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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 January 2020

Massive Scottish independence demo marks new stage in struggle

Socialist Party Scotland members on the demo, photo Socialist Party Scotland

Socialist Party Scotland members on the demo, photo Socialist Party Scotland   (Click to enlarge)

Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland

At least 80,000 marchers packed the rain-soaked streets of Glasgow in a mass Scottish independence demo on Saturday 11 January. The date was set hours after Johnson's victory in December.

This was not just a repeat of the sizeable 'All Under One Banner' marches of the last couple of years. The protest reflected mounting anger at the prospect of another Tory government, and a growing willingness to struggle for independence to end austerity and change society.

The marchers were, more than previously, drawn from working-class communities across Scotland - particularly Glasgow and the west. The young were the last to appear, but came in their thousands and with militancy. Many of them were too young to vote in the first 'IndyRef' in 2014.

They chanted "Tories, Tories, Tories - out, out, out", "Boris Johnson's got to go", and "when Tories say cut back - we say fight back!" Rather than being despondent after the election, the demo indicated a growing mood to fight.

Homemade banners were displayed with the slogan "our right to decide," confronting the arrogance of Tories - but also Blairites like Jess Phillips - who deny Scotland the right to a second independence referendum.

This was a march that showed the growing space to the left of the official leadership of the independence movement, the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP). The SNP naively believes Johnson will cave into accepting its mandate. The SNP won 80% of Scottish MPs on a pledge of delivering 'IndyRef2'.

But the ruling class in Britain will do all it can to oppose a second referendum, fearing the result will mean the break-up of the UK. Under those conditions, a Catalonia-type confrontation is developing that will see mass pressure on the SNP to defy the Tories' refusal to concede the right to self-determination.

What is clear, is that a mass movement for democratic rights is unfolding in Scotland.

Despite the biblical weather, Socialist Party Scotland stalls were busy, with a great response to our slogans. We heard many times: "An independent socialist Scotland? I agree with that, give us one," as we gave out thousands of leaflets.

The argument from nationalists that we should not raise socialism at this stage, but only focus on independence, was weaker this time.

Marchers crowded our stalls to sign petitions - calling for a mass working-class campaign to demand IndyRef2, and on the Scottish government to defy the Tories and organise a referendum. We linked these demands for democratic rights explicitly with the need to fight all cuts, for public ownership of the economy, and socialist change.

Workers and trade unions are in conflict not just with the Tories, but also the SNP and Labour - over cuts, low pay, attacks on the trade unions, and privatisation. An independent, working-class and trade union-based campaign will need to be built to fight for socialist independence.

Fighting for socialist policies will be crucial to winning a majority for independence as the SNP tacks further in a pro-business direction, narrowing the appeal of independence. And even now, after its catastrophic result, the left in Labour does not seem willing to confront the Blairites and change course.

What is needed is a new mass workers' party in Scotland, fighting for socialist policies to lead the struggle against cuts and capitalism, and for an independent socialist Scotland.

We stand for working-class unity across nations and continents, advocating a voluntary and democratic socialist confederation of Scotland with England, Wales and Ireland, as a step to a socialist Europe.

And like more than 300,000 pro-independence voters in Scotland who voted Leave in 2016, we oppose the bosses' EU. We fight instead for a socialist Europe to end racism, poverty and capitalist exploitation.

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In The Socialist 15 January 2020:


What we think

Labour Party leadership contest: Fight for a mass anti-austerity, workers' party with a socialist programme

Labour leadership race: Reverse Unison's undemocratic nomination of Blairite Starmer


News

Low Pay, Long Hours. Bosses rip us off. Organise the fightback now!

Build for strikes to save NHS

No free ride for the airline bosses - nationalise Flybe now!

Them & Us


Workplace news

Hackney school bus workers win pay increase following strikes

PCS: Time to rebuild the left

Northern Ireland: Thousands of nurses continue to strike for better pay

Westex Carpet strike reaches two month mark

London bus drivers ballot to strike

Union lawyer arrested on security guards' picket line


Campaigns

We need socialists in London's City Hall

Stop gentrification in Newham: "We are here, you have consulted us and we're not going anywhere!"

Massive Scottish independence demo marks new stage in struggle

Young people who voted for Corbyn's manifesto will now ask... How can we win those ideas?

London: Protesters return to oppose Middle East war

Cladding scandal: Government steps up defence of landlords

Nottingham: Youth protest against Barclays 64 million fossil-fuel investments

Socialist Party national committee meeting


International socialist news and analysis

Renewed protests shake Iranian leaders

France: Strike wave over pensions - Macron government in retreat


Readers' opinion

Sustainable food production and the need for socialism

TV Review: Apocalypse Cow

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Scotland:

triangle'Roses are red, violets are blue, BP and Shell - we're coming for you'

triangleWest London Socialist Party: Scotland - is the stage set for a new independence struggle?

triangleRobert Burns: of the people, for the people

triangleScotland: Scene set for explosion in the national question

Independence:

triangleLeicester Socialist Party: Scottish Independence - what do socialists say?

triangleHackney Socialist Party: Scottish independence - Will it happen?

triangleCatalonia: Draconian prison sentences of independence leaders provokes mass protests and strikes

triangleCatalonia: Mass protests against punitive political jailings

Demo:

triangleLondon demo: Protect the right to strike

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Tories:

triangleJavid's departure foreshadows deeper Tory divisions

SNP:

triangleScotland and Brexit: Developing threat to the capitalist union

Glasgow:

triangleGlasgow: Socialist Party Scotland public meeting

Socialist Party Scotland:

triangleEdinburgh: Socialist Party Scotland general election public meeting

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