SCOTLAND SUPPLEMENT III - Separatism, federalism, centralism

Breaking apart existing states is not the road to socialism, but the road to defeat, writes Jack Conrad

Those who rigidly adhere to a moralistic, third-worldist anti-imperialism cannot possibly bring themselves to countenance self-determination for ‘unworthy’ peoples - the most obvious example being Israeli Jews and the British-Irish in the six counties of Northern Ireland.1 Given its junior role in building, administering and maintaining what was a vast British empire, that must include Scotland too. After all, historically, even “left-of centre”2 Scottish nationalists sought not an end to that empire, but, as a “mother nation”, equal rights with England to plunder and profit.3

Interestingly, though the motivations are transparently different, similar arguments can be heard coming from cosmopolitan liberals. According to ethical philosopher Allen Buchanan, an advocate of the “remedial rights only theory”, calling for self-determination for non-oppressed nations risks endless fragmentation. Unless there has been “a long train of abuses”,4 there ought to be no justification in international law for the “right of self-determination”.5 Only if “serious injustices” have occurred can a case be made for secession as a “remedial right”. Without that safeguard, without that restraint - and there is a truth here - every region, every community, every street could claim their right to self-determination and thus bring about the complete breakdown of society. Territorial “integrity” must, concludes Buchanan, be upheld.6

Communists are not committed to upholding the integrity of the capitalist state: what matters to us is winning the unity of the working class in overthrowing the capitalist state and then defending the socialist state which replaces it … and towards that end it is necessary to neutralise enemies and gain allies.

That - neutralising enemies and gaining allies - explains why the Bolsheviks championed the right of Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Georgia, Finland, Uzbekistan, etc, to self-determination … and were prepared to extend that right even to the Cossacks. Not, of course, because the Cossacks were deserving, kindly and suitably oppressed. No, on the contrary, they were the tsar’s chosen oppressors: internally they served as a mounted paramilitary police force. Amongst workers, students, peasants and members of revolutionary organisations, the Cossacks “achieved iconic status as the embodiment of tsarist brutality”.7 A privileged estate, or caste, the Cossacks lived tax-free, in semi-militarised, often quite isolated, settlements scattered across southern Russia and Ukraine. They were widely viewed as natural counterrevolutionaries.

But that is exactly the point. The Bolsheviks sought to split rank and file Cossacks from their ataman commanders and, if possible, bring them over to the side of the revolution. Hence, they started to offer concessions and treat the Cossacks as “an ethnic or national group”.8 Without such a shift the camp of revolution could only but be weakened and the counterrevolution strengthened. In January 1918 units of Red Cossacks were established and they went on to become one of the biggest, if not the most reliable, cavalry formations in the Red Army.9

So, the demand for self-determination is not some unwarranted sop to petty bourgeois reactionaries, or an unrealisable panacea - a cure-all for capitalism’s national antagonisms. Rather, self-determination is one of many weapons in the armoury of communism. If properly applied, it advances the interests of the working class.

In this light it matters not a jot that the Bolsheviks were forced to invade Ukraine in order to crush the white armies of Kornilov and Denkin, or that they counter-invaded Poland in a vain attempt to reignite the German revolution. Such instances can be the subject of historic re-examination. However, none of that proves that Bolshevik support for self-determination was a sham or that the demand should never have appeared in their programme.

Nor does it matter a jot that ecstatic independence celebrations in the Caribbean, Asia and Africa were followed by subordinate economic development, corruption and widening social inequality. Blaming the Bolsheviks’ demand for national self-determination, on the basis of such ‘evidence’, would be like blaming the working class suffrage movement of Sylvia Pankhurst for the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979.

There is a tenuous connection. The Workers’ Suffrage Federation did, after all, demand votes for women. But such a premise and the election of Thatcher hardly amount to identity. Communists should never apologise for helping to bring about universal suffrage because the UK’s first female prime minister was a breaker of trade unions, a homophobic bigot and a dyed-in-the-wool British chauvinist. That is what Aristotle called an “accidental unities”, not an essential outcome.10

One can legitimately debate whether or not the Basque Country, Catalonia, Palestine, Tibet, Quebec, Kurdistan or Scotland tick all the right boxes needed to be classified as full nations. The main point in each and every such case is, though, what people living in such places think. We neither invent nor ignore national grievances. Instead, deal positively with problems where they exist: eg, protest against discrimination, insist on equality, seek to overcome national antagonisms through common struggles, fight for extreme democracy. That is the communist approach.

Hopefully, having left no room for doubt that the right to self-determination is fundamentally a political question - not a moral reward, a fraud or a matter of fulfilling exact criteria - let us proceed.

To state the obvious, when communists advocate Scottish self-determination, it is not the same as advocating independence. As Lenin wrote: “Generally speaking, we are against secession. But we advocate the right to secede in view of the Black Hundreds’ policy of Great Russian nationalism.”11

Elsewhere he explains:

We demand freedom of self-determination … not because we have dreamt of splitting up the country economically, or the ideal of small states, but, on the contrary, because we want large states and the closer unity and even fusion of nations, only on a truly democratic, truly internationalist basis, which is inconceivable without the freedom to secede.12

An often used metaphor is marriage. Saying a partner should have the legal right to end a marriage is not the same as recommending divorce. Of course, as opinion polls amply testify, Scotland is far from content. What was a marriage of convenience for those above has soured for many below. There is disenchantment, resentment, an icy-cold chill.

Scotland, as a matter of principle, ought, therefore, to have the right to freely decide its own future. Under our contemporary conditions that is no more than elementary democracy. However, it does not follow that communists are indifferent as to how that right is exercised. The unacceptable status quo must be ended. Nowadays it fuels division and weakens the working class. That is why the various left-loyalist ‘no’ campaigns are so wrongheaded. Eg, the Healyite Socialist Equality Party, which cannot, will not advocate the right of Scotland to self-determination.13 The same goes for ‘this is all a diversion’ economism: “Putting differences aside” over the national question in order to prioritise the “fight against austerity” is not only to abandon high politics.14 It is to constitute oneself as part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Marxism favours the closest possible voluntary unity of peoples in general and workers in particular. That means accepting the right of people in Scotland to choose what constitutional arrangement they want to live under. We are not hung up about getting Westminster to grant Scotland a second referendum. As a matter of principle, we reject referendums. The Holyrood parliament ought to be able to decide on independence with no more than a vote by MSPs.

That said, at every stage, communists fight for their own programme. Under the specific circumstances of today, the federal republic slogan fits the bill perfectly. It encapsulates our commitment to working class unity alongside the right of Scotland and Wales to separate.

