Some quick thoughts on Scottish independence

Some quick thoughts on Scottish independence

For most people outside Scotland, myself included, the debate over Scottish independence has been largely peripheral. I've come across it occasionally, but bigger things have always taken my attention and I've only found myself discussing it in depth when with comrades from Scotland. This is perhaps a mistake, since the vote in 2014 will have ramifications for both Scotland and the rest of the UK, and there is a marked lack of libertarian communist analysis on the issue.

Referendums aren't great, liberating acts of direct democracy. They offer us no revolutionary change and the debate around the question is framed by various sections of the ruling class. This is as true for the independence referendum as for any other - the options on the table being four variations between the status quo and full independence for Scotland.

In no case is the Scottish electorate offered a say on the form that this variation takes. Not that this is a surprise, since whether the UK remains as it is, or we have an independent Scotland, or we get "devolution plus" as an in-between option, the socio-economic status quo prevails. Extended social democracy or some form of state socialism are not up for the vote. Let alone libertarian communism.

You'd think this a fairly obvious point. Yet some sections of the left are looking at this referendum as though it is a revolutionary moment. I have been told by one comrade that Scottish independence is important for "smashing the British state and British imperialism." A motion at PCS conference (which I think was guillotined) offered support for "an independent, socialist, nuclear free Scotland."

Away from such hysterical rhetoric, the Scottish Socialist Party argue that whilst "swapping the Union Jack for the Saltire would not rid Scotland of inequality, low pay, pensioner poverty and the other problems inherent in any capitalist economic system, ... it would allow normal class politics to develop more naturally than ever before." Since nationalism "has acted to deflect attention away from the real source of Scotland’s problems," removing the nationalist tension created by being part of the UK would "clear the way for politics to be fought out on the basis of ideology and class rather than on the basis of nation."

The problem with this line of reasoning, however, is that it seeks to move past nationalism essentially by rolling with it. But if there are marginal gains from independence it will only help to intensify nationalist sentiment. As a member of the Glasgow Anarchist Federation said on this site, "having the political class closer to home doesn’t necessarily make replacing them any more difficult. If anything, the intensification of the nationalist project championed by all apparently ‘progressive’ opinion could have a significant effect in mystifying power and class relations and undermining the self-organisation of the working class in favour of its passivity and support for new forms of failed ideas."

The Scottish National Party's own pronouncements bear out this fact. Whilst devolution has brought some social democratic benefits, such as free prescriptions and university places, the SNP have declared that they want to set competitive tax rates. In other words, using lower taxes to draw in business and investment. Hardly conduitive to a social democratic expansion of the welfare state.

Combine that with the Scottish deficit, and the logic of capitalism (which an independent Scottish government will be tasked to manage as the UK government are now) demands austerity. The Guardian has compiled some useful data on this, showing that public spending per head is higher in Scotland than any other part of the UK bar Northern Ireland. It also shows that Scotland's share of North Sea Oil revenues is only significant if granted on the basis of geographical share rather than per capita share, which seems unlikely. Even then, there is an £10.7 billion deficit to deal with.

Faced with such, an independent Scotland will have to make cuts. There may be alternatives along the lines of the general PCS argument against UK austerity, but the plain fact is that without the working class exercising its power to force such (which we don't have), that is a moot point. The Scottish government will do what the markets demand and be as staunch defenders of capital as the UK government.

But what of "smashing the British state"? Well, to be frank, I rank that up there with the people who cheered for France over England at football "because of imperialism1." It's a shallow internationalism that, rather than analysing situations on the basis of class interests, opts to choose one state over another. As the Glasgow AFed member points out, "British imperialism is a pale shadow of its former self, probably doesn’t require Scotland and isn’t of intrinsic importance to capitalism anyway." Not to mention that Scotland is not under the yoke of an oppressive military regime, or the victim of external aggression. Hence "national liberation" potentially coming from a cross on a ballot paper rather than as a result of armed struggle.

This all being said isn't an argument in favour of the union any more than the problems of the UK government are an argument for independence. Both camps ultimately represent class interests other than our own, no matter how much parliamentary leftists might argue otherwise. Even whether independence will make the lives of working class Scots (and Brits in general!) better or worse is a question of the degrees of capitalism.

