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Featured Articles

40th anniversary of the founding of the Committee for a Workers’ International

Socialistworld.net Socialist Party Scotland is affiliated to the worldwide socialist organisation the Committee for a Workers’ International. To mark the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Committee for a Workers’ International on April 21st 1974 we are publishing here three ...

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Hundreds queue up to hear the socialist case for independence

350 people attended the ‘socialist case for independence’ meeting in Dundee on 15 April to hear Tommy Sheridan and Socialist Party member, John McInally. One hundred people had to stand as all 240 seats were full 15 minutes before the ...

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Capitalist Project Fear failing as support for independence rises

By Philip Stott There is growing fear, horror would not be too strong a word, among the capitalist establishment in Britain at the possibility of a majority Yes vote on 18 September in the Scottish independence referendum. The editorials and ...

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Supersize My Pay targets Starbucks and Pret a Manger

By Matt Dobson Youth Fight for Jobs Scotland and Fast Food Rights campaigners held a day of action in Glasgow on April 19th. We targeted Starbucks and Pret a Manger, raising demands for a £10 an hour minimum wage, trade ...

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Hillsborough tragedy – the final chapter

Today is the 25th anniversary of the day when 96 football supporters died at Hillsborough. What followed was a scandalous cover-up by the then Thatcher government and subsequent governments, the police and large sections of the millionaire owned media. Newspapers like the Murdoch ...

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TUSC announces biggest left challenge in 60 years to pro-cuts politicians

Socialist Party member Dave Nellist was interviewed on the BBC last week about the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) plan to stand over 600 candidates in the local elections in England in May. This will be the biggest left-of-Labour ...

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TUSC: No-cuts election challenge grows

As we go to press the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee is about to approve the 440th candidate for the challenge in May’s English local elections. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is an electoral ...

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South Africa: WASP needs your support and solidarity

By Alec Thraves – Socialist Party  There may be a big struggle to raise the finances for the Workers And Socialist Party (WASP) general election campaign but there was no shortage of enthusiasm at the WASP manifesto launch in South Africa ...

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The Poll Tax Rebellion

Tommy Sheridan and Ronnie Stevenson at press conference in Saughton Prison

 “Ye cannae beat her son, she’s faced doon Galtieri and beat the miners. She’s the iron lady”
This was a common response at the early anti-poll tax meetings organised in housing schemes across Scotland in 1988.



A battered and bruised working class had witnessed a rampant and brutal Prime Minister, in the shape of Margaret Thatcher, cruelly and callously despatch troops to recapture the tiny Falklands Islands and sink ships in retreat from the battle in 1982 and tool up the ‘polis’ in paramilitary gear and tactics to crush the aspirations of miners in 1984. Their only crime was a desire to defend their jobs and communities for future generations. 


by Tommy Sheridan, Chair of the Scottish and All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation


With less than 40% of the popular vote a deeply divided Britain returned her to office for a record third term in office at the 1987 general election.  Her victories over the Argentinean conscripts and the proud National Union of Mineworkers emboldened her to implement even more assaults on the welfare state, trade union rights and the very concept of ‘society’.  ‘There’s no such thing’ she declared at a Royal Geographical dinner to the applause of the rich and powerful throughout the land who welcomed her determination to destroy socialism, human solidarity and the collectivist spirit which renders a society worthy of the description.

This was the political background to the mighty anti-poll tax struggle.

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When Mass Campaigning Defeated the Poll Tax


A Residential School setting in West Linton in the Scottish Borders seems a weird place to start the story of the poll Tax but given the history of it’s demise it is as good a place to start as any.

by Ronnie Stevenson, secretary Mount Florida anti-poll tax union, Glasgow

At a Militant (the forerunner of the Socialist Party in England and Wales and the International Socialists in Scotland.) conference in 1987, called to discuss resistance to the Poll Tax Labour Councillor Chic Stevenson moved that we begin to organise for total defiance of the Poll Tax. The strategy involved arguing for all councillors to refuse to implement the tax and for building support for a mass non-payment campaign should it be implemented. 

The decisions which were taken shaped the campaign over the next few years. The ideas of a mass campaign against the poll tax, for building anti-poll tax unions, for mass organised non-payment and non-compliance by local authorities and council trade unions, and for industrial action to defend those victimised for non-payment or non-implementation were brought together in a Militant pamphlet in April 1988. 

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