By Héctor Puente Sierra
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Thousands in Glasgow march for Scottish independence

The movement will have to embrace more militant tactics and tap into class issues
Issue 2805
Hundreds of Scottish independence marchers with Saltire flags and a pro-NHS banner

The Scottish independence march was themed around the defence of the NHS (Pic: Glasgow SWP)

Up to 5,000 people joined an All Under One Banner march for Scottish independence in Glasgow on Saturday. The theme of this march was “defend our NHS”. NHS Yes and other campaign groups marched together with health workers chanting ‘Tories out!’ and ‘Yes Yes NHS!’.
The independence marches have been much smaller in the last two years than in the past. The ones this year however, in Paisley, Arbroath and Glasgow, have been in the thousands rather than the hundreds.
The gains by the Scottish National Party (SNP) in the recent council elections show support for the break-up of the British state is still strong.
The SNP says a new independence referendum will happen in 2023. However, few in the movement believe this. A year before the 2014 referendum, the official Yes campaign had been launched and had headquarters and full-time workers. None of this is in place, nor is there an official case for independence.
More realistically, the SNP will attempt for a third time to politely request permission from Westminster to allow a new vote. This will almost certainly be refused by Boris Johnson’s government, but it will allow the SNP leadership to claim that they have tried just in time for the 2024 general election, where their sights really are.
The SNP doesn’t have a strategy for independence and left to its own devices it will not push for a confrontation with the British state. The SNP’s plan to rule in a pro-market way is reliant on maintaining tight control on the timeline and content of independence. And after the complete fiasco of Alex Salmond’s Alba Party, it feels unchallenged.
While Saturday’s march is still a far cry from the massive marches in Glasgow or Edinburgh before the Covid-19 pandemic, the fact that bigger numbers of grassroots activists are taking to the streets can potentially become an obstacle to this.
Challenging the SNP’s paralysis will take much more than this. Even the monster marches of 2019-2020 were not enough to force indyref2 on to the agenda. To have a future, the Scottish independence movement will have to embrace more militant tactics and continue to tap into class issues, such as the cost of living crisis, to mobilise and enthuse working class supporters.
World events and the new crises of capitalism mean the arguments for independence today also need to change and recognise this new reality. Independence that doesn’t encompass the possibility of ridding Scotland of nuclear weapons and militarism, tackling the climate crisis and challenging the onslaught on living standards and jobs has nothing to offer working class people

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