In both scenarios, it remains true that what will win positive gains in the present - and a better world in the future - is organised class struggle. Regardless of the referendum, our class remains relatively weak and unable to press its own interests in most areas of life. We need to build up a strong, militant workers' movement from the ground in order to change this. That task remains regardless of whether the union does.

I guess the only conclusion I can come to is that I'm neither really in favour of or against Scottish independence. Either way, it offers little in the way of practical answers to our class's problems. An independent Scotland will not be a socialist (let alone communist!) Scotland, nor is it by its own merit the path to such a thing. Those who pretend otherwise are simply hanging trite leftists slogans onto "good" nationalism.

Comments

Dave Coull
Jun 20 2012 23:26

I can’t disagree with you saying an independent Scotland will not be socialist, never mind libertarian communist, and of course the class struggle will continue, but some of the other things you say just reveal your lack of knowledge of the subject.

“Combine that with the Scottish deficit” - what Scottish deficit? You just assert that as if it’s an established fact, when all you’re doing there is repeating British establishment propaganda. “public spending per head is higher in Scotland than any other part of the UK bar Northern Ireland” - so what? The spending comes entirely from money raised within Scotland. “It also shows that Scotland's share of North Sea Oil revenues is only significant” - a share which might seem “insignificant” when used to finance things like Trident nuclear missiles and the London Olympics could be very, very significant indeed when used for NHS Scotland etc. “if granted on the basis of geographical share rather than per capita share, which seems unlikely.” - Granted? “Granted”? The thing that seems unlikely is a division on anything but a geographical basis. There exist fixed international conventions for deciding the maritime boundaries between states. International maritime law does not recognise such a thing as “per capita shares”. It recognises only geographical divisions. Maritime boundaries are fixed according to criteria depending on land boundaries. The land boundary between England and Scotland has remained fixed for many, many centuries. According to any possible interpretation of those international maritime boundary conventions, some 93 percent plus of the oil of the Formerly United Kingdom (FUK) lies in Scottish waters. There is enough oil in Scottish waters to last Scotland, with its present level of population, for 500 years. Of course the oil companies are extracting it for the international market, but even at the present rate of extraction there is enough for another hundred years at least, and, as oil becomes more valuable, and the techniques for extracting it from deeper or more difficult fields become more and more advanced, probably a lot more than that. But there is a good case for slowing down the rate of extraction, on both environmental and financial grounds. The environmental reasoning should be pretty obvious. The financial reasoning - oil in the ground is like money in the bank, in fact it is a lot better than money in the bank, the value of money in the bank can be highly questionable, but oil can only become more valuable. Our entire modern world depends on oil. Not just for fuel, but for everything that is manufactured. The computer on which I am typing this, and the computer on which you are reading this, both depend on plastics derived from oil. A friend of mine works in the oil industry. He says that future generations will look back and be amazed we were so primitive we actually BURNED this extremely valuable resource. “There is a £10.7 billion deficit to deal with” - who sez? And by what criteria? You’re just unquestioningly repeating British establishment propaganda again. Now, of course, there does remain the possibility that the British government might be so desperate to keep Trident nuclear missiles on the Clyde, and so desperate to hang on to the oilfields in Scottish waters, they would be prepared to go to war over this, in defiance of international maritime conventions etc etc. But at that stage this would no longer be a matter involving just England and Scotland. At that point it would become global.

Like I said, I can’t disagree with you that an independent Scotland won’t be socialist, and it won’t be libertarian communist. But what it most definitely will be is extremely bad news for the British ruling class, and we shouldn’t rule out the possibility that they might be desperate enough to defy international opinion and go to war to prevent it.

Ramona
Jun 21 2012 00:06

Thanks for this Phil. I've been trying to work out a more convincing line on this than, "Really? You think it'll make any difference whatsoever?!" and you've articulated this really well. I'm obviously not in favour of the union, but I'd not waste any breath trying to agitate for independence, either. And I'm very unconvinced by pro-Independence arguments, those I've heard from more libertarian left people saying it's better to have a govt close to home, or that a Scottish government wouldn't be "forced" to implement austerity by London... it'd just be forced into it by a general global economic system.

Tom Muir
Jun 21 2012 06:01
Quote:
The Guardian has compiled some useful data on this, showing that public spending per head is higher in Scotland than any other part of the UK bar Northern Ireland.

