Frontline Issue 21 – Building a Better Left in Scotland

Frontline 21This issue of Frontline focuses on a crucial question. Can the left in Scotland unite? Frontline recently hosted a meeting on this topic which brought together participants from several groups. To build on that discussion we asked participants to write for this issue of Frontline outlining their views.

A Better Scotland is Possible… and a Better Left
Frontline editor Alister Black reflects on this journal’s recent meeting on left unity in Scotland and looks at the challenges ahead.

Socialist Unity – Pushing the rock over the hill?
Allan Armstrong, of the Republican Communist Network, and Editorial Board member of Emancipation & Liberation, examines the renewed shoots of socialist unity in Scotland, and some of the remaining pitfalls and possibilities

The SSP and the fight for a Better Left in Scotland
Scottish Socialist Party co-spokesperson Colin Fox reflects on the lessons of the rise of the SSP and the way forward for the Scottish left today.

Left Renewal in Scotland – View from the ISN
The International Socialist Network is a new group bringing together socialists who have recently left the Socialist Workers Party. In this article Raymond Watt outlines the view of ISN supporters in Scotland concerning the way forward for the left in Scotland.

Out of the Ghetto: why detoxifying the left is the first step to revival
Cat Boyd and James Foley are activists in the International Socialist Group and have played leading roles in the Radical Independence Campaign. In this article, which is taken from the book ‘Time to Choose’ and published online for the first time here, they address the issues around reviving the left in Scotland.


Europe – What should the left say?
Bill Bonnar looks at the choices facing socialists over the referendum on EU membership.

A Marxist Case for an Independent Scotland
Eddie Cornock writes on the Marxist arguments for independence.

Democracy, Oppression and Socialists
Norman Lockhart of Tweeddale/Borders SSP looks at how the left can best take up the cause of oppressed groups in society

Cleaning up the City – Unionising London’s Cleaners
Attempts to unionise cleaners in the City of London have shone a spotlight on an exploited group of largely immigrant workers. Gregor Gall, Professor of industrial relations at the University of Bradford looks at how the campaign was built.


Will the real European Left stand up?
This article by Murray Smith was written as a contribution to the debate around the Left Unity initiative which followed Ken Loach’s call for a new left party, and in response to a contributor who instead argued for building the left within the Labour Party. Murray is a member of the anti-capitalist party déi Lenk in Luxembourg, and of the Executive Board of the Party of the European Left.

France: One year after Sarkozy’s defeat: an anticapitalist view
John Mullen is an activist in the Gauche Anticapitaliste, part of the Front de Gauche (Left Front). In this article he looks at the first year of Socialist Party President, François Hollande.


Naked: Institutional fear and bodies in public spaces
Artists, film makers and academics from Scotland and Argentina recently collaborated on a project which used the case of the Naked Rambler to explore different ideas of ‘nakedness’, and reactions to bodies seen as out of place. Dr Sarah Wilson of the University of Stirling writes in this article about some of the surprising responses to Argentinian filmmaker Syd Krochmalny’s project and some of the issues it raises in terms of access to ‘public’ space and the fear and self-censure provoked by risk management practices in the workplace.


2 thoughts on “Frontline Issue 21 – Building a Better Left in Scotland”

  1. Some interesting views on the problem of left unity in Scotland. Some pointing quite unashamedly at the ‘elephant in the room’, others wishing it away. I’d go alond with Colin Fox’s sentiments but wonder exactly what could be done to bring about what I think many would find a welcome development. Could anyone talk to the elephant?

    Fundamentally I think the problem within the revolutionary left generally, revolves around what is historically described as the ‘woman question’. For me Marxism and feminism are inseparable parts of the same agenda, to which green issues must now be added as essential. In this light splits can be viewed as the coalescence of differences around the personalities of ‘big men’. It can be argued that this was the essence of disputes between the followers of Grant, Healy or Cliff for example but in the more recent context behaviour that has become more visibly at odds with rhetoric.

    Women generally are better coalition builders and negotiators than our male comrades who may make better tribal leaders under different circumstances. The problem with the ‘big man’ is that he is often more concerned with protecting his reputation and therefore his power base than he is about the best interests of the movement, often in he will conflate the two. Whether all this is a social construct or a biological consequence linked with evolution is of less importance than that we acknowledge it as a tendency and counter it. Women are marginalised by tradition but this is changing and needs to change.

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