Weakening our class

The SWP remains in line behind the nationalists in Scotland, reports Sarah McDonald

Keir McKechnie gave a fairly accurate account of the political situation north of the border in the session on ‘Scotland, nationalism and independence’. He also outlined a brief history of Scotland’s role within British imperialism - concluding that Scotland is not an oppressed nation.

So far, so good. Alas, the correct analysis of the national question in Scotland ended there. Rather than taking the Leninist position on the right of nations to self-determination, while promoting the greatest voluntary unity of peoples, the comrade expounded the SWP’s recently agreed line of advocating secession.

The SWP is going gung-ho into the ‘yes’ campaign, which it wants to ‘move left’ by “having the conversations on the marches and in the unions”. The comrades who contributed to the discussion kept repeating the (clearly ill thought-through) statement, “You’re either with the union jack or you’re against it” - such a nuanced position! I will not patronise this paper’s readership by pointing out the flaws.

Comrade McKechnie’s rationale was that in these circumstances we have to ask two questions: would Scotland’s secession weaken the British state? And would it raise class-consciousness? The latter question can apparently be answered in the affirmative, because the SWP will influence the ‘yes’ campaign, moving it to the left. Not very likely. The only organisations capable of putting anti-austerity measures at the centre of the ‘yes’ campaign are the unions - but they are not for a ‘yes’. And even if the ‘yes’ camp won on an anti-austerity ticket the financial implications for Scotland (ie, the Scottish working class) would be horrific (think of Ireland). There is absolutely no class interest in supporting a ‘yes’ vote.

As for the first question - would it weaken the UK state? - quite clearly it would. It would also weaken the historically constituted working class in Britain, and its ability to defend itself against the state at this time. The greatest possible voluntary unity of peoples provides the best chance the working class has of taking, and keeping, power.