You neglect to mention that public spending per head is higher in London than Scotland. The major reason for a higher spend is that Scotland comprises approximately one third of the UK landmass, but less than 0% of the population. Are those in 'rural areas' not entitled to roads, hospitals, schools and utilities?

An Independent Scotland will put the care of the people who live here, above that of the landed aristocracy sitting in the cabinet, their millionaire allies on the opposition benches and the lickspittle Barons of privilege in the House of Lords.

fleabite
Jun 21 2012 12:45

We (Glasgow AFed) hosted a discussion on Scottish Independence this week. Here's the recording :

http://glasgowanarchists.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/recording-from-scottish-nationalism-an-anarchist-communist-perspective-discussion/

Phil
Jun 21 2012 16:05
Tom Muir wrote:
An Independent Scotland will put the care of the people who live here, above that of the landed aristocracy sitting in the cabinet, their millionaire allies on the opposition benches and the lickspittle Barons of privilege in the House of Lords.

I'm sorry, name one state on earth that "put[s] the care of the people who live here, above that of the landed aristocracy sitting in the cabinet, their millionaire allies on the opposition benches and the lickspittle Barons of privilege". Just one state where this basic norm of capitalism, including state-capitalist forms that pass as "communist," don't apply?

JimJams
Jun 21 2012 17:20

I'm in favour of independence but don't see it as a panacea as some on the left here do. I do think we may have a slightpy more social democratic society which is preferable but nowhere near the level of,say, Sweden. For me it comes down to an increase in democratic power however flawed.

As for budgets etc my understanding is geographical share is the norm (just what I've read) there's a large defence underspend (over £1bn a year before csr) and Scotland has the third highest GVA of any UK region and higher tax receipts per capita than our per capita share. So I think we could pay our way.But like you say not socialist and nowhere near communism.

Rob Ray
Jun 21 2012 19:26
Quote:
An Independent Scotland will put the care of the people who live here, above that of the landed aristocracy sitting in the cabinet, their millionaire allies on the opposition benches and the lickspittle Barons of privilege in the House of Lords.

Funny thing, Irish nationalists reckoned much the same, until they ran into the minor problem that the drive to neo-liberalism is actually an international thing and its continuation has fuck all to do with whether "lickspittle Barons" or bumbling TDs are in charge.

Edit: Generally I'm pro the fracturing of power into as small a set of units as possible btw, as it potentially drives wedges between ruling class interests which can be exploited - but that equation should have nothing to do with appealing to nationalist sentiment which will only drag working people into the same stupid internicine conflict, undermining the internationalism we so desperately need.

silvermoon
Jun 22 2012 06:42

Yup - yet another RoUK leftie informing us what is best for our nation. I am so, so, so sick of this and especially disappointed in it coming from someone who's politics I share in many respects.

I respect the Glasgow anarcho's position, I dont agree with it, but I respect it - as a Scottish perspective on Scottish issues. What I don't respect is RoUK lefties wading in telling us how wrong we are to demand our national liberation (although I do appreciate that you stop short of this).

The one thing that RoUK lefties should bear in mind is that we are setting up a democratic state, not a one-party totalitarian SNP state.

The way some people take SNP policies and seem to assume that this is all there is to independence is stunning. We will still have elections you know. Just because the Tories, LibDems and Labour are all shit doesnt mean that the less shit SNP are going to be our lords and masters forever. After we get independence Scottish politics is going to look forever different.

1. We have no signifiant numbers of Tories, we haven't had many Tories in decades.

2. The Lib Dems have totally shot themselves in the foot - they are deader than a dodo - deader even than the Tories.

3. Labour is a mess - pro-unionist they are going to look bloody stupid in an indy Scotland.

4. The SNP has lost its unifying point. With independence granted the party will fracture into a million shards.

I'm sorry but you are looking at Scotland through the eyes of a Brit.

Ramona
Jun 22 2012 08:08

Silvermoon. You are talking about setting up a democratic state, and how there will be elections, and how this will be great, on an anarchist website?

You don't explain how, in the "forever changed" Scottish politics, Scotland will be able to resist the international trajectory towards neoliberalism, and puts the interests of the working class first. States cannot do this, and they certainly can't do this by themselves, as Rob Ray has explained above. This has nothing to do with the ins and outs of party politics. If you think the big political parties won't do well after independence, what do you think will replace them that will be able to represent the interests of the international working class?

