Archive by Author

Class Discrimination in the UK’s Urban Housing | Nicky Patterson

2 Jun

Abstract

This investigation analyses the presentations of class discrimination within the field of urban housing within the UK. Utilising the theoretical work of Loic Wacquant’s ‘territorial stigmatisation’ (2008) and Ruth Glass’s ‘gentrification’ (1964), this paper investigates the history of property acquisition and the positioning of the working-class as a non-propertied class. The paper addresses the post-war of social-housing from both left-wing and right-wing perspectives, and seeks to ascertain an understanding and reasoning for the circumstances which have led to increasing rates of home-ownership against increasing rates of homelessness during the neoliberal era when social-housing developments were neglected by government. The investigation also uses the post-war housing estate of Castlemilk in Glasgow as a case-study in order to ascertain whether patterns of class-discrimination in Glasgow accord with wider general theory and analyses from theorists and academics abroad.  The research concludes that a housing ‘crisis’ has permanently existed for more than a century and that it has been maintained by a legal and social system predicated on the rights of property, thus discriminating against non-propertied populations, i.e. the working class.

Continue reading

The Glasgow Madness Solidarity Network: an introduction

8 Oct

madnesssolidaritynetwork

Madness is proliferating, and it is capitalism that makes us mad.

We live in an age where anxiety, depression and eating disorders have reached epidemic levels. Since the crisis of 2008 suicide rates have increased dramatically while mental health services have been savagely cut. Work becomes increasingly demanding at the same time as it has become increasingly precarious. We are all exposed to a 24/7 bombardment of stimulation and instant communication that captures and burns our nervous systems. Capitalism has even placed the survival of our species into question by producing climate change. More and more of us are “managed” on psychoactive medications and psychological therapies that patch us up so we can get back to work. People called psychotic face higher mortality rates, the threat of death by restraint, and social exclusion.  While psychiatry and psychotherapy can be necessary to our psychic survival, they also operate as forms of social control and as…

View original post 728 more words

Working Manifesto – what do we want for our neighbourhood?

1 Oct

An autonomous Community Forum is emerging in Mansewood in the southside of Glasgow, and in the wake of recent politicisation of communities across Scotland. Hopefully projects like this will become much more common in the months and years to come as more and more people become organised among campaigns, trade unions, and their own neighbourhoods. Scenes like those from London’s Focus E15 last week will hopefully become more common as people realise we should not rely on our political and media classes for leadership and salvation… people power, let’s do it!

Mansewood Community Forum (Glasgow)

As well as offering one another mutual assistance in matters of urgency, whether that be with debt agencies, bad landlords or employers, rogue traders, fascist abuse, or other forms of harassment, the Mansewood Community Forum seeks to unite our neighbours in positive action for the benefit of ourselves, our neighbours, and our children.

As an autonomous group of neighbourhood residents and activists in Mansewood, we don’t need to wait for the local authorities or politicians to make suggestions about what we “might” need in our area. Instead we can create the demand and make moves to achieve our goals through our own solidarity, networking, and direct action. So let us have a think together about what we want to achieve as a community forum.

Initially it might be a good idea to assess what resources we have, and what resources are lacking; what problems are obvious, and what solutions there…

View original post 370 more words

Party-Pooping and the Hangover Fear do not Help Us Get to Work | Nicky Patterson

24 Sep

The big Yes campaign party is now over. In the end we got a big turn out but didn’t get the present we asked for, and then some uninvited guests turned up to cause a rammy and the polis ended up wading in and making arrests. By now we’re all up the road, we’ve had a sleep, a cup of tea, a good scran, and a swatch through the social media chatter about who done what, and who done who… and we’re already planning our next night out.

Yes, there was an element of ‘blow-out’ to the referendum weekend. For some it was like an extended wake, where oblivion was much more comfort than abject reality. For others it was like an extra Twelfth of July, a chance to scream “No Surrender!” and “Nationalist Scum!” whilst draped in the old crown rag. For others still it was either a depressing or an affirming weekend (depending how you voted). For me, it was depressing – I voted Yes and like many others had invested a great deal of time, energy and spirit into the campaign, only to be bitterly disappointed by the result that I watched through one blearily drunken eye whenever I could get proper focus on the telly.

