Scottish Communists - website of the Communist Party
Saturday 29 November, Glasgow
STUC St Andrew's Anti-Racism March & Rally
10:30am for 11am March, Assemble Glasgow Green
Scottish Aggregate (Communist Party members only)
5:00 - 6:30pm Unity Office, Glasgow
7:00 - 9:30pm Unity Office, 72 Waterloo St, Glasgow (beside Admiral Bar)
Sunday 30 November in Glasgow’s Mitchell Theatre
Two major concerts and a couple of discussion groups are planned for Sunday 30 November in Glasgow’s Mitchell Theatre. The events will run from the afternoon into the evening, culminating in a grand concert, with the music curated by singer-songwriter Rab Noakes, and starring Squeeze’s Chris Difford, and Love and Money’s James Grant amongst a galaxy of other talent. Another appearance will be by Benn’s granddaughter, Emily, herself a political activist and Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate.
Rab Noakes said “It’s appropriate that a celebration of the life and work of Tony Benn should be based around music and song. He himself took part in many performances where his own writings were combined and interwoven with songs.”
And Tony Benn’s co-star in many of these performances – including Glastonbury - legendary folk singer Roy Bailey will also sing. Other performers will be, the doyen of political singers, Arthur Johnstone, Alastair McDonald, Sheena Wellington, and harmonicist extraordinaire, Fraser Speirs. Broadening the musical diversity is Edinburgh-based rapper, NRNXPO’s Qyeen and comedy compere Susan Morrison will try and keep it all in order!
The evening concert (7:30pm £20) will be preceded by a poetry, performance and presentation concert at 4.30pm (£7).
This features poet Tom Leonard, performance artists Attila the Stockbroker and Elvis McGonagall, compered by Bruce Morton.
In addition to singing, Roy Bailey will take part in a discussion about Tony Benn, Music and Politics to kick off the day, and that will be followed by a discussion on peace and nuclear weapons led by CND activists, Stephen Griffiths and Arthur West.
Jim Lister, of organisers FairPley said “We have had to rearrange this day from the Concert Hall to the Mitchell, so we can use the fact that all the venues are in close proximity as we have sharp timetables to meet. That means it may well sell out sooner, so we advise everyone to get their tickets quickly.”
The day’s events have been made possible by TU sponsors; Aslef, GMB, UNISON, Unite the union and PCS. The original idea came from Neil Findlay MSP.
Tickets for these events are available from the GCH box office on 0141 353 8000 or http://www.glasgowconcerthalls.com/events/tony-benn-a-celebration-concert/
7pm Wednesday 3rd December @STUC, 333 Woodlands Rd
Author of best selling book ‘Homage to Caledonia’
Chair: Rab O’Donnell; Glasgow HOPE not hate
Come & hear author Daniel Gray speak about local working class men & women who
fought in Spain against General Franco’s fascist army from 1936-1928.
Followed by Q&A session
Tuesday 2nd December 7.00pm
Come and hear the case for why Britain Needs Socialism!
Ycl Secretary & Glasgow Anniesland Candidate
Communist Party International Secretary
Hub Community Centre
405 Kilbowie Rd,
Clydebank G81 2TX
WIN THE FUTURE
WIN NEW READERS
A report of a vital conference held in November 2014, which features contributions from
Agne Tolmie (Past President STUC),
Ben Chako (Morning Star Editor),
Drew Smith MSP,
Jane Carolan (UNISON General Council & Executive Committee)
Jackson Cullinane (Political Officer, UNITE Scotland)
Colin Findlay (EIS Nationak Council)
plus reports & contributions from local Morning Star Readers and Supporters Groups across Scotland.
"The Communist Party of Britain has called for the devolution of power to home rule parliaments in Scotland and Wales since the 1930s.
In doing so, the Communist Party seeks to advance economic and social democracy in a state that is both multinational and whose democracy is constrained by the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of those who own the means of production, distribution and exchange.
Over the past half century this concentration has become more marked. It has had consequences geographically with economic development becoming increasingly uneven. It has also had consequences for the integrity of democratic institutions with the requirements of a highly financialised system of ownership increasingly limiting the ability of elected representatives to take any significant action to reverse growing inequality or to maintain minimum levels of social provision.
