Nationalism: Scottish + other "oppressed" ones

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Steven.
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Dec 14 2005 00:43
Nationalism: Scottish + other "oppressed" ones

There have been a fair few discussions on here about nationalism*, particularly minority or "oppressed" nationalisms, like Welsh/Irish/Scottish (and by extension Basque, Palestinian, Catalan etc.).

The only vaguely decent argument seems to come from people like Nick Durie who state that basically, people in Scotland are more left wing and class conscious than England, so a Scottish state would have a stronger w/c than here, which would force a further left-wing government.

Now on the surface this sounds sensible (as do the arguments of some anarchists in the UK around immigration weakening the w/c here). But of course we know the working class is international, so surely we have to consider the effects on the working class as a whole.

In the instance of Scottish independence - what would that mean for the rest of us? Apart from the reactionary SSP ideas that Scotland's richer than England (if North Sea oil's included), so poor English people won't scrounge of you anymore, what is the result for the English working class of losing a large number of its more class conscious and left-wing members to another country? It would mean a swing to the right, no?

How can you argue for nationalism, on an internationalist, communist basis? It just doesn't stand up to any kind of serious scrutiny...

* Here are the 3 big ones:

Being pro-independence

http://www.libcom.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4874

Crimethinc [+Scottish Nationalism and Forum Etiquette]

http://www.libcom.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4203

Glasgow Anarchist Dayschool

http://www.libcom.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2795

Nick Durie
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Dec 14 2005 01:04

You must be bored John.

At the moment a number of back-bench Tory MSPs are increasingly piping for a Scottish state, so that certainly strengthen's Lazlo's argument that devolution (which ironically the tories were against) has bolstered the Scottish ruling class. It seems they rather like the idea of choosing chief execs and so on in the councils, on pursuing their own ideas on issues like immigration and so on.

I've been thinking about this rather a lot in the past few weeks. I don't really know what to make of it. Lazlo is right tho. I'll need to have a think about it

Re John's comments on the SSP's 'it's Scotland's oil' stance - yes this is ridiculous and only makes sense if you believe in states as a way of implementing socialism, and in one country. I don't. As it happens most of the SSP don't really agree with that party line - it's just something they say (or that they used to say alongside some much more reasonable stuff which they've also now largely dropped) coz they think (or rather thought) there's votes in it.

I remain pro-independence, but it's not a solution, just a reform I think would be potentially beneficial [awaits an outburst of histrionics from Revol].

As it happens my main arguments for independence are about breaking up British capital and steming the destruction of various cultures. On the whole it would probably make Scotland's economy at least aomewhat poorer, but it's not clear what it would or could do to living standards of folk on either side of the border

Quote:
How can you argue for nationalism, on an internationalist, communist basis? It just doesn't stand up to any kind of serious scrutiny...

I don't think there's anyone who posts here who would argue for 'nationalism' (at least as you define the word) John.

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Dec 14 2005 01:10
Nick Durie wrote:
You must be bored John.

Ah my girl's got loads of studying this week so I can stay up as late as I like wink

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I remain pro-independence, but it's not a solution, just a reform I think would be potentially beneficial

You've tried to explain how you think it'll benefit Scots - what effect do you think it'll have on English workers?

Quote:
Quote:
How can you argue for nationalism, on an internationalist, communist basis? It just doesn't stand up to any kind of serious scrutiny...

I don't think there's anyone who posts here who would argue for 'nationalism' (at least as you define the word) John.

IMO thinking that a new nation state would be a positive reform is basically "nationalist". No?

(I am off to bed now tho...)

Nick Durie
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Dec 14 2005 01:34
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You've tried to explain how you think it'll benefit Scots - what effect do you think it'll have on English workers?

Dunno. It's not necessarily certain that what you;d see would be a Scottland/england split. You might see a breakup of England as well. there would be a certain amount of political chaos, and probably some level of struggle between Scottish capitalists and English ones over who gets the tastiest bits of Britain. Equally you might see some kind of foreign doings. I honestly have no idea.

I think however if there's a shining example of 'socialism' in Scotland, English workers might start getting ideas. Afterall, it's not that far away. It's all difficult to say and full of hypotheticals.

Another layer of complexity is the UK's role int he coming world war and how this would affect matters.