Walking about the southside a few hours later on Friday afternoon, it was as if everybody had heard that everybody else’s granny had died, and nobody knew what to say. There was a palpable mixture of deflation, confusion, and apprehension.

By some point over that fateful weekend, some springs of hope began to emerge… it is to these that I shall now turn, since my intention is to have them blocked up and barricaded. My belief is that the precious mineral water they bring forth is not healthy but toxic.

The first spring to appear (arguably… it was a hazy weekend as I say), was the Cavalier rallying of “The 45”, which seemed to be a sporadically emerging reactionary campaign to the referendum loss – “the 45” being the 45% of voters who opted for “Yes”.  Facebook groups, twitter hashtags, and profile badges began seeping to the surface. One such group describes itself (at time of writing) as:

We are the 45% who said Yes to independence on the 18th of September 2014. We will not disband, we will stay together, from left wing to right and all through the political spectrum, we will do so to keep the flame of political freedom burning bright in Scotland. To the ruling classes in London we say this: “So tremble Westminster in the midst of yer glee, ye’ve not seen the last of my people and me”

Now I wrote up a response to “The 45” on Saturday afternoon on my Facebook profile and received a fair number of rebukes. I’ve since seen a number of respected comrades post criticisms similar to mine, including Sarah Beattie-Smith from the Greens and James Toner from the Castlemilk community campaigns. I’m fairly confident my criticisms are appropriate and not misguided, so I am happy to reiterate them here, because “The 45” is for me the manifestation of the Hangover Fear.

Firstly, the campaign (and I maintain that it is a campaign despite some arguments to the contrary) has distinct nationalist overtones, and these are neither inclusive nor relevant to the current struggle against the corporate and political classes . The “45” reference is a clear association with the Jacobite campaigns of the 1700s, but these were distinctly different in character and aims to what we are trying to achieve. Therefore it simply isn’t clear how, under such a banner, non-indigenous or non-nationalist Scots (etc) are supposed to be included in this solidarity movement.

Secondly, there are also clear allusions to the style and rhetoric of the 99%. But this is ill-advised, is divisive and I would argue dangerous: for example, are we to declare the Roundheaded 55% as our mortal enemy? The 45ers against the 55ers? How are we to ever reconcile this fairly concretising figuration of our population? Such language and framing is absolutely not progressive and will only serve to pointlessly isolate the No voting population (the 55%), many of whom are in need of our solidarity and networking.

Thirdly, how exactly is a movement based on representation of 45% of the population supposed to grow (ie to 53%) without becoming a self-professing absurdity. It took an enormous referendum to determine the number in the first place, how do we keep tabs on growth and confidently assert that the 45% can win a majority?  It would be ridiculed by our powerful media owning opposition – the very forces which won the No campaign, and who are so expert in derailing opposition campaigns.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly; how exactly are the people across the rest of the British Isles supposed to participate and collaborate in this? After all we share a common enemy, we always have and always will until that almost mystical revolution comes round. Can our friends in England, Ireland, and Wales be as comfortable participating in this as they were in the Yes campaign? I don’t think so. I think this is too parochial and insular a concept for that, and it is therefore backwards and unhelpful.

Scrap it. We need something very different to this. We need what the broader Yes campaign was, but instead of aiming for independence we should be building and enacting the revolution across these islands. This itself needs to be done both as interest groups within a broader campaign (a la Women for Indy, National Collective etc) as well as local neighbourhood community forums and action groups all over the UK and the Republic.

As for the increase in party membership, something the 45ers are actively promoting, I say this: Party politics embodies everything that is wrong with our current system. We must reject it. These institutions are the Party-Poopers because they sap all the useful energy and of movements and campaigns to turn it into a televised parlour game for suit-wearing career-driven bureaucrats.

Consider for example, our possible options in Scotland for the forthcoming General Election: clearly the viable protest vote is with the SNP; but at the same time we cannot build the SNP (a capitalist party) for the sake of protest against the political system at Westminster – this is nonsensical. It is illogical because we will be building our future enemy in the same way that the US arms insurgents that it later faces in war.

