Campaign for a republic

The Scottish Socialist Party has agreed to militantly campaign for republicanism in the year of the queen's jubilee. The question of how we are ruled is unfortunately generally avoided by the left in Britain and the SSP is to be congratulated for confronting the issue - and plans are being laid for rallies, meetings and street parties. Tommy Sheridan devoted his column in last week's Scottish Socialist Voice to the hypocrisy surrounding the queen mother's death and presenting the republican case against the monarchy - till recently a word studiously avoided by SSP leaders. Comrade Sheridan pointed out that the Scottish parliament held a day's tribute for the queen mother, but it had not been recalled to discuss the bombing of Afghanistan. According to Tommy, "Standing for the queen mum, or any of the other pampered royals, is not about respect for them as individuals, but deference to the institution they represent "¦ Not standing for the royals is not about disrespecting this or that individual, but disrespecting the whole bloody institution" (April 12). The main danger of the SSP campaign against the jubilee - when it finally gets fully into gear - is that opposition to the UK constitutional monarchy state will be conducted from an entirely nationalist perspective. Advertised in recent editions of the Voice is a republican rally celebrating the Declaration of Arbroath - a 14th century assertion of local rights to feudal exploitation of the peasantry over those of the centralising power of Edward II. It is presented as something progressive - for the people and against the privileged, rather than an agreement sealed between members of the nobility. No doubt here, as in other events, the main emphasis will be on 'Scotland against the monarchy', not the unity of the working class in Britain. It is in this light that claims of a stronger resentment towards the monarchy in Scotland than in England should be viewed Comrades in the SSP should use the occasion of the jubilee to unite with communists and revolutionary socialists in England and Wales to take the lead in a campaign for militant, working class republicanism. Sarah McDonald