Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/380/4295

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 February 2005

SSP conference:

Clear socialist alternative needed

THE SCOTTISH Socialist Party (SSP) conference meets this weekend in the aftermath of Tommy Sheridan's resignation as SSP convener. As well as electing a new convener, the conference will be debating key issues of policy and programme.
 Members of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) will be arguing for a change of direction by the SSP leadership to ensure the party moves forward and strengthens its position in 2005.
PHILIP STOTT looks at the challenges facing the SSP.

THE SCOTTISH Socialist Party, since its launch, has made important advances. With six MSP's in the Scottish parliament and the affiliation of the rail workers' union the RMT, the SSP is potentially well placed to build on that breakthrough

Against the background of New Labour's attack on jobs, pensions and working conditions there is a big opportunity to significantly strengthen the SSP in the months ahead.

On a global scale the horrors of the Indian Ocean tsunami, increasing world poverty and the carnage in Iraq underlines the fact that the international capitalist system can bring only barbarism for most of the world's population.

Unfortunately, the last few months have seen the SSP struggling to recover from the events surrounding the resignation of Tommy Sheridan as SSP convener.

The fact that there is now a head-to-head contest to replace him between Colin Fox MSP and the SSP's policy co-ordinator Alan McCombes can only compound the damage that has been done.

Both candidates claim there are no significant political differences between them. It is therefore ridiculous to have a contest on that basis. It would of course be different if there was a debate over fundamental political questions of policy. In the absence of that debate this contest will be seen as personal manoeuvring for influence that will only cause further damage to the SSP.

Many SSP members are dismayed at this development which is a diversion from the real tasks facing the party.

Where now?

One of those tasks, which was not addressed by the leadership contest, is a discussion about how the party recovers and moves forward following recent events.

The CWI, who form an active part of the SSP, says this requires linking a day-to-day fighting programme to oppose the attacks on pensions, pay, jobs, the occupation of Iraq etc, while fighting for reforms to benefit the working class like the scrapping of the council tax and increasing the minimum wage.

However, this must be done alongside a clear explanation of the need to build a movement to break decisively with capitalism to resolve the problems facing the working class.

But a majority of the SSP leadership have moved away from putting forward a consistent socialist alternative to capitalism.

The SSP's European manifesto, for example, called for the building of a "social Europe" - that is a more equitable form of capitalism. It was Alan McCombes who opposed the call, led by members of the CWI, that the SSP should instead argue for a "socialist Europe".

The CWI has important political differences with both candidates, particularly Alan McCombes who has played a central role in driving the SSP in a 'left nationalist' and reformist direction. Unfortunately, Colin Fox has not opposed this trend among the leadership of the SSP.

Independence

THE CWI has led the opposition to those in the SSP leadership who argue that an independent Scotland, without breaking from the rule of big business, would offer a route out of poverty, low pay and inequality in Scotland.

Carolyn Leckie MSP, intervening in a debate in the Scottish parliament last December on the crisis in the NHS said; "Nothing less than full independence is what the people of Scotland need to save our NHS."

These ideas, which have been largely inspired by SSP leadership contender Alan McCombes, have been used in an effort to establish a campaign to: "break apart the UK state."

With support for independence in Scotland at its lowest level for a decade, this strategy can clash with the outlook of many workers and young people. This is especially the case when there is an increasing turn to united action across Britain as a means to fight Blair and New Labour.

Such a light-minded slogan can also arouse legitimate fears that the working class could also "break apart" if such a campaign was successful.

Nevertheless, a significant minority, which could become a majority in the future, do support the idea of independence for Scotland. The SSP's role should be to support the democratic rights of the Scottish people, including the right to independence should a majority support that step.

At the same we should explain that an independent Scotland based on capitalism would not be a solution to the problems facing the working class.

Under these conditions, only an independent socialist Scotland, linked to a wider, voluntary socialist confederation with England, Wales and Ireland and beyond, could offer a way out.

Opportunities

THERE IS a growing mood to fight among the working class, for example, against the attacks on pensions.

The G8 summit, which is due to meet in Scotland in the summer, will bring thousands of young people onto the streets over Iraq, world poverty, and capitalist inequalities. The general election will also be a test for the SSP.

The SSP will be mobilising for these events. But at the same time, the party leadership has the responsibility to put forward a clear socialist alternative to global capitalism and win a new generation to socialism.

On that basis we believe the SSP can recover and can potentially build a more powerful force for socialism in Scotland.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 12 February 2005:

Defend pensions: All out on 23 March

Time to make a stand on pensions

NUT leadership wriggle over pension action

Incapacity benefit: New Labour hits the poor and vulnerable

Bolsover protesters win round one of toxic waste battle

Crisis time in Welsh hospitals

Immigration policy: Labour apes the Tories - again

Longbridge workers still fighting to defend jobs

Left victory in firefighters' union

UNISON general secretary election: Prentis attacks the opposition

Financing the fightback

May Day Greetings

Iraq - mobilise to withdraw the troops

Huge crowd cheers Chavez's radical speech at World Social Forum 2005

Socialism can 'make poverty history'

Northern Ireland decommissioning crisis: The failure of sectarian politics

Slovakia: Multinational victimises trade unionists

Scottish Socialist Party: Clear socialist alternative needed


 

Home   |   The Socialist 12 February 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Scottish Socialist Party:

triangleThe left unions and the Labour Party affiliation debate

triangleShould trade unions be re-affiliating to the Labour Party?

triangleWill Scottish 'Rise' alliance offer a way forward?

triangleCollapse of Stalinism and the 1990s

Socialist Alternative:

triangleBending the knee v Trump

triangleHurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

triangleYoung people are searching for an alternative - find it at Socialism 2017

triangleUS: neo-Nazi violence reawakens resistance

Socialist:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleSocialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

Tommy Sheridan:

triangleCoulson case collapses amid stench of hypocrisy

triangleA parting of the ways with Solidarity

Socialist Party:

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

CWI:

triangleCampaign against political repression in Hong Kong

Scotland:

triangleWhere is Scotland going?

Capitalism:

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2