Saturday, May 18, 2013

Nationalist Hypocrisy

On‭ ‬16‭ ‬May Ukip leader Nigel Farage was confronted by protesters in Edinburgh.‭ ‬The demonstration had been partly organised by supporters of the Radical Independence Campaign‭ (‬a group supporting‭ ‬Scottish independence‭)‬.‭ ‬The BBC reported a spokesman for the Radical Independence Campaign,‭ "‬it is UKIP who are stoking division.‭ … ‬Everyone who opposes the politics of fear and division should unite against UKIP‭ ‬-‭ ‬whether you live in Scotland or England.‭"

This is hypocrisy,‭ ‬just as nationalism always is.‭ ‬The Radical Independence Campaign are arguing in favour of dividing workers in Scotland from workers in England.‭ ‬Ukip are arguing in favour of dividing workers in the United Kingdom from workers in the European Union.‭ ‬What is the difference‭?

Farage commented‭ “‬I have heard before that there are some parts of Scottish nationalism that are akin to fascism but yesterday I saw that face-to-face.”

The SNP and its First Minister Alex Salmond evasively failed to condemn the protest and described Farage's comment as an over-reaction and that he has "lost the plot".

Once again the Socialist Party affirms its commitment to free speech. Free speech means exactly what it says: any and every view should be allowed expression regardless of whether it is right-wing, left wing, separatist or racist. The Socialist Party unhesitatingly opposes the UKIP’s policies of British nationalism and its calls for immigration curbs but it does not serve democracy by denying UKIP’s right to declare those beliefs and reinforce its sense of “victimhood”. Rather than giving publicity to capitalism's defenders by shouting them down and letting them appear as martyrs, rather than shouting down those advancing unacceptable ideas, socialists must defeat their arguments with rational discussion and reasoned persuasion. Many on the Left advocate leaving the EU just as UKIP do. All mainstream political parties, including the SNP and Labour, are committed to some form of immigration controls just the same as UKIP.

The Socialist Party has never supported the disruption of our opponents' meetings and their right to speak. Workers have fought long and hard for the opportunity to speak openly, and genuine socialists understand that nothing is to be gained for our class by stifling ideas.


Tom Coles said...

The difference is that breaking the British State, and ending membership of the EU, are not the same thing politically.

The Radical Independence stance is not one of nationalism, but internationalism - the ending of the British state and the resolving of many of the issues of self-determination that are a legacy of Empire.

Also, from a practical point of view, it protects the Scottish NHS, free education, and means that the working class of Scotland do not have to suffer under Tory rule.

ajohnstone said...

You can hold the belief that a future SNP (or Labour Party) Scottish government would guarantee the more popular aspects of the Welfare State. It is purely conjecture, of coure. Currently it serves the SNP to blame its cuts on the policies of the national government and decline to use the powers it possesses to counter them. it goes against the accepted Marxist economic theory that in a recession the capitalist class will claw back the concessions thay have made in the past to workers.

Let us not re-write history. Scotland was a partner in the BRITISH Empire, albeit a junior partner. We had the Tobacco Lords, the Sugar Barons of Glasgow growing rich off the platation slaves. It alo served the interests of aspiring near-do-wells. Even Robert Burns seriously considered a career as a slave overseer. We had the Jute Rajs of Dundee and today we still have the financial Princes of Charlotte Sq.

As for nationalism = internationalism it reminds me of Humpty Dumpty "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean"

See our Glasgow/Edinburgh branch blog for numerous more articles on Scottish nationalism.

As for the hypocrisy of infringing on UKIP free speech, we have had NO2EU campaigning to exit the EU, the Labour Party supporting anti- immigration legislation and attacking migrant workers rights. We have also had the sexism of the SWP kangaroo courts in regards to rape.

An easy target is not always the right target.