Quote:
IMO thinking that a new nation state would be a positive reform is basically "nationalist". No?

Well I'll better away and buy a pair of jack boots to stamp on the neck of the workers then, eh no? I like the fact that we have healthcare provision in Britain. That doesn't mean I'm in favour of super-hospitals like Ninewells in Dundee, or the rigid systems of hierarchy in place in the NHS, or the idea that a postcode and budgetary allocation should determine my treatment as a sick person. In fact the whole bloody system of healthcare provision in Britain needs changing, but that doesn't stop me from thinking that the NHS is better there than not.

This is my opinion on any reform I would say with positive spin-offs, including independence for Scotland.

I'll state it again tho, just for the record. I am against a Scottish state.

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Dec 14 2005 07:48

nationalism & class (struggle?) ?

I've always been off the opinion if you're doing one of these things, you can't be doing the other, are they really as mutually exclusive as I think, or am I( missing something here?

Granted some state's may be worse than others due to size & influence so it can be natural to support the underdog in terms of a nation without a state seeking independence from it's current host state, but what does that achieve in itself? and what sacrafices in terms of class struggle are made on the route to achieving a state to wrap around a particular nation?

Nationalism to me seems to be a far far emotively powerful drawing force than any other ism (liberalism, marxism, anarchism), and i see it as more akin to religion than anything else in it's ability to empassion such emotive behaviour and motivate people to kill and be killed for this abstract construct called a nation. Is this why socialist independent movements wrap themselves up in this nationalist rhetoric, to make the movement more attractive & emotive to potential followers?

Can someone remain a true class struggler (!) whilst fighting to achieve a state of their own, fair enough the intention for that state may be to be progressive and socially minded, but it's still a state that through time can be controlled and used to other ends

Is the class struggle not diluted by aligning oneself with cross class sections of the nation to achieve independece/statehood?

There are some aspects of nationalism that are attractive to me, predominatley the moving of decision making bodies closer to the people who these decisiosn effect, but at the same time, to me, nationalism seems to be a centralising force as well, ensuring the state has control over language, education, society etc... Also i like the element of cultural reinvigoration and protection that a successful nationalist movement can aspire, but i don't know how far this should go until it crosses over and is used to paper over the class cracks in any national movement

if national movements like ireland, basque, catalans, scottish etc.. are truly class struggle based, then why do they need to carry along nationalism with it? what good does it serve the class struggle?

how can you retain your socialist/anarchist principles and support (potentially) cross class nation/state building

how can nationalism not be cross class, does that not infer that the nation would have to be made up of one class only, and if we were living in a world where that was true , would we really need nations in the first place?

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Dec 14 2005 08:00

and i don't buy this oppressed nation stuff either, that only works if the nation is some kind of homgenous lump, all the same, with the same needs, desires, passions, interests wants, i.e. a society made up of one class

the workiing class in a so called oppressed nation are oppressed twice, once from the boss of their own nations and once from bosses of others (which is often made the most visible by the nations own bosses for obvious reasons), this my enemy's enemy principle which leads workers to align themselves with bosses of their own nation in the name of the "national interest" (whose interest? who sets it?) is reactionary as fuck imo

if scotish people are so left wing and socially/progressive minded, then they certainly don't need nationalism holding them back from that project

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Dec 14 2005 12:28

hear hear

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Dec 14 2005 13:59
Jack wrote:
It always shocks me when you say something intelligent and well thought out, oisleep.

Well, it would shock me if you did the same.

wink

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 14 2005 15:52

Oisleep is that to say you don't support any national liberation movements, no matter how anti-imperialist they maybe??

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Dec 14 2005 17:00
Nick Durie wrote:
my main arguments for independence are about breaking up British capital and steming the destruction of various cultures.

From a cultural point of view I don't think'd do a fat lot of good, but what do you mean by the destruction of various cultures? 'Scottish Culture', what's that exactly? Gaelic? For a start, the history of language restoration and a revival of people's culture has shown IMO that it's pretty impossible for a state or some kind of top-down authority to revert any downturn of culture. It's not bad at destroying them in the first place (along with other factors) but we can be sure that without a popular movement of people who likewise understand the importance of their situation (political and economic) it's not gonnae happen. On the breaking up of capital, it's been said that nationalism not imperialism is the higher stage of capitalism and not necessarily a progressive step towards socialism.

