Scottish Independence  Comments Off on TOWARDS SCOTTISH SELF-DETERMINATION James Kelman
Feb 112014

JamesK1I have not voted through the ballot box or taken part in any sort of electoral process for years. My politics belong in an alternative tradition. I stand with the anti-parliamentarian left. It is a solid part of the wider socialist movement. A great many share this position throughout the world. In Britain people are less aware of this alternative tradition. State propaganda pushes the anti-parliamentarian left somewhere to the outer limits. We are asked to believe that all shades of opinion are included in its own political process. What a lie! It is so brazen. It says we can all be accomodated within a political framework that is in essence hierarchical, so much as so that it includes an extremely large extended family each of whose members we must address as “your majesty”, pay to them huge sums of dough and grant them lands and general riches.

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Mar 292012

James Kelman — On Self-Determination

In an article for the US magazine NY Arts, Glaswegian writer James Kelman nails his colours to the mast with regard to the current debate on Scottish Independence:

‘In an American journal I read a prominent English writer was described as ‘very British’. What can it mean to be ‘very British’? Could I be described in this way? Can my work be described as ‘very British’? No, not by people in Britain, or by those with a thorough knowledge of the situation. The controlling interest in ‘Britishness’ is ‘Englishness’. This ‘Englishness’ is perceived as Anglo-Saxon. It is more clearly an assertion of the values of upper-class England, and their validity despite all and in defiance of all.

Power is a function of its privileged ruling elite. To be properly ‘British’ is to submit to English hierarchy and to recognise, affirm and assert the glory of its value system. This is achieved domestically on a daily basis within ‘British’ education and cultural institutions. Those who oppose this supremacist ideology are criticised for not being properly British, condemned as unpatriotic. Those Scottish, Welsh or Irish people who oppose this supremacist ideology are condemned as anti-English. The ‘British way’ is sold at home and abroad as a thing of beauty, a self-sufficient entity that comes complete with its own ethical system, sturdy and robust, guaranteed to outlast all others.

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from a room in Glasgow by James Kelman

 Essay, Ideas, libertarian socialism, PDF, Politics, Scotland, Scottish radicals  Comments Off on from a room in Glasgow by James Kelman
Nov 112010

I should lay my cards on the table: I did not vote in the last UK General Election. Nor the one before. Nor the one before that. I never take part in any UK elections. I enjoy a game of charades now again but preferably with my grandchildren.

It is presumed that those who hold my position have no politics. People say: But you must vote! Men and women died for your right to take part! This can be true or false, depending on the argument, but such statements typically indicate an ignorance of radical history. Anti-parliamentarianism is the forgotten strain of the socialist movement in Scotland. Most people know nothing of this. They wait until somebody like myself stops talking then they switch topics. Those who hold views similar to mine are isolated unless directly engaged. Popular history focuses on obsequious warriors in tartan kilts who idolise chieftans and monarchs, lay down their lives for these glorious leaders, and consign for eternal subjection their children and children’s children.

There is an irony somewhere, given that the Scottish Enlightenment is premised on the inherent value of the individual perception. Young people were encouraged to ask questions. Nowadays they learn intellectual deference if not obedience; our education system has lost its own foundation, in favour of the Anglo-American model.

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