Monday, October 02, 2006
A nation once again?
There is a very interesting report on Kevin Williamson’s blog about the march in Edinburgh last Saturday in support of Independence. It includes a You Tube video of the demonstration. Note in addition to the SSP banners and placards a big “Solidarity” banner.
It is worth reading the important article by Murray Smith on the National Question in western Europe, where he explains why support for independence is not nationalist:
“The support for Scottish independence seems to be stronger rather than weaker, the difference being that no one party can any longer claim to be the sole representative of independence. In Wales, the leadership of Plaid Cymru was always a bit bashful about independence, resorting to circumlocutions like 'full national status'. But after the setbacks the party experienced in the May elections a new leadership has taken over and the recent conference of the party came out massively and noisily for independence. At the same time Plaid denounced Labour for having abandoned "all its old socialist values in favour of creeping privatisation".
"There are certainly reasons inherent in the Welsh situation which help to explain this evolution, in particular the shift to the left of the Welsh Labour Party. But if the support for independence is stronger and Plaid has moved to the left it is also because of the example of Scotland, where the situation is more advanced. And in coming out clearly for independence and taking up a position to the left of Labour, Plaid is following the example of the SSP rather than the SNP, which is now abandoning such a position in favour of neoliberal policies.
"The question that is posed, and posed very concretely in Scotland at the moment, is not just the issue of independence, but of what independence. It is posed for those who are already in favour of independence, but it is also vital for winning over those who are not yet convinced. It is worth recalling at this point that 'independence /national movement' does not equal 'nationalism'. That would be to confuse a political objective with an ideology. Miroslav Hroch explains: "the current tendency to speak of them (national movements, MS) as 'nationalist' leads to serious confusion. Because nationalism in the strict sense is something else: namely, that outlook which gives an absolute priority to the values of the nation over all other values and interests" (emphasis in the original)
"Independence is always concrete. It leads to the creation of states and states have a class character. That is why it is when independence becomes a real possibility that national movements begin to crystallise into different currents, as is happening in Scotland today. The SNP is a nationalist party, which is furthermore in the process of seriously watering down its commitment to independence, in the framework of its rightward evolution. The SSP is a party that rejects nationalist ideology, which is internationalist but which aims to be the best fighter for Scottish independence, while giving that independence a socialist content. It is from this position of strength that the SSP can support the idea of a pole for independence in the shape of the Independence Convention, which will put the SNP leadership in contradiction with part of its own supporters."