Scotland is a small nation in a world dominated by giant corporations and investment companies. The ideology of corporate capital is neo-liberalism – the claim that maximum benefit derives from the removal of all barriers to competition in terms of trade or any form of democratic, governmental intervention in the economy.
For Scotland this has meant the stripping away of industrial jobs and the external control of most of its remaining productive assets – both natural and human. Oil, gas, chemical derivatives, fish processing and whisky are all predominantly externally owned. Scotland’s precious human resources in terms of medical knowledge and education are under siege.
The key question today is whether this neo-liberal dominance should continue or whether there can be the redevelopment of popular, democratic control over the economy, of an active industrial strategy and of public and cooperative ownership and what political form this should take.
The conference will debate these alternatives. On the one side there is membership of the EU Single Market or the type of trade treaties planned by the Conservatives – both of which will incorporate neo-liberal prohibitions. On the other, there is the challenge of whether it is possible to pioneer a democratically-controlled economy drawing collective political strength from the nations of Britain separately or collectively within a federation.
11.00 Chair’s opening remarks Denise Christie
11.10 BIG CAPITAL, NEO-LIBERALISM AND SMALL NATIONS
1 p.m Discussion groups
a) Trade Treaties and CorporatePower
Vince Mills (Chair Phil McGarry)
b) Is the Single Market compatible with a Radical Economic Manifesto?
Gordon Martin (Chair Scot Walker)
c) Democratic control within a federal Britain
Pauline Bryan, (Chair Tom Morrison)
2.30 DEMOCRATIC CONTROL WITHIN A FEDERAL BRITAIN ?
Reports from discussion groups
Neil Findlay MSP