Thursday, 2 April 2015

SNP, Scottish Nationalism and Exceptionalism.

*Needs editing and expanded upon*

Scottish Nationalism and Scottish Exceptionalism.

The point I'm making is that this whole focus on Scottish Independence shifts the terms of the debate from things like class,race,gender etc to an issue of nations. It has a tendency to reduce the problems down to westminister or some vague neo-liberalism disconnected from capitalism or the Tories without a complex global historical understanding. There is better and worse in that analysis. Someone from the 45% movement's analysis is likely to be absolutely worse in terms of those things. It's true Tom that your analysis of the situation is better. But even in the more complex analysis' and the most good intentioned folk there is the lingering exceptionalism which implies that Scotland will somehow make a better shot at it than any other existing government. That's what I object to

While the independence campaign may not have been nationalist in the BNP sense by narrowing the focus onto a nation state and putting energy into the idea that westminister/the tories/ or neo-liberalism are the sources of the problems and scottish independence the solution the politics becomes very restricted. Positive social change becomes seen through the lens of escaping one nation to form another and the exceptionalism comes in where there seems to be this suggestion that Scotland will be better at it than anywhere else or will be inherently more left wing or something like that. Essentially I have repeatedly seen people imply that an independent scotland would magically be more democratic or environmentalist or feminist despite the fact that across the world parties of all kinds are failing in this way and we're seeing the complete and utter failure of representative democracy and even so called 'direct democracies' in Scandinavian countries.


I am hostile to the way the problems are being framed and the way the solutions are being suggested. It's too simplistic. Westminster-bad. Holyrood-good.

The problem is that any talk of Scottish Independence must talk about capitalism in a detail way otherwise it’s a poor analysis.
And in my view, a correct understanding of capitalism suggests that Scottish independence will make almost no difference and will not ALLOW for progressive social change in Scotland since the problems are capitalism not whether Scotland is ruled by Holyrood or Westminster as I keep repeating and repeating and it keeps being treated as otherwise.



 I think of the SNP more as Tartan Tories who are able to position themselves as left because they hate what the tories are doing and it's popular to do so. I'm skeptical that there's a huge difference between the two. The SNP are just better at PR and use the right buzz words.

The SNP are imposing their own forms of austerity in scotland itself.
It bothers me that people leap to the defense of the SNP but are rightfully willing to accept the Con-dems are doing terrible things. It seems hypocritical and myopic.


“ I do happen to think there is more chance of getting actual left wing parties in power in the Scottish Parliament than in Westminster “

Why?! This is the exact exceptionalism I’m trying to point out. There is no rational reason to believe Scotland is inherently(or more likely to be) more left wing than anywhere else.

“Personally, I'd like to see more people putting pressure on the European Parliament with citizen's initiatives for universal basic income and such like.”

I think the Universal basic income is an awesome idea. But it’s almost guaranteed to never ever go happen in a capitalist society.

What would likely happen with Scottish independence?

* An Independent Scottish state cannot escape the influence of such powerful exploitative global organisations at the WTO, World Bank and IMF.

* By sheer necessity it would have to implement economic measures to encourage big business which would be starting off on a very bad food but is entirely necessary from the standpoint of a new nation state in global capitalism.

* Since Scotland's economy relies on North Sea Oil and big corporations are invested in it the Scottish government is almost guaranteed to want to use it and so it would not be more green but heavily fossil fuel intensive.

* The effect of Scottish independence could be quite negative on political consciousness. The easily misled  would back a scottish government and damn near worship it's state in a my country right or wrong type fashion which would likely put out a call for national unity and say "let's give a big push for scotland" . Strikes could be demonised as harming the national interest(this is said already!)

* The Left would likely say well this is what we've got so we have to support it and there would likely be very little criticism. It may increase political encouragement but in a tartan/flag waving nationalist way not in a way any leftist would admire.


* We know that the referendum debate and the post-referendum slump has sucked people into independence politics and away from direct action politics. I experienced this myself. More people went to an independence rally than a pro-choice demo which was obviously the more pressing issue.


One example of what I mean by Scottish Exceptionalism.

Tariq Ali stated: ‘If Scotland gains independence, and if its leadership has the guts, it could break with neoliberalism’.


This is what I'm trying to get at with saying nationalism is framing questions through the lens of nation states and national independence.

"A danger with national independence as an issue is that it threatens to engulf all else. All other issues which have emancipatory meaning – peace, equality, social justice, participatory democracy – tend to be seen through the independence issue as a lens. If national independence is viewed as an ‘opportunity’ (Tariq Ali) which makes other goals achievable, the √©lan and excitement and moral seriousness of issues such as peace and justice come to be transferred to the independence issue. If national independence is viewed as a straight gate through which radical struggle must pass, as it is when the costs of non-independence are stressed, the same shift of focus takes place. So to say, the issue around which single-issue campaigns make common cause becomes an end in itself. Is such a shift inevitable? It seems likely, to say the least. A campaign for national independence may see itself as a political catalyst. That is, it may see itself as breathing life into quiescent or inadequately-supported issues. If it does, the meaning of the hitherto “quiescent” issue is altered: the issue becomes a national issue, rather than one to be pursued in its own terms. Perhaps a campaign for independence may avoid seeing itself in this quasi-magical fashion. If such temptations are avoided, however, the danger remains."

I believe this has, is and will occur for a while until the focus changes.


 "Does it greatly matter if the left succumbs to this danger? My response is that it matters profoundly. To the extent that campaigns come to focus on national independence, they allow themselves to become incorprated in an institutionalist world. Earlier, I suggested that a choice between “Yes” and “No” on September 18th is a choice between two neoliberal positions. To make the choice between “Yes” and “No” the pivotal issue in present-day Scottish politics is to step away from interaction and on to territory where neoliberal criteria apply. If such a step were merely a loss on the left’s part, it would already be disasterous. It is more: it is to invite every single-issue campaign, however everyday, to see itself in relation to institutions and to adopt a state-centred gaze. If this is so, the independence referendum has already performed chilling and debilitating work. It has domesticated a left that dreamt of less institutional and more interactive things."


Reasons to oppose the SNP:
1.The SNP are the ones cutting the devolved NHS in scotland
2. the SNP are the ones closing community centres
3. the SNP are the ones overseeing the Edinburgh City Council budget cuts
4. There was an SNP minister who publically said he doesn't believe there needs to be more council housing
5. the SNP backed out of the Nato policy despite it being a long standing one,
6. the SNP want the lowest corporation tax in western europe(lower than the Tories!)
7. they're not republican
8. they're not using the devolved powers they have
9. They're not pro-trade union. They recently asked unions to sign a no-strike deal and have worked against workers e.g. Grangemouth.



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