SSP: no retreat from nationalism

Submitted by Anon on 16 April, 2004 - 8:36

Around 500 people attended the conference of the Scottish Socialist Party on 27-28 March - a healthy increase in numbers on last year, but only a few people have been brought into the party from the anti-war movement.

Overall, the SSP has shifted towards ever-greater support for Scottish independence. When I spoke in the debate around these issues, I was heckled for simply pointing out that the SSP's position is the same as the SNP's. But that is a matter of fact!

There is a need to create an alternative democratic set of politics for the SSP - those who hold to a "democratic federal republic" position ought to be more articulate next year, as most of the amendments in this debate (which centred on a proposal for an independence convention) either said that independence was a "tactical issue" or do not spell out issues about worker's unity, and some seemed designed not to gain much support at all.

The ultra-nationalist Scottish Republican Socialist Movement argued that there should be no more debate on the national question ever! Fortunately their move to enshrine the position of independence in the constitution was defeated.

A motion from the SWP calling for uncritical support for Respect was counterposed to one which we supported, highly critical of Respect and calling on the left south of the border to continue to work through the Socialist Alliance. The biggest bloc in the SSP (the ISM platform) maintained their traditional "sit-on the fence" attitude - "it is not the place of the Scottish left to tell the English and Welsh left what to do…" In the event a motion which simply called for "mutual support" with Respect was passed.

The SSP voted unanimously to be proactive in the anti-capitalist movement by backing No Sweat and its campaign "Ban the Brands", and Labour Behind the Label.

Peter Burton, Edinburgh

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