Not that federalism is a principle with us. Quite the reverse. Our principle, when it comes to the state, is democratic centralism. Though Russia was a ‘prison house’ of nations, Lenin and the Bolsheviks emphatically rejected all notions of federalism.15 As can be seen from Stalin, their principal spokesperson on the national question, they considered proposals for a “federal state” as “absolutely unwise and reactionary”.16 Only in August-September 1917, in State and revolution, did Lenin make his first tentative step in the direction of federalism as a transitionary form “to a centralised republic”. He made the point that Marx and Engels “upheld democratic centralism, the republic - one and indivisible”. They only countenanced the federal republic in exceptional circumstances: ie, the call for a federation between Britain and Ireland. However, that did not mean adopting federalism as a principle. Marx and Engels never ceased making the argument for “a unified and centralised democratic republic”.17 That is what we want to move towards in Britain … and in Europe too.

Needless to say, nationalism and Marxism are antithetical. Nationalists see national divisions as inevitable, natural, even desirable. They strive to bring together all classes within the nation ‘under one banner’. That, surely, explains why the Scottish Socialist Party’s main spokesperson, Colin Fox, boasts of helping to establish the “cross party” Scottish Independence Convention and having sat on the ‘yes’ campaign’s advisory board in 2014 alongside Nicola Sturgeon (deputy SNP leader and deputy first minister), Dan Macdonald (property developer) and Sarah-Jane Walls (businesswoman). The honorary vice-chair of the advisory board was none other than Sir George Matheson, former boss of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Preposterously, Fox views Scottish independence as a chance to “free five million Scots from the yoke of British imperialism”. He adds this rather petulant plea: “Socialists didn’t argue that Ireland should not have its independence, or India in 1947, or all those other countries shackled to the British empire, did they?”18 As if Scotland, a junior imperial partner, can be compared with Ireland and India.

Marxists view nationalists as (at best) unstable, untrustworthy and potentially treacherous allies. In general, though, there can be no doubt that nationalism is a pernicious, deadly enemy. Especially, it should be said, within our own movement. Nationalism was responsible for the tragic failure, the fracturing of the Second International in August 1914. In the name of national defence, social democrats sided with their own ruling class. Workers were urged to slaughter their class brothers. The 1928 Stalinite counterrevolution within the revolution was nationalist too. And the Soviet Union inspired other such aberrations: China, North Korea, Albania and Cambodia.

Because of that horrible history socialist nationalism has to be reimagined. Alan McCombes writes against “striving to replace capitalist globalisation with socialist globalisation” and against “gigantic socialist mega-states”. Instead of what is, well, the classic Marxist road to communism, he proposes, that “our more immediate goal” should be to “build socialism from below - a socialism that is based on decentralisation, diversity and voluntary cooperation”. A formulation worthy of the father of anarchism, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon himself. Admittedly, McCombes confesses, no-one can “claim that it’s possible to build a fully-fledged socialist society in a small country on the edge of Europe”. But “we can”, he says, “push forward in a socialist direction, blazing a trail which others will then follow”.19 Colin Fox soon dispensed with all such subtleties: no ifs, no buts, he campaigns for “an independent socialist Scotland, a modern democratic republic”.20 Bill Kidd too. Once of the SSP, now Scottish National Party MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, he announces in the same extraordinary, parochial manner: “If there isn’t a Scottish road to socialism, there isn’t one at all.”21


We seek to emulate the best of the past: eg, the Communist Party of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels; the German Social Democracy of August Bebel, Wilhelm Liebknecht and Karl Kautsky; the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party of Vladimir Lenin, Lev Kamenev, Grigory Zinoviev and Leon Trotsky. Not as mimicry, but in order to make a qualitative leap both organisationally - by positively overcoming the confessional sects - and programmatically. Obviously, making a party of several millions - necessary for a revolution in a country like Britain - is the work of many years. Putting together a programme is another matter. Whatever the inadequacies - inevitable due to the absence of constant testing and fine-tuning, which can only be provided by practical engagement in large-scale class battles - it can be the work of a select few communist militants, if - and this is vital - they have schooled themselves thoroughly in the theory of Marxism. We have done just that.

So, although the CPGB is not yet a party - that remains our central aim - we have gone to great lengths to equip ourselves with a party programme, a draft programme, in recognition of where we are at in terms of constituting a real force. Unlike the narrow economism that so often passes for common sense on the left nowadays; unlike the disaster socialism, preached by the programmeless Socialist Workers Party, which blithely claims that the “break-up of the British state” will strengthen the forces for change;22 unlike the left nationalist satellites of the SNP, we take a consistently Marxist approach to the UK state.

Here is our main enemy. In our minimum programme - ie, within the technical limits imposed by the capitalist system - communists therefore emphasise, bring to the fore, class (as opposed to sectional) demands that challenge the logic of the market, such as the provision of health, housing, education and benefits based on need, and political demands which challenge how we are ruled. The abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords, a people’s militia, the disestablishment of the Church of England, etc are all elementary. A democrat who cannot support such demands is no democrat. A socialist who cannot support such demands is no socialist.

What about the national question? We demand self-determination for Scotland and Wales, and a federal republic of England, Scotland and Wales (the initial form which we envisage for working class rule in Britain). Communists are quite prepared to take self-determination to extremes. If there is a genuine sense of grievance that grips the masses, as opposed to the elite, let Orkney and the Shetlands, Jersey, the Isle of Man, Cornwall, etc, decide their own fate, up to and including separation. But we are always obliged to take into account, to judge, to assess the bigger economic, political and military picture. We could not tolerate a counterrevolutionary staging post being established offshore, let alone onshore.

But our efforts go towards persuading people to unite. Separation into numerous tiny statelets is a road to defeat - that is for sure. When this anarchist ideal was put into practice, as it was in Spain in 1868-74, it led, as Engels regretfully observed, to “the boundless and senseless disintegration of the revolutionary resources” and a walkover for counterrevolution.23 Balkanising Britain would have the same result. Indeed, that is why we oppose leftwing calls for breaking up the European Union. Brexit, like Scottish separatism, weakens the potential of the working class to make and defend a revolution. Far from setting off a cascade of progressive demands and developments, as the proponents of disaster socialism glibly claim, it will be right populism that benefits. In the patriotic name of ensuring national competitiveness, the strong state is combined with austerity, cheap labour, low business tax rates, deregulation and buccaneer capitalism.24 Socialism is a positive movement, it comes about not through national schism, economic dislocation and fostering cross-class unity, but growing working class organisational strength, increased political consciousness and the conflict of class against class.

