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Another Scotland …

IMG_3025-Cat-Boyd-Chair-of-Coalition-of-Resistance-Scotland-290x290

Cat Boyd, Chair of Coalition of Resistance Scotland

 

As we head enter the final 12 months before referendum day, momentum is gathering for this year’s Radical Independence Conference to be held in the Glasgow Marriot on November 23rd. The left-wing campaign, launched at a break through conference of over 900 people last November, has been endorsed by politicians, grass-roots campaigners, trade-unionists and cultural figures.

Independent MSP Jean Urquhart said: “Last year RIC established its place in politics in Glasgow, and one year on, the movement is nationwide. The biggest challenges this year are to engage with voters from Shetland to the Borders, especially those who do not vote or are not registered to vote. I believe that the radical message passionately delivered by Radical Independence will be key to empowering those in Scotland who feel disenchanted or powerless by politics as usual.”

A broad range of organisations and individuals will discuss and plan a blueprint to transform Scotland after independence, as well as workshops on how we can build a campaign that can win on September 18th, 2014.

Patrick Harvie put the conference in international context: “Around the world all countries are facing unprecedented social, economic and ecological challenges. Scotland has the opportunity next year not just to wave flags and talk about national identity, but to accept responsibility for these challenges and take our society and our economy in a new direction. The Radical Independence Campaign has the chance to connect with people by articulating the need for that transformational change, and how it will benefit people across Scotland.”

John Finnie MSP said: “It’s all to play for so let’s get out there and campaign for real social justice in an independent, nuclear-free Scottish republic”. In that spirit, Professor Gregor Gall added, “The RIC 2013 conference is the essential place to be if you want to help shape and deliver the radical case for independence. Be there or regret it on 18 September 2014.”

As well as MSPs, a host of academics, campaign groups and cultural figures have endorsed the conference and are looking forward to turning ideas into action, and serious proposals for how an independent Scotland could work for the mass of working people, unlike Westminster which the campaign says acts first and foremost in the interests of corporations and a wealthy elite.

Isobel Lindsay of Scottish CND said ‘’Most of the Left in Scotland are now pro-independence and have increasing confidence and ambition. Last year’s RIC was an important contribution to this. This year’s conference will give us the vision and political energy to take back into our local communities.’

Dennis Canavan is also keen to bring together progressive thinking with independence: ‘Independence is a great opportunity for radical change and this Conference is a great opportunity to to help shape Scotland’s future.’

The Proclaimers, long-standing proponents of independence have also offered support to the conference, ‘Best wishes to the Radical Independence Conference 2013. We are life long supporters of Scottish independence, who want to see an independent nation, where the resources are used to the benefit of all people, not just big business.’ Guitarist Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai also sees merit in proposing radical ideas throughout the referendum: ‘The Radical Independence Conference is an important event and will play a vital part in shaping a fairer independent Scotland.’

The referendum debate has opened up space to think big, new and fresh about the sort of society we are hoping to be part of. In that spirit poet Alan Bisset said, ‘The Radical Independence Conference is where the most exciting ideas about Scotland’s future are being discussed. We’re at a crucial point in our nation’s history, and it’s important that the full range of possibilities for Scotland’s working class and other disempowered communities are given prominence and energy. This conference is that place. It could really change things.’

Trade union members will also be in attendance, as the austerity measures implemented by Westminster come in to sharp focus. Sarah Collins, the Chair of the STUC Youth Committee said, ‘This conference gives trade union members a chance to debate and discuss how we can build an independent Scotland that puts workers and welfare first.’

Tickets are being booked from across Scotland, with several places organising transport. The campaign is taking its message to communities up and down the country.

Organisers want this to be a pivotal moment in the campaign for independence and a launch pad into 2014 that will place a radical policy platform at the heart of the debate.

Peter McColl, Edinburgh Uni rector is looking for this years conference to continue the work of building a radical social movement: “The Radical Independence Conference in 2012 was the highlight of the political year for everyone who attended. The energy in the room, the size of the audience and the commitment to new, fresh debate about the potential for a new Scotland was the most exciting political event I’ve ever attended. The Conference in 2013 will be vital to building the popular movement we need to win a new, radical Scotland.”

Shona McAlpine, a member of Women for Independence said, ‘We want to get as many women as men to the conference this year. Our job is to get women to see that their best chance is with a Scottish Government – they need good public services and fair benefits and they’re not going to get that with British Governments whether Tory or New Labour.’

