It is interesting to see the Stalinist CPGB (Communist Party of Great Britain) and the Trotskyist Workers’ Liberty use the same arguments in opposing Scottish independence with both agreeing that Scotland is not an oppressed nation and that it is paramount that the unity of the British working class be maintained. One might suspect both groups of the same very selective “marxist” interpretation of nationalism and one which might be in conflict with Marx himself when he says that: “The struggle of the protariat against the bourgeoisie is at the outset a national one in form, although not in content. Naturally the proletariate of each country must finish off its own bourgeoisie.”
This on its own provides a sufficient platform to tackle those on the left who reject Scottish independence, if it were not for the fact that they neither consider Scotland a nation, nor do they consider it oppressed. Of course, it will be up to the Scottish people in the referendum to decide on the nature of their identity and if they feel oppressed as a people it is a decision which will be made all the easier for them. It really is more than a trifle arrogant to read a hypothesis that is based on nothing more than misinterpreted and misunderstood dogma.
The question might be asked, what has a large segment of the left got against Scottish independence? Certainly the argument that “the cuts will be defeated, if they are, by working-class struggle across borders” cannot hold. After all why should and why would independence for Scotland stop this cross border cooperation? Indeed, in a post independence Scotland our socialist friends not only south of the border, but also elsewhere in Europe might have a very strong ally.
For, as the Scottish Socialist Party correctly contends, “the British state is a major roadblock to winning a progressive vision of Scotland and a Yes vote for independence can bulldoze it aside and open the way to radical change.” It is a claim which the CPGB and Workers’ Liberty might reject but, with no real arguments to support that rejection cannot refute. Once more it is that progressive Scotland that can be an example to socialists everywhere.