Even given harsh national oppression, communists in general favour unity and the biggest possible states, because they provide the best conditions for the coming together and eventual merger of peoples. Separation can become a communist demand if unity is imposed by force and there is no immediate prospect of the working class taking power. Needless to say, as we have comprehensively shown, the relationship between England and Scotland has not primarily been characterised by violence, certainly since the 1707 Act of Union. In fact, England and Scotland - ie, the ruling classes - were co-sponsors of the imperial British project.

The first victim was Ireland. Land was confiscated and cleared of people. In the north-east colonists, mainly from lowlands Scotland and northern England, were planted. Elsewhere absentee landlords were installed. During the great famine of 1845-49, the Irish peasantry was callously left to starve. Some 20%-25% of the population died of hunger and disease or were forced into emigration. Natives in the Americas, India, Australia and Africa were treated no differently by their Anglo-Scottish masters.

In the interests of common humanity, colonial robbery, economic subordination and brutal oppression had to be ended. But the how is decided on the basis of different historical conditions and prospects in each and every case.

For example, Marx once thought that British colonialism would ensure an industrial take-off in India - incorrect, as things turned out. Not that Marx held a mechanical view of capitalist progress. The Indian masses, he wrote in July 1853, would only benefit if there was a proletarian revolution in Britain or they themselves had “grown strong enough to throw off the English yoke altogether”.25

However, Scotland is no India. To suggest or even hint otherwise is to equate victimiser with victim. And yet, and yet ... The 1707 Act of Union had no popular mandate. Rich and powerful men decided on both sides. ‘Democracy’, if we can call it that, was entirely within their fief. There were only 4,000 voters in the whole of Scotland at the time. It suited their interests to make a British state - and as we have said before, bribery helped too.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is still constitutionally the unity of hereditary crowns. Not the voluntary union of free peoples. Sovereignty resides with the “Queen-in-parliament” (Encyclopedia Britannica). Even with the today’s universal suffrage there remains a problem. Given the decline of class-consciousness and the rise, in particular, of Scottish nationalism, the government in Westminster, whether it be Tory or Labour, is seen as an English government. It was the same with Brexit. There was a huge disparity between, on the one side, England’s 56 million population and, on the other hand, the rest of the UK with a total of 10 million. It is all too easy to explain every problem as being due to London (English) rule.

Devolution, to state the obvious, has only served to exacerbate national resentment - Holyrood is dominated by the SNP, the Cardiff assembly by Labour. Meanwhile, having smashed Labour’s ‘red wall’ with the ‘Get Brexit done’ sledgehammer, Boris Johnson’s Tories have a commanding 80-strong majority in the House of Commons.

As already noted, Engels wrote favourably about a federation in the British Isles. For example, in his ‘Critique of the Erfurt programme’ he commented in passing that federalism “would be a step forward” in Britain, which in spite of its single parliament has “three different systems of legislation”.26 He had in mind a voluntary federation of Britain and Ireland. That would be “a step forward” towards the “one and indivisible republic” - the form most suited to the needs and struggles of the proletariat. Of course, we do not advocate a federal republic in Britain because of Engels. We advocate a federal republic because the national question in Scotland and Wales is palpably real. A federal republic “would be a step forward” given the circumscribed powers of the Scottish parliament and the Welsh assembly and constitutional fact that sovereignty still resides with the monarch-in-parliament.

Most leftwingers absolve themselves of what they wrongly imagine as the ‘bourgeois’ task of ending the monarchy and winning a democratic republic. The SWP, Socialist Party in England and Wales, etc do so by way of a two-pronged alibi. The first prong is rightist: nowhere in the UK are workers fighting under the banner of a federal republic. No, they are interested in wages, jobs, housing and ending austerity. The second prong is leftist: instead of demanding a republic, we should go for socialism. Excuses, excuses. There is no dialectic that leads from narrow economic demands to socialism. Nor is the leftist excuse about demanding socialism ever applied to the rightist ‘wages and conditions’ alibi. Why should it? Excuses are excuses. When it comes to trade union politics, they do not turn up their noses with haughty references to the maximum demand for the abolition of the wages system - a vital step under socialism, which needs to be upheld, explained and popularised as an idea in the here and now.

So, in rejecting the communist minimum programme, with its emphasis on winning the battle for democracy, these comrades at one and the same time make maximalist gestures, while practising the capitalist politics of the working class. A hopeless muddle, which, if we are ever going to realise socialism, must be corrected, overcome, or completely marginalised.

Left-right overlap

Despite their acrimonious split, Alan McCombes, Colin Fox and Tommy Sheridan unitedly portray Scotland as an oppressed nation akin to colonial Ireland, India, etc. Morally repugnant, historically dishonest ... but politically expedient. Since the 1970s SNP votes have gone up, along with the rising tide of nationalism - a seemingly unstoppable bandwagon, which no opportunist could resist following. Hence the transformation of Messrs McCombes, Fox and Sheridan from dull Taaffites into tartan socialists. Out went 1918’s clause four; in came 1320’s Declaration of Arbroath. Out went the portraits of Leon Trotsky; in came portraits of John MacLean. Out went Militant: what we stand for; in came a phoney history of Scotland languishing under the English yoke for 300 years. Simultaneously, no less absurdly, today they boast that Scotland occupies a privileged position in the global struggle for socialism. After regaining independence Scotland will cut a messianic path. Marvelling, the people of other, less advanced countries will gain courage and seek to emulate, what Imagine (2000) calls Scotland’s “earth-shattering” lead.27

Of course, McCombes was the real author of this left-nationalist fantasy - a scaled-down variation on the old British road to socialism. Despite being pitiful, even as a work of ‘Marxist’ revisionism, this attempt to write a popular “socialist vision for the 21st century” remains the highest intellectual achievement of the SSP. That is why it is still worth citing.

Sheridan was, of course, given top billing on the front cover, because the SSP was furiously promoting his personality cult. Sheridan’s face appeared on leaflets and posters. Sheridan had a special column in Scottish Socialist Voice (largely written by McCombes). When Sheridan appeared before the SSP’s annual conference, it was a media occasion - cue music, lights down, ham speech, rapturous applause. McCombes played Svengali; Sheridan was his Trilby. The former hungered for the big time. The other had a “narcissistic” personality with a “sense of entitlement”.28 A potent, but volatile mixture, which ended in 2006, with the SSP blowing apart after Sheridan’s crazily misjudged decision to fight News of the World in the libel courts (fully backed by SWP and SPEW).

How to assess Sheridan nowadays? The Fallen Idol of Scottish socialism? The Clown of Scottish socialism? The Living Dead of Scottish socialism? Perhaps he is all three. We will have to leave it to the future to judge. What is certain, though, is the damage Sheridan has done to the cause of socialism in Scotland.