Rob Ray
Jun 22 2012 11:00
Quote:
I'm sorry but you are looking at Scotland through the eyes of a Brit.

And you're looking at Scotland through the eyes of a Scot - you should be looking at it through the eyes of international capital if you want to know what happens next.

wojtek
Jun 22 2012 11:44

silvermoon wrote:
our nation

Do you include the following people in that 'our'? Last I read Scotland belongs to them not people such as yourself.

Quote:
Scotland 19,068,631acres 100%
Urban 585,627 acres 3%
Rural 18,483,004 acres 97%

Of the rural land, 2, 275,768 acres are in the ownership of public bodies and 16,207,236 are in the ownership of private bodies.

Of this privately-owned rural land:

One quarter is owned by 66 landowners in estates of 30,700 acres and larger

One third is owned by 120 landowners in estates of 21,000 acres and larger

One half is owned by 343 landowners in estates of 7,500 acres and larger

Two thirds is owned by 1252 landowners in estates of 1 ,200 acres and larger

Two thirds of Scotland is owned by one four thousandth (0.025%) of the people!

http://tipiglen.co.uk/property.html

And the 'national liberation' theory crumbles when one considers that back when 'Brittania ruled the waves', some Scottish folk were just as imperialistic.

JimJams
Jun 22 2012 12:00

The idea of "Liberation" through any referendum is ridiculous. Will only make a small change. On land ownership, some third world countries had to reform land ownership to be allowed into the UN but Scotland has more concentrated ownership.Also land is devolved (except crown estate) already.There were some positive steps for land reform such as community right to buy but legislation currently going through parliament is a joke. So in short independence won't.change much with land ownership.

blimeybruv
Jun 22 2012 20:56
silvermoon wrote:
I respect the Glasgow anarcho's position, I dont agree with it, but I respect it - as a Scottish perspective on Scottish issues. What I don't respect is RoUK lefties wading in telling us how wrong we are to demand our national liberation (although I do appreciate that you stop short of this).

What is an RoUK Leftie? And respecting his opinion because he's Scottish while 'being sick of' the same opinion from non-Scots is dumb as hell; anarchists are not (or should not) be divided by nationality. England and Scotland are so close to each other that there is a lot of immigration between the two. Would you respect an English anarchist's opinion if he/she lived in Scotland? I somehow don't think it. Not when you suspect him or her of English sympathies.

silvermoon
Jun 23 2012 07:58

No, I'm not saying that parliamentary democracy and elections are the be all and end all. What I am pointing out is that it is not a choice between Britain with parliamentary democracy where you have influence over which party and policies that you have and a totalitarian Scotland where you have the SNP and their policies are automatically imposed, which seems to be the view of some people who criticise independence on the basis of what the SNP would like to do in an independent Scotland.

I think there will be a radical reformation of political parties post-indy, which throws up all kinds of opportunities - for further devolution of powers, for the emergence of a radical force and for restructuring of Scottish civil society

silvermoon
Jun 23 2012 08:03

The land is ours, we just need to re-assert our ownership.

The new communities bill currently under consultation is one important way in which we can start to do this, but it is very much a start.

I appreciate Scotland's role in empire, but in doing so, I also appreciate the crofters burned from their homes. It is perfectly possible to be a colonised nation and still have the ruling class of that nation enthusiastically participate. There is no question that the w/c of Scotland benefitted from being part of empire, that does not mean to say that we should have that continue.

Indy will cause massive shockwaves through the British State

silvermoon
Jun 23 2012 08:15
Rob Ray
Jun 23 2012 08:40
Quote:
parliamentary democracy where you have influence over which party and policies

Are you sure you're talking about Britain? Because from where I'm sitting it's been pretty clear that our "choice" has been between the neoliberal party, the neoliberal party and the neoliberal party.

And there's a very good reason for that - Parliament is being thoroughly dominated by the need to appease international markets to prop up capital interests regardless of the long-term impact. That logic would force any party from the BNP to the CPB to toe the line.

You still haven't even tried to address how a tiny new nation with fuck all international pull will resist that when other newly "socialist" nations such as Ireland, South Africa and China (!) couldn't. And the three examples I cite had a hell of a lot more powerful communist movements than Scotland could ever dream of.

