RIC Revived

On January 29th, the Radical Independence Campaign held its first AGM (on Zoom) since the dramatic events reported in Bella Caledonia a year ago.  The RIC Revivers have reconstituted local groups and are setting up new ones.  Delegates and individuals attended the AGM from the Borders, Clydebank, Dundee, East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, North Lanarkshire and Stirling.  Our Aberdeen contact was cut off by Storm Malik!  Angus & Mearns, whilst unable to attend, sent in their support for the proposals, which had been circulated beforehand.  Two new affiliated organisations, the Republican Socialist Platform and the SNP Socialists, also attended, whilst individual Scottish Green members were able to announce that their party’s emergency general meeting, held earlier that day, had just voted to look into reaffiliation.

Over the past year, RIC organised a very successful conference on June 12th with guest speakers, Blair Anderson, Graham Campbell, Brenda Eadie, Janet Fenton, Katie Galloghly-Swan and Annie Lane.  This had breakout discussions and practical sessions.  RIC also formed part of the Cop-26 Coalition last November.  Our activities were favourably reported by Nan Spowart in the Sunday National.  This article covered RIC’s special emphasis on the role of stateless nations and indigenous peoples throughout the world.

One of the key issues discussed at our AGM was a revised set of principles.  The original 5 Principles were devised in the context of an official UK/Scottish government referendum.  It soon became clear that even if the independence vote had been won on September 18th 2014, the likely outcome of the subsequent negotiations would have been decidedly Indy-Lite.  The SNP even proposed to bring leading Scottish Unionists, including Gordon Brown, into their side of negotiations!  

Today, we are no longer the same political situation.  Johnson’s reactionary unionist government is prepared to resort to a wide range of the UK state’s anti-democratic Crown Powers, not only to prevent IndyRef2, but even to roll back the limited democracy conceded under the 1998 Devolution-all-round deal.  And we need allies across these islands (and elsewhere, e.g. Catalunya), organised on an internationalism from below basis, to counter their anti-democratic ‘internationalism’ imposed from above, and their alliance with the USA, and any other power opposed to genuine national self-determination.  Against all those who would seek to divide us, RIC also emphasises the principle of unity and solidarity in our diversity.

Therefore, it was unanimously agreed to adopt a new set of 6 Principles suitable for the changed conditions we face.

“The Radical Independence Campaign (Scotland) is a campaigning coalition which stands for and organises around the following Six Principles

1) For a democratic, secular, socially just and environmentally sustainable, Scottish Republic

2) Action based on the sovereignty of the people not the UK Crown, leading to the setting up of a Constituent Assembly

3) Action to establish universal health, care, education, housing, income, pensions, and trade union rights; and to win land reform and challenge environmental degradation

4) Equality and opposition to discrimination on grounds of sex, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion/belief, disability or age

5) Solidarity with the struggles for workers’ rights, democracy and self-determination, based on internationalism from below 

6) Support for Scotland’s artistic and cultural revival and all its languages” 

After a thorough discussion a new constitution was also agreed.  This incorporates the best features of the old one but ditches those that did not work and left many individual members without regular contact.  There is now a national membership, which is encouraged where possible to work in the Local Groups.  Those members, not in Local Groups, can participate in the activities of the national Working Groups.  The new constitution ensures that control rests with active Local Groups and affiliated organisations.  There is no executive body.  Elected office bearers are directly responsible to the bimonthly National Forum delegates.  The Working Groups help RIC members to be active in a wide range of political, economic, social and cultural/artistic activities.

The AGM also discussed our next major conference, to be held in June, around the theme ‘For a democratic Scotland in an environmentally sustainable world’.  As with last year’s conference, there will be a wide range of guest speakers, plenty of discussion and practical workshops as well.  A Working Group is being set up to organise this. 

Furthermore, now there is the real prospect of Covid-19 receding, RIC Local Groups and members will once more be more active in public events.  These will include the All Under One Banner demos.  We will also continue to involve ourselves in local, national and international campaigns, consistent with our Principle 3.  We join these campaigns to offer our support, not to try to manipulate and dominate, as unfortunately some others have tried to do.   We try to persuade people through our solidarity, printed and online media, and open meetings.  In this way we seek to win support for the democratic principle of upholding the sovereignty of the people and for our vision of an independent Scotland.


Image credit: Daniel Seex




Comments (12)

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  1. Sean Clerkin says:

    I believe we need RIC to reconnect to working class communities especially during this torrid time of cost of living increasing poverty and destitution. It is only with the working class to the fore and registered to vote which many are not that we will have any hope of social justice through independence. We have to think about empowering these communities through coops and mutual help to strengthen these communities.
    We are going to see civil strife and action.
    RIC Inmy opinion before was never inclusive keeping out people like myself and making decisions behind closed doors. That must stop. Even this AGM that has been held none of us knew about it. We were not invited to take part. Just some thought from a Socialist Republican.

  2. Dave Coull says:

    This report says “ Our Aberdeen contact was cut off by Storm Malik!”

    Aberdeen wasn’t the only place adversely affected by that Storm ……

    “ Angus & Mearns, whilst unable to attend, sent in their support for the proposals, which had been circulated beforehand.”

