Friday, 11 June 2010

Introducing Socialist Party Scotland

This nugget of sectariana came to me via the ever-green Leftist Trainspotters list, THE resource for discerning sectarians:
The Scottish section of the Committee for a Workers’ International – the International Socialists - is changing its name to Socialist Party Scotland.

We have chosen to change our name at this time because we believe that it allows us to have a clearer banner that will help attract the increasing numbers of new young people and workers who are looking for a socialist and Marxist alternative to the crisis ridden capitalist system and the new ConDem coalition of cuts.

Our new name also has the distinct advantage of making a direct link with our sister parties in England, Wales and Ireland who are also known as the Socialist Party.

We already work closely with the Socialist Party in England and Wales through our work in the trade unions like the PCS, where we play a leading role, and in Unison and the CWU among others. We will in the coming months ensure that we use our influence in the trade union movement in Scotland to help build mass opposition to the savage cuts planned by the new Tory-Lib Dem government. We also work closely with our comrades throughout Britain in the Youth Fight For Jobs Campaign.

Most recently during the general election we took part in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition that involved trade union leaders including Bob Crow of the RMT. Four of the ten Scottish TUSC candidates at the general election were members of Socialist Party Scotland. We will be working with other trade unionists and socialists to build on the experience of TUSC in the months ahead.
Tommy Sheridan and Solidarity

In 2006 we were founding members, alongside Tommy Sheridan, of Solidarity – Scotland’s Socialist Movement. Since then we have played a leading role in Solidarity and this will continue. In fact we will, alongside the other socialists within Solidarity, be stepping up our efforts to strengthen Solidarity as we head towards the Scottish parliament elections next year.

Moreover, Socialist Party Scotland would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our 100% backing for Tommy and Gail Sheridan in their forthcoming court battle against the forces of the rich and powerful who are ranged against them. We have and will continue to condemn the scandalous waste of public resources, now totalling at least £2.5 million, squandered by the Crown Office and Lothian and Borders Police in their vendetta against Scotland’s most prominent socialist.

There will be at least one Socialist Party here in Scotland that will be striving to see a defeat for the Murdoch Empire and the enemies of the trade union and socialist movement.

Socialist Party Scotland will continue to be the Scottish section of the Committee for a Workers International, which has parties and groups in 40 countries around the world.
Statement here.

Good luck getting that name registered with the Electoral Commission!

If I was still in the Socialist Party I probably would have supported the rebranding. There may have been a case in the past for Scottish Militant Labour to be formally separate from the rest of the organisation, but from the split in the CWI in 2001 (which left a rump group of loyalists, the International Socialists in Scotland) the logic for maintaining the IS as a separate section of the international became increasingly tenuous; especially as SP branches in England and Wales have a large degree of autonomy anyway.

Then there is the question of positioning -as the statement makes clear in the penultimate sentence's snide sideswipe to the SSP. Presumably the CWI is of the opinion the name is too good to be left in the hand of their erstwhile comrades? Whatever the case it signals the division at the heart of the Scottish far left is still festering quite nicely.

Where does this leave Solidarity? The statement says the CWI remains committed to it - but changing your name to a 'party' doesn't give out the sort of vibes one would expect from a coalition partner. This isn't to say the CWI are looking to dump Solidarity, unlike the SWP. But they are aware if the Sheridans are banged up on perjury charges there seems little point for it to continue in its present form. During the general election for all intents and purposes Solidarity was subsumed by the Scottish TUSC campaign, so this can be viewed as further confirmation that the London-based secretariat view "Scotland's Socialist Movement" as an irrelevance.


James said...

Although I haven't ever voted for them, it's the other half of the split who I feel for - the ones who I believe stuck to the truth over the allegations against Tommy. His Solidarity ego-vehicle won't last long either way, jail or no jail.

Phil said...

They haven't got a hope in hell of running candidates under the name of "Socialist Party Scotland" - it couldn't be closer to "Scottish Socialist Party" if it was actually chosen as a spoiler (which I don't believe it was). They must think TUSC has legs - either that or they're planning on standing as Socialist Alternative Scotland, or SAS for short.

Like the previous commenter, I can't see why they're even half-heartedly standing by Tommy; I can't believe it'll do them any good.

DR said...

The determined haste with which both the CWI and the SWP seeks to rush back to the bunker after the unity experiments is tragically amazing.

Mark P said...

What drivel there is in the comments section here.

1) The choice in the split in the SSP was between Sheridan and Murdoch. Both sides made their choices - and most of the leadership of one of them is about to give Queens's evidence in the criminal trial of one of Scotland's best known socialists.

2) DR with his usual "left unity" myopia misses the point entirely. Socialist Party Scotland is a renaming of an existing organisation and does not represent a change in strategy. It remains involved in Solidarity and TUSC.

Jock Scotch! said...

"Like the previous commenter, I can't see why they're even half-heartedly standing by Tommy; I can't believe it'll do them any good."

I think it's called having principles and demonstrating solidarity!

Phil said...

I don't think it's as clear cut as that. No doubt we'll have much "fun" discussing it all after the trial.

Anonymous said...

Funny set of principles, that dont involve telling the truth.

No wonder such groups are involved in the wreckage of all the left unity projects