There's more to politics than parties

If politics and uncertainty seem to go hand in hand, the last few years bear this out with a vengeance. We continue to suffer Tory austerity in response to the 2008 crash. The outcome of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the 2017 general election and the mess that is Brexit leave many disillusioned. The mainstream progressive parties, SNP and Labour, put their tribal interests and exaggerated differences before united opposition to increasing inequality promoted by the Westminster policy agenda.

We are continually told that “there is no alternative” to global capitalism, yet this is doing untold damage to our environment, our communities and the quality of our lives. Meanwhile millions of people remain poor and powerless because the market dominates our society, whilst a misogynistic and racist culture in the White House, and elsewhere, poisons social relations.

Democratic Left Scotland is a non-party political organisation that offers a space for all – whether members of a political party or not – who agree with our outlook to come together to discuss ideas and policies that can help develop progressive political activity.

Political parties remain important, but they need to reconnect with the need for progressive social change. We reject politics that stifle genuine debate and recognise that no single group or standpoint holds all the answers to the problems facing our society.

We are trying to develop a politics that starts from popular activity – in workplaces, localities and voluntary associations – and builds connections to the world of parties and government, on the one hand, and the world of ideas and culture, on the others.

What does Democratic Left Scotland add?

Our approach to politics is radical, feminist and green.

Radical because we are concerned with the underlying, structural causes of problems such as poverty, inequality, violence and pollution and aspire towards an inclusive, more equal society in which everyone is supported and encouraged to play a full part, within a more just and sustainable world.

Feminist because we seek to abolish the unequal division of wealth, work and power between men and women and to promote a better understanding of the connections between personal life and politics.

Green because we believe that our present system of economic organisation is socially and environmentally destructive, and that a more balanced relationship between human activity and the planet will be better for us and future generations.

Where we come from and what we stand for

In May 1999, at the time of the first election to Scotland’s new Parliament, Democratic Left Scotland was established as an autonomous organisation, reflecting the new political settlement.

We look forward to a society in which people are free from all forms of exploitation and oppression, and have the resources, capabilities, opportunities and desire to run their own lives, both as individuals and as members of society.

Our outlook is not static and we are always open to new ideas. We draw freely on the values and perspectives developed by socialists and Marxists, feminists, greens, anti-racists and those progressing the politics of age, sexuality and disability.

We seek to promote discussion and activity among committed individuals, social movements, trade unions and political parties. We encourage our members to work for the continued renewal of democracy and the full development of the powers of Scotland’s Parliament.