2007 - 2021

An Internationalist Scottish Left

Radical Independence Conference Gather In GlasgowOn August 29th people from all over Scotland will come together to launch a new coalition of the left. One of the events taking place that day is an international plenary session with participants taking part from across Europe and beyond. Internationalism is fundamentally about recognising and bringing together our shared values and our common struggles, regardless of borders and nations.

The event will welcome speakers from left parties like Die Linke in Germany, Partia Razem the Polish Left Party, Quebec Solidaire and our other international guests from Greece and Spain. Their contribution to the launch of a new left alliance in Scotland should not be underestimated. Central to Syriza’s difficulty in combating the Troika and the European elites was the absence and weakness of strong left wing forces and voices across Northern Europe. We will always be out manoeuvred by the powers that be unless we create a platform for a united left internationally. This is a long process but a process that we in Scotland should be part of shaping.

The involvement of Alicia Garza, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter, signals a commitment to stand with all oppressed groups and against all forms of state brutality. Of course the events unfolding in the U.S this past year differ from our own experiences in Britain but there are always parallels that we can draw. Our civil liberties are consistently being undermined and stripped back. People from across Scotland will have a lot to say about the role of the police in their communities. We know that if you come from an ethnic minority background you are more likely to be stopped and searched and know only too well about the number of people who have died in police custody.

Having powerful voices discussing racism and the need for strong anti racist policies goes hand in hand with our battle to challenge anti-immigrant racism. Immigration is an issue the Left must be prepared to tackle head on. We need to highlight the fact that racism is allowed to fester because we lead increasingly isolated lives. Cuts to local services and community hubs ensures that people are kept apart. The global capitalist system is built in such a way that it wants to smash the idea of collectivism, of solidarity, of spending time in our communities and having face to face dialogue with those who live next door to us. We need to create a space in our communities whereby migrants aren’t treated with suspicion, in which the colour of your skin doesn’t make you different and where people come together and recognise that we actually have more in common than we were ever led to believe by the government and the far right who want to sow division. The international plenary with representatives from Poland, Germany, Spain and Greece allows us to highlight the disgraceful treatment of migrants at Calais.

There has always been a red thread of internationalism that has run through the struggles of the Scottish working class. Whether it was John Mclean’s anti-war agitation on Clydeside against British imperialism during WWI; the disproportionately large number of Scots who joined the international brigades that went over to Spain to fight fascism in the mid-1930’s; the engineers in East-Kilbride who refused to repair and kept under lock and key one of Pinochet’s bombers used to bomb the socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende in the 1973 coup; the massive anti-apartheid movement in Glasgow in the 1980’s which saw Nelson Mandela give a special thanks to Glasgow on his release; or more recently the huge protests against the Iraq war which was vital to many people beginning to question the virtue of the Labour party in Scotland, the Scottish working class has never had a parochial attitude towards the world.

If we are to be successful in growing this left coalition into a serious force in Scotland we need to learn from our partners across Europe and beyond about what works and what doesn’t. But more than that – socialist politics in one country is not socialist politics at all – we need an international agenda and a coordinated European wide strategy. Scotland, given everything we have been through in recent years, can play a key role in this process. You can too by taking part in the 29th.

Comments (15)

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  1. Rosamurray says:

    Do you have the details of this event?

  2. June Stewart says:

    A link to the events venues on August 29th would be useful 🙂

  3. Dougie Blackwood says:

    I’ll be delighted to see this come about if it can be made to work.

    Unfortunately the trouble with those that are attracted to leftward organisations is they can never agree with anybody else and the new teams always split into factions that never achieve anything. I liked the radical Independence Campaign as it encompassed many strands working for a common cause.

    I joined the mass canvass of Easterhouse and that opened my eyes to the crying need for the many disenfranchised to have things explained to them in a one to one way using our own language. Together we can make a difference but as factions we are wasting our time.

    1. Eddie Travers says:

      Are you in Easterhouse Dougie ? I live there and would be interested in getting together with Left and Internationalist activists in the area.

      1. Dougie Blackwood says:

        No. I’m a fellow traveller from Helensburgh that joined on an ad hoc basis. I wish them well but have no real contacts within the organisation

  4. Gill Wales says:

    For those who have asked…conference on 29th August is at the Marriot in Glasgow. Here’s the link for tickets. I think there are some left.

  5. Malcolm mack says:

    Where? I’m in.

  6. joanna says:

    Syriza?In what particular way could a party that “delivered” 14 airports to Fraport without public consultation and “condemns” pensioners to a pension of less than 400Euros, to mention but a few of Syriza’s neoliberal policies, be named “left”?

  7. Kenneth G Coutts says:

    Collectively we can! Neoliberal socialists and right wing fascists we do not need, history shows the way.

  8. Billy Bunter's Cousin Jock says:

    Nice ideals which I agree with, BUT go for it and give it a try. Greece didn’t lack ideals or support from the LEFT or support from other nations; they lacked the guts and commonsense to have a Plan B with their own central bank to print their own currency and madly stayed with the One Bank State of European austerity and oppression. Did you not see the team of international experts who went there at the right time including Prof Michael Hudson and others who advised them to leave the chains of debt slavery behind!?

