Monday, 22 March 2010

Green protestors set up camp near Oakley - Dunfermline Press

A GROUP of activists have climbed trees and started a protest camp on the Blair House open cast coal site near Oakley.

Around 20 campaigners are involved in the protest and say they are acting in solidarity with local opponents of the development.

UK Coal were given permission to mine 720,000 tonnes of fuel on the site despite 150 objections.

The activists say trees have been chopped down as part of preparatory work and they are acting to prevent any more being lost.

Fiona Richards, one of the protestors, said, "This new coal mine is only one of 20 such others to have recently been given planning permission in Scotland.

"If we are to have any chance of limting dangerous climate change and protecting communities from carbon intensive industries direct action must be taken as councillors, mining companies and the Government have shown their unwillingness to solve the problems we face."

West Fife villages councillor Gerry McMullan was planning to visit the protestors this afternoon (Monday).

He said, "I was one of the few councillors to vote against this development especially given the site's close proximity to homes in the area.

"However, during that democratic decision making process we heard nothing from this group who are Johnny Come Latelys on this issue.

"They're not interested in health or the environment. All they're interested in is causing disruption."

For Fife police, Chief Superintendant Brian Plastow said, "This appears to be a peaceful protest and there has been no impact on the local roads or public, We will continue to liaise with the protestors and monitor their actions."

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Radicals Fail to Gain Seats in St Andrews Student Union

19th of March saw the St Andrews Student Union Elections, with great disappointment for the Radical Candidates standing.

Terry Fulton stood for Director of Representation, on a platform of affordable accommodation and rebuilding the Union into a functioning body. Losing to the three other candidates.

Ben Bridgman lost to Becca Ladley for the position of Association Chair.

And James Morris running for SRC Accommodation Officer on a platform of Structural Change, Affordability and Transparency, lost to Conservative candidate Sunny Moodie whom wished to "Preserve St Andrews Architecture" with the results 844 votes to 1016 votes.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

St Andrews "Radicals" run for positions in the Student Union

St Andrews Socialists, Greens and Anarchists run again this year for positions in the St Andrews Student Union in an attempt to change the policy and structure of the University.

Terry Fulton is running for Director of Representation, Benjamin Bridgman is running for Asscoiation Chair and James Morris for SRC Accommodation Officer.

Results will be posted here after the election on Friday 19th.

Friday, 5 March 2010

The Yes Men Fix The World, Plus a Discussion with Mike Bonanno!

Tuesday, 9 March, the Centre for Film Studies (the University of St Andrews) will host a screening of THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD, a documentary by political pranksters and culture jammers, Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno-- possibly best known for their recent hijacking of the BBC when they pretended to be Dow Chemical and took responsibility for the industrial tragedy in Bhopal.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with Yes Man and co-director,
Mike Bonanno.

Date and Time: Tuesday, 9 March starting at 5.15pm
Place: School V (North Street)

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Independence and Socialism

By John McAllion

THE class struggle in Scotland has always been both nationalist and socialist.

The 1787 massacre of striking Calton weavers by British soldiers near what was then Glasgow is generally recognised as marking the beginning of an organised, effective Scottish labour movement.

The weavers’ banner on that day, and subsequently on many other days up to its seizure by Tory magistrates in 1819, showed Scotland’s national hero William Wallace striking down the beast of tyranny.

Scots Wha Hae, Scotland’s unofficial national anthem penned by Robert Burns in 1793, deliberately sided with early working class struggles against the reactionary Pitt government in London and its despotic manager in Scotland
Henry Dundas.

The Scottish radical uprising and general strike of 1820 united behind the slogan “Scotland Free or a Desert”. So, from the very beginnings of the labour movement in Scotland, there has existed a radical tradition that consistently connected the struggles for workers’ rights with the demand for Scottish independence.

That tradition was carried into the 20th century by the likes of Keir Hardie who throughout a parliamentary career in which he represented only English constituencies remained a passionate believer in the cause of Scottish home rule.

Most notably, of course, it was upheld by the great internationalist John Maclean who was calling for an independent Scottish Socialist Workers’ Republic at a time when Ramsay MacDonald was priming the British Labour Party for its historic role as a safe and respectable alternative to Tory government trapped within a capitalist, imperialist and constitutional monarchy.

Today Scottish socialists like Jimmy Reid, one of the leaders of the 1970’s UCS workers’ struggle, continue to campaign for socialist change from within the SNP, while the bulk of the Scottish nationalist Left carry on the fight for Maclean’s socialist republic as part of the SSP.

They represent a continuing tradition of libertarian and democratic struggle from below that stands in stark contrast to the Westminster model of a parliamentary elite making change happen from above.

Breaking free from the stranglehold of that Westminster model remains one of the key challenges facing the Left across Britain today.

Genuine popular control over state institutions and the economic levers of power cannot happen in a British state in which the people are designated as subjects and political sovereignty rests with the Crown-in-Parliament.

The radical participatory politics that characterise revolutions in Venezuela and other Latin American countries are ruled out here by a British two-party electoral system that effectively blocks radical change and restricts political choice to voting for either of the two big pro-business parties committed to defending the neo-liberal status quo.

A democratic revolution cannot happen in a Britain in which an hereditary monarchy and an unelected House of Lords keep a tight political rein on a Commons majority elected last time with the support of less than a quarter of those entitled to vote.

It cannot happen either in a Britain without a Bill of Rights and where citizens can be arrested and held without hard evidence or charge for up to 6 weeks.

It is time to recognise that the breakup of the authoritarian British state is now a precondition of securing progressive socialist change for the peoples of this island.

The national struggles that will follow the break-up of Britain open up opportunities for the Left to force a radical political agenda that otherwise remains excluded from mainstream politics and forever stymied under the ancient regime of the British constitution.

The ending of the British warfare state, constitutional guarantees of civil liberties, republican citizenship, participatory democracy, genuinely popular control of public services, an economy run for the people rather than for profit - these and many other important areas of policy will be thrown into the melting pot from which people’s republics in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland will emerge.

The alternative is to remain ensnared within the carefully contrived limits of a constitution that for more than 300 years has been successfully blocking all threats of radical change in order to preserve the stability of the oldest capitalist state form in the world. Socialists owe no kind of loyalty to that Britain.
We do have a responsibility to help its peoples escape from the chains of British history.