So too is joining the Labour party, hoping to change it from the inside… This has never worked and Labour has never been a socialist party. Labour are the Party-Pooper extraordinaire, utilising the energy of socialists (or social-democrats if they have any energy?) and trade unionists to form big pin-striped concrete blocks of fuck-all.

Joining the Greens or the SSP (both parties I have been a member of at times in the past 15 years) is certainly astute and potentially useful; but neither have or will ever be able to effect real change in Holyrood (never mind Westminster where they are non existent), and therefore cannot effect real and lasting change in society. I do not discount the participation of Green and SSP members in campaigns that have been successful, but these forms of direct action have always included coalitions of parties as well as non-party groups and individuals. Thus the (radical) party per se hasn’t been the effective mechanism for change.

Instead we should unanimously seek to form local assemblies and in doing so begin to completely reject the traditional political system – this is the equivalent of supporting the local producer against the international conglomerate, the equivalent of playing to our strengths in games whose rules we govern and referee, rather than games they designed and control. You wouldn’t try and race Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone at Formula 1 with yer clapped oot 1992 4 gear Austin Metro – so why are we still doing that in a political sense?

Einstein thought that doing the same thing over and over in the hope of achieving different results was madness. We think Einstein was wise and we tend to quote people like him. We quote them… But we never actually pay heed.

In the “45%” (the statistic not the movement) in Scotland we can already identify the grounds for the rejection of the current political elite. And indeed the same sentiment exists all over these Islands. It’s up to us to grow that and build it and enact it – not to harp on about how we that voted Yes will “not disband”… of course we won’t but by Christ are we not wanting our friends from all over these islands to join us again as many did in ‪#‎indyref‬, anti-war, ant-cuts, and other broader campaigns?

Instead: we must organise neighbourhood-based community forums of activists which are autonomous and free from local party and council interference (some of the Yes groups and RIC groups were good bases for these).  In these we want to hold discussions and debates and demonstrations around global as well as local issues; network with neighbouring communities and communities abroad; deal with our (and our neighbour’s) bad landlords, bad employers, bad councils through pickets, strikes, and harassment; look after our neighbourhood, our neighbours, and especially the vulnerable; attack all forms of bigotry and oppression in our communities; build alternative centres for adult education – skill share, knowledge share, run workshops and raise consciousness; occupy land and buildings to meet needs as we see them, not as distant political office clerks see them; grow food, share food, steal food from supermarkets – resist and counter the growing cost of living against stagnant and declining wages; occupy the NHS; occupy our transport systems; occupy our local services and facilities; occupy everything we care about  they want (or would want) to take away; and so on. Force them, the corporate and political classes, into direct dialogue with us, instead of through the distancing, polarising, dehumanising, and alienating mechanisms they use just now (parliament, elections, Question Time on the BBC etc).

We knew either way (Yes or No) that we needed to start the new struggle, the new movement: the result doesn’t change that; it only changes the scale of the task: we need to organise and support from Wick to Portsmouth and from Cork to Newcastle, and beyond.

I’m starting a Community Forum in my local neighbourhood for these ends; there is also the Glasgow Solidarity Network and the Glasgow Madness Solidarity Network to offer these kind of things right now in our city. We know we need revolution, but that doesn’t just happen, we need to start building it today.

Let’s scrap the 45 idea and the Party and begin the real work. We can do it.

An Organiser’s View: Just How Radical is Scotland’s Radical Independence Campaign? | Nicky Patterson

23 Jun

This article serves as an open insight into the workings of the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) in Scotland over the past year.  The RIC has been an excellent movement which has energised and politicised a new generation of activists, and re-energised and re-politicised previous generations of activism. Central to the campaign is of course securing a Yes vote this September, however it is universally assumed that the RIC will continue beyond this as a vehicle of politicisation and articulation of radical working class politics.  As with all major political movements there have been negative manifestations, and it is to some of these that I turn in the hope of providing a useful moment of reflection and assessment upon which we can collectively work to ensure that this opportunity for politicisation, and subsequent development of resilience to the manifestations of capitalism in Scotland, is protected, maintained, and enhanced.

