The Radical Independence Campaign: Inside the 2023 Conference

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The Radical Independence Campaign hosted a conference in Glasgow to review and share their agenda for the future

On Saturday 21 October, the Radical Independence Campaign held a conference in Glasgow to announce their efforts towards achieving Scottish independence.

The conference took place in the Renfield Training and Conference Centre which welcomed people across all backgrounds, ages and genders.

Attendees were greeted with an organised conference room with a banner reading the Freedom Come All Ye: “Broken faimlies in lands we’ve herriet, Will curse Scotland the Brave nae mair, nae mair.” This poem by Hamish Henderson is a herald of change in Scotland, a call for freedom, and a symbol of the campaign’s philosophy.

RIC on Breaking the Impasse

The Radical Independence Campaign’s event titled, “Break The Impasse: Towards Independence” opened with a panel of speakers from the Scottish Socialist Youth and Scottish Greens Party.

The panel members gave their own statement on what they wanted for Scotland and their role within RIC. One such member was Kirsten Murray, from Scottish Socialist Youth, who intends to bring more feminism into the movement. She recognised the rent crisis caused by “exploitative landlords” and the worsening mental health crisis.

The Radical Independence Campaign cares about local people and their own problems. For instance, expressing solidarity with the working class during the energy crisis and recognising the alienation of the islands.

The speakers were also knowledgeable of Scottish issues and charismatic. After each said their piece, the audience agreed with explosive applause.

The Radical Independence Campaign also means to bring ordinary people into the heart of change in Scotland so that they know their rights and stand strongly for what they believe in. They are focused on building a functional campaign of non-violent direct action as well as separating the idea of independence from the SNP.

Protests, marches and tactical voting fall under indirect action. While these can gain publicity and delay action from the opposition, they often do not bring long-term or effective change.

Direct action encompasses strikes, sit-down protests, occupation of government buildings and slow downs. These gather support and attention, as well as inspire action or change, especially if they inconvenience those who the campaigners are acting against.

RIC’s Inclusive Workshops

After the panel addressed the audience, everyone split into groups to discuss their experiences of the 2014 independence referendum. Everybody had a chance to give their account of the Yes and No campaigns. For my group, we all found the campaigns to be very divisive.

Afterwards, a spokesperson from each group came to the front and explained what their team discussed. Their summaries were warmly welcomed and carefully listened to.

Following a lunch break, we split into groups again for another set of workshops. I joined the How to Blockade the British State. The workshop was run by two members of the group Climate Camp.

Combining the climate action and independence movements, the workshop drew in the young and old members of the audience; giving their own variety of perspectives and experiences. The discussion opened with a list of examples of civil disobedience. Including but not limited to, the theft of the coronation stone, a flaming Union Flag thrown at the Queen, and the treetop protests of Pollok Park.

The presenters encouraged those listening to play to their strengths in the event of civil disobedience such as if you are skilled in disguise, pretend to be a worker to infiltrate a specific perimeter. They also reminded us to be realistic and to not resort to violence, only inconvenience.

They emphasised the importance of sending a message, in place of gaining publicity.

A Summary of the Event

Overall, the Radical Independence Campaign event was enlightening and an informative presentation of a political movement that is rarely seen in mainstream media. Those in charge ignited feelings of strength and motivation in the crowd. They encouraged us to take a stand and hold the next generation’s interests at heart. Finally, they wanted us to stand up for ourselves and demand change for Scotland. For the better.

Featured Image Credit: Elena Golovchenko, pexels.com

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First year journalism student. From Aboyne, Aberdeenshire but lived in Doha for eight years.

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