My guess is you're ignoring it because the fact you can't fight capitalism with nationalism is a massive gaping hole in your plotline.

monamkorte
Jun 23 2012 08:44

It's a good article!

Phil
Jun 23 2012 09:12
silvermoon wrote:
a totalitarian Scotland where you have the SNP and their policies are automatically imposed, which seems to be the view of some people who criticise independence on the basis of what the SNP would like to do in an independent Scotland

No, that's not what I said at all. Rather, I used the SNP as an example of why Scottish ruling class politics would be no different that British ruling class politics. It would no doubt work as well with other parties, and plenty of others have pointed out that the real controlling factor here is international capital.

You seem to be of the view that communists can win radical concessions through parliamentary mechanisms, which is nonsense in any state and a broader argument than the independence one. In fact, that thoroughly reformist position seems to be about the only thing holding up your line that "an independent Scotland will be better."

As for the "you're not Scottish so you're wrong" line, I give it as much credence as I do Daily Mail readers justifying highly reactionary politics by saying "but you're not a parent so you don't know." Absolute nonsense.

ajjohnstone
Jun 24 2012 05:03
Quote:
"Many on the Left advance nationalism and the nation-state as a bulwark against imperialism. This is a dangerous fallacy. The role of nationalism has always been a source of conflict for the Left. For those on the Scottish Left the SPGB's consistent anti-nationalist position is seen as support for imperialism. But, imperialism functions quite independently of socialist attitudes toward nationalism and, furthermore, socialists are not required for the launching of struggles for national autonomy as the various independence movements have shown. Also contrary to some Leftist expectations, nationalism could not be utilised to further socialist aims, nor was it a successful strategy to weaken and hasten the demise of capitalism. On the contrary, nationalism frustrated socialism by using it for nationalist ends...

...Cultural freedom and variety should not be confused with nationalism. That people should be free to fully develop their own culture is not merely a right but desirable. Technological resources make it possible for people to choose their own lifestyles. The world will be a drab place indeed if the magnificent mosaic of different customs and traditions disappeared to be replaced by a homogenized world (which modern capitalism appears intent upon spreading with its MacDonaldisation)...

...No matter how utopian the quest for world solidarity may appear in to-days world of conflicts, no other road seems open to escape fratricidal struggles and to attain a rational world society... " Glasgow/Edinburgh branch blog
http://socialist-courier.blogspot.com/2012/06/cliff-edge-of-nationalism.html

the croydonian ...
Jun 24 2012 19:38

I think the only legitimate anarchist position is one of indifference grounded in a firm opposition to nationalism of any sorts. I'm neither for or against either independence or the status quo or whatever options there are being presented. And frankly who cares if all the current parties in Scotland get made redundant if independence is granted, like any new thing that arises is going to be a true working class party or a similarly laughable concept? Who cares if the SNP policies are not necessarily what will happen post independence?

The answer is that for anarchists, no one should care.
Scottish anarchists (or any anarchists) should not feel compelled to take a side just because its a issue many of the scottish working class feel strongly about. It would just be doing it for the sake of it and would go against an important principle of internationalism, which we have for a reason. Either path is headed to shits creek.

So I will say it again. The only legitimate anarchist position is that of indifference.

silvermoon
Jun 26 2012 00:46
Phil wrote:

You seem to be of the view that communists can win radical concessions through parliamentary mechanisms, which is nonsense in any state and a broader argument than the independence one. In fact, that thoroughly reformist position seems to be about the only thing holding up your line that "an independent Scotland will be better."

You can win concessions through the parliamentary system which establishes a framework for dual power or state provision of the preconditions for an effective revolution. Reformism isn't bad, just inadequate.

But you cannot do that as a colony no matter how much power the colonial authority has, the very existence of an imperial power means that you cannot build on firm foundations. You are always at the whim of the needs of the imperial power - if it decrees that there shall be war and resources deployed to support that war, your resources will be whipped from under you.

Quote:
As for the "you're not Scottish so you're wrong" line, I give it as much credence as I do Daily Mail readers justifying highly reactionary politics by saying "but you're not a parent so you don't know." Absolute nonsense.

I never said "you're not Scottish, so you're wrong", I said you are not Scottish so your views are irrelevant and arrogant. You see "the Scotland problem" through British eyes. Its Britcentrism.

