By Héctor Puente Sierra
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Scottish independence supporters take to the streets amid SNP troubles

It took place within days of Peter Murrell, former SNP chief executive and Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, being charged in connection with embezzlement of party funds
Issue 2902
a crowd shot of the Scottish independence march

On the Scottish independence march in Glasgow

Thousands of people marched through Glasgow on Saturday in the first street mobilisation for Scottish independence this year. It was called by the Believe in Scotland group in partnership with Pensioners for independence.

The demonstration was one of the best and liveliest marches for independence for many years. It had a sizeable Palestine solidarity bloc, and was much younger and more diverse than most indy events. 

But there are problems. Believe in Scotland claims to be a grassroots campaign for independence, but it is managed by Business for Scotland Ltd. 

It puts forward a pro-business case for independence and seeks to link independence with rejoining the European Union. This was the main theme of the first demonstration organised by Believe in Scotland, in Edinburgh last year. 

For the demonstration in Glasgow, the organisers have tacked left. The main theme was ending pensioners’ poverty and several campaigners from the socialist left were invited to speak. 

The Scottish National Party (SNP) leadership has chosen to promote Believe in Scotland over the All Under One Banner marches. These had mobilised hundreds of thousands of indy supporters independently of the SNP. 

This is because the SNP agrees with Believe in Scotland’s business-friendly message and it wants a safe outfit to show it is still serious about campaigning for independence.

Scottish first minister Humza Yousaf was among those who spoke and led the demonstration in Glasgow. He said, “Independence won’t be won by politicians, it will be won by the people.” But that was a pretext to justify his party’s lack of action to defy the Tories and the British state. 

The demonstration took place within days of Peter Murrell being charged in connection with embezzlement of party funds. The scandal over Murrell, the former SNP chief executive and former first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s husband, plunged the party in crisis last year.

It also took place days after the Scottish government sparked anger after ditching their commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 75 percent by 2030. Some in the Scottish Greens, the junior partners in government, have rightly exploded with anger, prompting a special conference to discuss the future of the coalition. 

But the Greens’ leaders, who went along with the retreat, will argue the party must remain part of the government. Speaking at the rally on Saturday, Green MSP Ross Greer echoed this by seeking to blame the Tories for the move. He defended a new target of net zero by 2045 and a set of inadequate measures as an example of “the change this coalition can bring for you”. 

The loudest cheers went to those speakers that mentioned Palestine, called for a ceasefire and for a ban on arms sales to Israel. 

The RMT union’s Gordon Martin said that to enthuse a new movement for independence, the Scottish government must “stop tinkering with policies that suit the middle classes alone”. 

Thousands of working class people came out to support independence and express their solidarity with Palestine. 

The demonstration underlines the potential for bigger mobilisations around the question of independence. But it also underlines the need for a movement that is not subordinated to the SNP and the capitalist interests that it seeks to represent. 

And the mass revolt for Palestine has shown that we don’t need to wait for independence to fight for social change—we can do it now.

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