Mike Harman
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Dec 14 2005 17:05
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
*waits for someone to try and argue with oisleep*

Not me, nothing to disagree with there.

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oisleep
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Dec 14 2005 19:06
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
Oisleep is that to say you don't support any national liberation movements, no matter how anti-imperialist they maybe??

if you have a class based perspective then yes that's right, i don't see how you can liberate a nation, a nation, contrary to the portrayal of the elite, isn't a homogenous block with the same needs, desires, interests & wants, it's a cross class social & cultural construct, that from a class perspective cannot be liberated as it doesn't exist in the first place (to be oppressed)

supporting "anti-imperliast" bosses so that they can oppress their workers directly rather than the imperliasts achieves precisley what?

i don't buy all that guff about, first the national revolution then the class one either, as if it makes the workers closer to achieveing their goals by aligning themselves with their class enemies to build a state which will suppress them down the road, i can see however how the that notion can be seen asattractive, emotively and from the propaganda point of view dished out by the construtivist/elite manipulators

STI
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Dec 14 2005 19:32

The fact of the matter is that workers and bosses in conquered nations do have a "common interest" - freedom from imperialist domination.

In winning this freedom, people in the imperialist nation - Canada, Spain, England, whatever - will see their domestic imperialists losing, and will be less likely to listen to them (and more likely to listen to us).

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Dec 14 2005 19:50

Replacing imperialist domination with what exactly? Homegrown, tin-pot, chauvinist domination, that's what. Oh and I agree with Volin

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Dec 14 2005 20:39
STI wrote:
The fact of the matter is that workers and bosses in conquered nations do have a "common interest" - freedom from imperialist domination.

In winning this freedom, people in the imperialist nation - Canada, Spain, England, whatever - will see their domestic imperialists losing, and will be less likely to listen to them (and more likely to listen to us).

so you think a worker is better off if he is oppressed by his "own sort" rather than some foreigner?

that's patronising bollocks, your position is classic boss talk, for the local elites to further their own interests (and portraying that as the national interest) they have to mobilise their resources to do so, their biggest resource is their people, the people ruled by these local elites, if those people are to be mobilised to pursue economic development (on behalf off boss) they must be persuaded to do so, nationalism is the tool that elites use to incorporate them into their project of catching up with other states

saying some abstract, oh well if a small nation gives a bigger nation a kicking then all of a suddent we'll find ourself in a socialist utopia is dusty headed ostrich talk

Nick Durie
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Dec 15 2005 08:57
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From a cultural point of view I don't think'd do a fat lot of good, but what do you mean by the destruction of various cultures? 'Scottish Culture', what's that exactly? Gaelic? For a start, the history of language restoration and a revival of people's culture has shown IMO that it's pretty impossible for a state or some kind of top-down authority to revert any downturn of culture. It's not bad at destroying them in the first place (along with other factors) but we can be sure that without a popular movement of people who likewise understand the importance of their situation (political and economic) it's not gonnae happen.

I think it depends actually. It's blatantly obvious that devolution has encouraged Scottish culture(s).

It's a sweeping statement to say that states cannot revive cultures, and to make it fucking clear, since half of libcom has decided to argue with my 'positions' (very few of which I actually hold) I'm not saying that because I think Scotland should be a state, so that it can get its culture back, yada, yada. It's just that there are obvious examples to prove the point (altho they are specific and not general in why they have been successful). If you think about how many Hebrew speakers there were 100 years ago, and then consider how many people now speak Hebrew as a first language, there is an obvious one, equally since Norway became independent 'landsmal' has done significantly better than it might have been expected to otherwise, altho the coexistence of bokmal is still an obvious counterpoint.

At present I would contend that the British state is actually doing a not bad job of keeping Gaelic just clinging onto life (having picked up the Stuart mantle and virtually eradicated it in the first place), albeit with constant pressure from Hebridean Gaelic activists.

It seems obvious that the success a newly independent state would have in fostering distinct local cultures to the role of a national standard depends on a variety of factors, namely whether it is the language of the elite, whether the people have no other current lingua franca (as in the case of late 1940s Israel), whether the language/culture the state wishes to promote has any particular currency at the moment, and finally how different the language/culture is from the previous state's standard.

