Issue 20 Editorial: Scotland in 2018

By Amy Dean, Glasgow Marxists

We publish here the editorial for issue 20 of Revolution, the Scottish paper of The International Marxist Tendency. This issue includes articles on abolishing the monarchy, the battle for Bifab, Corbyn, the SNP and The national question, the Holyrood budget, bitcoin and supporting Syria’s Kurds against Turkish invasion. If you’d like a copy, please let us know. Minimum price is £1 plus postage but extra solidarity donations are always welcome. If you agree with our ideas get in contact and join us in fighting for a Scottish Worker’s republic and a World Socialist Revolution.

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Abolish The Monarchy: For a Workers Republic!

By Alex Johnson, IMT Edinburgh

With the recent announcement of the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and the upcoming wedding, we call not for celebration of but the abolition of the monarchy. The royal family is a feudal relic and symbol of national chauvinism which, along with the House of Lords, reveals what our so-called ‘democracy’ really is – a system designed and run to serve the interests of the ruling class. The monarchy is a drain on the public purse, receiving handouts of £35.7 million per year on top of countless other expenses. The upcoming royal wedding is an excellent example of this. While the royal family will pay for the wedding ceremony, reception etc., the taxpayer will foot the bill for the policing, security costs and public order arrangements around the event. Kate and William’s 2011 wedding saw £15 million spent of policing alone, with 5000 officers deployed. This time we can expect the same arrangements, if not even greater measures following the recent increase in terrorist attacks.

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Strike Threats Pressure Holyrood Budget

By Marios Kalomenopoulos, IMT Edinburgh

The political situation in Scotland has been rather quiet, recently, however this superficial stability hides important changes that are developing below the surface. The unions response to the proposed budget from the SNP government is one such expression.

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100 years on: remembering the Representation of the People Act

By Max Wright, IMT Edinburgh

A century ago, on 6th February 1918, the historic Representation of the People Act was passed. Importantly, the 1918 Act allowed 8.4 million women and 5.6 million men in Britain to vote for the very first time. As Marxists, it is important to examine the victories – and shortcomings – of one of the first steps towards universal suffrage.

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Make Bristo Square Red Square! Defend Edinburgh University Lecturers and the National UCU Pension Strike

Max Wright, IMT Edinburgh

Beginning this month, the National union of students (NUS) and University and College Union (UCU) have called for four rounds of strikes action in a unified defence against the slashing of Pension benefits. Lecturers at Edinburgh University will be partaking part on this strike. These benefit cuts will lead to a typical lecturer being £10,000 worse off in retirement, at Edinbrugh this is happening even when the university is already reliant on “voluntary” severance deals. Edinburgh IMT call for total support of the action in order to fight back against the increasing levels of Marketisation affecting our education system. The strike action was backed by 88% of UCU members in the largest vote for industrial action ever seen in the higher education sector.

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Battle for Bifab: The Return Bout

By Tam Burke, IMT Edinburgh, Prospect, Personal Capacity

Compared with Catalonia, South Africa or the USA, political life in Scotland for most of last year hardly set the heather on fire. Then in November came the Battle for BiFab when the workers made headlines with their successful fight for the wages they were due. A dispute last November between their employer, Burntisland Fabrication (BiFab), and its customer, Seaway Heavy Lifting (SHL), over what payment was still due, threatened the closure of the three yards, Burtisland and Methyl in Fife and Arnish, Isle of Lewis. BiFab said they’d no money coming in to pay wages, so 1400 workers would be laid off. There was no likelihood of the yards reopening. “A hammer blow to BiFab workers and communities in Fife and the Isle of Lewis” declared Gary Smith, GMB Union organiser. SHL said it’d paid BiFab on time in line with the contract. BiFab sought a Notice of Administration, giving just ten short days to find a solution before the yards fell silent. Shocked politicians at every level and of all parties condemned, denounced, exclaimed, wailed, complained and proclaimed that somehow it must not happen, but without any mitigation of the catastrophe.

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Scottish Labour, The National Question and The SNP

By Ross Walker

After two years of utter humiliation following the 2014 referendum, 2017 saw a gradual improvement in Scottish Labour’s fortunes. In June they increased their seats from 1 to 7 in the snap Westminster election. In November, left-winger, Richard Leonard was elected after decades of right wing leadership. The party finished the year with some polls showing them having overtaken the Tories in popularity.

 

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SNP Draft Budget Changes Nothing

By Harvey Dodds, IMT Edinburgh

The draft budget presented by the Scottish Government in December marked a chance for the SNP to embellish the anti-austerity credentials they have earned in recent years with a bold budget. With the tax powers that have been devolved to Holyrood, it would have been possible to significantly raise tax for the highest earners in order to fund redistributive policies, public sector pay, and investment without affecting lower earners. This, however, was not the case. 

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Bifab Workers March on Parliament

by Tam Burke

Several hundred workers, some with their families, from the BiFab (Burntisland Fabrication) energy engineering company marched down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on Thursday, 16th November to the Scottish Parliament demanding action to save 1,400 jobs under threat and payment of their wages. They are still working even though the company says it can’t pay any more wages. This is due to Dutch owned Seaway Heavy Lifting(SHL) refusing to pay for their order of jackets for marine wind  turbines. SHL cite “production problems and cost overruns” by BiFab. This news came out of the blue to workers, union leaders and Government ministers. There is anger at the callous disregard for the livelihoods under threat. The wider community beyond that depends on the spending of BiFab workers will also be badly hit.

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Catalonia and Caledonia

By John Webber, Glasgow

The violent repression of Catalan voters by theSpanish police inspired instinctive feelings of solidarity in people around the world. The shocking brutality of the Guardia Civil against completely unarmed civilians only wanting to cast a ballot was considered unthinkable in a European country. In a few days, the events in Catalonia exposed the anti-democratic nature of both the EU and the Spanish State as the unity of Spain was ensured by force. In Scotland, hundreds of people attended protests in Glasgow and Edinburgh called by the Radical Independence Campaign. In the eyes of RIC and many supporters of Scottish Independence, Catalonian Independence is an inspiration and a fraternal cause. The SNP conference also heard speeches condemning the actions of the Spanish Government and moderate messages of support for independence activists.

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