REPORT OF MEETING TO SET UP
THE CAMPAIGN FOR A EUROPEAN REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PARTY
OUT OF THE BLUE CENTRE, DALMENY STREET, LEITH, EDINBURGH,
15th OCTOBER 2016
12 people attended the meeting, called by the RSA (Scotland), to set up the Campaign for a European Republican Socialist Party. 12 people gave their apologies.
Those present also belong as individuals to a number of organisations including Assemblies for Democracy, Independent Workers Union – Ireland, Left Unity Party, Radical Independence Campaign, Republican Communist Network, RISE, Scottish Socialist Party, World to Win.
1. Introduction – The Reality of the European Democratic Revolution – Allan Armstrong followed by discussion
Allan spoke to an abbreviated version of the paper, The Reality of the European Democratic Revolution, (http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2016/10/18/the-reality-of-the-european-democratic-revolution/) which had been sent out before the meeting, emphasising that right wing ideas and movements were rampant across large parts of Europe and that we can only succeed against this on a pan-European and internationalist basis.
Paul and Penny offered some cautionary remarks. Paul and Penny highlighted that there were people who had voted Brexit because they opposed the anti-democratic and pro-neo-liberal nature of the EU. Paul also highlighted the national democratic traditions in Ireland, which were not dependent on the EU. Penny quoted Lenin from On the Slogan for a United States of Europe to show his concerns in 1915 (see https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1915/aug/23.htm) to highlight his opposition to the slogan. Steve thought that the United States of Europe was a useful slogan, especially in the present historical circumstances, (http://www.republicansocialists.org.uk/blog/?p=185).
John T pointed out that formally promoting the slogan United States of Europe at this stage could be easily misunderstood, thereby limiting its resonance and receptivity. Other comrades gave examples of different names, which could also be misleading. The majority agreed.
Bob, John L, John T, Lewis, Mary, Nick and Steve also made other contributions in broad agreement with the sentiments in Allan’s paper.
Allan replied to Paul and Penny that he did not want to give the impression that the EU had done wonderful things. He used the analogy of Marx building upon the new political situation arising from the Industrial Revolution to push for international Democratic Revolution between 1848-9. This was done in opposition to those, including some socialists, who wanted to retreat back to the pre-industrial world, in the face of the disruption and misery caused by the Industrial Revolution. Whilst basing his politics on the new socio-economic situation bequeathed by the Industrial Revolution, Marx was still strong in his condemnation of the brutality of the rising capitalist class and the Industrial Revolution’s brutal effects on the subordinate classes. Allan applied this analogy to the situation today that had been created by the European capitalist socio-economic integration which had occurred under the EU, and the need to advance from this through European Democratic Revolution, rather than support a nostalgic return to purely national state roads to socialism.
The following motions were discussed and unanimously ageed. John T. suggested these become collectively known as the ‘Dalmeny Declaration’.
A. Setting up the Campaign for a European Republican Socialist Party
1. This meeting, convened by the RSA (Scotland), agrees to set up the “Campaign for a European Republican Socialist Party” – identified as “The party of European Democratic Revolution”.
2. The campaign agrees to promote the slogan/policy of a new federal, social and secular European republic, with a written constitution and a Bill of Rights based on the democratic principle that economic and political power shall be in the hands of the sovereign people of Europe. The constitution will include the democratic “right of nations to self-determination” including the right to leave.
3. This meeting agrees to set up a Committee as a temporary body to organise activity and plan for a meeting in 2017, which will agree a constitution and organise democratic elections from the membership.
4. Establish a bank account with a membership subscription set initially at £2 per month
5. Organise a rally or rallies to promote the campaign
This meeting notes the merger taking place between Another Europe is Possible and Democracy in Europe 2025 (DiEM25). Whilst this campaign has different aims and policies, there are common themes of pan-European democracy and internationalism which means we should seek to have discussions over co-operation.
C. Assemblies for Democracy
This meeting supports the Assemblies for Democracy’s aim of holding a citizen led convention on the constitution aiming for sovereignty resting with the people and the right of nations to self-determination.
D. Scotland’s republican constitution
In 2014 the Scottish government published a proposed Scottish Independence Bill based on Scotland becoming Independent under the British Crown. In recognising that Scotland may hold another independence referendum in the next two years, republican socialists will promote the idea of a Scottish Republican Constitutional Convention to discuss and produce an alternative or proposed amended version of the 2014 Bill.
E. Support for Migrant Workers, Asylum Seekers and Ethnic Minorities
Migrant workers and asylum seekers are a major target of May’s Tory government Brexit offensive backed by the populist right, particularly UKIP.
A key part of this chauvinist and racist offensive is to place the 2.6 million non-UK EU citizens currently resident in the UK under the same draconian anti-immigration laws (including the latest 2016 Immigration Act) as non-EU residents. The purpose of this is to create a much larger pool of potentially super-exploited workers and to increase the opportunities for racist scapegoating accompanied by more internments and deportations.
Under the latest Immigration Laws employers, landlords and others are being brought into an official policing role; whilst the government is pushing for public sector employees, e.g. teachers and social workers to monitor the activities of Muslim children. They hope to create a political climate, which draws the wider public into hostility to migrants.
Those EU citizens resident in the UK, and those UK subjects living elsewhere in the EU represent a key element in the creation of a new federal, social and secular European republic, which can be achieved through advancing the European Democratic Revolution.
Therefore the CfaERSP agrees to make one of its priorities to work with migrant workers organisations to defend migrant rights and support the free movement of people.
An Acting Committee was agreed with further invitations for volunteers.
Allan Armstrong, Reporter , 19.10.16