Siol nan Gaidheal
Cultural Oppression

Unity amongst Scots becomes daily more pressing, and it is essential that the lead given by Siol nan Gaidheal over the years, in looking to our land, our history, our people, our experiences, our values and our languages in order to rediscover our culture and commonalities... is not only maintained but built upon. Anyone who has ever been a member of Siol nan Gaidheal has discovered that it takes no great effort to put aside the divisive adherences of religious and class bigotry. Once a person understands that they are first and foremost a Scot, and that our country has been manipulated for centuries, to the great hurt of its people, by devious means of "divide and rule", and through the inherent suspicions of our nation regarding religion, class-based party politics and old Lowland against Highland antagonisms, then it is a simple enough matter to ask "what is more important, age-old animosities created by others outwith Scotland, or the forging of a new Scotland where we can feel confident enough and proud enough of our genuine history to proceed in harmony in taking our proper place in the world?" We in the Siol nan Gaidheal Organisation have sought to rid ourselves of the myths created against us and reject the belief that Scotland is naturally divided and would degenerate into battling "factions" or "tribes" without the "civilizing" influence of the English and their supposedly virtuous worldview.

Many people in Scotland are burdened unnecessarily. Whether it be through poverty, racism, ageism, sexism or unemployment, how does a nation unempowered like ourselves, tackle the essential tasks we face when the nation as a whole is in spirit oppressed and passive? The people of our country are in many ways prevented from attending to the maintenance of the nation in its distinctiveness because the manifest thrust of the imperialist powers at work in Scotland is towards dividing and annihilating our authentic cultural identity. Erode our differences from the imperial "motherland" and one gets the sought-after cultural levelling conducive to abject political acquiescence. To resist this, the new orthodoxy must thus be one of unity and however nascent at present, unity of purpose is there to be fostered and will with time inevitably surge to the fore. The time to debate our re-emergence as a functioning nation is now. It is time to examine in rigour and honesty what has befallen us in the years since the union with England and to move on with confidence from our oppressed or more exactly suppressed cultural state.

What is the nature of this largely subtle oppression? For years the prevailing concerns amongst politicians from Scotland have been economic (job losses etc.) This has suited the unionists admirably as it has kept the arguments away from fundamental issues of identity and national loyalty. When the Scots eventually wake up to their insidious betrayal, the anger and sense of cultural loss will be profound and the effects will be as nothing yet seen. Awareness and education are, in this context, crucial.

Meantime, we can learn from others whose oppression has been fierce. The Australian Aborigines, The North American Indians and many other victims of colonialism and imperialism (two wholly interchangeable terms) who have suffered in a similar fashion. Let it never be forgotten, despite the scandalous denials from revisionist and liberal unionists that genocide has been practiced in our land, that assimilation goes on, and that cheque-book ethnic cleansing is a contemporary reality. Equally our history has been relegated to an optional, ghettoized section of the curriculum, leading to continued passivity on questions of national awareness and allegiance. Much has to be done to reverse the invidious trends of Britishism in our educational establishments. A fostering of native linguistic forms and practice, and the possibility for example of conducting ones education through the medium of Gaelic would do much to help coalesce native sensibilities towards a healthy sense of national identity. While it is important that we look to other ethno-cultural configurations in order to broaden our knowledge and understanding of our own status as an essentially negated people, it is only through our own endeavours that sustainable knowledge, arguments and action will come in the defence of our nation and its future.

It is quite evident that many Scots are blind to the situation they find themselves in. On the other hand it is not unusual for interested outsiders with even a most superficial knowledge of our cultural and political circumstances to discern policies which result in Scots being disadvantaged in their own land. Many English nationals thrive here however, without the slightest allegiance to Scottish values or mores, grasping opportunities, introducing values fostered by the English class system and, in typical colonial fashion, exerting control, if not of whole communities, then certainly of committees, boards, and associated bodies. English middle managers transferred to Scotland, English administrators of our cultural and environmental organisations or English "good-lifers" in our rural areas DO NOT BECOME SCOTTISH. Nor do they wish to, a few isolated examples notwithstanding. Why should they? "We're all British aren't we?" Quod erat demonstrandum.

The present political leadership in Scotland must be condemned. It consists of marginal men and women who ape the rules of their colonial masters sitting until now in a foreign parliament. They should be despised for their intellectual and emotional cowardice, ineptitude and for their unquestionable treason. Future generations will undoubtedly despair at the nadir that our current political culture has reached. What could be more bizarre than individuals who want independence voting for blatantly unionist parties like Labour and the Liberal Democrats, while the only political party standing for independence attaches itself with umbilical-like adherence to the British monarchy, the Commonwealth, not to mention some of the most worrying unifying trends of the otherwise worthwhile European Union.