I have been an organiser with the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) since March 2013, working initially in East Kilbride outside Glasgow, and latterly from October 2013 in the southside of Glasgow.  Initially the campaign was quite an exciting and energetic left-wing movement which focused closely on participation, collectivity, autonomy, and solidarity for – and with – the disparate groups and individuals from across the left spectrum which initially comprised the RIC’s elementary formation.  I remember the buzz and excitement of meetings where socialists, communists, anarchists, Greens, trade unionists, and non-aligned radicals of various hues and stripes were designing their own campaign within their own communites, holding to a centrality of purpose which was undoubtedly a collective antithesis to the general malaise of alienation that Westminster, and all of its associated apparatus, has been able to foster and develop in recent decades.

This was most certainly true in the Summer of 2013, and was still probably so in the weeks following the second Radical Independence Conference in November 2013, held at the Glasgow Marriot Hotel and which was attended by around 1100 delegates from around Scotland.  Since then however, the latent central strategy of the RIC has been diffused and somewhat compromised by several potent social elements. This is undoubtedly a by-product of the RIC’s phenomenal early successes, but nonetheless has engendered a loss of left-wing spirit, and has certainly purged the movement of anything inherent and explicit which might be called radical.

The comprehensive strategy which was devised collectively by members of the Glasgow Southside RIC from November 2013-April 2014 focused on the establishment and facilitation of community based groups who could then govern their own campaign within their own community networks according to their own resources and capacity. The Glasgow Southside RIC initially covered every district within the conurbation south of the River Clyde: from Renfrew in the west through to Cambuslang in the east; from Gorbals and Govan in the north down to Castlemilk and Barrhead in the south. The sheer geographical size and complexity of this area could therefore only lend to such a strategy, but of course the group was also required to adopt the “central” or “national” RIC strategy, and the first symptoms of a shift away from what initially constituted “radical” practice within the RIC is derived from the interactions between this enigmatic core body, and the outlying RIC groups.

The RIC was designed and founded by the very talented and extremely energetic members of the International Socialist Group Scotland (ISG) – a small revolutionary socialist organisation which itself was founded in 2011 by a factional split of young members of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in Scotland – and it is no small testament to members of this organisation how popular the campaign, latterly a movement, has become.  As a member of the ISG until very recently, I was a witness to and sometimes a participant in the management and steerage of the RIC through assorted ISG-based group meetings.  Indeed most if not all of the organisers of Scotland wide branches of the RIC were until recently members, or ex-members, or close affiliates of the ISG, including myself.  The conflict then comes from the bipolar tensions between the determinations of this ‘hidden-committee’, which essentially boils down to no more than half-a-dozen key ISG operators, and the explicitly articulated, yet implicitly false “autonomy” of the local branches. Unfortunately as the campaign/movement has become increasingly popular, and even successful, so too have these two entities become largely compromised by mainstream currents and influences.  Firstly I will explain how this has happened and what it has meant so far for practical operations, and then I will return to how this has manifested in tense and often contradictory relations between the hidden-committee and the local branch of the RIC.

From the beginning there have been underlying tensions between the RIC and the Scottish Government initiated Yes Campaign (Yes). From the beginning too, Yes has undoubtedly been the very official, and often corporatised, vehicle of pro-independence campaigning, whilst the RIC has been the very unofficial and alternative-brand  vehicle – this is of course alongside other grassroots groups such as National Collective, Labour for Independence, and so on.  Indeed in some Yes branches there have even been resultant splits and factions between SNP officials or supporters, and ordinary or non-SNP members; and furthermore, (certainly in my experience as organiser) much of the early energy and drive from RIC recruits in the Summer and Autumn 2013 came from disaffected Yes campaigners seeking the space and agency to campaign beyond the strict remit of bland electoral-campaign praxis, and the confines of pre-White-Paper Yes rhetoric.  Since the RIC began to receive more press coverage however, and especially since the implementation of the excellent, and now ubiquitous, RIC Mass Canvass, we have seen a convergence of principles and interests between these two, initially very distinct campaigns.