    In politics the ideals are like light to attract the good hearted genuine people and then human nature kicks in and more often than not, dominance animal behavioir begins like a mist, cliques form and large egos jump with the ‘ME ME ME’ leader mentality, even when it is good hearted clowns who want to lead and get attention and they, at least, in their own heads, see themselves as leading intellectuals and first among equals (real socialists dont allow themselves to behave like some of these clowns) – it is all destined to die because the bulk of genuine people hand over their cash to the few who take the jobs and use their new found power for their own ends. I mean for example Mr Robin McAlpine wants loads of cash and is a genius in his own head and on a mission (plenty of chaos left by him at the offices of the Jimmy Reid Foundation) to get cash and be a big front man, yet this leader wants a new Stock exchange (Casino) in a free Scotland! The London financiers have done enough damage Robin! he appears to have no idea what debt inflation is, debt peonage, debt enslavement and how financial engineering of the Stock Exchanges socially engineered austerity. Yes his heart is in the right place: genuine likeable guy but fit only for a lemming parade off a cliff if blunt truth be told. Working class radicals should always beware when the middle class degree educated lot tell them what to think; his diagnosis lacks prognosis because he pretends and fakes expertise in areas where he knows nothing. About ten per cent of what he says makes sense and his passionate enthusiasm carries his filibusters through. Scots on the Left fight like cats in a bag. When the lead person of the Jimmy Reid Foundation (as he was) goes on about himself all the time and his new big idea and cant even quote the far more intelligent man whose shoes he wears – Jimmy Reid – there is something very wrong. Jimmy Reid was tens of times the intellect on the Left Robin will ever be.

    Then there is Sheridan and his naive followers. Disagree that he lied to hide his past misogynist behaviour and you are a scab. Its his party and he can rant if he wants to. Another first among equals. Cult of the Personality is a central flaw in the Left history of Scotland. Who needs leaders? He even steals ideas and says they were his first. he said he used the phrase ‘pyrrhic victory’ to describe the referendum victory of the No Camp on the very night of the vote on 19th Sept 2013 on BBC tv. And has said this a few times. Watch the programme. Listen to every word and you will see he did not use this phrase at any time in 2013 let alone that night. So he claims the ideas of others as his then lies to disguise this. he hasnt the grace to say where he took it from or acknowledge the intellect of others. It has to be his idea because he says it is. Totalitarian traits. A real socialist is equal to his/her brothers and sisters as comrades and DOES NOT NEED TO BE THE NUMERO UNO. Im told by the naive he had nothing to do with the Hope Over Fear Committee and was not on it!!! But he hand picked everyone on it! Some good ideas from Solidarity but they wont merge with the Left Unity so there wont be Left Unity. Tommy will send a few spies and take ideas.

    I see people pushing others out of place for their own jobs these days in politics and ability is not the currency of the winners. Its what factions; who you know; wool pulling manipulation and false presentation of mediocrity packaged as genius.

    Cat Boyd, Liam o Hare and Jonathon Shafi are the ones with real skill and ability to see through what is wrong and what needs fixed – they could make this project shine. I wish them all the very best. As an internationalist I support the idea of what you are all doing. I hope the practice lives up to the ideal but be careful too many unworthies dont jump your bandwagon for their own ends.

  9. Billy Bunter's Cousin Jock says:

    Sadly, no unemployed people will be able to afford to join your new movement. They need their money to eat and heat!

    WTF is a Neo liberal socialist? Oxymoron? you mean Blairites?

    1. Glasgow Against Austerity says:

      As an anti- austerity group, Glasgow Against Austerity (GAA) have to question why this event is being held at a luxury hotel such as the Marriot, where more cost appropriate venues, could have been chosen? The cost of the ticket alone is beyond most unemployed peoples’ ability – and why should people pay to have their voices heard? In an age of austerity; with Glasgow being pummelled by the government’s welfare reforms and austerity cuts, why was this venue chosen? GAA unfortunately will not be attending this event.

  10. old battle says:

    While its real fun/thrilling/sexy having international(ist) comrades coming to launch back at oor ain bit we can’t get together a ‘national’ left movement. Yes RIC & SSP & elements within the Independent/independence left will come together but there are substantial voices (I was going to use forces but that is passe) that will be outside the tent & not just pissing in.
    Creating a single Left Movement is challenging (the ancient schisms still smell the same Trot V Tankie v Morning Star plus new-age issue groupings ) but the far bigger challenge is moving a movement into a political vote generating Party. For as soon a the whiff of political party/partisan entity emerges then what and who would be on the platform at RIC would now find it appropriate to disengage from such unity and ‘build the party’.We will see that wall building from the Greens, elements from the left SNP fringes, Solidarity, TUSC/ Red Book/Morning Starists, Common Wealists, Scottish Left Review at al. Should Corbyn win Labour left and some Trade Unions would refrain from dealing with the Left Project but instead fight for Corbyn within the PARTY. Left Internationalism is easy, a national left party, if possible, is intense hard work.

  11. Darby O'Gill says:

    Cousin Jock, I was told tonight by one of the speakers at the forthcoming launch that no-one will be turned away if they cannot afford entry.

  12. Diable says:

    PODEMOS deny the right of self-determination of Catalonia and attacked the other leftist political parties, leftist movements and unions because PODEMOS are against the unity of the left, since they, they say “be neither left nor right”.
    I don’t think a party like PODEMOS that denies the right of self-determination and is against the unity of the left can be your reference.

    In the Spanish State you will always find solidarity of the movements of the oppressed nations without state, movements like the Candidatures d’Unitat Popular – CUP (Popular Unity Candidates) of the Països Catalans (Catalan Countries), the EH Bildu party of Euskal Herria (Basque Country) or the Sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores – SAT (Andalusian Union of Workers) of Andalucía (Andalusia) among many others.

    When you realize, here we will be waiting for what they need.
    I wish us a free and socially just Scotland.
    Long live the internationalist struggle!
    Greetings from Mallorca (Països Catalans – Catalan Countries).

    PS: Sorry for my English, I don’t speak very well.

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