It is for the Scottish people to determine the future of Scotland. They might decide that they are better ruled as a colony, I sincerely hope that they have the confidence to make that leap to enable the next phase of our struggle to begin.

"Each time a country is freed, we say, it is a defeat for the world imperialist system, but we must agree that real liberation or breaking away from the imperialist system is not achieved by the mere act of proclaiming independence or winning an armed victory in a revolution. Freedom is achieved when imperialist economic domination over a people is brought to an end"

Che Guavara

silvermoon
Jun 26 2012 01:01
blimeybruv wrote:

What is an RoUK Leftie? And respecting his opinion because he's Scottish while 'being sick of' the same opinion from non-Scots is dumb as hell; anarchists are not (or should not) be divided by nationality. England and Scotland are so close to each other that there is a lot of immigration between the two. Would you respect an English anarchist's opinion if he/she lived in Scotland? I somehow don't think it. Not when you suspect him or her of English sympathies.

An RoUK leftie is someone who identifies with left politics and lives in the rest of the UK state outwith Scotland.

People *are* divided by nationality because nationality is what gives you citizenship. To deny it is to deny privilege. Of course there should not be, and that is the situation that we are trying to change.

An anarchist living in Scotland is a Scottish anarchist, I have no issues with the ethnic or geographic origin of where Scots come from. Of course where they have ethnic or geographic attachments to other parts of the world international relations between that state and the Scottish state will influence them, but that is simply something to be resolved. International relations should be conducted between people not between states, only that way can power be divested.

wojtek
Jun 26 2012 12:45

Lol at quoting the original gap yar student and the dickwad who crushed the Cuban workers' movement. Here's a pickle; someone from the loveliest part of Glasgow is more privileged than one from the worst part of Lancashire, discuss.... I'm a quarter Scottish, is my view 'irrelevent and arrogant'? PS. I'm half Polish and another quarter English who cares? Fuck borders, otherwise where do you stop? Am I not allowed to speak on Liverpudlian affairs?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29-LRuuqFT0&feature=player_embedded

It's shite being Scottish, it's shite being English, it's shite being from anywhere so long as the rich, be it from Westminster or the local council, are screwing us over and you draping yourself in a blood-soaked blue and white flag imho isn't going to change anything.

It's the sort of nationalist logic that Ed Miliband has been evoking over the weekend, trying to drive a wedge between the domestic young unemployed and Eastern European peeps. I'm both (sort of), where do I stand?? As Croyd said, the only legitimate stance it to push class bro/ sis.

Edit: Sorry for being sharp, I couldn't sleep.

jonthom
Jun 26 2012 15:31
silvermoon wrote:
I never said "you're not Scottish, so you're wrong", I said you are not Scottish so your views are irrelevant and arrogant.

It's a basic point of politics that we pay attention to issues outside of our "own" country (or region, or city, or whatever...as a Yorkshireman am I not allowed to express an opinion on events in, say, Brighton?). Sometimes this will mean expressing opinions - sometimes, even, opinions you might disagree with. Telling someone their opinion is irrelevant based solely on their nationality is frankly extremely rude to say the least.

I can see what I think you're getting at - that people experience life in different ways, with levels of privilege based on things like nationality but also income, education, sexuality, gender or whatever else. And that people with that privilege should bear it in mind when discussing "other" groups. But to say that therefore people just shouldn't have an opinion, or that their opinions are irrelevant, really doesn't help debate in the slightest.

Steven.
Jun 26 2012 09:06

silvermoon, did you ever have any opinion or say anything about the Iraq war? If so STFU, you are not Iraqi so your views are irrelevant and arrogant.

Joseph Kay
Jun 26 2012 17:38

Just to say I'm with Croydonian's indifference here. That said...

I can understand people basing arguments on the notion of 'national self-determination' and the idea the government represents the people (every nation needs its own government to represent it etc). I mean, it's a fundamental part of everyday dominant discourse, inscribed in the UN Charter and liberal constitutions everywhere and easy to absorb/repeat. But I can't understand how anyone thinks it's compatible with anarchist/libertarian communist/class struggle politics.