There are two very clear explanations for this which will deliver for us a picture of the RIC’s shift away from its “Radical” roots. Firstly, there is recognition for the campaign’s success and popularity within the RIC’s hidden-committee, and this has in turn stimulated awareness of responsibility, and along with that, an awareness of risk. Partnered with the awareness of risk and responsibility naturally comes anxiety, an element of reactionary protectiveness, and subsequently a latent withdrawal of support for explicitly radical messages and activities.  The emergent “care-complex” harboured by the hidden-committee then signifies a paradoxical gain in confidence in the mainstream of the campaign, and a simultaneous loss of confidence in the radical spirit which produced the campaign itself.  Secondly, there is recognition of the RIC’s success and popularity within Yes too, who having hitherto failed to inspire the exponential grassroots growth rate of the RIC, have sought increasingly to collaborate with, infuse, and ultimately co-opt the RIC wherever feasible.  This has been achievable primarily through the vehicle of the Mass Canvass, where the RIC establish, organise, and publicise the actions, but rely upon Yes groups for the crucial elements of activity co-ordination, material supply, and data collation.  This practical co-operation, together with the seemingly magnetic convergence of both groups – the one which was radical becoming more mainstream, and the one which is mainstream becoming more radical – has undoubtedly resulted in the diffusion, and indeed confusion, of the RIC’s central radical strategy.

At the same time, and largely for the same reasons, this has also resulted in the diffusion, and ultimate confusion, of local radical strategy for the RIC.  As more Yes campaigners, as well as more “ordinary” or previously unengaged campaigners, joined with their local RIC groups, the potency of the original radical strategy – particularly that of local, and localised autonomy – became diluted by a more common tendency for deference to hierarchical notions of superiority or authority. New energies and talents have been joining the RIC all along and have been most welcome; what their contributions have not been matched with is a mode of emersion in and internalisation of the original principles of the RIC.  This role would naturally have previously fallen to the guidance and discipline of the hidden-committee, or at least its proxy quasi-democratic decision-making device known as the RIC National Forum – a monthly gathering of delegates from around Scotland to discuss those elements of national-campaign concern, such as pass the sanction of the hidden-committee.  Of course, no group is perfect, and I believe that had the ISG understood how successful and popular their RIC movement would become, there would have been sufficient forethought and urgency such as to realise better models of collective decision making than those which currently exist.  At any rate it is a singularly fundamental failing of the RIC to have mis-handled the influx of naivety and reaction that came with its rise in success and popularity.  So in a very real manner we have seen the mainstream-isation of the RIC at both its local and central levels.

In Glasgow’s Southside RIC group for example, this has resulted in Yes agencies agitating for and eventually securing power within the main organising group. This influence has not come from the local Yes Cathcart office, which has in fact been a fantastic supporting organisation without seeking to appropriate or co-opt control, but rather from a clique within the Yes Govan office which, on the establishment of a RIC Govan group enquired as to the authority which sanctioned the group, and subsequently sought to sanction the RIC Govan groups activities on a week-to-week basis [I will intimate here that from here on all references to Yes Govan are made to directly represent the clique involved in this case, and not to represent the Yes Govan office in its entirety, which I understand does an incredible amount of good and hard streetwork for the Yes campaign].  As the organiser who facilitated the establishment of the RIC Govan group – an important strategic location where the potential to campaign away from the influence of local SNP officials had to be secured – this required my very deliberate creation of space for RIC Govan members through the very deliberate creation of a (temporary) barrier to the Yes Govan antagonists.  Such a situation naturally led to conflict which has sadly been ongoing for most of 2014 without appropriate intervention by either campaign group.  One might naturally presume that the RIC hidden-committee would support the right and the agency of Govan based members to establish their own campaign group; however, whether by appeasement of Yes Govan induced by the emergent care-complex in the hidden-committee, or whether by a clash of personal interests (both parties in the dispute being linked in some way to the ISG), this support failed to materialise.  This hampered the RIC Govan group’s abilities severely, and the lack of intervention eventually led to the moves by Yes Govan to seek greater control within the RIC Glasgow Southside organising group.

