All nationalism divides the working class

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baboon
All nationalism divides the working class
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: All nationalism divides the working class. The discussion was initiated by baboon.
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baboon
Good analysis

It's entirely appropriate to republish this very clear analysis of the question of Scottish independence written months ago. Within nationalism "devolution as a pre-emtive strike" has been a big weapon of the bourgeoisie in dividing up and derailing the working class. On the other hand, these tendencies toward break up are a real problem for the bourgeoisie, in central areas as the article makes clear, but particularly for the British bourgeoisie as a "yes" vote looks a possibility and potential serious problems loom on the horizon. The article underlines the dangers not just to the proletariat but to the bourgeoisie also. The British ruling class will probably not take too much comfort for the success of the democratic mobilisation - a big majority have registered to vote and youth has been mobilised. At the week-end Milliband was talking about the "the unity of working people across the border" against Scottish nationalism. And called for "Solidarity". The leftist "firebrand" Tommy Sheridan has joyfully sided with the Scottish bourgeoisie in order to put one over Westminster.

I haven't seen too much about the "new Norway" sinced it was widely reported that beer was four-and-a-half quid a pint in that country.

jk1921
So, with four days to go the

So, with four days to go the last poll I saw indicated the Yes side in the lead with 49 percent, compared to 42 for no and 9 percent undecided. Granted in referendums undecided voters tend to break for "no," but assuming that 50 percent plus one is needed for the yes side to prevail this leaves the no side having to win undecideds by a hefty margin in order to stop this from happening. (Granted, I have no idea about the accuracy of this poll).

This all seems to have snuck up on the British bourgeoisie, as the yes side had been trailing badly until very recently. So what has happened in the interim? Data I have seen suggests that support for the yes side is clustered among downscale male voters, with the more affluent and women favoring no. What is the explanation for this?

I think Baboon is right that regardless of what happens there are troubles of ahead for the British bourgeoisie. A succesful yes vote would seem to pose many legal, logistical and political problems. Will Cameron be forced to go? What will they do with the UK's "independent nuclear deterrent" currently stationed in Scotland?

Still, although a no vote would probably come as a relief for the British bourgeoisie, it would not be without its own problems. The SNP will have to find someone to blame for the defeat. Who will it be? Will they take a page from Parti Quebecois leader Jacques Parizeau who famously blamed the defeat of Quebec's 1995 sovereignty referendum on "ethnic voters"? Are there even enough of those in Scotland to matter? Regardless, its clear that neither side has anything approaching a clear mandate, which would seem to ensure that tensions will seethe for quite awhile afterwards.

Most of what I am seeing is attempting to paint a Yes vote as a victory for the working class--correcting the "democratic deficit" inherent in the UK's unitary system that means the Tories can govern Scotland, despite the fact that they hold nary a seat there. How to counter this narrative without sounding like a shrill for Westminister?

 

 

jk1921
Well, hours to go until we

Well, hours to go until we now the results. I would have to say that I am little surprised at how subdued comrades are about this. The United Kingdom might ease to exist shortly. This has to be one of the most important things to happen in the life of the British bourgeoisie in centuries (?) and yet the discussion about it seems rather muted. Why is this? Are the consequences of such a thing being blown totally out of proportion by the media? Or is it just that the narrative of British decline is old hat at this point?

One thing that I have pondered: Inter has dispensed a lot of link over the last several years analyzing the weaknesses of the US "state structure" and how it has presented real obstacles for the US bourgeoisie in responding to the crisis and even in defending its imperialist interests (look at the right cock-up the US bourgeoisie is making over Syria/Iraq), but it seems to me that the Westminister System--which pretty much allows the government of the day to do whatever the hell it wants--has presented a set of circumstances that has allowed the current Cameron government to potentially give up the union far too cheaply. There is no constitutional formula for dealing with these things, so the Cameron government--in a shortsighted political decision--has allowed this vote to go forward, without a real way to make sure the union holds. Of course, all of this was facilitated by the devolution policies of previous Labour governments (which the article here suggests was functional for the bourgeoisie on the terrrain of the class struggle), but it seems like it should be much more difficut for the Scottish nationalists to break-up the union than this (from the point of view of the national capital). It all comes down to one vote where the vast majority of the country is excluded? What am I missing?

Fred
democracy triumphs!