I don't, on those criteria, see Gaelic ever regaining its erstwhile 12th century hegemony. I think its decline could and should be arrested and reversed (sorry you hardened neo-leninist, left-communist tossers I'm a romantic) but I don't think it could be vaulted into the position of the national language of Scotland. Apart from anything else there is so much racism in Central Scotland (ironically, particularly West Central Scotland, where all the bloody place names are in fucking Gaelic) directed towards Gaeldom and the Gaidhealltachd more generally.

Scots on the other hand is much more likely to have this position reversed, because most Scots outside of the very young lower middle class at least speak a bit of Scots, and contemporary Scottish standard English is greatly influenced by it. (just consider how happily you would say 'I aren't', no?).

I would contend that a Scottish state would probably reverse the decline of both Scots, Shetlandic and Gaelic, and potentially Scottish traveller language (tho that is more doubtful). What it would do for other folk languages like Urdu, Polish or Cantonese I don't know.

Quote:
'Scottish Culture', what's that exactly? Gaelic?

No, it's not. Don't be thrawn. Scotland has distinct literary canons, languages, its own broadcast media, ecclesiatical history, separate historical development and pedagogy. To fail to recognise that is a bit daft really.

If I make a literary or cultural reference in educated conversation there's a good chance it will be to something which my partner or most of the posters on libcom (bloody English oppressors) won't fully appreciate in the first instance.

Therefore I conclude that we need to erect a continuous chain link perimeter fence from the Solway Sands to the Tweed, and establish checkpoints along arterial roadlinks to The Threiplands for the preservation of The People's Republic. Are you with me comrade? black bloc

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Dec 15 2005 13:52

I don't think a Scottish state will do much for Gaelic, especially considering the racism of West Central Scotland, the people in charge will be the descendents of West Central Scotland Labour politicians, who will do precisely fuck all to save it, precisely what they've done with the Gaelic bill in the Scottish parliament. It does nothing. Now, you raise the example of Israel, but if you look a little closer to home at Ireland you'll see a relevant counterexample. In Ireland they had Gaelic taught in all schools for about 75 years, and while this may have produced a couple of generations of semi-fluent learners, it did nothing to prevent the decline of Gaelic in the Gaeltachtai. There are now less native speakers in Ireland than there are in Scotland, and that's with a pro-gaelic hegemony in Ireland. Languages can only be effectively revived by grass-roots activism, people teaching the language to their kids, adults who have lost the language re-learning it. Education can only promote an artificial standard, which will alienate people, which is what happened in Ireland. The Irish went for a conglomerate of the three main dialects, Donegal, Munster and Connaught and so alienated the native-speakers who see the language taught in schools as Dublin Irish which no-one is born with. Besides, teaching Irish compulsorily alienated many from learning it with any great passion. If any language is going to be saved, like Gaidhlig, then it requires a voluntary movement, that is the only way people will identify with the language. Only 10% of the kids of the Western Isles speak Gaelic and this is it's heartland. Kids in Gaelic schools use English in the playground, and the Gaelic students I studied with at uni would only rarely speak to me in Gaelic, even though I was fairly fluent. They would only rarely speak to each other in Gaelic as well, although this may have been only when they were in the presence of English speakers. There is absolutely no chance of Gaelic being the language of the whole of Scotland, it may return to areas of the Highlands which have lost it, but seeing that most areas of the mainland are now bereft of Gaelic speakers except for the odd bodach and cailleach the task of even preventing it's total death is an uphill struggle. The kids learning the language at Gaelic-medium schools are learning what their parents/grandparents call "computer Gaelic" i.e. Gaelic totally divorced from any local inflection. Education can't restore the diversity of Gaelic dialects which existed up to the 30's and 40's. And without that diversity, the chance of Gaelic surviving as a living, evolving language will be significantly lessened. Gaelic is no longer the language of most communities, except in the Western Isles. It needs prolonged activity in the Highlands to save it, and this will take the form of parenting and grandparenting skills in Gaelic and not an artificial imposed standard from outside. Plus the tuition of Adults who may have lost the ability to speak Gaelic but who can understand it. Plus the activity of learners in attaining fluency, although without any community to on, these will be temporary measures at best. cry

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Dec 15 2005 14:19
revol68 wrote:
good post but I still can't grasp why anyone really cares about trying to revive a language which history has written off

Crikey, what will history do next?