As for McCombes, he has stepped back from front-line politics to spend more time with nature. He works as communications editor for the John Muir Trust (doubtless a worthy charity, dedicated as it is to preserving “wild places” in Scotland, England and Wales). And yet, unlike his former prodigy, McCombes remains committed to the SSP. A rump, which under the decidedly uncharismatic leadership of Colin Fox, has become little more than an external faction of Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP.

According to the SSP’s approved version of history, after 1746 the ruling class in Scotland “started to turn more and more Anglified”. In the 19th century (sic) they began to “drop the term ‘Scotland’ completely, preferring to describe themselves as ‘North Britons’”.29 Actually, that began in the 17th and 18th centuries. Anyway, we are told, the “impulse from below is in the opposite direction”. Presumably, that is why Scottish voters voted overwhelmingly for all-Britain parties till the rise of the SNP in the 1970s. Nonetheless, again according the SSP’s approved version of history, today the ruling class - “drawn from all parts of the United Kingdom” - is British, while the “national identity” of the Scottish people is “saturated” with the spirit of “democracy and justice”.30 Put another way, Scotland is a proletarian nation; Britain is bourgeois.

A construct which unmistakably echoes the Italian writer and political activist, Enrico Corradini (1865-1931). A dedicated man of the left, Corradini supported strikes and protest campaigns and as a result suffered arrest on at least 30 occasions. Yet in 1911 he helped found the Italian National Association - an organisation which drew into its ranks journalists, poets and artists opposed to both liberalism and orthodox Marxism. Corradini fused the direct action and general strikism of Georges Sorel with the nationalism of Charles Maurras.

Here, borrowing, twisting, inverting standard leftwing language, Corradini presents his creed:

We must start by recognising that there are proletarian nations as well as proletarian classes; that is to say, there are nations whose living conditions are subject to great disadvantage, to the way of life of other nations, just as classes are. Once this is realised, nationalism must, above all, insist firmly on this truth: Italy is, materially and morally, a proletarian nation. What is more, she is proletarian at a period before her recovery. That is to say, before she is organised, at a period when she is still groping and weak. And, being subjected to other nations, she is weak not in the strength of her people, but in her strength as a nation. Exactly like the proletariat before socialism came to its aid ... just as socialism taught the proletariat the value of the class struggle, we must teach Italy the value of the international class struggle.31

Hence for Corradini, “Socialism is the philosophy of proletarian classes - nationalism is the philosophy of proletarian nations.” “Class struggle” is thereby subsumed by “international struggle”.32

Benito Mussolini, Joseph Goebbels and Gregor Strasser embraced these red-brown politics with a passion. “We are proletarian nations that rise up against the plutocrats,” declared Mussolini on the eve of his ‘march on Rome’.33 Strasser imagined himself answering the call “not of the proletarian class, but of the proletarian nation”.34 For Goebbels, the SA, Hitler’s stormtroopers, were “a living, breathing symbol of the proletarian nation”.35 Italy and Germany were, of course, deemed proletarian nations, and as such categorically opposed to the bourgeois nations of France and Britain.36

There has clearly been an unwitting, historically uninformed, but unmistakable reflux of Corradini’s nationalism. Big business, the rich and powerful are damned for being “bitterly hostile towards the idea of independence”. Does this blanket description include Stagecoach tycoon Sir Brian Souter? He was, after all, a big donor to Alex Salmond’s SNP. Presumably, this sponsor and main financier of the ‘Keep the clause’ campaign in 2000 (clause 28 was a Thatcherite piece of legislation which banned teachers from treating homosexual relations as real and valid) is an honorary proletarian.37

Nevertheless, despite the pro-independence Scottish bourgeoisie, we are told that the “cringing” British unionism of Scotland’s bankers, landowners and wealthy businessmen “conforms to a historical pattern” stretching back over 1,000 years.38 In other words, those above are historically constituted quislings. Meanwhile, the feudal levy called up by William Wallace and Andrew Moray, Jacobite highlanders fighting for the restoration of the Stewart dynasty, pro-Moscow Red Clydesiders, poll tax resisters and SNP voters are joined together as national partisans.

McCombes and Sheridan are at pains to stress that they bear no ill-will towards English people as such. Admittedly, on a personal level, they have behaved in a courteous and civilised manner when I’ve been in Scotland. We had an organised presence in the Scottish Socialist Alliance and early SSP conferences. Myself and McCombes debated. Yet we have the tell-tale story about how Scotland’s national identity has been “warped and distorted” and how a “permanent sense of resentment” against its “domineering neighbour” results.39 Mysteriously, never expressed electorally till the 1970s. Nonetheless, only with the break-up of the UK, or so we are told, will everything be put to right - just like the break-up of the USSR, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, etc. Leaving the EU will doubtless do the same for England’s “warped and distorted” national identity too. No, the whole approach stinks of reaction and endless division. There is, to restate the obvious, no possibility whatsoever of the World Union of Socialist States coming about through such poison.

Given their origins, most Scottish left nationalists consider themselves principled internationalists. A socialist Scotland, we are reassured, would not be an “isolationist Scotland”.40 Oh no. It would not involve “rebuilding” Hadrian’s Wall or quarantining “ourselves from the rest of the world”.41 Rebuilding Hadrian’s Wall would, of course, mean extending Scottish territory southwards and the annexation of the bulk of Northumberland and a good slice of Cumberland. Seriously though, whether or not Scottish left nationalists aim for an existing or a greater Scotland is beside the point. Scotland might want to have mutually beneficial connections with the rest of the world, but would the rest of the world benevolently reciprocate? Fidel Castro did not isolate Cuba. That was America. Why should a ‘socialist’ Scotland be any different?

The ‘tartan revolution’ comes with a left-nationalist warranty. Scotland will not be “brought to its knees” by an economic blockade. Scotland will avoid the starvation, poverty and wars of intervention visited upon Russia. Hence, supposedly, Scotland - or so continues the sales patter - will “stand up” to the forces of global capitalism and become an international “symbol of resistance” to economic and social injustice.42 Brave words. But is it mere left-nationalist braggadocio?

