Today, more than four years after that campaign, while the SNP remains the party in government in Scotland and holds the majority of Scotland’s Westminster seats, and as the constitutional crisis engendered by Brexit approaches crisis point, the Scottish government and the SNP continue to engage with the state broadcaster as though it is a neutral agent and an honest broker. It is neither. Outcry over the treatment of Fiona Hyslop MSP, the Scottish government’s Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, on BBC Question Time (Thursday 7 February 2019) is nothing new.
Now that the leader of the British unionists in Scotland, Ruth Davidson, has indicated the British government will refuse to permit another democratic referendum on independence until at least 2027, we must take this as a sign that no permission will be granted – period. This means we must now articulate this to the wider movement; that is that the ordinary democratic road has been blocked, forcing us to think of an alternative. That alternative is the more militant, revolutionary road – as described briefly hereinabove. The time has come for the independence movement to start thinking in terms of revolutionary action.
Demonstrations of the popular will of the movement are important, but we must bare in mind that marches and rallies serve an internal rather than an external function in the broader strategy of resistance. The unionist media has rightly pointed out - something we already know - that marches do not win people over to our cause. This was never the purpose of the popular demonstration. Convincing others of our need for independence is of the greatest importance, and - within the movement - is proper to the role of the revolutionary praxis of education, organisation, and agitation.
Civil society is a naturally cautious and conservative set of relations and institutions, and when it is governed – if we can even describe such as governance – by the unambitious and women and men who are essentially followers of whimsical public demand it loses any forward momentum that theretofore existed. It gives way to socio-political inertia and begins to atrophy. There exists no better example of this than Brexit Britain.
Governments come and go, but all the while there remains a permanent sub-structure to the state – the bureaucratic state – that remains essentially unaltered no matter which particular political party is in government or which particular personality is head of state or head of government.
This was a state of emergency, and, as the dominant classes intend neoliberalism to be a long-term politico-economic project, there had to be a permanent policing solution to facilitate it.
Pierre Bourdieu's identification of intellectuals as the "increasingly dominated fraction of the dominant class" is useful, but this analysis of intra-class power struggle goes far beyond the boundaries of the academy.
Democracies must of necessity have their guardians – a difficulty given the human condition, admittedly. Whether a constitutional judiciary, a senatorial office, or a technocracy – something is required as a ballast to safeguard our freedom from the natural atrophy to which democracy predisposed.