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Bodach gun bhrigh
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Dec 15 2005 14:26

Because it's great!

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Dec 15 2005 15:22

Masculine reification? Tut tut.

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Dec 15 2005 19:30

Is anything worth saving? Gaelic, in my view is worth saving because it reveals so much about the history of the country where I come from, even if I don't like that country much. If you go to the Highlands it's revealing that there's nobody there. Once there would have been thriving communities, peasant communities, and those communities would have spoken Gaelic. Now if you were to travel to those areas without Gaelic you would be unable to converse with them. Seeing as they're our neighbours, it seems more humanitarian to be able to hold conversation with them in their own tongue rather than the language that has been forced down their throats for the last 700 years. They are the victims of Imperialism, whether that's Scottish or British empire-building. You feel you're putting something right, giving a bit of time back to a culture that has been unjustly reviled by anglo-centric racists for hundreds of years. It may just be sympathy for the underdog, but I feel that learning Gaelic has given me a better understanding of myself and helped me realise that any politician is just the same, regardless of whether they're Scottish, Gaelic or the dreaded Saxon. The peasant culture that thrived for 1500 years in the Highlands can't be evil in itself, even if it was violent and bloodthirsty, you may as well condemn the urban working class because working class people get drunk and fight a lot. There was a rich oral culture, which was peasant orientated and deserves to survive as much as any other culture. Why shouldn't Gaelic survive? Why should English survive? The British have spread misery and suffering to all parts of the globe, and part of that process is denigrating other cultures as backward, exactly the same process as was in action with Gaelic Scotland. You may as well ask why bother speaking any other language than English, which is the language of the victor after all. Other languages offer a different world to exist in, a different way of experiencing humanity, a bit of human warmth as against the suffocating blandness of global English. It's also worth speaking for the creative properties it possesses. It's like asking the difference between I love you and 'stu gaol mo chridhe, both mean roughly the same thing, but there is a whole world of different possibilities of expression hidden in the languages of the world, and Gaelic is just as viable as any of them, even though it is mostly fucked and nearing extinction, largely through the co-operation of the Gaels themselves. But faced with the overwhelming odds, it's hardly unlikely that anyone else would do the same. Languages are eroded by economics and the state, and speaking or learning a minority language is a way of eroding the power of the state language over you. Regardless of what nation Gaelic belongs to, it deserves to survive because it is part of humanity, and condemning it out of hand is like condemning anarchism because it failed in Spain. Besides it's fun to speak and the women are hot grin

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Dec 15 2005 21:37

I don't think I was making that point, I was just pointing up that Gaelic has as much right to survive as any other culture. I'm not nostalgic for the peasant way of life, I just reckon it has as much right to survive as any other. And besides you reckon it has nothing worth preserving compared with the urban spectacle of today with its alcoholism, drug-addiction, dependance on state hand-outs, lack of any notable working class culture except sectarianism and general all round stupidity and futility. The working classes are the descendants of peasants and are in the position they are in today because they got screwed over, not because urban life is inherently better.Didn't Kropotkin say that during the revolution the working masses would have to turn to food production to maintain their independence? i.e. a return to community control of the soil. What is that except a peasant lifestyle, albeit one totally transformed? Besides, you're just a self-hating, internally colonised poison dwarf, (please feel free to delete that if it counts as flaming)

knightrose
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Dec 15 2005 21:49

How can any culture have a "right to survive"? A culture is an expression of what is actually happening at the moment, not some abstract romanticised ideal.

Anyway, wouldn't an anarchist culture be different from anything we see today?

silvermoon
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Dec 15 2005 22:11
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
*waits for someone to try and argue with oisleep*

I'll take the bait!

There are essentially two kinds of "nationalism" - one which seeks control over the assets of a geographical group of people who agree to some form of power sharing among themselves over areas which were previously controlled by a larger entity (eg African nations gaining independence from the commonwealth, Scotland gaining independence from the UK, Basque country gaining independence from Spain), although these might in practice turn out to be disasterous, the sentiment is positive as it redistributes power from a larger elite to a small group, even though within the small group, the distribution of power is still uneven.

