Nathan Taylor, Glasgow Marxists
On the 6th October, tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Edinburgh calling for an independent Scotland. Official estimates put the number in attendance at between 80,000 and 120,000, making it one of the biggest mobilisations in Scottish history. While Scottish politics might seem uneventful at the moment, it is clear that the appetite for independence is still very much alive and well.
The make-up of the march was very mixed, with a lot of different political loyalties on show. Among the thousands of Saltires, you could also see Catalan flags, Palestinian, Basque, EU and even one or two German flags. The official title of the march, “All Under One Banner”, shows that the pro-independence leaders are acutely aware of the emerging splits within the movement, and are attempting to gloss them over. While the heads of the SNP are calling for an independent capitalist Scotland, a lot of the rank and file are politically to the left of the leadership and are drawing more radical conclusions.
Members of the International Marxist Tendency in Scotland attended the march arguing the case for a Scottish Workers’ Republic. Throughout the day we found that many people, especially young people, were open to our ideas and understood that a truly independent Scotland can only be achieved on a socialist basis.
On the subject of Irish independence, the revolutionary leader James Connolly pointed out that ‘unless you set about the organisation of the Socialist Republic your efforts will be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers.’ These words are as true for Scotland today as they were for Ireland in 1897.
The SNP’s Growth Commission states that after independence they would keep the Pound ‘for a lengthy transition period’, effectively handing economic power to the Bank of England and therefore the fiscal policies of Westminster. This means more austerity, more wage freezes, and a continuing decline in living standards.
The Scottish working class have been through enough already, they will not accept more of the same, regardless of what flag flies above Edinburgh Castle. The only way to have an independent Scotland that provides a decent living for all is through a radical change in society, to break with the capitalist system and to establish a Scottish Workers Republic, as part of a World Socialist Revolution.