    I’m at least half-deaf, my hearing aid doesn’t always work too well, and I struggle with ZOOM technology. Nevertheless, as a founder member of both the Radical Independence Campaign and of our Angus & Mearns group, I did think about taking part in this AGM. However, our electricity was cut off by the storm for a couple of days, from early Saturday morning! But the meeting seems to have gone quite well without me 😀

  3. Cameron Fraser says:

    There comes a time when people just turn off from all the talk, people talking about them and talking at them, self appointed experts, talking heads, who have all the answers. Get into those neglected, written off, working class schemes and ask the people there what would make their daily lives better and why an independent Scotland would work for them, their children and grand children.
    Then start turning the talk into action, take the peoples ideas on board and see if they can be turned into reality.
    People are growing frustrated and hope for a fair, independent Scotland is fading.

    1. Bill says:

      Agree wholeheartedly Cameron. Explain to people the Richard Murphy take on GERS and how we will not be poor. Explain what a simple land tax could mean. Explain how and why we would need to create our own currency. Explain what a ‘ Norwegian’ type scheme on oil revenues could have meant for Scotland and the rest of Britain, had Thatcher not squandered it all. More importantly explain why we need to be an independent nation again and why we need to be a republic. This present Government in Westminster is both corrupt and corrupting. Even the Royal family exhibits hypocrisy and cant in its use of land.

      We do not need to be afraid – there is nothing to fear but fear itself – use the Declaration of Arbroath to show the way forward


  4. Dave Coull says:

    Bill says “Agree wholeheartedly Cameron”

    Agree with what? Apart from suggesting folk should do things members of RIC have already been doing, or seeking to do, the only thing to come across from Cameron’s comment was their own personal lack of hope. That sounds like a personal problem. Sure, the personal is political, but painting the whole world with your own personal despair is not a constructive action programme for the way forward.

    Bill says “use the Declaration of Arbroath to show the way forward”

    You’re not making sense, Bill. On the one hand, you say we of the working class should reject all so-called experts; but you also say we should follow a document written by Abbot Bernard, Chancellor of Scotland, over 700 years ago, and “signed” by the rich and powerful of that age?

    I have campaigned door-to-door in working class housing schemes of Arbroath. I’ll be at the AUOB demonstration in Arbroath on Saturday 2nd April for (belated) celebration of that Declaration. But let’s not pretend it’s all we need in the 21st Century.

    1. Bill says:

      Dave – who wrote it matters not now. What it says is what we can subscribe to. If the King( or source of power) does not perform, then we shall elect another. That is what I was about.

      Regards and thanks for your efforts


    2. Cameron Fraser says:

      Bill, you’re sounding like one of the talking heads.
      I agree with your comment that the personal makes it political but what RIC have done up to now has not registered with the majority of people in the vast working class schemes. There must be a better approach, listening to the folks in these schemes who are unconvinced by the ideas that RIC have come up with. There must be a way to harness that working class support and as far as I can see that means showing those people that their day to day lives will be made better in an independent Scotland. Up to now RIC has failed to do that.
      People need tangible results. If RIC are unable to do this, the electorate will go back to unionist (for now) Labour voting because it offers something or perhaps just stop caring altogether about our country’s independence.

      1. Cameron Fraser says:

        Sorry Bill, my reply was to Dave Coull.
        Sorry for any confusion, my mistake.

  5. Diddy Party says:

    Have the Popular Front for the Liberation of Judea joined up yet?

  6. Ben Yorkston says:

    Talking of red flags – I see the snp socialist group have affiliated – would this be the same group who’s secretary served in the US military? Are we sure that service is over?

    I note the same individual is also claiming to be of Hawaiian origin despite having been born in Minnesota – I can think of nothing more cynical in the current atmosphere than to have claimed this.

  7. SleepingDog says:

    I notice the RIC website seems stuck in a time-warp (still advertising COP-26), hopefully that does not apply to the rest of its politics. If you stick up six principles that are not particularly comprehensive, you are going to make people wonder about obvious omissions, like militarism/commitment to peaceful means, or secrecy/commitment to open governance and rejection of all clandestine operations, or profitarianism/commitment to share the intellectual, scientific and cultural fruits of Scotland freely with world. Plus, of course, some of these principles are already in contention (from 1 and 2, a sovereign and democratic people can overturn nearly everything else on the board). How is RIC going to avoid being top-down if you see the same auld faces at all these events?

    Well, I hope something interesting appears through the smoke. But you really need to grasp the benefits of modern technology to model at scale many system configurations and variations and participations; and if Zoom calls seem high-tech, that is a long, long road ahead. That is, if you really want ground-up democracy (rather than ground-up democracy) your political systems will emerge from massive simulation, not a (all-too-easily compromised) vanguard. But if you want that democracy to respect the only authority anarchists like Bakunin apparently recognized (the reality and rules of the natural world) and the primacy of the living world, you have to impose a form of green authority. Secularism is an important first step. But you need to decide what is real, and what is merely intersubjective, and what is unreal. And what is real cannot have self-contradictions, of the sort that often appear to placate different lobby groups or are injected by the agents of vested interests. Incidentally, why not just ban all racist, misogynist and genocide-worshipping religions, if we want to get real?

  8. David B says:

    I think the first step to radical independence would have to be electing a radical independence government in Holyrood. At present the SNP leadership will be in charge of any independence settlement. Richard Murphy has outlined some of the dangers of their current approach:

    In my opinion, a strategy of independence first, radicalism later will have very harmful effects particularly for the most vulnerable and exploited in our society. There’s a lot of talk above about persuading the working class. Seek to persuade by all means, but also try to listen. People might be wiser than you think.

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