Think about it for a minute. If rule from Holyrood is better for workers in Scotland than rule from Westminister, why is that? If having the seat of political power within the same 'nation'/geographic proximity meant the government was 'more representative', then presumably we'd have seen riots last August in Penzance, Dover and Carlisle rather than a relative stone's throw from Westminister in Tottenham, Hackney, Deptford...

The obvious answer to that is that states don't represent 'the nation' but the ruling class, and 'nations' don't exploit one another, classes do. the result of this shift in perspective from nations to classes is pretty much indifference.

Steven.
Jun 26 2012 18:26

Exactly. And if Scottish independence is "a good thing" then why don't we also support English independence?

Croydonian is right.

mons
Jun 26 2012 18:31

From the article:

Quote:
Both camps ultimately represent class interests other than our own, no matter how much parliamentary leftists might argue otherwise. Even whether independence will make the lives of working class Scots (and Brits in general!) better or worse is a question of the degrees of capitalism.

Yeah, obviously. But the question of whether independence will make the lives of working class Scots and Brits better or worse is the fundamental question to do with independence, and so the anarchist position of just bypassing it by stating the obvious isn't that helpful. Saying 'parliamentary leftists' argue Scottish nationalists represent the interests of the working class is just wrong I think, for loads of them anyway. Even the SWP see a potentially independent Scottish state as representing the interests of capital, not Scots.

There is a debate to be had, which I don't think the article or the comments address, over whether independence - while being thoroughly capitalist, anti-working class, etcetera - might somewhat improve the lives of the working class.

the croydonian ...
Jun 26 2012 21:18
silvermoon wrote:
You can win concessions through the parliamentary system which establishes a framework for dual power or state provision of the preconditions for an effective revolution. Reformism isn't bad, just inadequate.

And what exactly are those preconditions. You seem to be talking about the state gaining concessions that are good for the working class. Yes, thats a good thing to get, but its quite the opposite of the pre conditions for revolution, people are more likely to be have a revolution when things are shitter (Im not saying we should all wait till it gets worse etc)

silvermoon wrote:
But you cannot do that as a colony no matter how much power the colonial authority has, the very existence of an imperial power means that you cannot build on firm foundations. You are always at the whim of the needs of the imperial power - if it decrees that there shall be war and resources deployed to support that war, your resources will be whipped from under you.

Now I know Scotland might have more ability to make its own decisions with independence, but I'm not sure Scotland can be described as a colony in modern times. Current arrangements grant them way more power than that. And independence is not an anti colonial/imperial thing in this day and age. Even if it was, we should not be supporting anti colonial/imperial nationalism or any other form of nationalism for that matter,

silvermoon wrote:
I never said "you're not Scottish, so you're wrong", I said you are not Scottish so your views are irrelevant and arrogant. You see "the Scotland problem" through British eyes. Its Britcentrism.

The stupidity of this is astounding. Other people have criticized this already, it does not need more than what they have said. I'm not going to put the effort in to refute something as plain dumb as this, especially if its not already been done.

silvermoon wrote:
It is for the Scottish people to determine the future of Scotland. They might decide that they are better ruled as a colony, I sincerely hope that they have the confidence to make that leap to enable the next phase of our struggle to begin.

Referendums are not all they are cracked up to be, the article says this, the current situation quite clearly is not that of Scotland being a colony under the rule of a brutal British imperial overload and Im not sure independence is going to significantly have any impact on the amount of potential/capacity there is for class struggle.

silvermoon wrote:

"Each time a country is freed, we say, it is a defeat for the world imperialist system, but we must agree that real liberation or breaking away from the imperialist system is not achieved by the mere act of proclaiming independence or winning an armed victory in a revolution. Freedom is achieved when imperialist economic domination over a people is brought to an end"

Che Guavara

Quoting Che, really? I suggest you read this

Finally, again some people are saying something along the lines of "the anarchist line of neutrality is not satisfactory, independence will make the working class slightly better off". I don't really think its going to make too much of a difference in day to day life for the Scottish working class. We should not take either side, encourage people to see there's better ways of making us better off (class struggle/direct action etc etc, our bread and butter), and if by chance independence does have the result of making the working class slightly better off, then sure, its a good thing, but it should not be a justification of anarchist involvement in the independence campaign, because the only anarchist position is that of in difference.

The Croydonian Anarchist wrote:
For anarchists, the national question is best left un answered.

Hows that for a strap line! I must copyright this immediately.