Apparently, Scotland can succeed where others have failed, because it is “fabulously wealthy”. Scotland has the “material foundations” for a “thriving” socialist democracy. Besides “long coastlines” and a “clean environment”, Scotland has a “flourishing” culture and “legions” of internationally acclaimed musicians, writers, actors and film directors. On top of these blessings, Scotland has “land, water, fish, timber, oil, gas and electricity in abundance”. Better still, Scotland has a “moderate climate.”43

Stalin notoriously countered Zinoviev, Kamenev and Trotsky with reference to Russia’s continental proportions and immense wealth in natural resources. Land, oil, forests, gold, a population that stood at around 150 million ... and a very, very long coastline. He did not mention a “moderate climate”, true. Despite that absence, Stalin boasted, in his version of Imagine - the second edition of Foundations of Leninism - that Russia had all it needed internally. Not to achieve the “final and complete victory of socialism” - that required the efforts of other countries - but enough to “build up a socialist society”.44

Stalin made a calculated turn in 1924 against those banking on international revolution. But, in 1928, responding to the mounting pressures of isolation, he launched an anti-working class, anti-peasant counterrevolution within the revolution. Its name - the first five-year plan. Socialism in one country proved to be anti-socialism in one country.

From a safe remove of nearly a century, Scottish left nationalists occasionally burnish their political credentials by heroically associating themselves with Leon Trotsky and his uncompromising tirades against Stalin’s national socialism - little more than retelling the stories of childhood nowadays. Alan McCombes, Tommy Sheridan and Colin Fox all got their political training sitting at the feet of Ted Grant and Peter Taaffe. Yet, despite a Militant Tendency schooling, today they promote a Scottish version of ‘socialism in one country’.

Scotland with its diminutive economy and population can hardly be expected to replace the Soviet Union as the non-capitalist superpower. However, if, by some historical quirk, a left-nationalist government did come to power in Holyrood, international capitalism would act with a frightening ruthlessness. In the immediate aftermath of October 1917 Winston Churchill announced he would “strangle the Bolshevik baby in its cradle”. Would Scotland be able to withstand the kind of siege warfare imposed on Soviet Russia by the dominant capitalist powers? The only honest answer is, probably not.

The fact of the matter is that Scotland has a “dependence” on the global economy that is far greater than Russia’s. The degree of “dependence” being determined, of course, by the level of development of the “productive forces”.45 Scotland is economically advanced; Russia was hellishly backward: a former colonising semi-colony, characterised by “primitiveness of social forms and low level of culture”.46

Scotland’s £168.14 billion gross domestic product47 is underpinned by banking, whisky and oil. In total the kingdom exports £33.8 billion worth of goods and services internationally.48 So some 20% of GDP comes from overseas markets - the US, Netherlands, France, Germany and Norway ranking at the top.49 By contrast, in 1913, exports accounted for “less than 3% of Russian GDP”.50 Leaving aside oil and gas, Scottish exports to the “rest of the UK” amount to £51.2 billion.51 Hence, if the “rest of the UK” were a foreign country, roughly 55% of its GDP would be accounted for by exports. Then there are imports: computers, finished steel, electronic components, cars, tobacco, timber, aircraft parts, foodstuffs, etc. In money terms £59.4 billion comes in from the rest of the UK (£20.6 billion from the rest of the world).52 A position within the global division of labour which renders Scotland highly vulnerable.

If a left-nationalist Scotland really threatened the imperialist order, as we are told it would, what is to stop the UK, EU and the US imposing asphyxiating sanctions - that or simply imposing a complete land, sea and air blockade? If Scotland were put under siege, it would surely face industrial breakdown, mass starvation and a population exodus within months, if not weeks. If that failed to bring Scotland to “its knees”, there is always a colour (tartan) revolution or, as a last resort, armies of intervention. No partisan of the working class can afford to dismiss such a prognosis.


Unflattering though it is, McCombes, Sheridan and Fox not only stand in the same ‘socialist’ camp as Enrico Corradini. There is Józef Piłsudski and his Polish Socialist Party too. Who was Piłsudski? In the late 19th century, he was something of a hero amongst the leading circles of European social democracy.

The PSP adopted Piłsudski’s socialist-nationalist programme for the reconstitution of the Polish Commonwealth out of the German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires (the country had been all but partitioned out of existence by the 1815 Congress of Vienna).53 Needless to say, having a Polonised-Lithuanian background, Piłsudski was inclined towards a greater Poland: ie, “a federal republic of the Polish, Lithuanian and Ukrainian nations”.54

Superficially, this appeared to be in line with the global strategy expounded by Marx and Engels. Tsarist Russia, which had taken something like 60% of Polish territory, constituted “the last great reserve of all European reaction”.55 The tsar maintained his absolutist rule at home by ensuring the survival of little absolutisms abroad. Not that the role of Britain - the most advanced capitalist country at the time - should be forgotten. Russian tsarism and British capital were “the two great pillars” of European reaction.

Every popular movement, revolutionary uprising or democratic settlement faced the danger of being crushed by the Russian colossus (with the full connivance of its British paymaster). That is why Marx and Engels advocated freedom for a smaller, not a greater Poland, and a “general war of revolutionary Europe” against Russia.56

It should be pointed out, however, that the Marx-Engels team was acutely aware that from the mid-19th century Russia was rapidly changing. Defeat in the 1853-56 Crimean War, at the hands of Anglo-French forces, exposed Russia’s hopeless backwardness. In order to keep things the same, everything had to change. Alexander II kept in place his absolutist regime by giving the go-ahead to the growth of capitalist relations of production. Inexorably, this brought forward the day when the masses would decisively enter the stage of history. As a result, tsarism was haunted by mounting internal contradictions and was less and less inclined to “engage in such activities as the conquest of Constantinople, India and world domination”.57 Russia was ripe for its 1789.

Polish uprisings in the 18th and 19th centuries were directed primarily against Russia. On every occasion the lead was taken by the Polish aristocracy, the szlachta. Not surprisingly then, the partitionist powers sought to liquidate the szlachta as a class. Russia incorporated the richest into its nobility, Prussia, meanwhile, fostered a bourgeoisie. The final solution lay in destroying the economic basis of the szlachta. Serfdom was abolished - in Prussian Poland in 1823, in Austrian Poland in 1849 and in Russian Poland in 1864.

Poland became in capitalist terms the most advanced part of the Russian empire. Trade unions formed in the 1870s and socialist groups - crucially Proletariat - briefly functioned in the 1880s.

Interestingly, the Proletariat Party took a militantly anti-nationalist position. Despite knowing the opinions of Marx and Engels on Poland, the leadership of the Proletariat Party - Ludwik Waryński, Stanisław Kunicki and Szymon Dickstein - favoured revolutionaries in Poland joining their efforts with “our Russian brothers”.58 The Proletariat Party established close contacts with the Russian Narodnik organisation, People’s Will. The Proletariat Party believed that the Polish national question was gradually withering, and Russia now held the prospect of revolution.