To "rise and become a nation again" requires us to first recognise our common humiliation and then to act against it. How dare English voices speak for us in the world? How dare an English Parliament decide for us? They do however, and with the ready compliance of not only Scottish unionist politicians but many other Scots as well. Only when this is spelt out and fully understood and acted upon can we claim to be principled people who value one another's worth before self-aggrandisement whether at home or abroad.

The idiosyncratic "cringe" of so many Scots however is not unlike that of other colonised peoples who have been oppressed by those with greater status, power and wealth. In our case the dominant culture has been English and it has been powerful and influential enough to impose its norms and values as the unquestioned orthodoxy in Scotland. Many Scots have internalized the values of the cultural oppressor and can never measure up to them fully without changing dress, speech or aspirations. If we change, as many have done, there is a conflict with our ancestral voices, but if we acknowledge our authentic cultural selves then we live in conflict with the oppressor.

Let us not understate the toll that internalization of foreign, in this instance English and latterly Anglo-American values has taken of our people... hatred of our Scottish nature, low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority. The self-loathing has been such that many Scots have turned on their own people in an attempt to destroy Scottishness and its attendant associations with supposed "backwardness", "couthiness" and "parochialism".

Well into the twentieth century and indeed in certain respects up until today, concerted ethnocide has been implemented in our country. If not always purposeful, then it has certainly been effected through criminal negligence. The destruction of the Gaelic language, the extirpation of Scots dialect forms in everyday English language usage, the belittling of our folk traditions, the abandonment of our material heritage, the occulting of our national history and crucially the cancerous spread of pan-Englishness can be squarely laid at the feet of the apologists and agents of Union.

Those of us who recognise the oppression also recognise the often subtle cultural and political oppression meted out, intentionally or not, by the agencies of Union, also recognise that it can be dangerous to go against these people. The murder of Willie McRae and the intolerable and largely unreported harassment, provoking and surveillance of nationalists show that the "saintly" British State will stop at nothing to silence seditious Jocks and prevent "rebellion" spreading.

The subjugation of our country will continue until we become absolutely clear that :

through Britishism

-Our nationhood is denied.
- Our country is artificially divided.
- Our sovereign rights are infringed.
- Our cultural values are distorted.
- Our linguistic heritage is ridiculed.
- Our minds are colonised.
- Our worth is unrecognised.
- Our future is jeopardised.

Henceforth we must throw off the stifling sycophancy of loyal British Unionism and dispel the myths and orthodoxies which maintain this subjugation. We must reject the negative images of ourselves foisted upon us by our internal and external detractors in order that we may grow in justified pride and freedom. We must seize what is ours and only ours-the right and indeed communal and cultural duty to be Scottish.

We will say who we are and where we are going. Further, let it be said once and for all and with no thought for the cosy sensibilities of the Brit faction in our country, that:
- The English are foreign neighbours.
- The Scots who act as colonial minions and administrators are traitors, as are those who participate in an English Parliament.
- We reclaim our heritage.
- We reclaim our right to define ourselves.
- We reclaim our own unrevised History.
- We reclaim our community and its constituent network of solidarities.
- We reclaim our right to tackle our problems in our own fashion.
- We reclaim our right to form our own relationships with other countries.
- We reclaim our right to halt the purchase of our land by foreigners.
- We reclaim our right to raise our children as citizens of a free Scottish nation.

We must uncover the events and weaknesses in our past which affect us so dearly today. If we know nothing of, nor care little about, the inextricable link between our land, our culture and our people, about our distant genesis as a Gaelic speaking Celtic Nation-State, about Wallace and Bruce, the inequity of Union, the Clearances and the actions and works of Scottish men and women within the confines of our unique socio-cultural environment, then we can offer no argument against the complete assimilation of Scotland to England. This has been the essence of the SNP's manifest failure to date. Economic arguments, however valid, are not enough. National identity and allegiance are in the final analysis the two factors most likely to influence any move towards national self-determination.

The time is near; with the creation of the essentially powerless Scottish Parliament, it will not be too long before the Anglo-British Government realises that the old adage holds true "you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time". When the Scottish people wake up to yet another English "con", and demand a completely sovereign, independent parliament we may then begin to see an end to the domination of our people by a foreign government and its cadre of perennial colonial administrators and a genuinely new beginning for Scotland and its people.

Sovereignty lies with the Scottish people and most certainly not with careerist, unionist politicians nor yet with "grace and favour" half-measure parliaments. The Labour Party has shown in the past that they are not to be trusted, they have in the past betrayed the Scottish people and, if we are not vigilant, will do so again.

Siol nan Gaidheal will, for its own part, and in the challenging time ahead, maintain a resolute and informed alertness.


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