As well as groups mobilizing from all over Scotland, there is international interest in the campaign. Benoit Renaud of Quebec Solidaire who spoke at RIC 2012 highlights the international dynamic at the heart of an independent Scotland: ‘The Radical Independence Conference is the place to go if you want to prove that another Scotland is possible. It’s where people make Scottish independence matter for peace, ecology and social justice’

Developing links with the Catalonian left, the left-wing pro independence Pupular Unity Candidates will be sending a delegation. Quim Arrufat, and MP in the Catalonian parliament said, ‘At a time of economic crisis and austerity, independence must be connected with social justice. We look forward to building links with the Radical Independence Campaign’.

The countdown to September 18th is on. To book your ticket to RIC 2013 simply go to radicalindependence.org.

Another Scotland is coming: be part of it.

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  1. barakabe says:

    I’ll be there. After watching much of these ‘The Big Debate’ shows on TV I just feel so deflated that i’ll need something akin to therapy.

    I mean I know we’re all a bit conservative- its a fear/desire matrix from our evolutionary inheritance- a sort of animalistic greed for things to stay the same, but some folk are terrifyingly so. As long as my biological needs are met ( preferably in comfort, luxury even) and those of my immediate family then I don’t really care what happens to anyone else- is this the position Thatcherism has reduced us all to? Yet the union offers us no certainty. Nothing offers us that impossibility. Existence is all about uncertainty and change is inevitable- we just have to realize what change is for the better. Unionists ( particularly the little Englander’s) want things to go back to an apple orchard pastoral Albion of Constable paintings and sunny feudalism. They want to go back, to regress, recall, return to a former imaginary state of a Golden Age Olde England- we need to go forward and embrace change, but they’re trying to push us back into a world that has already died.
    Being human is to be hostage to metamorphosis, of protean transformation- that is our state. The Phoenix is always changing, change is what defines it. We have to change with it or die ( figuratively speaking of course)- as soon as we refuse to change with it we burn and die, we must become one with it by embracing the flames of transformation. The Phoenix of a new society is already here. Its always happening. Some know it, others don’t, many don’t want to see it. Some feel the fire rising, they feel the heat; others are caged in ice of the past, they see faint flickers through the wall of ice, they feel a thawing, but it makes them anxious- instead they want ice, past, darkness, for nothing to change, as it is all they have known. The rising fire of the Phoenix frightens them. You cannot bring back the old world, the dead phoenix, no more than you can bring back the thawed ice of the water that has evaporated.
    The Phoenix of a new society that will rise from the ashes of unionism will not look anything like it, at first we might not even recognise it- at present we cannot recognise it fully nor does it feel like anything we have known or know even now- it will be a transfiguration into something utterly original. More like a Golden Age than that of the wistful imaginings of the unionists. This is why they oppose it, they want it to be like what they’ve already known, like the old phoenix- but the new Phoenix is not to be controlled or tamed so easily. They think meddling and pottering around the edge of the ashes will bring back the old phoenix. Those of us who accept the Phoenix is already here and that its fires are rising are helping its emergence, even if we don’t fully understand all its transformative powers as yet.- we do know the heat, the change, and its presence is good. When the Phoenix is fully reborn the unionists will want it to resemble the old phoenix as much as possible, even when we tell them: “You will take ashes and memory over real fire?”
    “Yes” they will say, “For its all we have known.”
    Well according to the Persian Myth a Phoenix is born every 500 years and if the Union of 1707 was the old phoenix I ain’t waiting around until 2207 for the new one to arrive.

    1. What a fantastic reply. You’ve put very nicely into words the sort of feelings I am currently experiencing. I can sense change is coming and I am keen to embrace it even though I don’t fully understand its shape or nature as yet. All I know is that it has to come and I am here, ready to greet it at the door.

    2. Abulhaq says:

      Beautifully eloquent! Now we have to address the re-education of the doleful provincially minded inhabitants of blasted Scotlandshire who if left unchecked would keep that fabulous phoenix non-resurgent. Latest polls showing these unreconstructed Ukanians to have a commanding majority, the Yes campaign has got to turn up the heat and to hell with being politically respectable and “nice”.

      1. barakabe says:

        I must admit to a certain amount of doubt as to Alex Salmond’s unshakable belief in human positivity and his insistence upon playing nice with a rotten cabal of hypocritical crooks…but then he’s been here before- this almost like a rerun of the last Scottish election when the Polls said Labour were ahead by 15 points; they couldn’t have been more wrong. Hopefully this time next year we’ll be saying the same. Maybe, just maybe, the bypassing of mainstream channels, in favour of canvassing face to face at grass roots level will be viewed in retrospect as a the defining strategic decision.

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