Announcing the 2023 Declaration of Calton Hill

For a Scottish Republic. Not Our King. 

On September 18th, 2014, something truly remarkable in politics happened.  By the time of the Scottish independence referendum, held on that day, 97% of Scotland’s potential electorate had registered to vote and 85% took part.  This level of democracy is something unprecedented anywhere in the UK’s history.  This was a Democratic Revolution.

If ‘IndyRef1’ had been left in the hands of the SNP leaders, the final 45% ‘Yes’ vote would have been considerably smaller.  However, many organisations were created, during the two-year period of heady democratic political discussion and debate.  In the process, a Rainbow Alliance of women, people from LBGT+, BME and migrant backgrounds, local community activists and artists was developed.  The Radical Independence Campaign (RIC), Women for Independence, Africans for an Independent Scotland, English People for Independence, Scots Asians for Independence and the National Collective (Imagine a Better Scotland), were just some of these.

Meetings were held across Scotland in community and social centres, town and village halls.  These brought back many into active politics after a long absence and for others this was the very first time they participated.  Vibrant online campaigning undermined ‘Project Fear’s misinformation.  A new pro-independence media was created e,g. The National and Bella Caledonia (self determination, autonomy, independence).  The National Collective organised well attended ‘Yestival’ events throughout Scotland with many artists performing.  In a demonstration of ‘internationalism from below’ solidarity rallies and meetings were held in England, Wales and Ireland.

IndyRef1 brought about the mainstreaming of Scottish independence as a political issue.  We still live with its consequences today.  Conservatives and reactionaries want to overthrow its legacy.  Unionists have moved ever further Right.  ‘Better Together’ gave way to ‘Bitter Together.’

And now the UK state’s Supreme Court has ruled that there is no constitutional road to Scottish independence.  The Union will be maintained by any means necessary under the UK’s s anti-democratic Crown Powers.  Many liberals have become paralysed as their ‘Devolution-all-round’ UK has given way to a toxic ‘Brexit Britain’.  None of the contending SNP leaders or Alba have a viable strategy to bring about independence in the face of this. 

On May 6th, the UK state-orchestrated coronation of Charles takes place in London.  Charles represents the pinnacle of the UK’s political order, based on the sovereignty of the Crown-in-Westminster.  Our Republic is organising a protest on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill, a place with a long tradition of democratic dissent.  The 2023 Declaration of Calton Hill, initiated by RIC, has been drawn up to win support for the assertion of the republican, democratic sovereignty of the Scottish people.  Its initial signatories are drawn from the worlds of Scottish politics, grassroots campaigning and from Scotland’s vibrant cultural scene. 

Your signature can be given online here:  

The aim is to bring together once more that Rainbow Alliance which achieved so much in 2014.  We have no constitutional means to achieve Scottish independence.  Our protest on May 6th anticipates the withdrawal of participation in the UK state’s directly imposed institutions and extra-constitutional, non-violent, direct action until we complete Scotland’s Democratic Revolution.

Photo by Julia Solonina on Unsplash

Comments (14)

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  1. Antoine Bisset says:

    The only route to independence is secession. The SNP threw that away in 2015. (An independent Scotland does not need an SNP, it needs Tories and Labour, that is “normal” political parties. But SNP members would lose their sinecures.)
    All we can do now is elect pro-independence MSPs and hold votes to secede, in Holyrood, until one of the votes reaches a majority. We then need our MSPs to have the courage to let the world, and Westminster, know that it’s done.
    Then the fun begins, as do the many administrative processes*; currency, (Swiss franc?), civil service rearrangement, disposition of joint assets, civil and military, and so forth.

    Does the SNP even have a list of these?

    1. Dissenter says:

      You mean an undemocratic coup d’etat that would leave Scotland as a pariah state denied international recognition? There is either a referendum and a yes vote or there is continued devolution, anything else is a fantasy and a dangerous one at that.

      1. Antoine Bisset says:

        If the majority of elected representatives vote for it, it is not undemocratic. Next up “Claim of Right” -the Scottish people are sovereign not Westminster.
        Then we have Article 1514 of the 15th Plenary Session of the UN .