The other kind of nationalism is when within a large group, a large sub-group demands control over the assets of the whole group - such as can be seen in Germany in the midC20th, or in the UK, where one group of people are stigmatised and their assets (for example, right of residence) are taken.

The first I would call national liberation, the second nationalism, however

I think people tend to call both "nationalism". It is interesting how much a lot of the "nationalism" around in Scotland is actually motivated by internationalist concerns - the UK's role in Iraq; the disproportionate use of Scottish airports for torture flights; the snatching of Scottish children and deporting them in dawn raids, the extortionate bill that Scottish taxpayers had to pick up for Blair et al.'s little junket this summer.

In terms of the oil, there was a really interesting article in the Inde last week, talking about the suppressed 70s report, which detailed how wealthy an independent scotland would be - under pressure from US oil companies who feared that an independence movement would take a swing to the left, the g'ment sat on it, worried that it would fuel a demand for independence. Only now after 25 years has it been declassified.

Scotland could have been the Venezuala of the 70s, then again maybe not, maybe the old discrepancies would have arisen, but it would have been easier to challenge an Edinburgh power base than a London one.

National liberation is a necessary first stage within an imperialist capitalist structure. Independence for a small country comprised of Kensington, Chealsea and the City of Westminister who controlled only their own assets and left the rest of ours alone, would go a long way towards making the world a fairer place, but seeing as they wont voluntarily do it, we need to hive off bits of it and claim them.

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Dec 15 2005 22:13

Yeah, but it's inextricably linked with how people go about their daily lives, and so removing any culture is detrimental to people's humanity. Just like individuals have a right to survive, so do cultures. And Anarchist culture will be a development of what is around us today, not a post revolutionary unity, which is just as idealist. Different cultures exist today, and are real, so to remove them is to destroy an intrinsic part of humanity.

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Dec 15 2005 22:53
silvermoon' wrote:
but it would have been easier to challenge an Edinburgh power base than a London one

why?

there is a substantial power base in itself in edinburgh, why isn't it being chalenged now?

why aren't people who live in london finding it a daudle to challenge the london powerbase?

are lithuania, latvia & estonia much more socially progressive places since they achieved "national liberation", the so called "first-step" my gf's family certainly don't think so, the introduction of flat rate regressive tax systems, private only medical care and a totally corrupt state infrastructure don't seem to point towards anything positive, i see no reason why scotland, quebec or catalonia would fare anybetter

if scottish people are naturally socialist/progressive, why don't they get on with doing it and leave out the nationalsim shite

you've let the ssp get to you wink

silvermoon
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Dec 15 2005 23:56
oisleep wrote:
silvermoon' wrote:
but it would have been easier to challenge an Edinburgh power base than a London one

why?

there is a substantial power base in itself in edinburgh, why isn't it being chalenged now?

why aren't people who live in london finding it a daudle to challenge the london powerbase?

are lithuania, latvia & estonia much more socially progressive places since they achieved "national liberation", the so called "first-step" my gf's family certainly don't think so, the introduction of flat rate regressive tax systems, private only medical care and a totally corrupt state infrastructure don't seem to point towards anything positive, i see no reason why scotland, quebec or catalonia would fare anybetter

if scottish people are naturally socialist/progressive, why don't they get on with doing it and leave out the nationalsim shite

you've let the ssp get to you ;)

The Edinburgh power base is being challenged, however it has a get out of jail free card by calling anything it likes a reserved issue. Londoners are disproportionately rich, compared to the rest of the UK by capital concentrating its key assets and resources in its powerbase and paying people disproportionately highly to guard them (just as the UK is disproportionately rich, compared to the rest of the world, by capital concentrating its key assets in its powerbases and paying people disproportionately to guard them). Off course there is still massive poverty in London, but it is heavily segregated off as the majority of the population don't have to (choose to) share services with the poor.

Latvia, lithuania, estonia etc gained independence at a time when the soviet structures fell apart. Although I wouldn't defend the Soviet Union, there is no question that people all over the former USSR are far worse off now than pre-89. I dont think that it is independence that has brought the massive levels of privatisation, but a concerted effort to privatise the whole of the USSR en masse.

