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Posts Tagged ‘Socialism’

Time for a Radical Scotland to challenge our forces of conservatism

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, June 1st 2013

Scotland has long prided itself on its radical and socialist traditions, from Red Clydeside and UCS to rent strikes, occupations and the campaign which achieved the Scottish Parliament.

This week Alex Salmond faced more criticism over his corporation tax policy from predictable quarters such as Johann Lamont and less predictable ones such as pro-independence supporters and economists Jim and Margaret Cuthbert and Council of Economic Advisers member Professor Joseph Stiglitz.

This raises all sorts of questions: about the nature and dynamics of the independence project, Labour-SNP competition, and the characteristics of the Scottish left. Underneath this is the dilemma of who really speaks for and represents Scotland’s radical traditions? And who is looking at turning these into thinking and policies for today? Read the rest of this entry »

The Radical Scotland Tradition and Stalinism’s Legacy

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, March 2nd 2013

Next Tuesday a strange but important moment will be celebrated in a number of capitals and places in the world: the 60th anniversary of the death of Soviet leader and dictator Joseph Stalin.

Stalin’s death in 1953 was a cataclysmic event which sent ripples of uncertainty through the then monolithic Soviet bloc. First the Berlin workers came out in protest against Soviet rule, to be followed by the Hungarian and Polish springs of 1956. It resulted in Nikita Khrushchev’s famous speech denouncing Stalin’s ‘cult of the personality’; and the slow unraveling of the system, which led to Gorbachev, 1989 and the end of Soviet Communism (and the Soviet Union itself).

The British Communist Party and domestic Stalinism was always a smaller, humbler force, but in both the UK and Scotland it had reach and influence well beyond its numbers. Read the rest of this entry »

The End of the Revolutionary Line: The Demise of Tommy Sheridan

Gerry Hassan

Open Democracy, December 24th 2010

The jury in the Glasgow High Court has found Tommy Sheridan guilty of perjury. His political career and hopes, whatever his rhetoric, lie in ruins, as does the party he helped found – the Scottish Socialist Party – which he briefly made a semi-potent electoral force.

This is the end of a long journey for a revolutionary dream, illusion and fantasy – in which Scotland for a period had the world’s most electorally successful Trotskyite party. It has been three years since Tommy Sheridan was originally charged. It is six years since he decided, against the advice of nearly everyone in the SSP, to take the ‘News of the World’ to court for defamation; a case he famously won but ultimately led to his downfall.

He now awaits sentencing in January for what will be his third stay at Her Majesty’s pleasure, but in very different circumstances. The first two occasions Sheridan spent behind bars contributed to his political aura and legend – first for his opposition to the poll tax in 1992 and the second for his campaigning against nuclear weapons at the Faslane base in the Firth of Clyde in 2003.

Both trials – the ‘News of the World’ defamation trial in 2006 and the Sheridan perjury trial of 2010 – were, irrespective of the details, about one over-riding theme, namely Tommy Sheridan’s character. In this I don’t just mean whether he was telling the truth or not. Instead what I am referring to is the strange combination of forces which came together to make Sheridan who he is: magnetic, powerful, combative, and ultimately self-destructive. Read the rest of this entry »