By Ross Walker
September/ October edition of Revolution out now. Articles on the need for free education, defending asylum seekers from Serco landlords, Amazon workers, the orange order and fighting bigotry, the impact of Trotsky’s death, dialectical materialism and the Euro crisis. Read here, the editorial by Ross Walker from the IMT Edinburgh branch.
There is an immeasurable amount of anger simmering in the minds of workers and youth. Not for generations have future prospects looked so bleak or has the establishment seemed so corrupt and disgusting. Many young people will be starting a new year at school, college or university unsure as to what the state of the world will be when they finish their education. With instability and other harsh realities of crisis-ridden capitalism, we’re seeing a rise in mental illness, suicide, along with drug and alcohol problems. However, this anger is also transferring itself into revolutionary energy.
Consciousness is determined by conditions. Big events drive seemingly passive and apolitical people into reaching revolutionary conclusions and the recent period has had no shortage of big events. The election of Donald Trump shook the world. It laid bare the reality of American and world capitalism, a system which has racism, misogyny, bullying amongst all sorts of other backward ideas inherent in it. Millions have protested him at his election, inauguration, Women’s Day and when he attempted the Muslim ban. Most recently his visit the UK this summer attracted hundreds of thousands of protesters throughout Britain and tens of thousands in Scotland.
The pathetic sight of Theresa May grovelling for a “special relationship” with Trump’s USA has not been forgotten by the masses. Neither have Grenfell, Windrush, the Panama Papers or the sexual harassment scandals. Each scandal provokes more and more distrust and anger against the Tory government and the British establishment which will, in time, transfer itself into a revolutionary rage.
May’s desperate attempt to reach out to Trump is a reflection of the deep crisis British capitalism is in. With Britain due to leave the EU in March 2019, we still have no idea what will happen and neither do the politicians leading it. The resignation of Boris Johnson and David Davis reflect the deep splits within the party. These rifts will get bigger the closer Brexit gets, and it is far from guaranteed that the May government will survive. Even if her government does, their days will be very numbered after Brexit.
This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the ruling class who are quivering at the prospect of a Corbyn government. The recent hysterical and hypocritical smears against Corbyn and his supposed anti-Semitism by the mainstream media reflect the fear the ruling class have. Such attacks will continue against Corbyn and his supporters and will not stop unless the Labour Party is put back in to safe Blairite hands. However, the hundreds of thousands of radicalized Labour members will not let this happen; not without a big fight.
In Scotland, the SNP leaders have been partially successful in putting a lid on the mass 2014 independence movement. They want an independent capitalist Scotland, which in reality would have no fundamental differences with the current capitalist UK, as shown by their recently published Growth Commission report. It’s not a surprise that many left-wing independence supporters now compare the SNP leaders to the New Labour Blairites. Corbyn has sympathy amongst left-leaning workers and youth in Scotland, though currently not enough to bring a recovery to Scottish Labour who are vehemently unionist and still largely mistrusted by workers and youth.
Despite the general tepidity of the SNP leaders, they showed that they can easily come under pressure from the rank and file just before summer break, when SNP MPs walked out of Westminster in protest over the Tory power-grab, resulting in a membership and popularity boost for the party. The rift between Holyrood and Westminster over the post-Brexit Holyrood powers is something that will likely increase as the Brexit day approaches. The SNP leaders will likely come under more pressure to come head-to-head with the Tory government and may be forced to carry out more radical actions.
We are seeing a gradual resurgence of the independence campaign. Pro-Independence rallies have hit record numbers in Glasgow, Dundee, Dumfries, Inverness and Bannockburn, Stirling. These marchers certainly weren’t marching for the Growth Commission and a capitalist Scotland. They were marching with the same slogans of the 2014 referendum. Slogans of ending austerity, Trident, war, chauvinism and for a future for the working classes in Scotland. As Marxists we welcome this but say that the hopes and dreams of the movement won’t be saved by re-joining the EU, as Sturgeon and her clique like to imply, or the austerity programme of the Growth Commission but can only be achieved by fighting for a Scottish Workers’ Republic as part of a World Socialist Federation.
Meanwhile party tribalism plays a poisonous role. The right-wing of Labour attacks the SNP and Scottish Independence movement from a British chauvinist point of view whilst the bourgeois liberals leading the SNP join the right-wing establishment attacks against Corbyn. Blairites and bourgeois nationalists are enemies of the working class alike and socialists either side of the border must take no part in this. The left-wing rank and file of the Yes movement must reach out to the Corbyn movement and vice-versa in a united front against the Tory government and the capitalist system it represents.
Class struggle is inevitable in the next period. The trade union front is beginning to show a resurgence with workers in Amazon, Ryanair, ScotRail and Local Authorities amongst others striking or threatening strike. The UCU strike last year radicalized a whole new layer of trade union and student activists on campus and showed the potentially radical role students can play in class struggle.
In time revolutions are also inevitable. What is not inevitable is their victory. Only by patiently building a mass Marxist organization, saturated with the lessons from the history of class struggle can we make sure the revolutionary energy of the workers and youth is not frizzled out but is channelled to socialist revolution. If you want to join fight to create such a party, get in contact with us and join the IMT.