They were only partially right. Aristocratic Poland had become history. The peasantry were national, but passive. The bourgeoisie had but one interest - business. Nevertheless in 1892 the PSP arrived on the scene. It sunk real roots. Unlike the Proletariat Party it was no conspiratorial sect. The luminaries of European socialism were approached to endorse its call for the reconstitution of Poland. Most did: August Bebel, Karl Kautsky, Eduard Bernstein, Jules Guesde, Antonio Labriola, Henry Hyndman, Eleanor Marx-Aveling.

However, the PSP found a critical reception amongst important sections of the working class in Poland itself. Many - especially the very large number of Jewish workers - had taken on board, had made their own, the anti-nationalist outlook espoused by the Proletariat Party. As a result, the PSP sought to camouflage itself in the colours of internationalism. The PSP was an affiliated member of the Socialist International. But there was always an underlying nationalism. As already noted, the PSP sought not only a breakaway Russian Poland (Congress Poland): the goal was to organise all Poles along national lines and reconstitute a greater Poland out of the Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian empires. That meant hiving off members from existing multinational socialist parties in Russia, Germany and Austria. Relations became tense, often hostile.

Rosa Luxemburg

Though initially PSP members, Rosa Luxemburg and Julian Marchlewski vehemently objected to prioritising the national question. Indeed, they produced a sophisticated historical analysis of Polish society, which, although it ran counter to the strict letter of Marx and Engels, provided the conclusions necessary for putting the workers’ movement in Poland onto an entirely different footing.

In 1897 Luxemburg wrote The industrial development of Poland. Here she showed that the working class must inevitably become the main opponent of tsarist absolutism. Thereby the operative slogan ought to be unity against existing states, not the resurrection of national ghosts. Marx’s stance on Poland was obsolete, she argued. Luxemburg - boldly, though wrongly, at least in my opinion - ticked him off for advocating Polish independence back in 1848. Nevertheless, Marx’s method served admirably. Marxism, as Luxemburg stressed, is not a dogma, but a method of investigation and a living revolutionary practice.

Reconstituting the Polish Commonwealth was dismissed as being either reactionary or hopelessly utopian. Freeing Poland had to go hand in hand with freeing Russia. Russia “seethed with revolution” and could no longer be viewed simply as the bulwark of reaction.59 While tsarism decayed, the working class had begun to rise. Indeed, the revolutionary deluge Luxemburg expected at any moment would sweep away tsarism and Polish nationalism alike. Or so she hoped.

Luxemburg criticised the Proletariat Party for its terrorism, its conspiratorial methods and its lack of a minimum programme. Advocating socialism as the only aim disarmed Polish revolutionaries politically. Fighting for democracy and overthrowing tsarism would provide the bridge for uniting the Polish and Russian proletariat. Having done that, the “combined” working class movement would tackle the rule of Polish and Russia capital.60

Luxemburg’s polemical target was clearly the PSP. She branded it as social-patriotic, nationalist-socialist and national socialist. The PSP relied on carefully selected words and phrases plucked from the Marx-Engels corpus … that and “disparaging and vilifying the Russian people and Russian social democracy”.61 Serious theoretical work was noticeably absent. Certainly, the PSP leadership showed no real concern for working people in Russia: empty platitudes, yes, but in practice the PSP sought to divide a working class that was objectively being drawn together by capitalist development and which, in the tsarist state, faced a common enemy.

Luxemburg displayed no indifference towards the national oppression suffered by her fellow Poles - a frequent charge. On the contrary, tsarism’s barbaric treatment of the Polish nationality was roundly condemned. Nor did she adopt a dismissive attitude towards Polish culture. What was progressive should be defended and enriched by the working class movement. But Luxemburg was contemptuous of programmatic calls for national breakaways. She did not want Alsace-Lorraine separated off from Germany and returned to France. Nor did she want a reconstituted Poland.

Almost without exception every state in Europe had national minorities and overlapping populations. Germany, for example, contained Danes, Alsatian French as well as Poles. The German Social Democratic Party organised all, irrespective of nationality. The idea of splitting workers “along nationalist lines” was an anathema for Luxemburg.62

A year after the PSP’s formation, Luxemburg and Marchlewski split away, citing its nationalist programme. Together they helped establish the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland (SDKP - later added to with an ‘iL’ given the merger of the Lithuanian group led by Felix Dzerzhinsky).

Whether their decision to split was right or wrong need not concern us here. But what they established was arguably a sect. And, despite Luxemburg’s reputation as a ‘libertarian Marxist’, the SDKPiL was run along authoritarian lines by her partner, Leo Jogiches. On the positive side, though, the title of their ‘party’ announced not loyalty to the ‘kingdom of Poland’, no, needless to say, it announced that they would organise only in Russian Poland (and Lithuania). The SDKPiL had no interest in redrawing borders or damaging working class unity: in 1906 it formally became a national section of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, going on to be an erratic ally of the Bolshevik wing (in fact, the Poles were, in general, closer factionally, and in their emphasis on spontaneity, to Trotsky).

Nonetheless, Luxemburg’s anti-nationalist arguments were undeniably powerful. As a mere 23-year-old, she “enthralled and won over the great majority” of the 1893 congress of the Second International.63 Sympathy for her forthright internationalism was combined with a growing disenchantment with the PSP. The 1896 London congress voted down the PSP motion for an independent Poland.64 Instead delegates opted for the Kautsky-inspired resolution in favour of self-determination (a change fully supported by Russian social democrats):

This congress declares that it stands for the full right of all nations to self-determination and expresses its sympathy for the workers of every country now suffering under the yoke of military, national or other absolutism. This congress calls upon the workers of all these countries to join the ranks of the class-conscious workers of the whole world in order jointly to fight for the defeat of international capitalism and for the achievement of the aims of international social democracy.65

Frankly, Luxemburg overcompensated. She wanted to throw out the slogan of national self-determination, along with the nationalist bathwater. Self-determination was impossible under capitalism and undesirable under socialism, she contended. Neither being true, Luxemburg deserved the stinging rebukes she received from Lenin.

Lenin stood by the right of Poland to secede. But, alongside Luxemburg, he argued for the voluntary unity of Polish and Russian workers. In point of fact, he insisted on unity as a principle time and time again. Eg, we find Lenin typically writing - on this occasion in 1916 - that socialists in the “oppressed nation must, in particular, defend and implement the full and unconditional unity, including organisational unity, of the workers of the oppressed nation and the oppressor nation”.66

So, whatever the sometimes heated exchanges that took place between Lenin and Luxemburg, they were agreed that objective conditions demanded the organised unity of workers - Russians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles, etc - in the battle to overthrow tsarism. Pilsudski, by contrast, strove for an independent Poland and an independent PSP. Russian “imperialist” revolutionaries were told to keep out and go away.67 Lenin was consequently loath to regard the PSP as a “genuine” socialist party.68 Quite right too.