I think you're missing the sheer non-sensical joy of the bourgeois democratic procedure jk which has been a triumphant success in Scotland with percentages of voters well into the 80% just about everywhere.  That's what all the commentators have been harping on about: the great breakthrough for "democracy". Even 16 year olds have been given the vote for this referendum and have now presumably been initiated into the sensuous delights of the secret ballot box in the curtained chamber. "Do you remember the first time you voted grandma," breathless kids will ask in the future.  "Oh yes!" granny will rapturously reply, "it was even more exciting than my first fuck!"  Commentators have explained in whispers  that the ease with which 16 year olds have dealt with the complications and heady rituals of the democratic mystical procedure, have astounded even the most sceptical observers.  One young lady reported how her hand shook as she made her cross on the voting paper.  "My heart missed a beat," she said!  So poetic! 

So "independence" and democracy across the board is now the rallying cry.  Things will never be the same again.  Everyone will shortly be entitled to their own parliaments; Westminster is adamant about this.   Manchester will be freed from London's shackles and go its own way.  Wales and Northern Ireland will be  devoluted; ditto Cornwall and County Durham.  Individual neighbouhoods will be encouraged to  set up citizen governments with  a guillotine at the end of the street for those who disagree.  (This will infuriate IS who find mechanized beheadings an offfence to human dignity.)  Citizens will be so constantly engaged in voting, and choosing between things nobody actually wants, that work will start to suffer, profits to fall, and the whole ridiculous democratic edifice will get called into question on account of the economy. 

But Happy days are here again, and David Cameron won't have to resign after all. What a relief for everyone!  Perhaps it was the knowledge of his possible resignation that persuaded his loving  admirers,  which far outnumber the population of Scotland, which is a silly place anyway with the cold weather and men in skirts, to go for a resounding "NO",  though the difference between "yes" and "no" was miniscule. 

But oh how one longs for workers' councils! 

 

Alf
democracy indeed triumphs

Good point by Fred - the media have really stressed the point about the very high turn out and how this shows a 'renewed interest in politics acorss the board'. An attack on consciousness is all the more dangerous when it enlists 'popular' support and active engagement. The widespread involvement of young people in the 'legitimate' political process, around the old myth of national self-determination, is particuarly damaging for the development of class consciousness. This was aided and abetted by a new version of 'people's power' in which the formal democratic apparatus was given new life by a leftist 'grass roots' movement for the 'yes' vote, raising issues about local democracy, feminism, the environment etc. In sum a new parody of the social revolts of 2011 like the one in Maidan Square, entirely suborned to the preservation of the status quo. 

jk1921
Good stuff Fred, good stuff.

Good stuff Fred, good stuff. I noticed the pronouncements about the success of the democratic process regardless of how the vote turned out all over the media, but it seems that even though the vote was no, a tough period is ahead for the British bourgeoisie as they try to sort through all of this and stabalize things. This couldn't have been what they had in mind when they launched this devolution project or was it?

Alf
definitely a tough period

definitely a tough period ahead. This article is more about foreign policy in the classic sense but it raises the same basic issues of th narrowing margin of manouevre for British capitalism. https://en.internationalism.org/icconline/201409/10301/incoherence-briti...

Demogorgon
"This couldn't have been what

"This couldn't have been what they had in mind when they launched this devolution project or was it?"

I don't think so. A Yes vote would have been Westminster's worst nightmare and the strong-arming of business behind the scenes up in the Scotland has been pretty nasty. I suspect this is why Alex has resigned to avoid the backlash from all the enemies he's made, even though the vote is everything but total victory.

The fact that the bourgeoisie has been in genuine disarray over this question hasn't stopped them from using it against us, of course.

It underlines the fundamental essence of decomposition where "although the weakening grip of bourgeois ideology as a result of capitalism’s entry into decadence was one of the conditions for revolution, the decomposition of the same ideology as it is developing appears essentially as an obstacle to the development of proletarian consciousness ... Similarly, in the period to come, the proletariat cannot hope to profit from the weakening that decomposition provokes within the bourgeoisie itself."

 

 

baboon
Yes, I think that it's an

Yes, I think that it's an important point that the tensions on and divisions within the political apparatus of the bourgeoisie do not favour the proletariat. On the contrary it can mobilise it as individuals, as nationalists - and both sides were nationalist here - and we saw the role of the left and leftism here on both sides; on the one hand calling for Labour Party "solidarity" and the other against the elite of Westminster. The SNP picked up on this latter and moved left and populist from its own political stance which tended to be "right wing"..

It was Tony Blair that promised the Scottish referendum years ago and enshrined it into some sort of legality. I don't know what advantage this could possibly have for the ruling class of a British state except as a further division on the working class along the lines of devolution. But there's a point here about whatever strategies the bourgeoisie tries to put in place the political game is becoming more and more problematic. We can see that in the  major decisions that the British bourgeoisie have taken over its imperialist role over the last period which have turned out to be disasterous.