Weesht For Indy – Not…
I am part of a political group that agrees to disagree on pretty much all of the razors of political analysis that cause splits, tantrums and forked tongued statements. Ungagged is a website and political podcast that has pretty much every left view somewhere in its archive, said by people ranging from Trotskyists, Tankies, Blairites, Anarchists, Greens, Nationalists – all from the left spectrum of politics.
We respect the fact that others going to sometimes say, organise or promote an aspect of left politics we don’t agree with on the podcast, or written on the website. And the fact that quite a few of us are from different parts of the world with different experiences, or different parts of Britain and Ireland, with different experiences, or different parts of Scotland with different experiences, informs us, rather than divides us.
My political background is as complex as anyone’s, but to summarise it, I was brought up in Northern Ireland in a protestant/unionist community and found myself at odds with that community. I read literature and had experiences in Northern Ireland that convinced me the UK was not conducive to equality – in any way or aspect – and when i moved to Scotland I became involved with left and pro-independence politics. I was a member of the SSP EC in the late 2000’s; co-opted again during indyref, and elected again onto the EC, twice. I left the SSP in late 2015.
I don’t see independence as a tactic. I don’t see independence as being about my identity. I don’t see independence as an income stream. I see independence as a way to break a state that at present is reinventing its imperialist past as somehow glorious – a state that is “dripping with blood from head to foot.” A state that is a key block, still even in its weakened state, in the curtain wall of capitalism. A wall that hems in the poor and working class, while the rich and corporate world can fly free, borne on wings built with our bones, fueled by our blood and fed to obesity while we starve.
There is an attitude in the Yes movement at present of, “disagreement is not healthy,” or “don’t challenge people – we are all on the same side.” I loathe that. That is nonsense, and designed to shut down debate, just as those on the left who prevaricate and hide the analysis they share within their particular cult shut down debate.
In order to come to agreement as to what sort of Scotland we are fighting for, we have to disagree, hone our arguments etc. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. And both those who tell us to shoosh for Indy, and those who hide their true analysis and hide behind their moderately successful tactic of the past independence referendum are, mistakenly in my opinion, really doing their best to stop education through engagement. They are building walls to a synthesis of feet on the streets, together, during the next campaign.
“Shoosh for indy,” seems to be the order of the day, not “unite the diversity,” though many of those telling us to wheest cry, “why is the movement not as accepting of difference as it was between 2011-14?” and, “Why cant we all just raise a flag of truce and deliver a saltire to each door?”
I strongly disagree with some people who want independence, or those who at this juncture feel it is “a good tactic.” I strongly agree with some others.
Some I disagree with, I would trust with my life. Some who seem to “agree with me,” I really trust no more than crocodiles resting just below the water.
And this attitude is coming from all sides. If you criticise the ultra nationalists careering around social media, expect to be trolled. Raise points about people making money (rather than raising funds for expenses) from independence, and you are a traitor. And criticise some of the left “analysis” and you are accused of all sorts. Let’s not, however class all of those we disagree with in the same category. For example, I have recently seen criticism of Darren McGarvey after his interview with Owen Jones. I don’t entirely agree with Darren, but I totally respect the guy (I honestly went from a position were I didn’t rate him, to once having met him, perhaps “getting him,” to now feeling, as a teacher concerned with ACES, the guy is pretty cool). He is absolutely honest in what he is saying… Which is where I get annoyed by some other folk who write about or speak about, independence or social change or socialism -their hiding behind words and “analysis,” as if those words and analysis are objective and self evident. Hiding behind analysis as “objective,” is deceiving (and in some cases this is exactly what the writers and speakers intend). All analysis is subjective. Darren never pretends his writing or words are anything other than his opinion or experience.
The pretence at objectivity from left individuals and small organisations is breathtaking. And the pretence that what some of them are doing is for the common good is just damned depressing. The narcissism of some just makes me want to run as far away from some of the left in the independence movement, but Scotland an the independence media being so small, they seem to be everywhere.
The great thing about the Yes movement between 2011 and 2014 is that it was allowed to shift and expand and then it took on a life outside the original Yes Scotland “diversity plan.” After September ‘14, there were statements and manifestos drawn up in our name, without our input; read out in halls and we were all expected to cheer.
I am a democratic radical socialist. And I am not part of a cadre or vanguard or group with vested interests in how the campaign takes shape and is run. I have always, within the movement and when I was in a political party, spoke my mind and called out dishonesty and worse.
I, like many, have views about what should happen post indyref. And I, like many, have views on how we should as campaigners and activists, be represented in the press, and on political bodies growing up within the movement. And at the moment there are far too many self appointed spokespeople for me. Few of whom speak for a movement of butterflies, and a majority of whom seem to want to stick the butterflies in boxes and tell them to shoosh for unity etc. while they tell us what to think.
To argue, to disagree and to call out tactics and vanguards and manels and pyramid schemes seems to cause great ire.
The people who do are the ones I trust.