MacLean mistook a period of relative calm in the early 1920s, after the storm of working class radicalisation post World War One, as meaning that the Scottish working class was more radical than its English counterpart. However this notion was displaced with the general strike of 1926 less than five years later, a strike which asked the question of who runs the country. Similarly in the 1970s UCS in Clydeside was one of the first big disputes but it was followed by two decades of unrest across Britain. This period led to Britain being characterised as one of the most strike-prone countries in Europe, even ahead of France!

In relation to modern day Britain some have said the large increase in votes for UKIP at the recent county council elections have shown the English working class to be conservative and seeking reactionary solutions to economic crisis and that this is proof that they are less radical than Scots. There are several flaws with this analysis. As Socialist Appeal has explained elsewhere (‘Local elections show opposition to the Coalition: Labour needs socialist policies!’ http://www.socialist.net/local-elections-coalition-opposition.htm), these were county council elections held in mostly ‘Little Englander’ Tory strongholds where turnout was low, the Tory vote disintegrated considerably with UKIP hovering this up and gains being made by Labour. Also we must consider that whilst Scottish voters have had the supposedly social democratic SNP to vote for as an alternative to Labour such a party does not exist in English politics and UKIP have placed themselves as anti-establishment firebrands whose populist rhetoric offering a new solution will appeal to some of the disillusioned, but not the mass, of working class voters. The biggest vote belongs to those that have chosen to stay at home.

Characterising the English working class as conservative is something that is encouraged by the British ruling class as not only does it create division but also sows the seeds of disillusionment among radicalised layers in England. Just consider the extent of media coverage received by UKIP and purporting the popularity of British institutions such as the army and royal family.

Now let us consider the alternative consequences of an independent Scotland. So long as it was capitalist, Scottish and English workers would be put in direct competition. This is especially true if we consider SNP plans for a more “business friendly” environment, with lower corporation tax and other incentives which could lead to businesses relocating from England to Scotland. Whilst this might be good for Scotland in the short term, as it could bring more jobs, lower tax would mean less money for services and competition between Scotland and Britain would result in a driving down of wages on both sides of the border in a race to the bottom. Historically the way Scotland was able to compete as an export power was by doing the exact same, but lower wages retarded the development of the domestic Scottish market and made the economy highly vulnerable to falls in international demand. A loss of jobs or degradation of wages would also be used by the British ruling class to stoke up resentment south of the border, or vice versa if the reverse was true. This plays completely into the hands of the British ruling class. As a small nation state, particularly one that has been traditionally been a constituent part of a much larger one, it is likely that Scotland would continue to be dominated not just economically but also politically. This has been borne out by the experience of countries that have broken up such as the former USSR or ex-colonial nations.

These countries have continued to be dominated by both old and new powers. Closer to home, Ireland is a sharp example of such domination. At the time of partition in the early 1920s the British state retained power in the north, which was then the most industrial area with the majority Protestant population giving a better basis for political control. Whilst Scotland would clearly not be partitioned in this manner it is true that the British would likely try and retain power. The most obvious example of this would be military, which the SNP have already agreed to. Likewise there is a genuine belief that independence would rid Britain of nuclear weapons, as Scotland is one of the only viable locations for submarine bases. Would the British ruling class really give up nuclear weapons and their much-fabled permanent UN Security Council seat so easily? Most likely Britain would still retain the weapons, if not elsewhere in Britain but by pressuring the Scottish government to keep nuclear submarine bases in Scotland. Salmond, despite being seen to tackle Westminster would ultimately in an independence scenario remain deferential to the political power of Scotland’s southern neighbours as evidenced by his support for an independence that remains aligned with Britain and British interests. There could even be other means by which Britain retains influence over the oil fields. For example in the devolution referendum of 1979 had devolution been successful across the country but not in Orkney and Shetland there were plans for the islands to gain the same status as the Isle of Man/Channel Islands which would allow unfettered access to the oil fields. Whilst these plans may not exist today they demonstrate the desire of the British state to retain power over North Sea oil. Therefore unless you actually challenge the power of the British state, ergo the British ruling class and capitalism, then breaking Britain will not actually break British power.

We have already considered the fact that an independent Scotland would likely remain under British power to a large extent. It is also true that an independent Scotland, as promoted by the pro-independence campaign, would remain on a foundation of capitalism. On this basis the image of a more progressive Scotland is unlikely to be borne out, particularly during this period of austerity. It is painfully obvious that it is not just the British state that is pushing through draconian measures but international capitalism as a whole. One only has to consider riots of unemployed, disaffected youth in Sweden, supposedly the home of a different, social-democratic capitalism, to see that social inequality is likely to remain.