Most Scottish left nationalists, knowing the ABCs of European history, prefer not to be identified with Piłsudski - in May 1926 he led a Bonapartist military coup, which got the belated support of the PSP. No, understandably, they want to identify themselves with other, more acceptable, figures. John Maclean and Che Guevara both feature as icons at SSP conferences and rallies. Revealing, though Maclean and Guevara were brave revolutionaries, they wandered far and wide from the basic principles of Marxism.

Gripped by “spy mania”, Maclean refused to join the CPGB when it was formed.69 He was convinced that British government secret agents provided its finances. Instead, he founded a short-lived left-nationalist sectlet. As for Guevara, his politics owed far more to Maoism than Marxism.

Nevertheless, I have come across Scottish left nationalists who are prepared to defend Piłsudski and the PSP against Lenin and Luxemburg. Allan Armstrong - “communist, republican socialist, Scottish internationalist and freethinker” - “seriously” argues that Lenin and Luxemburg should have carried out Piłsudski’s programme of breaking up the Russian empire.

Of course, that is in effect to say that Lenin and Luxemburg should not have been Lenin and Luxemburg - instead they should have been Joseph Piłsudski. Formulating things in this, the only correct, way actually reveals that Armstrong is politically deluded. Though he thinks of himself as a Marxist, that is patently untrue. He is in actual fact a Piłsudskite. Being positively committed to the break-up of Britain and the division of the world’s peoples, he is convinced that nationalities and nations will characterise communism. So he is, therefore, being perfectly consistent when he defends Piłsudski.

Not surprising then, all things considered, Lenin’s and Luxemburg’s “political formulations”, according to Armstrong, “failed (... only too clear in the case of Poland)”. It was Lenin and Luxemburg, who were responsible for handing the struggle for self-determination “to Piłsudski’s ‘national-socialists’ on a plate”.70 As an aside, we see once again, the inability/refusal of Scottish left nationalists to distinguish between separation and self-determination. What Armstrong means by self-determination is separation. An inexcusable conflation.

But let us examine the argument. Did the politics of Lenin and Luxemburg fail? I think “the case of Poland” proves exactly the opposite. Lenin and Luxemburg were by no stretch of the imagination responsible for handing the struggle for self-determination to Piłsudski and his national socialists. Remember, Piłsudski was the dominant figure in the PSP - a party which had real roots in Polish society. By comparison Lenin and Luxemburg began with virtually nothing.

In 1904 discontent, arising from the Russo-Japanese war, saw PSP membership soar from 4,000 to 40,000. Piłsudski hurried to Japan and struck a deal with the Mikado - the Japanese emperor, Mutsuhito. Poland would open a second front. Piłsudski established the Militant Organisation, which would lead an armed uprising.

However, the outbreak of the 1905 Russian Revolution changed everything. Separatism suddenly seemed irrelevant. Hostility to “overbearing” Russian neighbours vanished. Workers in Warsaw and Lodz took their lead from workers in St Petersburg and Moscow in what was a common fight to overthrow tsarism.

Moreover, PSP members increasingly looked to the SDKPiL for theoretical and practical leadership ... and by their own volition adopted its theoretical foundations and slogans. The SDKPiL grew from a sect to something far more substantial (though it remained much smaller than the PSP). Piłsudski, however, suffered defeat. “The pure nationalists, the ‘social patriots’,” writes Luxemburg’s biographer, “saw with horror their hopes of an independent Poland were ebbing away as fast as the Russian Revolution was advancing.”71

The PSP cleaved into two at its 8th Congress in February 1906. The PSP-Revolutionary Faction, staying true to its nationalist programme, inevitably ended up abandoning revolution for militarism and diplomatic wheeler-dealing. Meanwhile, the PSP-Left Faction rejected the programme of national independence. In substance it adopted the programme of the SDKPiL. Poland should have autonomy within a democratic Russia.72

We in the CPGB likewise seek to split the forces of left nationalism. Genuine internationalists, real working class partisans, should break with those who would break working class unity. Join with us in the struggle for a mass Marxist party, a mass Communist Party.

  1. Note, when it comes to self-determination for the Israeli-Jews and the British-Irish, the CPGB perspective is based on ending their role as oppressors. Eg, a united Ireland, under the rule of the working class, should offer the British-Irish the right to self-determination up to and including the right to separate. To raise that as a practical demand, to be exercised within the Good Friday box, would, however, be to perpetuate the oppression of the considerable Irish-Irish minority. We take a similar approach to Israel-Palestine. An Arab revolution, led by the working class, should offer the Hebrews, the Israeli-Jews, the right to self-determination, where they constitute a clear majority. Once again, though, we fight for unity. But, in both cases, this programmatic approach involves a certain melding of minimum and maximum demands. The socialist future is held up, serves, as a ‘now’ demand.↩︎

  2. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Party_of_Scotland.↩︎

  3. The policy committee of the National Party of Scotland - one of the forerunners of the SNP - passed the following resolution on November 17 1928: “The party, having regard to the large contribution made by Scotland in building up the British empire, is desirous of increasing the affairs of the empire to the extent her contribution warrants and, as a mother nation, thereby demands complete recognition of her rights as such in the empire ... the party cannot in these circumstances agree to acquiesce in any situation that does not permit of a mother nation exercising her right to independent status and her right in partnership in that empire on terms equal to that enjoyed by England.” In other words, Scottish nationalists wanted a partnership based on the model of Austria-Hungry after 1867 (Resolution quoted in C Kidd Unions and unionism: political thought in Scotland 1500-2000 Cambridge 2008, p287).↩︎

  4. American declaration of independence 1776.↩︎

  5. AE Buchanan Justice, legitimacy, and self-determination: moral foundations for international law Oxford 2003, p331.↩︎

  6. Ibid p331.↩︎

  7. S O’Rourke The Cossacks Manchester 2007, p192.↩︎

  8. P Holquist Making war, forging revolution Harvard Mass 2002, p121.↩︎

  9. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Cossacks.↩︎

  10. classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/metaphysics.mb.txt.↩︎

  11. VI Lenin CW Vol 48 Moscow 1977, p235.↩︎

  12. VI Lenin CW Vol21 Moscow 1977, p413-14.↩︎

  13. See wsws.org/en/articles/2014/06/21/scot-j21.html and socialequality.org.uk/principles.↩︎

  14. Johnnie Hunter, Young Communist League general secretary (morningstaronline.co.uk/article/communists-scotland%E2%80%99s-national-question-2020).↩︎

