Solidarity and internationalism of May Day never more vital

RISE: the left alliance’s manifesto spells out an alternative pathway to a different Scotland based on economic security, equal rights and making the rich pay their share

by Ken Ferguson

• In world ravaged by war and seemingly chained by all powerful globalised capital, the spirit of international solidarity at the heart of May Day is more needed than ever before.

One thing at least is clear for all to see—the cruel myth peddled by Westminster’s Tories that “we are all in it together” stands exposed as the brazen lie it always was.

Amidst gnashing of teeth about the losses suffered by the super rich revealed by the latest Sunday Times Rich List, and scares that they will flee the country if their taxes rise, the reality remains that their priorities drive today’s world of austerity, low pay and insecurity for millions.

However despite the media message, eagerly echoed by Scotland’s mainstream parties that democracy is powerless to do other than feed the bloated appetite of the rich, another way is not only possible but essential.

That was the spirit of the progressive forces who mobilised for a Yes vote in 2014 in the teeth of big money’s scares, and it is the spirit of those fighting today for £10-an-hour to combat poverty pay, and to halt such privatisations as CalMac.

It is also, as we report elsewhere in this Voice, the spirit which is taking up the cudgels against shoddy plans to turn the new flagship cultural development of the V&A museum in Dundee into a sweat shop.

As we report, a shadowy group drawn from SNP-controlled Dundee City Council, Dundee University and other players—all on fat cat six-figure pay cheques—are hatching a plan to ensure that staff at the new centre are employed at poverty pay by a shadowy ‘independent’ body rather than, as in all other V&A sites, normal civil service conditions.

Coming hard on the heels of the Edinburgh schools PFI scandal, this once again spotlights the arrogance of the fat cats who call the shots today and desperately need to face a challenge.

In that context, the radical manifesto published by RISE, Scotland’s Left Alliance, for the 5 May polls uncompromisingly spells out an alternative pathway to a different Scotland based on economic security, equal rights and making the rich pay their share.

Most importantly it stands four-square in favour of an independence referendum at the time of the Scottish people’s choosing and for Holyrood not Westminster to have the right to call it. The importance of this demand is magnified by the soft peddling of the issue by the SNP.

Across Europe with the victories of the left in Portugal and Podemos in Spain to the resistance to a rising tide of anti-refugee fascism and racism and even in the belly of the beast—the Sanders “Bern”—resistance to the big money’s power is alive, well and growing.

Later this year we will celebrate the 20th birthday of our paper, the Scottish Socialist Voice, which is not only one of the longest continuously published socialist papers in Scotland, it is also the only one entirely written, edited and published here.

We stand in a long tradition of working class newspapers which have always faced a battle to survive from opposition to newspaper taxation by titles such The Poor Man’s Guardian in Victorian times, through titles ranging from the Glasgow-published Forward, Daily Worker, so called ‘underground papers’ of the ’60s to today’s Voice—all challenging the same powerful elites down the years. We hope you enjoy this May Day edition, and if so, go on to subscribe and become a regular reader.

• Subscribe to the Voice online here or fill in the subscription form in the print copy of the paper

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