Pat Smith, from the International Socialists Scotland and the Radical Independence Campaign in Edinburgh, makes a case for why socialists should support Scottish Independence
(Originally published in the autumn 2014 issue of the rs21 magazine)
Something quite remarkable is happening in Scotland. Most active socialists in Scotland, outside of the Labour Party, have been involved in the Yes campaign and are re-energised by the mood of hope and optimism. Large numbers of people are engaged in politics in a way we have not seen for a long time.
Of course independence would not automatically deliver equality and social justice but I believe that it would give us a better chance to fight for those things.
Westminster governments, both Labour and Tory, have shown the utmost contempt for the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society. Over the last four decades they have been systematically redistributing wealth from poor people to the rich. We have a chance to reverse this but this means socialists need to argue for the kind of Scotland we want to see after independence.
Most importantly, Scottish independence would begin the break-up of the UK. Independence would reduce the UK’s significance as a world power and its support for US imperialism.
We could stop subsidising the arms industry, which spreads misery around the world. The SNP is already committed to removing Trident from the Clyde. Scotland would become nuclear-weapon free and save much expenditure in the process. Socialists argue that this has to backed-up by also leaving NATO.
Within a few years, Scotland can become self-sufficient in a set of diverse renewable energy sources, and have enough to spare to export. At the same time, Scotland could get rid of its dependence on future imported fossil fuels, and reduce its carbon footprint.
Self-determination and the control of taxation, benefits and government expenditure is an essential condition for creating the more compassionate, fairer, more prosperous, healthier and greener society that the people living in Scotland want for themselves. We don’t think that the Scotland we hope to achieve will be won without a struggle. Whatever the result of the referendum the fight for a better Scotland and a better world will continue.