Eric Canning – “builder of the Widest Unity”

by Bill Bonnar

It was with great sadness that the Scottish Socialist Party learned of the passing of Eric Canning.

Eric was a lifelong communist, first with the Communist Party of Great Britain and after its demise as the founder and leader of the Communist Party of Scotland. He also played a key role in the struggle for Scottish self-government as a founder and leading player in the Campaign for a Scottish Assembly and in the referendum campaign for independence. For Eric there was no contradiction in his commitment to socialism and independence. He saw the break-up of the imperialist British state as a key part of the struggle to establish an independent socialist Scotland,

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Standing for top-quality housing

by Bill Bonnar

The Scottish Socialist Party believes that the only way to tackle Scotland’s housing crisis and to meet the long term housing needs of the people of Scotland is through a massive expansion of social housing.

Decades of government cuts in housing support to local authorities, combined with the fiscally ruinous right-to-buy policy, and a host of other capitalist measures have driven people into mortgage-based home ownership and the private rented sector. This has condemned hundreds of thousands of families to life sentences served out in dilapidated housing schemes.

Only by reversing these trends can we resolve the problems. The private sector has never been a solution; it is a large part of the problem.

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Fidel Castro: a 90 year Cuban legacy

by Bill Bonnar

The International Socialist Movement has just lost one of its greatest leaders. Fidel Castro was a statesman of the 20th century, the most important Latin American leader since Simon Bolivar and a giant of socialism. His story is so intertwined with the modern history of Cuba they are impossible to entangle. When Castro launched the rebellion against the corrupt war criminal Batista, Cuba was a de-facto colony of the USA.

Run by a cabal of gangsters, a handful of wealthy Cuban families and representatives of American multi-national companies, it had become a cesspool of corruption, violence, exploitation and degradation while the great mass of the people lived in poverty. The 1959 revolution swept this away,

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Conference: Bolshevik Revolution Centenary

The Scottish Socialist Party confirmed its internationalist outlook in the adoption of a motion from Lothians – by a large majority – agreeing to emphasise the commemoration of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

burkeTam Burke moved it, referring to the many past revolutions where the ruling class of one period was removed by the rise of a new ruling class, as the aristocracy had been replaced by the capitalist class. The Bolshevik Revolution had swept aside the old order. Unlike all others before, power passed to those who toiled, the workers and peasants. The Bolsheviks had turned the word, ideas, into the deed. Success had a huge cost. In lives from starvation, disease and disruption by armed capitalist intervention,

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Executive Committee election results

At our National Conference, we elect an executive committee whose primary responsibility is to take the instructions of our membership and implement them within the party framework.

Their job is to work closely; to implement the decisions made by the membership and agreed strategy, determine the party strategy in the following year in the face of strong analysis of the Scottish political situation, devise responses and solutions to concerns and chart out the course of action for the party.

Following the national conference ballot – our national executive is as follows:

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International Brigadiers commemoration

bill_bonnar_850x450by Bill Bonnar

Just before the SSP National Council in Dundee on February 13th, the party took part in the annual commemoration of International Brigadiers from that city. This year sees the 80th Anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War although this is a misnomer. In fact, in 1936 the country was attacked by the forces of international fascism.

The country had just elected a left wing Republican government. The response of Spain’s ruling class and its international backers was to launch a military coup. The initial coup failed but the country collapsed into war. It was a war the government would have won but for massive intervention by fascist Italy and Germany and with tacit support from the British Government.

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Portugal’s left makes major gains in national elections

Bill Bonnarby Bill Bonnar

It might have slipped under the radar but last month saw the left in Portugal make astonishing gains in the general election. The Left Bloc emerged as the third largest party in the country with more than 10 per cent of the vote while the Democratic Unity Coalition; an alliance of the Communist Party and the Green Party came 4th with almost 9 per cent. In total the left polled around 1 million votes; the most successful electoral result in a generation.

This breakthrough will not surprise too many observers. While much of Europe’s attention has been focused on Greece the effects of draconian austerity measures on Portuguese society has been devastating.

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Catalonian independence – a socialist perspective

Bill Bonnarby Bill Bonnar

For the first time at elections to its National Assembly pro-independence parties won a majority of seats. It yet another sign that Catalonia is on the road to independence with only the timing and nature of that final destination still up for discussion. With more than half the seats and just under half the votes the parliament does not have a clear mandate as yet but it is only a matter of time before a legal referendum is called. To date Madrid has blocked this demand hoping that the issue will go away but this is now looking a forlorn hope even in Madrid.

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