As Jeremy Corbyn gathers crowds on his whistle-stop tour of Scotland, socialists, trade unionists and young people need to wrestle with whether Scottish Labour is about to be transformed into the vehicle for radical, socialist change.
Is it really wise for socialists to invest their time and talent in Scottish Labour on the coat-tails of Jeremy Corbyn's impact on working class and young voters in the recent general election - specifically in England? Should they ignore the profound differences in the political landscape of Scotland compared to England, or the baleful history of Scottish Labour?
Scottish Labour bears no resemblance to Corbyn’s ideals.
Its key leaders (including Kezia Dugdale and Ian Murray MP) are sworn enemies of Corbyn; they helped stage failed coups against him.
The SSP has campaigned for No Cuts budgets, in defiance of Tory austerity - and frequently led fellow-workers in strikes; communities in protests and sit-ins… against Labour council closures of schools, community facilities and their slaughter of jobs and services.
The SSP has campaigned since 1998 for abolition of the Council Tax. For a replacement Scottish Service Tax, based on income, with over 77% of households paying less, but the rich coughing up; DOUBLING income for local jobs and services (from £2bn to £4.1bn in 2015 figures).
For years, Scottish Labour relentlessly defended the Council Tax. Even since their extremely belated conversion (in August 2016) to the SSP’s mantra "abolish the unfair council tax”, Scottish Labour still refuses to call for an income-based, progressive replacement, based on ability to pay. And UK Labour’s ‘For the Many’ manifesto merely pledges to “review the council tax to make it fairer” – incidentally, the same position as the SNP!
In the Scottish Referendum, Scottish Labour alienated hundreds of thousands of workers and young people by their shameless collaboration with the reviled Tories in Better Together.
In stark contrast, the SSP championed the aim of an independent socialist Scotland - a different vision entirely from the pro-capitalist aims of the SNP.
Labour continues to deny the Scottish people the right to self-determination - unfortunately not only Dugdale and the Blairities, but also Corbyn and his allies. In Corbyn Labour's recent 'For the Many' manifesto, there is no room left for doubt: "we will campaign tirelessly to ensure Scotland remains part of the UK."
Even Jeremy's chosen itinerary for his current speaking tour of Scotland - clearly putting Labour on an election footing in case the enfeebled Tory government falters - is very telling. He and Labour have decided to make a pitch in SNP marginal seats, but not gone near a single one of the Tory marginals in Scotland.
The SSP offers the hand of friendship and solidarity in action to those looking to Corbyn for change. We appeal to Corbyn supporters to arrange meetings with the SSP to discuss serious battle plans around our common aims - £10 minimum wage; abolition of zero hours contracts; rail renationalisation, etc.
But we also appeal to 'Corbynistas' to look ahead at the harsh choices that loom.
Labour Civil War
The Scottish leadership will not cease to wage civil war against Corbyn and his left ideals.
They will be backed and boosted in their treacherous sabotage by a capitalist class and media terrified at the thought of a left-leaning Prime Minister, and the expectations and demands for radical change which that would unleash amongst workers and young people.
These forces of capitalist backwardness have no intention of reversing the transformation of Labour into the reliable agency for billionaires and bankers - the bastion against socialism - it was moulded into by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
So Corbyn supporters face brutal choices. Purge Labour of its capitalist wing (including deselection of MPs, MSPs and councillors) to begin to construct the embryo of a socialist party. Or continue retreat after retreat in a vain attempt to appease the right - as unfortunately Jeremy has tried for two years.
Scottish Labour a Million Miles from Socialism
The central problem facing those mobilized by Jeremy's laudable, left-wing aims is that Scottish Labour is a million miles removed from being a socialist party.
To begin to transform it into one would require naked, full-scale civil war in the party.
Why devote time and talent to what may well be a fruitless attempt to oust Labour's pro-capitalist right wing, or spend years trying to fashion genuine socialist policies in a Labour party which, historically, has never in government pursued comprehensive socialist measures anyway?
Labour's history is littered with unfulfilled promises, anti-working class measures - and expulsions of socialists for being socialists, including many of us now in the leadership of the SSP!
And consider joining Scotland's already existing socialist party, the SSP, with already existing socialist policies (which you can also influence and shape at our annual conferences), and an annually elected socialist leadership.