        Not forgetting the arguments for the “right to secession”,

        Altogether it adds up.
        Nobody on the planet, certainly not the officials of the SNP thinks that a referendum vote will result in independence. Not least because a referendum can be fixed. It was the last time. Referenda have to be held by permission from Westminster we have clearly been told. Referenda and the facilitation of independence via Westminster is fantasy, a chimera touted by charlatans to draw in the gullible.

  2. SleepingDog says:

    I wish the republican movement well. However, declaration is humanist (specialist) so I won’t be signing. Does this really capture where we are?
    “Protect the natural ecology of Scotland, including our soil, seas, and rivers, and ensure it benefits all people in perpetuity”
    That is really the problem with democracy, it’s Humans First.

    I also wonder at the framing. If Republicanism is such a big deal, why come to Scotland instead of republics elsewhere? Mind you, I knew a German, back in the days of EU free travel, who didn’t realize how backwards the UK was until living in it for a while. Even so, many Germans seemed to think that Scotland was a land of mist and castles, and its feudal backwardness may have been considered part of its charm, or otherwise. I don’t have figures apart from the BBC, but I was under the impression that gays were over-represented in the royalist institutions, of which the BBC is one.

    Considering the continued adherence to party politics, I think describing our Independence Movement as a ‘democratic revolution’ is unhelpfully poetic.

    1. How would you describe it Sleeping Dog?

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @Editor, (first of all, I meant to write ‘speciesist’ rather than ‘specialist’, probably an autocorrect thing).

        To me, a ‘democratic revolution’ would imply a move away from our watered-down copy of UK political systems, elections, referenda and the prevailing ‘Great Man, Occasionally Woman View of History’ which focuses on party leaders. I appreciate that in some respects, such as environmental action outside of our lime-green political party, there have been flurries and flowerings of mass movement, but without as yet telling effect (that I can see).

        If a democratic revolution has begun in Scotland, it hasn’t yet manifested itself in the way that collective decision-making is taking place, as far as I am aware. There are divisions (such as digital haves and have-nots, Internet users and Internet refuseniks) that, as yet, mean there is no common forum (and many silos). And, frankly, a lack of skills and experience in collective decision-making that reflects the lack of use and practice of democracy in society. For example, few workplaces seem to have adopted it. Perhaps the Curriculum for Excellence was supposed to have fostered it.

        It is very difficult for me to assess the health or otherwise of Scottish grassroots democratic practice. I am concerned that there is a strand of culture war that pushes Postmodernist styles, of a kind I have sometimes labelled cacophonist (when trying to disrupt change), sometimes mystical (when trying to instigate change). I believe that our institutions, including political parties, broadcasters and university departments are prone to capture by these groups, characterised by non-planetary-realistic ideologies (typically anti-science) and whose generally crude sophistry is no match for reason, so they try to shut down (critical-analytical) debates. It may be that your bête noire Spike group falls into this category.

        On the one hand, social media has probably increased public awareness of logical fallacies; on the other hand, in the culture wars’ linguistic arms races, it is often easy enough to repurpose past successful arguments twisted to bear new spins: thus woke becomes foke.

        Does any of this seem familiar?

        1. thanks, reading your link

    2. Evan Alston says:

      Ok SleepingDog. I admit it. I’m not worthy. So I’ve joined RIC instead. You know.

  3. Derek says:

    I was planning to be off for a wander in Glasgow that day. Any chance of the two things being compatible?

  4. Sandy Watson says:

    I’ve signed.
    I want to see my name on it.
    How do I do that?

  5. Sandy Watson says:

    You realise this event is on the same day as a well-publicised AUOB march/rally for independence?

  6. Ivor Telfer says:

    Can someone please tell me what time this event on Calton Hill is taking place? I can’t seem to find it anywhere, just the date. Cheers.

  7. Dave Williamson says:

    Can you confirm times of May 6 Demo on Calton Hill, as I hope to attend? Can’t seem to find details online. Thanks

    1. Hi Dave – its at 3.00 pm on the 6th of May – cheers, Mike

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