An Idea for #RIC2013
George Kerevan was quite right to say in the Scotsman yesterday (‘Radical Left’s Referendum Role‘): “RIC is the wild card in next year’s referendum. If the anti-austerity left can convince Scotland’s young people that independence means genuine change, all political bets are off.”
But his idea for a wee green eco vilage is a woefully under-ambitious one. As the greens at a today’s conference will attest, what we really need is the rapid transition to a low carbon economy based on the principles of environmental justice and solidarity with the global south, hand in hand with the demilitarisation of Scotland – and facing up to the toxic legacy of the British State. If there’s any area we need to massively ramp-up our ambition and our urgency it’s on the environment. It’s about the ecology stupid.
However, he is quite right to say that: “The test for RIC 2013 is twofold. First: to give this nascent political coalition a reason to transform itself into a popular movement rather than a debating society. Second: to forge a programme that is effective rather than ideologically pure.”
Today’s gathering will ask questions of the enrage left, dogged by ideologism or ego and destined to be left back in the cold politics of the 1980s (I’m thinking about Gorgeous George and fellow travellers here) and on this Kerevan is also spot-on: “The opposition to Scottish independence in some left-wing quarters because it “threatens the unity of the British working class”. Translation: we prefer the abstract “unity” of Britain, where much of the English working class votes Tory or Ukip, to a practical demonstration of change in Scotland that actually improves the lot of the poor.”
What we will see if that group being left behind.
Yesterday I was criticized for arguing “Why Yes has already won” – to clarify what I mean that what I meant was just that the Union doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, not that there’s any room at all for complacency. The creation of a dissident culture with a radical left united in diversity and spreading a meme of critical thinking can infuse the indy debate with new energy.
With that in mind and to feed into the conference, I’d like to propose a day of action for radical independence in the Spring – where we try and mobilise thousands of people onto the streets to register voters, create some noise, have a presence in communities, distribute posters and information, hold workshops and meetings up and down the land.
One big day of action everywhere drawing on all groups and energies. Let’s call it Scottish Spring and use it as a platform and focus for the months ahead.
Press Release from RIC: Radical Independence Conference to say independence must fulfil “the will of the Scottish people” for public ownership of key utilities
Conference organiser Jonathon Shafi will say “1000 people have gathered today because they all believe that independence must be about radical social and economic change.
“One key message we are sending today is that we are united in our belief that an independent Scotland must take our key utilities back into public ownership. The November YouGov poll showed that public ownership of our key utilities is overwhelmingly the will of the Scottish people. We need to tie that desire of Scots for public ownership to the cause of independence.”
“The fundamentals that we all rely on in our day to day life – energy, housing, education, health and transport – must be run by and for the Scottish people, not for profit. Whether it’s Labour or the Tories or the Lib-Dems at Westminster, they’ve all shown themselves completely under the thumb of the big multinational corporations. The independence movement needs to prove to the Scottish people that it’s different and is willing to put their interests before the interests of the super-rich.”
The conference is organised into 10 workshops to look at what a new economy and a new democracy in an independent Scotland could look like.
Ideas include a Green New Deal to create hundreds of thousands of jobs from Scotland’s renewables potential. Overhauling the finance and banking industry so that they are run as safe deposit’s for people’s money and to fund productive investment, rather than speculation. Radical decentralisation so that communities can make decisions over how they want public finances invested in their area.
– The Scottish actor David Hayman will read out a ‘Radical Independence Declaration’ which will say that “In the gap between what is possible and what is possible at Westminster lies all human hope.”
– The conference will unveil a new poster campaign ‘The Truth about Britain…It isn’t working for you’ which shows how Britain is behind our European neighbours on almost every indicator of social, economic and political progress.
– Christina McKelvie, SNP MSP, will be speaking in the middle session on the Common Weal vision for Scotland
– There will be international speakers from independence movements in Basque and Catalonia
Call Jonathon Shafi on 07983537187 for further information after the conference.
On the day of the conference call James Foley on 07708295900.