Independence: Fight against Poverty, Fight for Peace

Scottish Socialist Party activists took part in the All Under One Banner rally and march in Paisley, and at the People’s Assembly/STUC cost of living rally in Glasgow.

The SSP has also reiterated its solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and anti-war opposition in Russia.

The SSP is campaigning for an independent socialist Scotland that is empowered to raise incomes, cut living costs, and take everyone out of fuel poverty. An independent Scotland can and must be a contributor to world peace without being a member of NATO, and without hosting nuclear weapons.

Working Class Solidarity

Pro-independence groups, parties, and peace organisations gathered at Ferguslie Gardens in Paisley. SSP Workplace Organiser Richie Venton said:

“Our party, since we were formed in 1998, have consistently fought to defend the democratic right to self-determination for every nation, and, in the case of Scotland, not only argued for independence, but for a unique and specific form of that: an independent socialist Scotland, to wipe out poverty and inequality.

“Self-determination is a principle that we should defend as a democratic right consistently. And for that reason, as well as humanitarian reasons, we utterly oppose the invasion of Ukraine by the gangster capitalist regime of Vladimir Putin, call for the immediate withdrawal of their troops, and for the right of the people of Ukraine to decide their own future.

“We also stand up for the right to self-determination, the right to democratic self-government, if they so wish, for the Russian minorities within Ukraine. It’s a principle we need to apply consistently.

“One of the tasks is to put pressure on the governments and demand that they offer the hands of friendship and refuge to those fleeing the persecution of the bloody war in Ukraine.

“We should have no time for the stinking hypocrisy of Boris Johnson, of the West, of NATO and others, when they prattle on about defending democratic rights.

“Because NATO is not a peace-loving, peace-keeping alliance. NATO is a nuclear-led alliance of imperialism dominated by the United States. NATO has marauded the globe not just in Europe, not just in the Middle East, but also in Africa – toppling governments, assassinating popular leaders, expanding their influence across the globe so as to keep it under the dominance of the profiteers and the warlords of the West.

“So let’s not have any time for the hypocrites when they preach democracy.

“We stand on the side of the Ukrainian people. We stand on the side of the Russian opposition to the war. We stand in the interests of the working class in Ukraine, of Russia, and throughout the world.

“The Scottish Socialist Party is utterly opposed to the idea of an independent Scotland being part of NATO.

“We want to escape NATO, to escape being entangled in wars, to escape being responsible for the continuation of Trident and the wastage and squandering of £200 billion which could instead in health, in education, in a National Care Service worthy of the name, and in free public transport.”

Independent Socialist Scotland

Richie continued:

“For the Scottish Socialist Party, independence is a right – but it is also not an end in itself. It’s a means to an end. It’s a means to eliminate poverty and inequality. We don’t want an independent Scotland that just continues simply to bow down to the dictatorship of big business, the dictatorship of capital, and robs the rest of us for the profit of the few.

“We want a socialist Scotland that can use the wealth of its nation for the benefit of its people. To convince the working-class majority of the virtues of independence we need, for example, to tackle the crime of fuel poverty in this energy-rich nation – by measures like the Scottish Government investing to retrofit all homes in Scotland free of charge. To cut down bills, and cut global warming.

“Instead of selling off the wind power of Scotland for a penny, we need to instead demand public ownership of all forms of energy to cut out the profiteering, slash the bills, and provide clean, green, affordable energy to every home in this country.

“To convince people, we need to demand a decent pay rise for every worker in Scotland, in order to at least match inflation. That applies to Council workers, who have been offered a derisory rise of just 2%. It applies to the college lecturers, it applies to the women in Glasgow fighting for equal pay 52 years after the Equal Pay Act.

“And it should be underpinned by a minimum wage of at least £12 an hour, for everybody at the age of 16 and upwards, to tackle poverty and inequality.

“We also need free public transport to tackle poverty and pollution. Not parking charges when you go to work, like the government is threatening to introduce. We need free public transport to make it possible to wipe out pollution, poverty, and social isolation.

“What we mean by all that is a Socialist Green New Deal in what would be a socialist Scotland – independent of poverty, independent of inequality, independent of the rule of the Tories in Westminster.

“We need an independent socialist Scotland.

“If we’re going to make poverty history, we have to make the rotten, corrupt system of capitalism history.”