The practical strategy realised for the southside – being among the most important urban campaign areas in Scotland, was basically to begin at the River Clyde and identify three community areas to begin work in, and once working branches were established and functioning, to move south into neighbouring communities, and so on: each preceding area being understood to harbour forthcoming links in areas leading away from the city centre. These initial areas were Govan, Gorbals, and Rutherglen/Cambuslang.  The work would involve identification of key community operators; their conversion into agents for the campaign; establishment of basic streetwork activities; a mass canvass; a public meeting; and finally the establishment of a community-based working group to continue the campaign accordingly; and then we move on – leaving a well-networked and high-functioning activist-community.  Throughout this however there have been implicit caveats exerted by the RIC hidden-committee as to who can be allowed to join the groups, and these descriptors – rather than aiming to avoid reactionary elements as one might expect – were designed to avoid members of particular other left-wing organisations.  Indeed this sectarian preoccupation over group-control and membership vetting has not only hampered the progress of the campaign – especially in light of the more radical expressions, but has also distracted the RIC hidden-committee from whom and what is entering the movement by different means, and with different aims.

This strategy however is specifically designed to precipitate power and control for the community-based groups i.e. RIC Govan, and not for the facilitation-based groups which operate in more general geographical areas, i.e. the RIC Glasgow Southside.  In the Glasgow Southside group, the Yes Govan agent who had opposed such a strategy, eventually recruited two members of the RIC who were both new, but who had demonstrated excellent energy and initiative, to oppose the strategy.  These recruits were also in a social position whereby they were able to influence and distort the feedback signal coming from the RIC Glasgow Southside group back to the hidden-committee.  The result of such complex relations has meant that new branches established in Rutherglen/Cambuslang, Castlemilk, and Drumchapel, have received little, or indeed in the case of the latter two, no support from the RIC at official level – and this is despite the efforts of this organiser and my supporting comrades in various groups.  In fact the situation has become so farcical that this Yes-Govanite faction has since grown – along with the usual soap-opera  dramatics – and has succeeded in its persistent attempts to remove me as an organiser, as well as to alienate me from the group (and groups) as far as possible, along with those other members whom they identify as being sympathetic to the original strategy – including of course the organisers of the new groups.  Moreover, as recently as last week, even newer groups that have been established in the southside of Glasgow – e.g. Carnwadric, Pollokshields, Castlemilk, Govanhill, Pollokshaws, and others – were contacted by the Yes-Govanite faction of RIC Glasgow Southside with notice that their groups were not sanctioned nor recognised by the RIC (effectively this means not recognised by the faction and the hidden-committee).  Notably the group which operates in the Gorbals, does not call itself a branch, and is ran by two members of the Yes-Govanite faction, thus leaving the group dynamic itself open to co-option and coercion by deference to the aforementioned superior “authorities”.  How radical, how participatory, how progressive do these developments seem? Not at all I claim, in fact these are the backward reactions of power-seeking interests which should not be accommodated in the once excellent (and can-be-again) Radical Independence Campaign!

Now I am making my official public protest to these developments in this article, and I will undoubtedly receive redoubled attacks for doing so – but my doing so must make the movement stronger and not weaker: the Radical Independence Campaign is already a success, it will be a success, but it must also be a success in respect of addressing its failings.  I fully accept that some colleagues and comrades will view this as a personal attack on the RIC, but instead this does not motivate me – what does is my fear that the opportunity to invest power in communities, and to lift the voice of the working class into the referendum conversation, will not be fulfilled in what little time we have left before polling day.  Nevertheless I appreciate that such an act may require my full withdrawal from RIC activity.  If this article gives cause for unionist delight however, then it is misunderstood, and such delight can only be rendered as misplaced schadenfreude: the unionist campaign is the campaign (and not a movement) of perpetual agony and anxiety – there is no case for a No vote. Any attempt to rejoice in what is essentially the teething troubles of a new generation’s social movement, can only serve to demonstrate the retarded and perverse philosophy of our political class, and their acolytes. No, this article must be interpreted as open, honest, and constructive criticism, to which we must all allow ourselves to turn in such an age of austere and prosthetic politicking.

