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Creating a new left

Monday 1 December 2014, by Frances Curran

There are only certain times in history when the opportunity presents for people to make a change in society, not a wee change but a fundamental, transformative, all encompassing change that creates an entirely new society.

Only certain generations get that chance. It depends on how the economic, political, social and cultural planets align.

The referendum campaign produced a newly politicised generation hungry for a society which heralds equality, ends the huge wealth inequality and gives us power and a say over our own lives.

Since Thatcher we have lived through an incremental failure of both the Labour Party and the trade unions in Scotland to effectively jam the breaks on neo-liberal policies and the deep wounds of cuts, job losses and poverty.

Despite the No vote Scotland feels like a different country. A country full of possibilities, there has been a generational shift.

Despite the No vote Scotland feels like a different country. A country full of possibilities, there has been a generational shift.

The SNP and the Yes movement have been adept at challenging the political establishment and the concentrated political power in London. Drawing back the curtain and shining a light on a self-perpetuating elite who pass each other power, like a game of pass the parcel.

From the Commons, to the Lords, to the lobbyists, to the bankers, to the City, to the BBC, and the music starts again.

Independence offered a chance to shatter that cosy game. We may have lost this time but we have changed the rules of the game. Almost a hundred thousand people have joined Yes political parties in the weeks following the referendum. Many more have joined organisations like Women for Independence and the Radical Independence Campaign.

They are purchasing a front row seat for the dawn of a new Scotland.

Amongst such optimism Scotland is still a country that stands in the middle of a global collapse of neo-liberal capitalism facing decades of cuts and austerity.

The fight for independence will continue, but, that’s not enough.

Who is going to challenge the economic establishment, the economic power concentrated in unregulated global corporations, the economic elite who continue to accumulate wealth as we see less of it in our daily lives?

Who is going to fight the cuts which threaten to reach so deep into our communities and public services they will make foodbanks look like a luxury?

How do we shift wealth and power to ordinary people and create a new economic model through politics and parliament and through empowering people at the grass roots? If we want that country, the one we dreamed of and aspired to, the one that mobilised hundreds of thousands into politics, we will need to do more than vote for Independence next time. We will have to fight neo-liberal capitalism on our land in the here and now.

That’s what the Scottish Left Project is about. Tens of thousands of people consider themselves to be left, to be anti-capitalist, interconnected across the Yes campaign, Women for Independence, Radical Independence, the Scottish Socialist Party, The Common Weal, The Green Party, and many more places. Can we create a new left, learning the lessons of the past and co-operating for the future?

Let’s talk, the planets are moving into alignment.

The Scottish Left Project