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Building a new left in parliament and the streets – Scottish Socialist speaks – Public Meeting November 22nd November 21, 2008

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Scotland, The Left.

Building a new left in parliament and the streets – Scottish Socialist speaks

PUBLIC MEETING – Saturday November 22nd at 3pm – Teacher’s Club, Dublin

Frances Curran (Scottish Socialist Party) talks about her time as a member of the Scottish parliament and the challenge of building a new radical left

Speaker – Frances Curran – Scottish left-wing activist and socialist MSP from 2003-2007

The Scottish Left has attracted attention for all the wrong reasons in the last couple of years. But the messy public row which caused so much heat has distracted attention from more important lessons that socialists can draw from the experience of our Scottish comrades. The ISN will be hosting a public meeting with Frances Curran of the SSP to discuss that experience and see what we can learn.

Over the past decade, radical socialists in Ireland and elsewhere have tried to fill the political space opened up by the rightwards march of Social Democracy and the demise of Communism. Often they have formed new left-wing parties and alliances, and tried to win a foot-hold in parliaments and council chambers, hoping to use electoral gains as a platform to promote radical politics and grass-roots campaigning. The radical left today faces new opportunities and new challenges.

Frances Curran has been centrally involved in Scottish left-wing politics for over two decades. She was a member of Scottish Militant Labour when it led resistance to Thatcher’s poll tax, and helped form the Scottish Socialist Party in the 1990s. She was elected to the Scottish parliament in 2003 along with five fellow members of the SSP – one of the strongest performances by a radical party in Western Europe for decades.

What did the SSP learn from its experience in the Scottish Assembly? What was it like to work as a socialist in a strongly pro-capitalist parliament? How did the SSP manage the tension between electoral campaigns and grass-roots protest? Were they able to use their elected positions to advocate socialist positions, and to encourage working-class people to take action outside the voting booths? Do socialists and parliament go together like oil and water, or can we strike a successful balance?

Frances will be talking about these and other questions at a public meeting on November 22nd. We hope you’ll come along and join the discussion.

from John O’Neill of the ISN.


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