Thursday, July 17, 2014
Scottish Independence and the Search for the New Left
OK. So it's probably not the best time to leave Canada. Not in the middle of that tragically short warm period we call summer in the Great White North.
But politically it's the dead season here, or even deader than usual.
While in Scotland where I'm going, it's very much alive.
Because two months today the Scottish people will decide whether they want independence.
And while I doubt the YES side will win in the end, thanks in part to a little help from Canada.
And the offer of more powers for the Scottish Parliament. Doesn't that sound familiar?
What excites me the most is that it has already changed that country, by shaking up the staid stagnant left with a new and exciting approach to progressive politics. By creating what the Glasgow writer Gerry Hassan calls the Third Scotland.
Sceptics pour scorn on what this ‘third Scotland’ stands for but its political agenda is clear. It is for self-government and independence as not an end in itself, but as a means of bringing about social change.
And they see the old mechanisms of social change such as the Labour Party, labour movement and British state as having consistently failed and colluded with inequality, power and privilege.
And getting huge numbers of young people involved in the political process, many for the first time.
By simply asking Scots what kind of country do they want to live in, and what kind of values do they believe in?
A country with right-wing values where David Cameron's Conservatives are dismantling the social safety net, waging war on the poor and the young, and trying to privatize the National Health Service.
Or a country like Scotland that wants to maintain and expand the social safety net, provides free university education to its young, and wants to improve public medicare not privatize it.
A country that during the last war on Gaza closed its airports to American planes carrying bombs to Israel.
Where many are now asking for a society where WE comes before ME.
And this National Collective of artists that I support, spreads the optimistic message that the beginning is near or NOW.
When we live in a relatively well off society, it takes a brave individual to imagine and suggest another possibility, a possibility where we can build and live in a society which serves better moral ends than those of the elite who run us now. We need to remind ourselves that a better Scotland and a better world is possible.
A society where we don’t settle for fine but fight for good instead; a society which serves the good of humanity and the environment and governs itself in a fair and socially just way instead of settling for elite rule and class oppression. A society which never lets a child or adult go hungry, and stands up for this basic right across the world.
Which is of course just the message I want to hear, and the kind of country I want to live in. And the hope that I have for our broken Canada.
Because after watching this story by Lyse Doucet, about the four Palestinian children who were mowed down by the Israeli war machine while playing soccer on a beach.
And then watching this video put out by the Harper Cons tonight...
I sometimes have trouble recognizing what country I'm living in.
And I definitely do want something better.
Don't we ALL?
Oh well, I'm going to check out all of this action in the rebel highlands where my parents live. I'm going to see if I can borrow any ideas on how to put some life into our moribund progressive parties.
And since I'm taking my lap top with me, I will try to write a few posts, and tell you what I see on the other side of that wall.
If I'm not too busy.
Because as you can see the place I'm going to, is just BUZZING with activity...
But seriously though, you are the best readers in the world. And the most patient. And I love you all.
So wish me luck eh?
Please keep an eye on Lord Harper and his criminal regime while I'm gone.
Always keep dreaming of something better.
And I'll be back soon...
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