Gathering of pro-independence left comes amid grassroots pro-independence renaissance
THE RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CAMPAIGN (Ric) is organising a conference for 1 October in order to debate the future of the movement for independence, and the strengthening of leftwing demands in the post-Brexit political landscape.
The reorganisation of the radical leftwing pro-independence vehicle is the latest evidence of the re-emergence of the grassroots independence movement in the wake of the vote for Brexit.
Speaking to CommonSpace, Jonathon Shafi, one of the co-founders of the original campaign, told CommonSpace that the pro-independence left had to reassess its position in the wake of profound political changes in the UK, including the UK’s shock vote to leave the EU in June, which led First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to say that a second referendum on Scottish independence was “highly likely”.
Shafi said: “This special conference will put the crisis of the British state in context.
“People will debate the new terrain the independence movement is working in. This is the beginning of a discussion about the work that needs done to prepare for a new referendum” Jonathon Shafi
“People will debate the new terrain the independence movement is working in. This is the beginning of a discussion about the work that needs done to prepare for a new referendum, and about contextualising that as part of the wider struggle for civil rights, equality and democracy that is taking place while the institutions of the old order continue their decline.”
As with previous conferences, which took place in 2012, 2013, 2014 and earlier in 2016, guests from across the European radical left. Previous guest speakers have included representatives of the Catalonian leftwing party the CUP, Quebec socialist party Quebec Solidaire and the US Black Lives Matter movement.
“We will have workshops, plenaries, debates and facilitated sessions that will be based on practical activities. Plus we are bringing the European left together to mark the beginnings of an international response that puts a social alternative to neoliberalism and privatisation.
“We will have guests from the rest of the UK too and local campaigns from Scotland who are organising now against cuts and racism.”
Ric was one of the largest and most influential organisations during the movement for Scottish independence between 2012-14. It organised what it called ‘mass canvasses’, with thousands of activists active in some of Scotland’s most deprived communities across the campaign.
The conference is the latest evidence of the re-emergence of the grassroots Yes movement, with a rally planned for Glasgow Green on 18 September, and the relaunch of the Scottish Independence Convention. An app designed to help grassroots Yes groups reform has also been launched.
It was first revealed at the earlier 2016 Ric conference that talks were underway to reconvene the pro-independence movement.
The conference will take place in the Marriot Hotel in Glasgow, the site of Ric’s 2013 conference, which was the largest indoor gathering of socialists in Scotland for many years.
Scotland’s largest pro-independence party, the SNP, launched its own listening campaign last week (2 September).
Responding to the Ric conference an SNP spokesperson said: “The SNP welcomes the contribution made by other groups seeking to persuade people of the merits of independence. Between now and St. Andrews Day our own members will take part in the party's largest ever listening exercise, seeking to understand in detail how people feel now about Europe, Brexit and independence.”
Picture courtesy of Facebook
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