These circumstances frame our demand for progressive federalism."
On 19 September, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that Lord Smith of Kelvin had agreed to oversee the process to take forward the devolution commitments on further powers for the Scottish Parliament.
“Following the referendum we have a willingness, shared by all five of Scotland’s main political parties, to strengthen the powers of the Scottish Parliament, within the UK.
“My job is to create a process through which politicians, civic institutions and the Scottish public can come together, work together and agree the detail of what those powers should be.
“To that end, I am working to one aim: to produce a unifying set of proposals by the 30 November 2014.” Lord Smith of Kelvin
or click "read more" to view the text on this webpage.
11am – 4pm Sunday 7th December at the STUC in Glasgow
Organised by the Scottish Venezuela Solidarity Campaign and Scottish Cuba Solidarity Campaign
REGISTER AT EVENTBRITE: http://tinyurl.com/ouwjuvw
(the Scottish Venezuela Solidarity Campaign AGM meets in the STUC at 10:30am)
SPEAKER LIST ANNOUNCED:-
Sandra White, MSP for Glasgow Kelvin
Michael Connarty, MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk
Morena Herrera, campaigner for abortion rights in El Salvador
Dr Francisco Dominguez, Middlesex University and VSC
Dr. Mo Hume, Glasgow University
Jamie Peters, UK Youth Climate Coalition
Central America Women's Network
Many in Scotland want to move towards a more socially and sustainable society and there are examples of progress and popular participation presented by the experiences of progressive governments and popular social movements in Latin America. In Scotland we can take inspiration from success there in tackling inequalities, resolving historical conflicts or and promoting the rights of women, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples. There are also countries in which trade unions and movements opposing oppression need our support.
Building an Alternative Economy in Venezuela and the ALBA countries – Dr Francisco Dominguez, Middlesex University
A People's agenda on Climate Change from Caracas to the COP in Lima – Jamie Peters UKYCC
Women, violence and social progress in El Salvador – Mo Hume, Glasgow University, Morena Herrera, campaigner for abortion rights in El Salvador
|SVSC AGM Agenda 10:30am||[for Scottish VSC AGM December 2014]||25 kB|
|Flyer/ Poster||[for Scottish VSC Conference December 2014]||957 kB|
|VAMOS Conference Programme||[for Scottish VSC Conference December 2014]||83 kB|
Neoliberalism and new Labour removed the class struggle from the national question. The left must take it back, says John Foster
Britain’s constitution faces imminent change. Within the next six weeks the Smith Commission will publish proposals for the further devolution of powers to Scotland.
These proposals, once agreed, will begin to redefine constitutional structures for Britain as a whole.
Prime Minister David Cameron has stated his intention to legislate for the removal of Scottish MPs from Westminster for all devolved issues.
Depending on the recommendations of the Smith Commission, this exclusion could prove very comprehensive and apply not only to policy on education, housing and the NHS but also in some or all areas of taxation and for the provision of welfare benefits.
At the same time, the Con-Dem government is embarking on a piecemeal and politically reactionary reconfiguration of local government.
This month it announced a London-type mayor for Greater Manchester. Other such mayors, with concentrated executive powers, are likely to follow.
This is why the Communist Party’s 53rd congress this weekend will debate an emergency resolution on “The national question and constitutional change.”
The party has longstanding policies for the democratisation of Britain’s constitution. These are set out in our programme Britain’s Road to Socialism and do not need repetition here.
The purpose of this resolution is to focus attention on the immediate issue posed by Cameron and the Smith Commission: whether we will end up having an English parliament by default and the creation of new regional power structures.
It also focuses attention on the political context, namely the challenge posed by the emergence of the national question in Britain in a new way, symbolised by the rise of both Ukip and the SNP.
While politically these are quite different animals, they have one thing in common. They are cross-class parties that seek to capture working-class votes by an appeal to national sentiment and which, both in the case of the SNP and Ukip, make no reference to the issue of class or class power.
Some variety of nationalist populism might have been expected well before now given Britain’s trajectory as an imperial power in decline.
