Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The British Nation ? Review of Jack Woddis pamphlet Nationalism and Internationalism by United Scotsman 1973

Mr Woodis's pamphlet is of the greatest importance to all Scots

since it represents the most detailed Communist Party statement on

the National Question for many years. 

Like "Scottish Marxist" the

factors behind its publication are primarily the success of the

U.C.S. work-in and the need to respond in a positive way to the

challenge of Scottish and Welsh Nationalism. Like "Scottish Marxist"

however, it reveals a contradictory and often schizophrenic attitude

to the question under consideration. 

This confusion is underlined

by the ambiguous use throughout of the terras Britain,country,nation,etc.

In the section entitled "Communists and Patriotism" Mr Woodis

assures us that

"Communists,in fact,do not pose their internationalism,their

solidarity with other peoples struggling for their freedom,

against their patriotic duty to assist their own people to

defend their national freedom and secure their own social


He also informs us that

"In Britian,one of the greatest dangers for

the working class movement has been bourgeois nationalism

and racialism,expressed often in racial prejudice and the

toleration of blatant discrimination's well as in the

defence of imperialism. Not only right-wing labour leaders but

but many rank and file workers are prone to defend the

imperialist actions of "our troops" even when they have

been engaged in repressive actions whether it be Ireland,

Cyprus or Aden".

All good, hard hitting comment - and sentiments with which every

radical or liberal-minded Scot will wholeheartedly agree. 


thus isolated the dangerous jingoistic and pro-facist elements in

our midst| Mr Woodis turns to examine the reactions of the working

class movement to such elements,and finds much to criticise.

"In understandable if incorrect,reaction to this jingoist

nationalism,these has often been expressed in Left-wing

circles,especially among the extreme Left,notions of

contempt for any form of national feeling. For this reason

such people scorn the just struggles of the peoples of

Scotland and Wales to secure satisfaction for their national


Least any dastardly Scottish Nationalist has the temerity to impute

such attitudes to the Communist Party Mr.Woodis continues by declaring

roundly that

"Indifference to one's own nation,its historic achievements

and its future,has nothing in common with socialist principles."

Since Mr Woodis is an Englishman it would be consistent with a logical

train of thought to assume that in the above quote, he is reffering

primarily though not exclusively to England. 

It is therefore singularly

disconcerting to discover in the next paragraph that Mr Woodis has

apparently a totally different nation in mind i.e. 'The British Nation !

We are informed that
"The British Nation is not Heath,Home,Carr and the

rest of the Tory pack. Neither is it the gang of industrial magnates,bankers and landlords who rob and betray the people.

Source United Scotsman 1973

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