Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Vote Yes - Make Britain History

Ruling classes rarely like mass popular participation in any kind of political activity - it smells too much of real, direct democracy for them.  So news that 97% have registered to vote in the Scottish referendum is terrifying the British ruling class, raising as it does the all too real spectre of a 'Yes' vote for independence that not once of them had conceived as being possible just a month or so ago.  Now in desperation, David Cameron is urging ordinary people in England and Wales to engage with this political process and 'love bomb' Scots through social media etc to try and persuade them to do what he and his fellow politicians from the 'Better Together' campaign could not do - and vote to 'stay together', and so while I have not said anything really about Scottish independence to date I thought as a blogger I should now also say something about this question.   So this is for my thousands of Scottish readers, who have doubtless been patiently waiting and wondering to see what my thoughts on this question were before they arrived at their final position...

For Marxists, the question of Scottish independence is not an issue of principle (that needs to be raised at all times and in all places) but rather a tactical question - but in the current period and climate the case for agitating for a Yes Vote seems to be a no-brainer for any anti-imperialist, let alone a Marxist.  One only needs to see the unholy alliance of forces opposed to the break up of the British state - from the rulers of the American and Chinese empires, to champions of British imperialism old and new, to see why the majority of revolutionary socialists in Scotland have thrown themselves into the 'Yes' campaign, and they have played a small but significant role in making the rallying cry 'Another Scotland is Possible' one which has tapped into working class communities and ethnic minorities.  Just watching one of Tommy Sheridan's speeches for independence on You Tube - speeches which have attracted audiences of hundreds of people - gives a sense of the mood of hope and optimism in radical politics being fired up by the referendum.  What has been propelling the mass movement and campaign for Yes has been these aspirations of dreams long deferred among millions.

The chance to deliver a body blow to British imperial power by the closing of the Trident nuclear submarine base at Faslane is in itself reason enough to vote Yes - but a Yes vote would also throw Cameron's Tories into chaos and further infighting and have many other repercussions and reverberations that are impossible to predict as yet.  Though in itself, a Yes vote for Scottish independence cannot be the end of the story, given Alex Salmond and the SNP's cosy relationship with Scottish big business, NATO and the British Crown, such a vote on 18 September would enable the Left in Scotland to begin to make the kind of demands - such as nationalisation of banks and energy companies - that would make the idealism of 'Another Scotland is Possible' into reality - and find a mass popular audience for such a radical vision for the first time in decades.  This would give hope to trade unionists and socialists in England and Wales in the wider fight against austerity and the likes of Tories and UKIP.   So my 'love-bomb' to Scottish readers of Histomat goes something like this:  Yes to Independence, No to Nationalism - Fight for Socialism!

Edited to add - in the aftermath of the No vote, an analysis of the vote and where next by Keir McKechnie and Charlie Kimber - see also this piece by Irvine Welsh.

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At 2:39 am, Blogger Manuel said...



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