I’m also working hard on something a bit more serious, unveiling on a computer screen near you in December. And the more time I spend engaging with politics the more ‘rants’ build up in my head. So here’s my current rant which I’d like to get out the way before I hit you with satire tomorrow.
I recently came across RISE. That’s the new, new left to you and me. It’s Scotland’s Left Alliance. I’m naturally a bit wary of anything that has new and socialist together. New Labour anyone? So what of this new label?
Maybe I’m getting far too cynical in my encroaching middle age, but if you want a good laugh (better than you’ll get tomorrow in episode 1 of Game of Gnomes – you could do worse than read this http://www.rise.scot/about/
I’m sorry but the highlight for me was Local groups will be set up all over Scotland, these will be called 'circles' to reflect our grassroots politics. Uh? How? What do circles have to do with grassroots – or is this something to do with crop circles?
It seems like Rise is the latest (of many) iterations of Yes Plus Movements. You’ll maybe remember from earlier rants that I have opinions on such things. How is Bella Caledonia this weather anyway? Seems to be big on backing RISE - eg http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2015/08/23/exit-stage-left-the-future-for-socialists-in-the-snp/
Following the monetisation make-over, Bella has a nice wee button called NEW SCOTLAND, which just begs you to click it doesn’t it? NEW after all. It’s NEW that we want. Actually, no, I don’t want a NEW Scotland I just want an INDEPENDENT Scotland. Which to my mind would make it a ‘normal’ not a ‘new’ entity.
From what I’ve read about and from Rise, it’s a great ideological dream, but I’m afraid that while stuck firmly within the grips of the political system we have, I can’t see how yet another baby socialist splinter group with shades of Marxist cabalism turned grassroots activist movement will do more than the SNP can do. If you don’t understand what I’m saying, maybe you need to think back to ‘Life of Brian.’ The people’s republic of… or the republic of… oh, how we laughed. But for many in the 70’s and 80’s this was their life. (The fractured left, I mean, not ‘Life of Brian’)
If it were as easy as 1) overthrow capitalism 2) achieve social justice and blah blah gender equality and re-green the planet then yes I’d sign up. Come to think of it, there’s nothing that tells me whether I CAN sign up and remain a paid up member of the SNP. Which is perhaps one of the more pertinent things they might tell prospective members. I shall ask them and get back to you.
RISE appears to be clutching the ‘diversity is strength’ straw (since we’re into agricultural analogies today) http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2015/08/31/unity-in-diversity/ and that got me wondering. I'm sure I remember socialism being about Strength in Unity?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a great believer in strength through Diversity. But just as Labour seem to be clutching at every straw in the wind, so I wonder what the RISE movement mean by it. I thought socialism was all about Strength through Unity?
So might I offer a couple of things to think about. Because it’s more important than ever that we THINK FOR OURSELVES rather than follow the latest shiny bouncing ball across the screen… Is Diversity in Strength just a version of political spread betting?
And… What sort of a directional change is the shift from Unity in Strength to Unity in Diversity?
Here’s a couple of quotes from the recent ‘history’ of socialism to get you going:
From 2000 – Socialist Review http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/sr241/sagall.htm
The united front meant building a campaign over a specific issue, for example, wage cuts or rising unemployment, putting forward demands, usually defensive, that workers from different parties, and also non-aligned workers, could unite around in practice. The test of practice would convince reformist workers that the ideas and arguments were correct, and that the official leaders were not serious about fighting for those demands.
Isn’t this what the current SNP are doing somewhat more effectively than the fractured Left at the moment. As I struggled to find a relevant name for socialists at this time I realised that this in itself is half the problem. The Labour Party, new or old or any variation isn’t cutting it any more. They have nothing to offer. There is no party of socialism any more. And do we need ‘new’ socialism?
Do you remember all those great Trades Union banners? In fact do you remember Trades Unions as a potent force? Well, as late as 2009 I can still find references to there’s ‘unity is strength’ at the core of socialism. But where has it gone now (unity, strength and socialism I mean!)
that the left would be much stronger if it were united in one democratic party – a new party – that brought together all those opposed to capitalism and its effects. (2009)
I suppose that this is what Rise hope to be. Is the new mantra Unity through Strength in Diversity or Strength through Unity in Diversity?
For me, Independence was the key to starting the ‘new’ process. Or really, reclaiming our own past, dignity and political arena. For me the SNP offer the only credible route to Independence. In the real world.
After that everything changes. So for me, as long as I’m stuck with capitalism or capitalism lite or ‘new,’ ‘old’ ‘broken’ socialism, I’m going to keep on pushing for Independence through the SNP. THEN we’ll be able to start building our country. But we need to have a country to build. NOT to be part of some ‘one nation’ thing. Of which more tomorrow…
And in case you think I’ve just been ‘petty and ill-informed’ in this rant may I remind you that we have a homegrown sports programme which claims to be just that, and is hosted by a man who moonlights as High heid yin in Channel 4 Scotland. Football, media and politics – how’s that for a ‘grassroots circle’? Oh, and the point of a ‘provocation’ is to provoke you to think for yourself by the way, so feel free to disagree, but don’t sit on the fence watching the grassroots circle keep on growing.