But even Thatcher’s flag-waving Conservatism had only limited impact on working-class communities. Now this has changed. Why?
There would seem to be three reasons.
The first is the impact of neoliberalism and new Labour on the special relationship between class politics and democracy in Britain.
More than in most other European countries, the original fight for democracy has been closely associated with the issue of working-class
power. This was because Britain, somewhat uniquely, had a majority working class.
Our rulers knew that the right to vote, if exercised collectively on a class basis, had the potential to change the balance of class forces. Thus they opposed full universal suffrage until well into the second quarter of the 20th century.
Democracy could and did mean the power to win full employment, a welfare state and public ownership.
Locally, it gave power to councils committed to fighting insecurity and squalor, winning decent public-sector housing, good social services and the equal provision of education.
Today this class potential has all but disappeared. It has been altogether squeezed out of local government and to a significant extent from Parliament — the consequence of the transfer of key powers of economic intervention to the EU (itself partly an arm of British big business power) and, fatally, by the longer term impact of neoliberal ideas in the Labour Party.
This is the second reason. The essence of new Labour — and what made it different from the old Labour right-wing — was to deny the validity of class mobilisation itself. The market had to be supreme.
This new ideology was combined with the loss of older generations of trade union activists.
It resulted in the demobilisation of the collective “Labour” organisation that previously gave democracy its class force.
The third reason is more immediate. Working people have suffered the biggest attack on living standards since the 1880s — an attack facilitated by a new flexible labour market.
This has been combined with an all-out ruling class assault to remove any potential for a revival of class politics — an assault on the trade union movement itself, on its links with the Labour Party and also, no less significantly, on the Labour Party itself as it seeks, however tentatively, to move away from new Labour politics.
This summer and autumn we saw the consequences.
In England, voters were told it was immigrants who were taking their jobs and benefits and Ukip would stop it.
In Scotland, working-class communities were told that their nation was the second richest in Europe and that if they voted for independence, austerity would end.
Politics defined in terms of national allegiance replaced those of class. This is why the constitutional question is now so fundamental.
What kind of English parliament will emerge under the Cameron plan?
Both the Tories and the SNP back “devo max” by which all tax-raising powers would be devolved. At a stroke, this would destroy the principle of wealth redistribution across Britain on the basis of social need.
It would also, under Tory proposals, create an English parliament able to challenge any progressive policies emerging from a wider Westminster Parliament.
Since the 1930s, communists have backed home rule parliaments for Scotland and Wales in order to give working people more power over capital in their own nations. But these calls for national devolution have always been combined with insistence on the need for the democratisation of institutions at British level.
It is here, at “federal” level that is it necessary to challenge the concentrated state power of British monopoly capital — to be able to control trade and capital movements, currency and interest rates and, critically, to redistribute wealth both socially and geographically across Britain in terms of social need.
The emergency resolution offers four options for debate. But its basic insistence is that the issue cannot be dealt with in the abstract.
Any proposals have to be linked to the wider perspective for redeveloping class politics and for real, not formal, democracy.
Democratically elected regional assemblies, with powers of economic and industrial intervention and ownership, will only benefit working people if they are driven forward by the revival of mass class politics in an alliance of trade unions and local communities as represented in the People’s Assembly.
The option of a federation of nations, including an English parliament, only makes sense if we understand England itself as an ethnically diverse multinational nation — one with many component nationalities that can only be united around progressive objectives by a wider class unity against oppression and exploitation.
Dimitrov’s warnings from the 1930s remain all too relevant today.
Socialists and communists cannot stand back from the national question. We are already faced with options that will be disastrous for our democratic future unless we, and the labour movement, advance our own alternatives.
John Foster is international secretary of the Communist Party.
Theresa McDermott - Free Gaza Campaign
Kenny Coyle - the Communist Party
Recorded Friday 5th September 2014, Glasgow, Scotland at a Communist Party public meeting. A very moving and deeply poignant film about the suffering & plight of the Palestinians had a pre-release showing before the speakers made their own contributions as filmed above.
