Socialist Worker

More militant mobilisations can win second independence referendum in Scotland

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2678

Protesters in Glasgow showed solidarity with the movement in Catalonia last weekend

Protesters in Glasgow showed solidarity with the movement in Catalonia last weekend (Pic: Andrew McGowan)

Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon was set to address an outdoor pro-independence rally in Glasgow on Saturday.

She wants to make the case for a second independence referendum (indyref2) in 2020—and win votes for the SNP in a general election.

Remarkably, it is the first time Sturgeon will speak at a Yes rally since becoming Scottish first minister nearly five years ago. Hundreds of thousands have joined 21 marches organised by the All Under One Banner (AUOB) campaign across Scotland in the last few years.

Pressure from the streets earlier this year forced Sturgeon to say she will enact legislation to pursue indyref2.

Yet discontent with her strategy grows.

Sturgeon’s plan is to ask for permission for a second referendum by seeking a Section 30 order.

Everyone knows the Tories will never grant this. So her strategy has been since 2014, “Vote SNP.”

Independence activists need a better strategy than waiting for the SNP to deliver. The movement must remain mobilised and bring more militancy to its demands.

The mood for indyref2 is growing.

Over 500 people protested last Saturday in Glasgow’s George Square to defend the right to Catalan self-determination and demand the release of all political prisoners.


It was called by the Catalan Defence Committee.

Significantly, it united pro-independence groups and the labour movement to condemn the violent crackdown by the Spanish state on protests.

Dave Moxham, deputy general secretary of the Scottish TUC, said, “No trade unionist can stand by and look at the violent repression that has taken place over the last week against people exercising their right to protest.”

Glasgow Labour MP Paul Sweeney said, “All those who believe in the spirit of democracy should rise up and condemn the actions of the Spanish state and Spanish courts.”

He called on Pedro Sanchez, the leader of Labour-type party PSOE, “to take urgent action to release the prisoners”.

The protest heard accounts from Catalans about the police violence.

AUOB speaker Keir McKechnie applauded the workers who joined a recent general strike in Catalonia and those resisting repression.

Echoing the criticism now coming from SNP politicians he asked, “Some people say the European Union represents democracy and human rights but why the silence on Catalonia?

“What’s going on in Catalonia is a warning to us all.

“Whenever people fight for change, for radical transformation, the elites will do anything to try and stop us.

“That’s why it is important that the trade union movement, the left, the whole movement for social rights unite together behind the Catalan people.”

Rally for Independence, Saturday 2 November, 1.30pm, George Square, Glasgow. Organised by The National newspaper

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