Harrogate Socialists attended the Socialist Party’s regional school in Leeds, along with around 50 comrades from branches across Yorkshire.
The school discussed imperialism’s bloody legacy, including the first world war and the current crisis in the Middle-East. Lenin provided a scientific analysis of imperialism in his work “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism.” This work was written in 1916 in the middle of the carnage of World War One.
Lenin demonstrated how modern imperialism is a specific stage in the development of capitalism and flows from the economic needs of the capitalist powers for markets, raw materials and cheap labour. Imperialism is not a policy choice, but grows out of the very development of capitalism itself, from free competition to monopoly finance capital.
To purchase a copy of Lenin’s work, visit the Socialist Party bookshop at:
For a Marxist analysis of imperialism and a summary of Lenin’s ideas, see the following article from The Socialist, the weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party:
An independent, socialist Scotland
A number of workshops were held at the school on issues such as Scottish independence, the Ukraine, the National Question and the Middle-East.
The campaign for Scottish independence took a central place in the discussions on the national question. Beginning with the Party’s support of a yes vote and surrounding activity, we moved swiftly to consider the great philosophical underpinning of independence, the right of nations to self determination. The Scottish national consciousness, as strong as that of any nation, coupled with a rich culture distinct from that of the UK underpins Scotland’s right to independence.
Aside from this basis of principled nationalism we considered the contemporary reasons for the upsurge in popularity of independence. Two causes dominated this discussion, inexorably linked, economic and political.
Firstly in economic terms we can consider independence in terms of a rejection of neo-liberal economics and austerity, especially alongside Scotland’s apparent status as a testing ground for some of the governments more callous domestic policies over the years. The poll tax historically, recently the bedroom tax, now happily overthrown in Scotland.
Intimately linked with economic concerns is the disconnect between Westminster and Scotland, particularly the casting aside by the Labour Party of it’s purpose and principles, failing utterly to defend working people from the vicious excesses of capitalism. In the light of this was considered the SNP, shifting from being “Tartan Tories” to left populism and consequent upswing in popularity.
Overall the workshop considered and affirmed Scotland’s right to independence, going on to consider the possibilities and opportunities thrown up by the referendum, cementing the hope for a future more prosperous and fair than the UK seems able or willing to offer.
For further analysis of the need for an independent socialist Scotland, see: