The Scottish Socialist Party recognised that a Brexit vote under the present circumstances would unlock a “carnival of reaction” – a tidal wave of racism and little Islander mentality which would continue to blame and demean migrants and those seeking asylum for Britain’s catastrophic failures on working class people.
We also noted the revolutionary left Leave argument was strategically inept – and was nowhere near strong or organised enough to counter the brutal right’s mentality – and was one that chose to walk away against the rise of sweeping fascist parties across Europe.
We were correct to back a Remain vote – so that we could play our part in changing Europe. Scotland must unite with our brothers and sisters across Europe to quash the rise of the far right.
Secondly, we recognised our country is enriched with new citizens from across the world – socially, economically and culturally. So, let us be abundantly clear to all migrants who have chosen to make Scotland their home – the SSP will defend migrants right to live, work and study here to the very end. Scotland is as much their country as it is anyone’s – and as socialists, we defend the hard-won rights of all workers regardless of where they come from.
This is our pledge.
Thirdly, the Scottish Government has indicated that it will use whatever levers are available so that Scotland can remain within the European Union as expressed in Thursday’s Remain/Leave referendum. Consequently, a second referendum on independence is back on the table. Local Yes campaign groups are simmering and making plans. It is likely to be a very different beast. It will be presented as a campaign of continuity. It will be a conservative campaign.
It is a context within which the ever expansionist EU is set against the diminished British state – with independence as the simultaneous carrot and stick. Scottish foreign policy and diplomacy has just been born. To prevent class politics from being sidelined as a consequence of superstate bourgeois politics, the radical left will need to be at the forefront of a second independence referendum.
It is entirely possible without organised struggle, class interests will struggle to be heard at such a time. This cannot be allowed to happen – we need to pull together and organise so the working class majority’s interests are heard in every possible juncture and platform available to us.
We fought the European struggle as one of Euroscepticism. We fully recognised the institutions of the European Union are infested with neoliberal thinking, structure and as a consequence requires much deeper democratisation and accountability. Nevertheless,independence in Europe provides an opportunity. A commitment to independence in Europe gives direct impetus for tens of thousands of European nationals, many of whom we didn’t reach last time, to get behind Scottish independence.
If Brexit happens, and Scotland becomes independent in Europe – Europe loses a hard right British government. It gains Scotland – which has not elected a hard right government in over sixty years. Additionally, Holyrood is *somewhat* responsive to organised class demands – and the people of Scotland have elected Scottish Socialist Party MSPs in the past.
As a direct consequence of the British Leave vote, and the near two to one Scottish Remain vote – a large number of prior unionists are hinting and outright stating they would back an independent Scotland, rather than the insular nationalism of what has been revealed as a consequence of Thursday’s vote.
Lastly, our party policies are clear: “We will work with other parties on the immediate objective of independence.” But it is profoundly important to remember the reasons why so many working class people were convinced of the opportunity that presented itself in 2014. It was an opportunity for transformation – to reject continuity, to reshape Scotland into a welcoming place for working class people of all colours, creeds and abilities.
We need to consider how we approach a second referendum on independence. We need to do so in short order; and with skill and tenacity. Our message must be keen, sharp and clear – to cut through the nationalisms of the day.