Conference to hold national conference to discuss future of pro-independence left
THE RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CAMPAIGN is set to discuss new strategies for organising among the Scottish working class at its forthcoming conference (1 October), including how to organise the Yes vote in workplaces in the event of a second referendum on Scottish independence.
The RIC conference will include a sessions on work and the economy, including workshops under the titles the ‘Return of Activism: Organising in your community and workplace’ and ‘Austerity Unravelling: Winning the ideological battle for a new economy’.
Speaking ahead of the conference in Glasgow’s Marriott Hotel, one of the movement’s leading trade unionists, Sarah Collins, said RIC should consider campaigns based within the workforces of major Scottish employers.
One of the organisers for the Better than Zero movement to improve working conditions in the service sector, Collins, who is also an expert in employment law, told CommonSpace that RIC should up its game in terms of organising within workplaces.
Trade Union activist Sarah Collins at a RIC event in 2014
She said: “RIC was absolutely right to deploy a strategy of mass canvasses and self-organisation in Scotland’s working class communities, and we should do so again on an even greater scale.
“But the yes movement didn’t take adequate opportunity to engage in an intervention into another important area of people’s lives – work.”
RIC was one of the most active and practical of the campaigns for independence during the 2014 referendum, organising what it called ‘mass canvasses’ in dozens of working class estates which they claimed had been left behind by mainstream politics.
A post-referendum survey found that 39 per cent of Yes activists were involved in its activities.
Collins added: “We could consider developing a strategy for workplace intervention, with policies and ideas that relate to people’s experience of work in the 21st century, which has seen increasing precarity in hours, conditions and pay.
“RIC includes a lot of trade unionists, who represent a lot of experience of raising political arguments in a workplace setting. These experiences and abilities could be utilised in a future independence referendum.”
Leading Scottish historian Neil Davidson, who has also been associated with the campaign and written about RIC in academic journals, has also suggested that the leftwing pro-independence movement could improve its campaigning operation by reaching into workplaces.
In a post-referendum synopsis for the journal New Left Review, Davidson noted that the No campaign outmanoeuvred Yes in workplaces, where employers told their workforces their jobs could be in danger in the event of Scottish independence.
The final days of the 2014 saw some of Scotland’s private businesses send emails and letters or hold meetings with their staff where bosses told their staff it was the company’s position was for a No vote.
The full timetable for the event is below. Tickets for the conference can be bought here.
Pictures courtesy of Facebook, Danny Rooney
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