The Communist Party of Britain's Scottish Committee is pleased to advertise it's 2014 Autumn/Winter Education Class Series - focusing on the national question in the wake of the Independence Referendum.
All are welcome. Classes are open to members and friends of the CP and everyone seeking to learn more about Marxism!
All classes will be held 7pm - 8:30pm in Unity Office 72 Waterloo Street, G2 7DA, Glasgow.
1. Marxism on the National Question (Thursday October 9th)
Join the Facebook event! https://www.facebook.com/events/769673243093415/
England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
Join the Facebook event! https://www.facebook.com/events/287002688166029/
Marx and Engels: 'Manifesto of the Communist Party' (1848)
Lenin: 'Critical Remarks on the National Question' (1913)
Lenin: 'The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination' (1916)
Stalin: 'Marxism on the National Question' (1913)
Connolly: 'Labour in Irish History' (1910)
Dimitrov: 'The Fascist Offensive and the Tasks of the Communist International in Fight for the Unity of the Working Class against Fascism' (1935) / CPB reprint 2007
CPB Scotland: 'Breaking the British State' (2004)
CPB Scotland: 'Scotland's Future' (2008) / p. 20: Marx and Lenin on nations and nationality; p. 22: Communists and the National Question in Britain;
p. 23: The class origins of the Scottish nation
Foster: 'Whose nation? Democracy and the national question in Britain' (2007)
Hobsbawm: 'The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848' (1997 edition) / Chapter 2: The Industrial Revolution; Chapter 6: Revolutions; Chapter 7: Nationalism
Hobsbawm: 'The Age of Capital: 1848-1875' (1996 edition) / Chapter 5: Building Nations; Chapter 6: The Forces of Democracy
Hobsbawm: 'The Age of Empire: 1875-1914' (1997 edition) / Chapter 6: Waving Flags: Nations and Nationalism
Hobsbawm: 'The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century' (1994) / Chapter 7: End of Empires
CPB Scotland: 'The Debate on Scotland's Future' (2012)
CPB: 'Britain's Road to Socialism' (2011)
CPB Scottish Committee: 'Statement on Scottish Independence', Communist Review (Summer 2014)
*This is not an 'exhaustive' reading list. It is a 'guide' only and intended to be of use to non-party activists, as well as Party members. Additional reading suggestions will be
forthcoming in due course and will appear on the Party's website, as will the second 'bloc' of classes, culminating in a 'Day School' which will pull together the basic elements of the
The outcome of the referendum on independence places a very heavy responsibility on all those committed to the cause of social justice and of the advance to socialism, writes Tommy Morrison, Scottish secretary of the CP.
THE Scottish referendum saw a firm majority voting against the SNP recipe for independence.
EU and Nato membership, the monarchy, neoliberal economic policies and a currency tied to sterling did not win the confidence of the Scottish people.
At the same time the outcome places a very heavy responsibility on all those committed to the cause of social justice and of the advance to socialism.
Labour’s traditional heartlands did vote Yes. This happened in Dundee, Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire.
These are also the areas with the highest poverty, worst unemployment and most severe deindustrialisation. Even if the Yes lead here was only narrow, this is the result to which the left must pay most attention.
These are precisely the places that a generation ago remained committed to a belief in working-class solidarity.
Voting Labour reaffirmed an understanding that class unity had been able to deliver full employment and all the benefits of the welfare state and public ownership. This conviction has been largely lost. It is what must be restored.
This is doubly important if the scars and divisions arising from the two-year-long referendum campaign are to be overcome.
There are dangers of a disinherited generation, of hundreds of thousands who now believe that a new future has been snatched from their hands. In many cases people who had abandoned any faith in conventional politics and been politicised by the referendum.
SNP campaigning was specifically directed at Labour voters in working-class areas. At the polling stations in Clydebank and Glasgow its shouts were “End Tory rule forever,” “Put David Cameron on the dole,” “Give your children a future,” “Say Yes to change,” “Say Yes to save the NHS.”
These slogans bore no relation to the neoliberal policies carried in the small print of the Scottish government’s White Paper. But it is what people will remember — Alex Salmond’s pledges that people would “have their own nation” and thereby the power to fulfil their dreams.
