From the time of the Russian Revolution of 1917, it has been recognised that acute problems attend the construction of socialism in conditions of ideological isolation. Before 1924, Lenin, Trotsky and all other Soviet leaders believed that the crucial importance of foreign trade and investment for Soviet development implied the assistance of other socialist countries. When it was clear that Soviet development would have to take place in conditions of the USSR’s international isolation, Stalin advocated the necessity of creating “socialism in one country”. This meant that the primary souces of investment and consumption had to be generated within Soviet Russia itself. The forced collectivisation of agriculture was carried out primarily to break the power of the peasantry while extracting grain surpluses for national consumption and to finance vital imports of foreign capital and technology.
Scottish leftists commonly advocate the creation of an independent socialist republic that is unaccompanied by any serious analysis of what in the Soviet case were termed “the costs of revolution”. If there are no powerful socialist allies with which favourable conditions for trade and investment can be established, what alternative methods are proposed for the generation of vital consumption and investment goods? What sources of international credits are envisaged to finance major new economic projects? If the mechanisms governing the functioning of contemporary capitalism are to be nullified with the implementation of socialist measures of nationalisation and income redistribution, what alternative mechanisms are to govern the “transition” from capitalism to socialism in Scotland? Or is it simply envisaged that Scotland’s existing sources of demand and supply for goods and services will continue to operate notwithstanding any assaults that may be made on national and foreign capitalist enterprises operating within the country?
These are hard questions and neglecting to consider the economic consequences of converting a capitalist into a socialist economy implies a failure to consider the deep crises that can attend an inconsequential project to destroy one socio-economic system in order to replace it by another.
Do we have any discussants? Or is a programme calling for “a socialist Scotland” to be regarded as no more than a rhetorical slogan?
On this episode of Ungagged, presented by Neil Scott, we’ll hear from Chuck Hamilton, on how we sold our revolution for a pair of trainers, Em Dehaney, talking about how she has never been to America, but America is in her, George Collins, and Eileen Eddy of Radio KRFP talking about cultural and political imperialism.
Red Raiph asks just what exactly happened to that Big Onion, Debra Torrance casts her mind back to the 80s and finds that we’ve not come along very far. Simone Charlesworth makes her debut on Ungagged, jumping in at the deep end with a brief history of Sarin, and Steve McAuliffe presents his poem America First.
In this episode of Ungagged we are joined by guest speaker Priya, who volunteers at Umbrella Lane in to tell us about the current laws in the UK regarding sex work, and why she thinks the Nordic model is dangerous.
* CORRECTION: In her piece “Don’t Be A Twitter Lemming, Think For Yourself”, Victoria states that Iain Allinson currently earns £27k per annum. The correct figure is in fact approx £36k. V would like to apologise for the mistake, and thank Mr Allinson for pointing it out and clarifying the figure.
Jeremy Corbyn got a lot right on his trip to Scotland this week. He was right to attack Theresa May and her Government of attempting to create a bargain basement Britain by cutting corporation tax to the levels of Ireland. At a cost of billions to the Exchequer in the hopes of luring businesses from Europe.
Corbyn was also correct to attack the SNP Government in Scotland on their cuts to Local Authority budgets and their tendering of ScotRail to Dutch Company Abelio despite clear authority through section 23 and 24 to change franchised lines being devolved as a power to the Scottish Government pre this deal.
I have always respected the politics of Jeremy since he was a back bencher. We probably agree on 99% of policy although perhaps disagree on the best avenues sometimes to move forward to achieve this. That’s why I was so confused by his ill thought rhetoric this past week. That independence will lead to ‘turbo austerity.’ Such comments fly in the face of Jeremy’s own economic policy.
Much like Scotland, Jeremy has quite rightly identified that the way to recover the UK economy was to increase government spendng in infrastructure and green energy sectors. To introduce an National Investment Bank, to increase the level of employment with well paid jobs. Corbyn knows that initially this will lead to an increase in debt and the states deficit. But that eventually due to revenue coming in through social housing and an increase in tax revenues and spending power thanks to better paying jobs that the deficit would decrease. Corbyn also plans to rebuild the manufacturing industry and as such would (at least pre brexit) expect the UK balance of trade to increase.
Where Corbyn makes the mistake in Scotland is that he sees the current operations under a UK Government imposing austerity and a devolved Government passing on much of this austerity to Local Authorities and then makes an assumption based on the deficit announced last year of £15bn. So Corbyn’s assumption of turbo austerity is based on figures of Scotland WITHIN the UK with a Tory Government passing on austerity through the block grant and to a certain extent the SNP not using the full powers available to them within the Scottish Parliament. If anything the current deficit for Scotland is a viable reason for independence to allow us to control our full fiscal and monetary policies including industry and employment.
Jeremy also allows himself to fall into that unionist guilty pleasure of aligning an independent Scotland with the SNP. Any future independent Scotland would democratically elect their government giving them a mandate to introduce a far reaching investment in public infrastructure, social housing and green energy. For Corbyn just to accept the SNP vision of independence as the only vision is either ignoring his own economic and political ideology or deliberately ignoring what could be one of the very few solutions to this current crisis.
Nicola Sturgeon is cautious by nature and as such has been disappointing in her role as First Minister. She has had an opportunity to set an example of what independence can do for Scotland. Much like the rest of the UK. Huge infrastructure projects are indeed required. However, Scotland, unlike the rest of the UK would begin from a much stronger position with a trade balance in surplus and incredible untapped resources in the renewable field.
Should Scotland become independent I would hope for a Labour Party to be elected into government to lead these radical changes required. The irony is that Scottish Labour is more akin to New Labour which would go over better down south while Corbyn’s UK Labour would find their message much more receptive as Scottish Labour. It is therefore clear that the Scottish Labour Party needs to lead the charge from the left embracing the politics of Corbyn which are ostensibly real Labour values in Scotland.
Jeremy Corbyn’s economic plan for the UK is one which would make a real lasting difference to the privatisation, austerity laden current unelected Prime Minister’s vision of destroying our health service and public services, of high living costs and low wages and hard Brexit. But the chances of a Corbyn election look slim with a media of vested interests keeping his message from getting out. Corbyn needs to think outside the box. The current union is not fit for purpose. But that does not mean we wont retain our solidarity in independence.
An independent Scotland run by a real Labour Party would be a shining vision to South of the border of the economic plan Corbyn seeks to implement which is all too often ridiculed in the Mainstream media. It would be far more difficult for the press and public in the RoUK to ignore the potential of a socialist government with the successful implementation north of the border