Scottish Labour Socialists: An Appeal from the SSP

  • Use your energy, passion, and commitment in the battle for real change, not an endless faction fight.
  • Help build the real alternative to neoliberal independence: an independent, socialist Scotland, not dogmatic and self-destructive Unionism.
  • Win a socialist programme for Scotland: a Socialist Recovery Plan for real change, not more of the same.
  • Send Keir Starmer an emphatic message that he can’t ignore.

Scottish Labour socialists, you fought hard to build a Britain that works for the many, not the few – but you were sabotaged by the right-wing of your own party. We share your anger at the scale of this betrayal, and we don’t find any joy in Corbyn’s defeat.

We know how deeply and how passionately you care for your party, and the values you want it to stand for. We cannot tell you that the Labour Party leadership, bureaucracy, and politics reflects your values – because it doesn’t. But we can tell you that the Scottish Socialist Party does.

So we are appealing to you, again, because the working class needs a socialist party, and socialists should support a socialist party.

Socialists Belong in a Socialist Party, not the Bosses’ Party

Many Scottish Socialist Party members have been in the same position you find yourself now. Just like you, SSP members have been on the receiving end of Labour’s anti-socialist purges. We’ve been there, and we know how it feels.

“Unity” between workers and the bosses only leads to the workers’ defeat. The working class needs political representation independent of the bosses, of the knights, of the peers, of the landlords, and of the billionaires. The Scottish Socialist Party is a working-class party: we don’t have billionaire backers or big corporate donors; we’re rooted in workers’ struggle, in Trade Unions, and in working-class communities exclusively.

We know you are under extraordinary pressure to “Stay and Fight”. But socialists in the Labour Party have been fighting the same fight for over one hundred years, and the game is rigged against you. We don’t want to see another generation of brilliant Labour organisers, campaigners, and activists burned out by an eternal faction battle. Your energy, your passion, and your commitment are needed for a bigger, more important fight.

That means we have to be fighting for jobs, wages, pensions, and conditions. We have to be fighting for public ownership, a Socialist Green New Deal, and a sustainable future for ourselves and our children. We have to be fighting to end poverty, inequality, and economic violence that leads to social injustice. We have to be fighting for our NHS, a National Care Service, and real solutions to the Coronavirus crisis. There is an enormous battle to come – an endless faction fight is a distraction and a waste of your time.

So you don’t owe your loyalty, emotional investment, or subs to people that will use them all against you. Keir Starmer, and the right-wing faction that has retaken control of the Labour Party, are using all of them against you.

Because it is fact that the Labour right-wing have engaged in sickening abusive bully tactics to harass the Labour Left – abuse often racist and misogynistic in nature. It’s a fact that the Labour right-wing conspired to throw the 2017 general election and have conspired to punish the left for giving them a bloody nose. It’s a fact that the right-wing faction enabled genuine antisemitism within the party to smear the entire Labour Left and lifelong anti-racist campaigners.

You cannot win by playing the game on their terms. The working class needs to build its own power.

Scotland and Self-Determination

We know that many Labour members and supporters are concerned about the SNP’s neoliberal plan for independence. We share your criticism of the SNP’s lackluster vision and litany of broken promises in government – but we must be clear that dogmatic Unionism is not a credible alternative.

The Scottish Socialist Party has always supported self-determination and Scottish independence. But we are socialists, not nationalists; we’re campaigning for an independent, socialist Scotland, and a modern, democratic republic – not a neoliberal nightmare locked into a discredited status quo.

The principle that workers across these islands should be united as one is powerful and important – but it isn’t independence that undermines that principle; it’s the Unionist trap. There is no Westminster route to the kind of country that we all want to see. With support for independence reaching record highs – including among more than 40% of Scottish Labour Party voters – the Scottish Labour Party’s undemocratic opposition to self-determination is undermining the working-class movement in Scotland, and handing the initiative to Tartan Tory technocrats.

This means that, in order to put the power back into democratic, working-class hands, we need workers, Trade Unions, and you to lead in the building of a better vision for an independent Scotland.

The Scottish Socialist Party:
A Proven Record, a Vision for the Future

The Scottish Socialist Party doesn’t just have a record of standing up for working-class communities and socialist principles, but of winning real victories and bringing the fight directly to the powerful.

The SSP brought the campaign for Free School Meals to the Scottish Parliament, only to be blocked by Scottish Labour MSPs. The SSP pioneered the battle to abolish NHS prescription charges – only to be voted down by Scottish Labour MSPs.

We have also campaigned for No Cuts budgets, in defiance of Tory and SNP/Green cuts, and frequently joined fellow-workers in strike action and communities in protests and sit-ins against Labour councils’ closure of schools, community facilities, and the slaughter of jobs and services.

The SSP has persistently campaigned for the abolition of the Council Tax and for a replacement Scottish Service Tax based on income, which would make over 75% better off, make the rich cough up, and DOUBLE income for local jobs and services. Scottish Labour, like the SNP and the Greens, has broken its pledge to replace Council Tax.

We kept our promise, and pledge again, that our MSPs will only take home the equivalent of the wage of the average worker they represent. We pioneered radical arguments for drugs decriminalisation, even when Scottish Labour MSPs mocked those far-sighted ideas.

We have put our members at the heart of the winning campaign within the Trade Union movement for a higher minimum wage for all over 16, for the abolition of zero-hour contracts, and public ownership as the alternative to private profiteering.

We need you to help win a socialist programme for Scotland. We are fighting for:

Your support will deliver real change to working-class communities in Scotland. That’s why we’re appealing to you to join the Scottish Socialist Party, or lend your Regional vote to SSP candidates in the 2021 Holyrood election to return socialist MSPs to Parliament.

Only YOU can send a message that Keir Starmer cannot ignore.