I never said that scottish people were more progressive than in the rest of the UK, although I do think that its true on some issues, but not on others, but regardless, I think that transferring the control over the assets of a geographical area to the people who live in that area is a positive development. Yes, ultimately those assets could be exploited - however the ramifications are closer to home.

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jef costello
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Dec 16 2005 00:23

What happened to culture?

Languages and cultures deserve to survive or at least to be recorded because they are beautiful.

If English does take over does that mean we'll say fuck MArx etc as they didn't write in English?

I hate those pseudorevivalists as much as anyone but the idea of a grassroots effort to preserve a language although it probably will fail is still a good idea.

If people were more romantic about these things then once the revolution has come we could occupy ourselves with exploring languages and cultures.

Nick Durie
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Dec 16 2005 00:37
Quote:
I don't think a Scottish state will do much for Gaelic, especially considering the racism of West Central Scotland, the people in charge will be the descendents of West Central Scotland Labour politicians, who will do precisely fuck all to save it, precisely what they've done with the Gaelic bill in the Scottish parliament. It does nothing. Now, you raise the example of Israel, but if you look a little closer to home at Ireland you'll see a relevant counterexample.

Indeed. I was making precisely that point. In Israel no lingua franca existed amongst divergent immigrant communities, apart from the 2000 year dead ecclesiastical language. It won out. In Ireland almost everyone spoke English and so imposing Gaelic as a standard when few people actually spoke it had next to fuckall chance of achieving anything, just as Gaelic in Scotland has next to fuckall chance of being brought back to even 1900 levels (200,000+ speakers and spoken in Perth for fuck sake. So very sad.) by massive investment from the state. I don't actually think it'll die tho, maybe come much closer to the already close final end, but I don't think it will actually die.

As regards the dialects and inflexions, while that may be sad it has happened with English and it is still possible to speak and right trully artfully. Equally new dialects will emerge within the fullness of time.

The West Coast is a grim place really on so many levels. There's a totally totally non-contiguous accent and dialect, a peculiar lack of any historicity of how we might have arrived at now and shitload of sectarian prolefeed which people mistake for culture. I spend a great deal of my mawkish moments pining for the North East where life is properly Calvinist, the people have the classic drumbeat timbre in their speech and its not uncommon to hear someone actually speaking a bit of Scots unselfconsciously.

As it happens I think it is better to base the revival of a langauge on an already existing dialect (so with Scots it would seem obvious that any future bairns brocht up spikkin the leid would hiv tae caa the craic wi aa their fitlikes and that, ken. Nae a bad thing mind.).

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oisleep
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Dec 16 2005 08:28
Jef Costello wrote:
What happened to culture?

Languages and cultures deserve to survive or at least to be recorded because they are beautiful.

i totally agree, and so they have survived & been recorded for thousands of years, nationalism (and it's bastard child the nation) as a a political principle has been around for a couple of hundred years at the most, so i fail to see how you have to connect the survive of language & culture to nationalism and paint it as the only way of achieving this, how did it manage for the thousands of years before nationalism was even a twinkle in the eyes of the elites?

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If English does take over does that mean we'll say fuck MArx etc as they didn't write in English?

that would be one useful by-product i suppose wink

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If people were more romantic about these things then once the revolution has come we could occupy ourselves with exploring languages and cultures.

and therein lies the rub, how on earth is any sort of "revolution" going to come whilst everyone is occupying (and subordinating) themselves in cross class allliances and are busy building nations which will invariably lead to working class kids going to war against other working class kids in the name of the nation

Nick Durie
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Dec 16 2005 11:25
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fail to see how you have to connect the survive of language & culture to nationalism and paint it as the only way of achieving this, how did it manage for the thousands of years before nationalism was even a twinkle in the eyes of the elites?

While I agree with you wrt language. it is quite mistaken to see nationalism as a new thing. You're confusing nationalism with the nation state. The nation state has been said (and I vehemently disagree) to be a relatively historically recent concept. nationalism has been around for millenia. There are nationalistic statements in documents from the bible and Hebrew scriptures to ancient Greek legends.