Some may respond to questions over an independent Scotland’s economic strength with the answer of North Sea Oil. Figures showing that Scotland pays into the British state more than it receives in expenditure have regularly been cited as reasons for this. It is true that ostensibly Scotland could survive but only in a period of a stable world economy. The economic storm that has engulfed the world would be likely to damage the fledgling economy of a small country that is largely dependent on its economically stagnant neighbours for trade. Norway in particular has been used an example of a small, oil rich and economically successful small nation – of similar size population to Scotland. However, it must also be said that Norway has not developed as part of a much larger union and its economy (including oil) has developed in a significantly different way, and time period, to Scotland. The British state has failed to capitalise upon the opportunity offered by the discovery of North Sea oil during the 1960s. With the oil crisis of 1973 there was a great incentive to extract as much oil as quickly as possible even if this meant a cavalier attitude to rig health and safety – culminating in Piper Alpha – and longer term economic planning with Tory and Labour governments giving massive tax breaks to multinationals. From this conditions of low tax and multinational control have arisen within the North Sea oil industry. It is true that oil has provided an economic boost to North-East Scotland but it has far from fulfilled its transformative potential. The government of a small capitalist country would neither have the will nor the economic might to tackle multinational corporations. An independent Scotland would struggle to nationalise industry on a capitalist basis. Even the British state had difficulties nationalising BP and setting up a publically owned competitor to the multinationals in the form of BNOC during the 1970s.

Up until this point this article has considered an independent capitalist Scotland. Now let us consider the question of an independent socialist Scotland. By socialism we mean public ownership, democratic planning and workers’ control of politics, economy and workplaces. A yes vote in the referendum must not be conflated with socialism or as a necessity in creating an independent, socialist Scotland. For a start the SNP and the rest of the pro independence campaign cannot be seen to be offering such a solution. It is also questionable as to whether Scotland would be allowed to continue as socialist state with Britain over the border. Also, why would socialism simply be confined to Scotland? If there was a mass movement of the working class in Scotland, which was at the point of overthrowing capitalism, why would that movement simply stop at the River Tweed? In reality, a socialist Scotland would only be allowed to exist within a socialist Britain and in order to achieve this a workers’ movement across Britain would be required. On the basis of a socialist Britain, as part of a socialist Europe (and beyond), an independent Scotland could be possible if this was the will of the Scottish people.

We’ve seen here the arguments against independence on socialist principles. That is why we encourage a no vote, not out of enthusiasm for the United Kingdom but out of a desire to see socialism. Of course voting no is not enough for this. We need the unity of a British working class armed with a socialist programme and a fighting labour movement. That is why Socialist Appeal welcomes a socialist no campaign and supports such a campaign fighting for socialist policies in the labour movement.

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12 comments

  1. mhairi

    We need the unity of the international working class, and to demonstrate solidarity with them. As part of that solidarity we need to destroy the British Empire which continues its global imperial ambitions.

    On the 18th September 2014, we have an opportunity to strike from within.
    #indyref – you know it makes sense.

  2. socialismfirst

    Destroying global imperialism is our aim too, but transferring political power from Westminster to Holyrood will not achieve that. The great anti-colonial movements of the post-WW2 era were attempting to destroy the British Empire. They achieved that, up to a point. The achieved their own parliaments, flags and governments. They failed to achieve true economic independence though, and, in many cases, continue to be exploited by the bourgeoisie through tax havens, international corporations and global financial institutions.

    A Yes vote in the Scottish referendum does nothing to advance economic control over the means of production. It would simply be another competitor state tied to the Bank of England and City of London, which would only be able to attract investment by engaging in a race to the bottom over working conditions and wages. Independence and the national question is, in the context of Britain, the wrong answer to the question of economic crisis.

    • Ros Clyde

      Is that supposed to be a balanced consideration ? Deary me ! That is the exact same textbook regurgitation we’ve ever heard from every failed and morally compromised Labour politician from up and down Scotland. A load of nonsense arguments that have been thoroughly slapped down both in communities and often online, usually by teenage activists I should add.

      Very little merit would be expected to come of anything you’ve said there, unless you view the majority of the Scottish population as incompetent robots on auto pilot with a total lack of vision and commitment. All you appear to have framed in your presentation there are a series of scenarios with doomsday endings designed to convince those sick to the back teeth of the Westminster system not try and better their lot, because the odds are against them all – so say you.

      From the bare minimum of enquiries needed to present what you just did there, now spend the same amount of effort looking at how you could easily answer each one of your doomsday scenarios with alternative outcomes allied with a comparative national indicator and you’ll save anyone else having to do the work and present it to you in the shape of a rebuttal. Folk would appreciate seeing an honest presentation of both the negative (No) and the positive (Yes) cases in this referendum.