  15. That said, we find Lenin, in 1912, recommending that, having thrown off Ottoman rule, the often murderously fractious peoples of the Balkans should unite in a “federation of completely democratic states” (VI Lenin CW Vol 18, Moscow 1977, p353). It should be added that this was the established position of social democrats in the Balkans since the 1890s. They envisaged a “Balkan Federative Republic” (see G Dimitrov, ‘The significance of the second Balkan conference’: marxists.org/reference/archive/dimitrov/works/1915/balkan.htm). It would unite Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania and Romania - a perspective pursued by Comintern and its affiliates from 1919 onwards … it was Joseph Stalin who finally stamped out the idea as part of his schism with Josip Broz Tito’s Yugoslavia. Stalin wanted weak, dependent, buffer states, not a strong Balkan federation.↩︎

  16. JV Stalin, ‘Against federalism’, March 1917 SW Vol 3, Moscow 1953, p28.↩︎

  17. VI Lenin CW Vol 25, Moscow 1977, pp451-52.↩︎

  18. C Fox The case for an independent socialist Scotland Glasgow nd, pp5, 28.↩︎

  19. links.org.au/node/2323.↩︎

  20. C Fox The case for an independent socialist Scotland Glasgow nd, pp5, 7.↩︎

  21. B Kidd, quoted in G Gall (ed) Scotland’s road to Socialism: time to choose Edinburgh 2014, pix.↩︎

  22. K McKechnie, ‘Scotland: yes to independence, no to nationalism’ Irish Marxist Review November 2013.↩︎

  23. K Marx and F Engels CW Vol 23, Moscow 1988, p597.↩︎

  24. For what various leading Tories have in mind for Brexit Britain see K Kwateng, P Patel, D Rabb, C Skidmore and E Truss Britannia unchained: global lessons for growth and prosperity Basingstoke 2012.↩︎

  25. K Marx and F Engels CW Vol 12, London 1979, p221.↩︎

  26. K Marx and F Engels CW Vol 27, Moscow 1990, p228.↩︎

  27. T Sheridan and A McCombes Imagine Edinburgh 2000, p187.↩︎

  28. A McCombes Downfall: the Tommy Sheridan story Edinburgh 2011.↩︎

  29. T Sheridan and A McCombes Imagine Edinburgh 2000, p180.↩︎

  30. Ibid p184.↩︎

  31. J Pollard The fascist experience London 1998, p14.↩︎

  32. Quoted in warwick.ac.uk/~poscv/F%26N/Studnotes1/lect2.pdf+Mussolini+%27proletarian+nation%27&hl=en&gl=uk&ct=clnk&cd=6.↩︎

  33. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proletarian_nation.↩︎

  34. JC Fest Hitler Orlando 1973, p111.↩︎

  35. TS Brown Weimar radicals New York 2009, p50.↩︎

  36. See N Marks Fascism Minneapolis 1997, pp21-22; J Goebbels, ‘National socialism or Bolshevism?’ in B Miller Lane and LJ Rupp Nazi ideology before 1933 Manchester 1978, pp74-77.↩︎

  37. pinknews.co.uk/2014/08/22/snp-accepts-1m-donation-from-section-28-backer-brian-souter.↩︎

  38. T Sheridan and A McCombes Imagine Edinburgh 2000, p178.↩︎

  39. Ibid p184.↩︎

  40. Ibid p187.↩︎

  41. Ibid p187.↩︎

  42. Ibid p189.↩︎

  43. Ibid p189.↩︎

  44. JV Stalin SW Vol 6, Moscow 1953, p111.↩︎

  45. L Trotsky, German preface to The permanent revolution. Quoted in A Sennett Revolutionary Marxism in Spain 1930-37 Leiden 2004, pp54-55. For the full text, see socialistparty.org.uk/Trotsky/permanent/prge.htm.↩︎

  46. L Trotsky History of the Russian Revolution Vol 1, London 1967, p21.↩︎

  47. statista.com/statistics/348324/gdp-of-scotland-annually.↩︎

  48. statista.com/statistics/348541/scotland-net-trade.↩︎

  49. scottish-enterprise.com/sedotcom_home/services_to_business_international/lis/aboutscotland/about_scotland-keyfacts.htm.↩︎

  50. english.caixin.com/2014-07-04/100699663.html.↩︎

  51. scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/Q/pno/1.↩︎

  52. parliament.scot/ResearchBriefingsAndFactsheets/S4/SB_14-07.pdf.↩︎

  53. See JD Zimmerman Poles, Jews and the politics of nationality chapter 5, Madison WS 2004, pp106-25.↩︎

  54. Ibid p4.↩︎

  55. K Marx and F Engels CW Vol 24, London 1989, p425.↩︎

  56. K Marx and F Engels CW Vol 7, Moscow 1977, p351.↩︎

  57. DB Riazanov Marx and Anglo-Russian relations and other writings London 2003, p145.↩︎

  58. Quoted in R Luxemburg The national question New York 1976, p65.↩︎

  59. Ibid p93.↩︎

  60. Ibid p93.↩︎

  61. R Luxemburg Complete works Vol 3, London 2019, p117.↩︎

  62. R Luxemburg The national question New York 1976, p74.↩︎

  63. Emile Vandervelde, quoted in P Fröllich Rosa Luxemburg Chicago 2010, p34.↩︎

  64. “Whereas, the subjugation of one nation by another can serve only the interests of capitalists and despots, while for working people in both oppressed and oppressor nation it is equally pernicious; and whereas, in particular, the Russian tsardom, which owes its internal strength and its external significance to the subjugation and partition of Poland, constitutes a permanent threat to the development of the international workers’ movement, the congress hereby resolves: that the independence of Poland represents an imperative political demand both for the Polish proletariat and for the international labour movement as a whole” (Quoted in R Luxemburg The national question New York 1976, p50).↩︎

  65. Quoted in VI Lenin CW Vol 20, Moscow 1977, pp430-31.↩︎

  66. VI Lenin CW Vol 22, Moscow 1977, p148.↩︎

  67. JK Pilsudski Memories of a revolutionary and soldier London 1931, p32.↩︎

  68. VI Lenin CW Vol 6, Moscow 1977, p458.↩︎

  69. See R Pitt John Maclean and the CPGB London 1995.↩︎

  70. A Armstrong Fight for the right to party Edinburgh nd, p24.↩︎

  71. P Frölich Rosa Luxemburg New York 1972, p110.↩︎

  72. In 1918 the PSP-Left and SDKPiL merged to form the Communist Party of Poland.↩︎