The left now has to win this generation to understand that “Tory rule” can be ended, and ended quickly — but only if there is a mass movement for progressive change across the whole of Britain.
The same disenchantment exists outside Scotland — expressed in terms of non-voting and voting for Ukip and more extreme forms of nationalism.
The Scottish referendum is therefore a warning. The Labour Party must change its policies.
The so far minimal moves to ditch the legacy of Blair and new Labour must be speeded up — and the trade union movement must use its still significant influence inside the Labour Party to ensure that this is done.
Today the policies of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (and the TUC) are exactly what so many in Scotland believed that independence could deliver — an end to austerity, nationalisation of utilities, halting all privatisation, scrapping of universal credit and ending all anti-union laws.
Although the trade union movement has itself been the biggest victim of neoliberal policies and has to struggle to survive, it still has six million members. It has the potential to revive class politics where it matters — to provide the democratic basis for mass campaigning in working-class communities.
In Scotland the first annual general meeting of the People’s Assembly will take place in Glasgow on October 4. It has the active backing of most major trade unions and a growing number of trades union councils — including those in the areas that voted Yes: Dundee, Clydebank, Glasgow. It also has the support of significant political figures across the left including the Labour Party and the SNP.
It must be made a rallying point for a new start in Scottish politics — but also one that returns the labour movement to its roots in working class communities.
There also needs to be a return to the labour movement’s traditional objectives in terms of the Scottish Parliament itself. As fought for by the Scottish Trades Union Congress in the 1970s and ’80s, it was seen as a parliament that could directly aid the campaigns of working people for economic democracy, full employment and wider public ownership.
Despite the powers on paper of the current Scottish Parliament, it has remained a prisoner of the wider neo-liberal framework enforced by both Westminster and the EU. Deficit limits and directives imposing market competition have thwarted any progress towards economic democracy.
Some concessions have been made as a result of the referendum campaign, particularly the commitment to the principle of income redistribution across Britain in terms of social need. But this again will only become real if linked to a wider understanding of the need to ditch neo-liberalism and EU-imposed austerity.
The stakes are high — particularly for the 2015 election. Clarity will be needed on the left on the road ahead.
In Scotland one key forum will be the Morning Star’s Scottish conference organised for Sunday October 5 on After the Referendum: What Way Forward for the Trade Union and Labour Movement.
Leading figures from the trade union movement, from the Labour Party and the SNP will seek agreement on basic, unifying objectives that can indeed end Tory rule forever.
Tom Morrison is Scottish Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain.
Friday 19th September 2014
Scottish electors have exercised their right of self-determination. In doing so, they have decided to remain part of Britain and have reaffirmed an understanding that unity at this level is critical to the fight for social and economic justice and against the Tory attacks that affect all the peoples of Britain.
However, there was very strong support for a Yes vote in the areas of the greatest poverty and unemployment. In Glasgow, Dundee, North Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire, areas of traditional Labour support, Yes was in the majority.
This result is therefore a measure of the level of disenchantment among those hardest hit by austerity and attacks on the welfare state. It indicates that a significant minority are losing confidence in the ability of the Labour and Trade Union Movement to act against the power of big business and the super rich.
This is a challenge for all on the Left. It demands a new clarity in our movement about the institutions that sustain this class power of big business at both British and EU level. These are exactly the same structures that would have nullified any progress towards real economic and social self-determination under the mandate offered by the SNP: EU and NATO membership and the neo-liberal grip of a currency geared to the needs of finance capital.
The trade union and labour movement now has to demonstrate its will to develop mass campaigning on the ground. The People’s Assembly must become a mass movement – as must the demand for an end to Trident. This will be the only way to defeat the Tories and their allies in the 2015 election and to minimise the vote for right-wing and extreme right-wing parties. It will also be the only way to heal the divisions of the referendum and win renewed unity.
This means that in Scotland the new pledges on greater powers for a Scottish parliament must be honoured – particularly the pledge to a federal system that maintains some form of tax redistribution across Britain based on social need. But this federalism must be socially progressive and be combined with an overall commitment to a redistribution of wealth and power in favour of working people across the whole of Britain.