      What you appear to be trying to do is convince those who won’t question anything that those pushing to recover their parliament’s independence from Westminster really have a hidden knowledge of the most likely future being a dull, confined and certain to fail independent Scotland. What a ridiculous proposition. This is the boot up the arse this whole island needs and probably the best thing that could happen, both for Scotland and for the rUK. Your faith in redemption through the British Labour Party is really pretty sad. In a week that’s seen them call in police to arrest union reps for trying to reintroduce left leaning men and women back into the party on top of everything else they’ve done and failed to do in that parliament in Westminster.

      Introduction of tuition fees, original introduction of the bedroom tax, pension raids, illegal wars, stealth privatisation of the NHS through Foundation Hospitals, endeavours to privatise education, the postal service, the railways, PFI deals laced through every part of society, concurring with the coalition’s austerity program, concurrence with IDS’ implementation of legislation to deny those on benefits money they were entitled to through law, abstention on trade unionist laws. Listen we could go on and on, but who can be bothered eulogising about the dead. The British road to socialism is DEAD. Everyone knows that. Scotland’s not even took it’s first steps back into the world yet and already you’re saying we’re dead and that we shouldn’t even bother trying, “just stick with us and we’ll vote those Tories out and put in a bigger shower of crooks called the Labour Party to be the political wing for the city of London”. Is that your alternative ? No chance. This socialist will be voting YES and he’ll welcome every good socialist from the UK and beyond to come help us build a better nation than we’ve endured under 307 years of political colonisation by the London establishment. What a proposal ! “Don’t try and better yourselves because it’ll be hard”. No one ever said life was easy but as Confucious says; A journey of a thousand miles begins with but one step. Or we could use your analogy of ‘He who goes to bed with itchy bum at night wakes up with brown finger in morning.’ Personally I prefer the first one.

  3. Richard McHarg

    The assertion that nothing will change in an independent Scotland, so best vote ‘no’, is sure to ensure that nothing will change at all.

    The United Kingdom, governed by the Westminster establishment, doesn’t do change! As far as I can see, the working class of Britain doesn’t govern and nor will it.

    I’d rather have the choice with self-determination than no choice as things stand.

  4. TUFI

    The assumption is that an Independent Scotland will be eternally governed by the SNP. Their reason for existing disappears with the YES vote and then it’s up to the people of Scotland to choose the government they wish. I suspect a revamped Scottish Labour party built and acting on the principles of the original party would sweep the boards. The alternative? Neo Liberalism via the Tory’s or Labour. I also abhor the idea that working class international solidarity in Scotland would end because of constitutional change within our country. A slur on the Scottish workers who have a proud history in this area>

  5. James Morrisey

    I have answered this question so many times to fellow Socialists that it is really getting tiresome. You can slice it and dice it any way you wish but by supporting a no vote you are defending the Imperialist British state armed with nuke wmd. Scots Indy will not deliver Socialism but no one has claimed it would, a no vote will give Westminster the signal that they can attack the Scots NHS, Education and all the other institutions that Holyrood has just managed to protect, indeed they will turn the Scots parliament into just a parish council with no powers.

    With your permission I will reproduce my answer that I gave to this same question some months ago in the comments section of one of the Scots national newspapers when it was said that the Scots would be deserting English workers and leaving them to a Tory fate.

    I leave out the name of the person whom I was replying to who was a Labour party member but even then my argument about workers solidarity and the British state still stands .

    “So the argument against Scots independence is that when the English and Welsh [N.I vote their own parties] go to the polls they cant be bothered voting for a party other than the Tories. You do realise how silly that sounds. In any case Labour have never needed Scots MPs to return a majority Govt [and not that they did much for Scotland anyway] Scottish MPs have never turned what would have been a Conservative government into a Labour one or vice versa.

    The other part of your letter is much more serious in that it tries to use emotional blackmail from a left argument of solidarity. {which ignores the fact that most left organisations are supporting Independence and the fact that support for Home Rule and Independence are part of the history of the left in Scotland, I cite the Great John McLean and also the labour party’s pre-WW2 stance on the issue and before even that the Scottish Radical Movement ]

    First off then maybe we should stand together with over 300 million U.S citizens and apply for 51st statehood [if the UK is not already there]

    You say “My Labour Party membership card says: “We achieve more together than we achieve alone.”

    To reject the Nationalist agenda, you do not have to agree with this. “Love they neighbour as thyself” will do just as well.”

