Friday, 21 February 2014

Scotland, The Pound and the EU

“The Social-Democrats will always combat every attempt to influence national self-determination from without by violence or by any injustice. However, our unreserved recognition of the struggle for freedom of self-determination does not in any way commit us to supporting every demand for national self-determination. As the party of the proletariat, the Social-Democratic Party considers it to be its positive and principal task to further the self-determination of the proletariat in each nationality rather than that of peoples or nations. We must always and unreservedly work for the very closest unity of the proletariat of all nationalities, and it is only in isolated and exceptional cases that we can advance and actively support demands conducive to the establishment of a new class state or to the substitution of a looser federal unity, etc., for the complete political unity of a state.”

Its on this basis, set out by Lenin, that I oppose the establishment of new bourgeois states, be they a new Scottish state, a new Catalunyan state, a new Kosovan state, and so on. But, its also on this basis set out by Lenin that I defend fully the right of the Scottish people, the Catalunyan people, the Kosovans and so to establish such a state if that is what they choose. As with the other examples given by Lenin, defending a right to do something, is not at all the same as arguing for that right to be exercised. Marxists defend the right to free speech, for example, and that includes the right for someone to argue in favour of voting Tory. But, that does not mean that by defending the right for someone to do so, we are in favour of calling on people to vote Tory! Marxists defend the right of nations to self-determination, which includes the right to defend their borders, which also includes their right to impose immigration controls. But, that does not at all mean we are in favour of immigration controls!

So, I am against the separation of Scotland from the rest of Britain. As Marxists we seek to remove the borders and other barriers that separate one section of the global working-class from all others, not to impose new, additional borders, and thereby divide the working-class further. But, part of Lenin's argument here and elsewhere on the national question, is precisely in order to win over the workers who feel themselves in some way oppressed as a nationality, and to persuade them against such a course of separation, is that we must fully commit ourselves to defending their right to separate if they so choose, and that we should oppose any attempts by our own state, or others to physically prevent them doing so, or to bully them into submission.

On that basis, Marxists should be totally opposed to the attempts in the last week or so, by the British state, and by representatives of the proto-EU state, to bully the Scottish people with threats that an independent Scotland would not be able to use the Pound, and would not be able to be a member of the EU. For my own part, I don't know why an independent Scotland would want to use the Pound rather than using the Euro, which is a much stronger currency, but if they choose to do so, that is their choice, just as it has been the choice of other independent territories such as the Isle of Man, Channel Islands and so on to use the Pound.

As for Jose Manuel Barroso's claim that an independent Scotland, like an independent Catalunya, would not be able to join the EU, he should be very careful. If Scotland is a different country to the Great Britain that joined the EU, and so has to apply for membership, it would be unlikely to obtain, then likewise the remaining part of Britain is a different country to the Britain that was admitted to the EU, and would similarly have to re-apply for membership. The same would then apply to Catalunya and Spain! No doubt, Nigel Farage and the Tory euroseptics would be rubbing their hands in glee at such a prospect.

No comments: