Vote No in the Scottish referendum: Fight for a Socialist Britain!

The Socialist Equality Party (UK) calls for a resounding No vote in today’s referendum on Scotland’s separation from the United Kingdom. Our appeal is based on the fundamental principle of the unity of the international working class.

This does not imply any support for the official “Better Together” No campaign. We are implacably hostile to this pro-business alliance of warmongers and advocates of austerity who have united to defend the UK state.

We are for a revolutionary struggle of the working class against all of the representatives of British imperialism and the financial oligarchy. We advocate a workers’ government and a socialist Britain.

We see this as inseparable from the fight for the United Socialist States of Europe.

We are equally opposed to all those tendencies that have rallied behind the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the creation of a Scottish capitalist state. All efforts to equate anger towards the ruling elite with support for national separatism are fraudulent.

A Scottish state will be no less beholden to the banks and major corporations than the UK. Its creation would signal a mad scramble to the bottom, as the governments in Westminster and Holyrood compete to cut the corporation tax and further slash wages and working-class conditions.

From the essential standpoint of establishing the political independence of the working class, the most reactionary role in the referendum campaign has been played by Britain’s fake-left groups. All of them have lined up behind the SNP, while dressing up its right-wing policies in pseudo-socialist garb.

Their monomaniacal invocations of Scotland’s “right to self-determination” cannot conceal that these tendencies have nothing whatsoever to do with Marxism, socialism or the working class. They are bitter enemies of working people and their perspective is counterrevolutionary.

The fake-left’s role is to recruit workers who would never line up behind the SNP to the Yes campaign. As Colin Fox, leader of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), boasted in the Sunday Herald, “The SSP has been brilliant for the Yes side and the Yes side has been brilliant for the SSP…”

In return, they want their feet under the table in any new Scottish administration—with the Herald stating that, with independence, Fox “is insisting that the SSP would be in the core negotiating team with London.”

If ever there was a “parcel of rogues in a nation,” for sale to the highest bidder, the fake-left are it. There is no line they will not cross.

They routinely dismiss any prospect of socialism in England. But if a unified struggle for socialism is impossible in the UK, then it is impossible everywhere.

This is stated openly by Socialist Resistance (SR), the British section of the Pabloite United Secretariat, in the latest edition of International Viewpoint. They write that those “sections of the left that support a no vote in the referendum…tend to imply that there are no divisions within the working class and that support for independence would introduce such alien divisions from the outside.”

After insisting that “Workers across the globe are divided by racism, by sexism, by homophobia,” they declare, “Unity of the working class is a dynamic not a static concept—it has to be built and fought for—and it has ebbs and flows.”

The Socialist Resistance carefully avoids mentioning nationalism as the essential mechanism of division, because they are promoting it. They do so in a direct political alliance with the bourgeoisie. But if this is legitimate in Scotland, then it is legitimate everywhere.

In the last three years, the fake-left groups have solidarised themselves with imperialist military operations in Libya and Syria and declared their backing for the CIA-organised and US-financed coup in Ukraine—in the process openly aligning themselves with fascist thugs and murderers.

The same edition of International Viewpoint that features the SR’s nationalist diatribe reports that the fake-left have signed up to the latest regime-change operation being mounted by US and British imperialism and their allies—this time in Syria.

Michael Voss details how, as a “revolutionary Marxist,” he voted in the Danish parliament along with the rest of the Red-Green Alliance (RGA) to send a Hercules plane to Iraq carrying military aid to the Western-backed Kurdish militias fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Admitting that “Everyone in the RGA leadership and the parliamentary group was aware” that “US imperialism is the basic reason for the sectarian fighting in the region,” he insists nonetheless that “there is a temporary coincidence of interests between imperialism and socialists on the simple issue of fighting IS.”

Where will the next “temporary coincidence” of interests between the fake-left and imperialism emerge? These groups represent a grasping middle-class layer so besotted with their advancement into the corridors of power that they are indifferent to the political implications of their actions.

As was proved in Yugoslavia and now again in Ukraine, the promotion of nationalism is a recipe for disaster. If the fake-left get their way and Scotland indeed becomes a model for others, the map of Europe could resemble that of the Middle Ages.

And what will be the result of encouraging separatism in India, Africa, Asia, even in North America? Far from weakening imperialism as they claim, history has proven again and again that all such divisions are exploited by the major powers to secure their class interests.

On the 100th anniversary of World War I and the 75th anniversary of the Second World War, the significance of the promotion of nationalism and separatism by the fake-left should be lost on no one. The entire history of the socialist movement has centred on the struggle against those tendencies—first social democracy and then Stalinism—that sought to identify the working class with the nation state.

The SEP stands in the proletarian internationalist traditions of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. Under conditions of an ever-growing war danger and an explosion of imperialist militarism, we call on the workers and youth of Scotland, England and Wales to dedicate themselves to building the SEP as their revolutionary leadership.