    Well in your rejection of Scottish Independence you are signing up to a vicious reactionary right wing British nationalism, the campaign for a “no” vote will effectively be asking voters to endorse a conception of Britishness which is built around racism and anti-migrant, anti-Islamic hysteria.

    No doubt some well-meaning but deluded members of the left will argue that the issue is the unity of the British working class, but we should be clear: for the anti-independence British nationalist side, this will not be about the Chartists, the Suffragettes, anti-fascism or Saltley Gates; it will be about the virtues of white, Christian, imperial Britannia, at best alloyed with a little official multiculturalism. For socialists to give this “left colouration” to the pro-union cause would be politically fatal.

    The unity of workers and the oppressed in the British Isles is not secured by the constitutional form of the state or by the bureaucratic structures of union organisation; but by the willingness to show solidarity and take joint collective action, across borders if necessary.

    Many workers in Southern Ireland belong to the same unions as workers in Britain; workers in Canada often belong to the same unions as workers in the US: there is no reason why workers in Scotland could not belong to the same unions as workers in the rest of the UK. To argue that this is a decisive reason for opposing independence is either scaremongering or a concealed defence of the British state. Part of the process of maintaining unity is for Scottish workers to support the struggles of English and Welsh workers, and for English and Welsh workers to support the right to self-determination of the Scots.

    By rejecting Scottish Independence you are saying yes to a strong Imperialist British national state armed with nuke wmd’s which will go round the world invading countries and bombing other peoples to help advance America’s global Imperial ambitions, indeed what we see in Mali is the start of a second scramble for Africa which if it survives the referendum by way of a no vote the British national state will be an enthusiastic participant helping with the future deaths of many many 1000s and upwards Africans.

    Democracy within Britain and Northern Ireland will best be served with Scottish Independence which would force a shake up in the remaining three nations if they wish to stay together.

    Because Scots Independence will severely weaken the British state and its ability to go off on foreign colonial adventures ,then supporting Scots Indy is the Internationalist thing to do and you should join the 1000s of International Socialists in saying no to British nationalism and Yes to Scottish Independence , you don’t have to be a nationalist to support self determination .

    May I suggest you look up your fellow comrades at labour for independence and you will find they are not following a nationalist agenda as you put it. Actually they are trying to save the labour party by reclaiming it for the Scottish working class and rejecting the neo-liberal narrow British nationalism of the leadership with their one nation slogans

    To finish I respectfully request that you think about what you are voting yes to when you vote no to Scottish Independence.

    Seriously, think about it

    In solidarity

    Make no mistake that by supporting a no vote you ARE supporting the imperialist British State armed with nukes.

    P.S on the question of borders and workers solidarity it’s worth noting that when the Liverpool Dockers were locked out by their employers they got more support from the Californian Longshoremen than they did their own union, the point being that this nonsense argument that Scots Independence would weaken workers solidarity is just a red herring.

  6. Rachel Gibbs

    Just in response to some of the comments that have been left here over the past few days. Of course we recognise that the separation of Scotland from the rest of the UK would not automatically end all links/solidarity but it would end formal links and would change the nature of struggles i.e industrial action may be carried out separately etc. Also, as was outlined in the article, the fact that Scotland would be a separate country just across the border is likely to lead to direct competition between Scottish/English workers for the little work that is available, particularly with talks of cuts in corp. tax this could well take the form of a race to the bottom in terms of workers’ conditions, pay etc. Whilst I understand why people would welcome ideas of change that would occur as a result of a ‘yes’ vote I don’t honestly see it affording such a big change or kick to British imperialism. At the end of the day, the independence that is being offered doesn’t appear to do so, granted a socialist Scotland would see a large change but I don’t see why an independent Scotland would automatically lead to a socialist one. Also, it seems unlikely to me that a socialist Scotland could exist over the border from a capitalist England – why would socialism simply stop at the border and why would imperial Britain allow for this to happen? As outlined in the article, the independence being put forward by the SNP deliberately treads around the interests of the British establishment – retaining the pound, the military, NATO membership, the queen as head of state. The power of the British establishment is not really going to be questioned without revolutionary activity across the UK and this is neatly reflected in the question of North Sea oil as we have outlined in the article. I think in the article we repeatedly state that we do not support the British ruling class and the whole point of this blog is to offer left wing people who are supporting a no vote a forum to exchange ideas. I don’t think it can really be put forward that this article is in any way in support of the British state or similarly the Better Together campaign which is clearly centred around British nationalism.