What I have witnessed, most especially since the emergence of the original Mass Canvass action at Easterhouse, is the co-option of the RIC hidden-commmittee by the mainstream, which has simultaneously curbed the movement’s radical potentiality, and opened up the movement at street-level to subversion by careerist, by bourgeois, and thus by reactionary interests.  I have of course been extremely troubled by these events – as a sufferer of chronic depression and anxiety, the witnessing of a campaign which literally brought me back from the brink of suicide being undermined and subverted, along with my agency in it, has brought some intensely bleak periods of illness recently.  But this is about much more than just me.  Therefore do not read this as the miserable complaint of a dejected and sore campaigner, but rather as the insight of an organiser who has worked tirelessly to foster community-empowerment and resilience to future versions of exploitation, for and by the communities themselves, and thus not via the paternalistic modes of current bourgeois praxis. This is a plea for restoration, for articulation, and for consideration.  If the current hidden-committee is conducive to the most efficient modes of operation, then I can accept its agency – what cannot be accepted however is its lack of accountability, nor its selective currents of communication which seem to be open to some, yet closed to others.  This may be a call for more explicit structure, but at the very least is a call for a conversation about supposed autonomy, and the apparent favourable relationships which circumvent, and thus undermine such a principle.

In the southside of Glasgow we have over 400 members, most of whom were recruited whilst I was organising there; at organising meetings however we are struggling to make over twenty members – and some of those within the power-seeking Yes-Govanite faction have stated that the other 380+ members do not matter, as they do not attend the meetings.  I say that this attitude is fundamentally wrong, and that efforts must be made to facilitate the agency, participation and empowerment of these other members.  I say that the new apparent strategy of divesting power from those members who have established their own community based RIC groups is fundamentally wrong, and plays into the hands of those who seek power rather than those that need power.  I say that the original strategy must be re-established, that these local groups are re-affirmed, and that the RIC leadership restore to the radical roots of the campaign, which explicitly challenge reaction and bourgeois power-play, and which champion the voice and the power of working class communities throughout Scotland!

 

On war, and elites

10 Nov

Simon Brooke discusses the relationship between the commons and the elites when it comes to modern war.

Radical Independence Dumfries & Galloway

By Simon Brooke

Wars are not won by elites. Or, to be more precise, twentieth century wars were not won by elites. From the middle of the bronze age to the end of the medieval period wars were, more or less, won by elites – for very long periods an elite warrior, equipped with the best armour and the best weapons of the time, was able to slaughter the peasantry almost with impunity. That’s why the epic battles of both Scotland’s and England’s national myths – Bannockburn and Agincourt respectively – were each in their time so shocking: largely elite armies were defeated – at Bannockburn by careful choice of terrain, at Agincourt by the use of the most basic of peasant weapons – by largely non-elite forces. These battles were, in their time, exceptional. Until the development of the reliable portable firearm the elite warrior was perceived as invincible…

View original post 1,261 more words

Remembering the Horror of 9/11 | Nicky Patterson

11 Sep

image

40 years ago today the CIA engineered a violent military coup in Chile led by the monster Pinochet.

Allende’s democratically elected socialist/Marxist government was framed as a severe threat to American democracy in its consolidating potential for communist Cuba – a small country that to this day remains under embargo as an enemy to the (almighty) USA.

Friedman, the disciple of Hayek, had been training young Chilean economists at Chicago in the necromancing arts of the shock doctrine.

The coup was planned as mass shock treatment to the Chilean people, and the new Chicago-trained economic doctors were instructed to rebuild Chile according to Friedman’s neoliberal discipline and undet Pinochet’s administration.

In the years that followed tens of thousands of Chilean people fled or were tortured, murdered, and disappeared as the awful shock therapy was administered in Pinochet’s cells and Friedman’s wards.

By deign of democratic accountability the people of the UK were complicit in these tortures and murders – Pinochet and Friedman were fully sponsored by Thatcher and her own vile administration. The “Iron Lady” once said that she had great admiration for the activities of Pinochet,  but that she doubted such tactics would be acceptable in the UK.

Today we should remember how fragile democracy truly is when it doesn’t suit the interests of the powerful ruling class. We should remember also the victims of anti-democratic mass torture and murder across the globe.

Unfortunately the more we learn about the methods of power consolidation by the ruling elites,  the more we realise that justice and fairness cannot be delivered by negotiation, but rather only by revolution can we prevent the savage rape of current and future generations.

%d bloggers like this: