2016 conference aims to promote radical politics ‘beyond elections’
THE RADICAL INDEPENDENCE CAMPAIGN (Ric) is set to hold its fifth national conference focusing on debates about the way to achieve independence.
The conference, scheduled to meet in the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh in on 20 February , will hear from figures on the left of 2014’s Scottish Independence referendum and seeks to re-energise a radical politics that goes “beyond elections”.
Speakers at the one day conference will include veteran independence campaigner Jim Sillars, Rise candidate for Glasgow and columnist for The National Cat Boyd, Director of the Common Weal think tank Robin McAlpine and Green co-convenor Maggie Chapman.
Speaking to CommonSpace, one of the conference organisers Myshele Haywood of Aberdeen Ric, said that the independence movement needed to rise above the “competitive” nature of party politics.
She said: “We will be debating routes to independence, not just independence for its own sake but for social change. We will also be discussing strategies for social change more generally, because we recognise that independence isn’t on the immediate horizon.”
“Politics is about more than parties. RIC is a place for people to unite around shared values, no matter which rosette they wear during election season.” Myshele Haywood
“Politics is about more than parties. Ric is a place for people to unite around shared values, no matter which rosette they wear during election season. Our diversity makes Ric fertile ground for discussion and exploration.”
Themes discussed at the conference will include resisting war and trident, campaigning against austerity and in support of refugees. The conference will also have a focus on campaigning against fracking and for renewable energy, with speakers from anti-fracking group Hands Over Our Forth.
The conference will also feature meetings on the EU with award winning historian Neil Davidson and a discussion on the state of Scottish media with speakers including CommonSpace editor Angela Haggarty.
Radical Independence was one of the foremost campaigning organisations during the Scottish independence referendum, canvassing on tens of thousands of doorsteps, including in some of the most economically deprived communities in Scotland, urging a Yes vote as a means to achieve social justice .
The campaign held one of the largest ever indoor events of the radical left in Scotland with a 3,000 strong conference in the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow in November 2014.
Some of the campaigns founding members went on to create the Rise left electoral alliance which is standing in regional seats in the 2016 elections to the Scottish Parliament.