    • Nick Gotts

      Stating that you do not support the British ruling class – even repeatedly – does not change the fact that in reality, that is exactly what you are doing. No-one is claiming that “an independent Scotland would automatically lead to a socialist one”, so you are simply being dishonest in in that part of your comment. It’s also plainly inconsistent to reduce the campaign for independence to what is being put forward by the SNP, ignoring the Radical Independence Campaign – which can bring a thousand people to its conferences, has branches all over Scotland, and is out campaigning in the schemes – while claiming that your piddling little blog means the no campaign cannot be reduced to the British nationalism of Better Together.

  7. Ross Walker

    Ros Clyde, it seems that you did not reply to the above article. You seem to have replied to the following article
    “The Scottish population are incompetent robots on autopilot with a total lack of vision. Don’t try and better yourselves at will be hard”

    Now this may be the article that you wanted to reply to. It may be that this article would had fit in with your previously thought out arguments and “witty rhetoric” but unfortunately this article was not written. In fact what the Socialist Appeal and any Marxist in the end calls for is an overthrow of the capitalist system and common democratic ownership of the means of production. We have every faith the working class including the Scottish working class can carry this out in time under the right conditions and acknowledge it will be very hard. Your attempt to twist our words (without actually using any of our words, you just twisted the words that you would have liked us to have said) to make it seem that we’re trying to hold people back is ridiculous and shows the complete lack of faith you have on your own stance that you couldn’t even start to address our points.
    I completely understand why a lot of socialists have written off the labour party and although I don’t agree with it sympathise with it and working within the labour party can be more than frustrating but in your case I just reeks of hypocrisy. Unite promised to recruit 5000 members to the labour party which we fully supported and acknowledged would be no easy task. The clash last week was no surprise and in fact was only a matter of time and the fight is by no means over. A few days later at a unison congress a motion was forwarded (by a Socialist Appeal comrade) to recruit 5000 unison members and it passed easily. This was one for the largest unions democratically deciding to continue this fight. You have a complete lack of faith in the working classes of Scotland or anywhere to challenge labour party bureaucracy (which is was showing weak signs and will show more weak signs with the upcoming battle).Whether we like it or not, trade unionists throughout Britain are still trying break through this bureacracy. This lack of faith you have in the working class is concretely shown in your writing.
    It’s certainly not our intention to convince people not to try and change their lot but again we never said that so I don’t see why we should have to defend it. Maybe you should get the imaginary authors of this imaginary article to defend your accusations against these imaginery statements but I don’t see why we should. We fully support of a country people to choose and if people want it so be it. We don’t think it will strengthen the Scottish working classes but if they choose this we will accept it and the reason why it happened and work from there.
    The analysis was fair and objective and balanced. You have a problem with the conclusion as you are unable argue against the analysis that leads to conclusion and you don’t like it. If we had made a list of arguments about how a yes vote would benefit the Scottish workers would you have said“now spend the same amount of effort looking at how you could easily answer each one of your doomsday scenarios with a no vote”? My guess is no.
    Also your brown finger metaphor was just disgusting (not really a political note but it genuinely put me of my dinner when I first read it)
    Richard McHarg, I’m not totally sure what you mean, whether it be you don’t think the british working class can govern or if it can’t govern with Westminster still there. If it’s the former I’m sorry you feel that way but at least your honest about current (I say current as I know these things change) about your lack of faith in the working classes. But our arguments are based on our this faith so there’s not much we can say otherwise. If it’s the latter then fundamentally we agree with you. Parliamentary capitalist democracy has ceased to play a progressive role, we just don’t think a yes vote is a ticket away from it.
    TUFI, I think Rachel answered your arguments, although to be honest she was being very nice in doing so. No such slur was made in the first place. Of course workers struggles can cross borders. If we didn’t believe that we would not believe in an international class struggle for socialism and we might as well give up. However you can’t deny that national borders play a role in slowing these movements (one of the reason they exist in the first place). We’re simply acknowledging that role. I don’t think Scottish independence would lead to a revamped labour party, not directly anyway. Progressive change will only be seen with active participation and pressure from the working classes on the party whether under a Scottish or British state.
    James Morrisey, I think Rachel answered your questions, although again she didn’t really need to. She’d already answered them in the article itself. The point you responded to in a Scottish national newspaper is a different point to what we’re making. You may well have been right, it sounds like the author you were replying to may have been oversimplifying things or even having things completely wrong. Either way none of it refutes what we’ve said.

    • Nick Gotts

      “lack of faith in the working classes”

      Faith is the enemy of reason; no wonder you’re so keen on it.

  8. Nick Gotts

    Why is Socialism First! siding with the British ruling class, who are overwhelmingly opposed to Scottish independence? If your so-called “analysis” (actually just a collection of sub-Marxoid cliches) was correct, they would be enthusiastically promoting it.

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