Radical Independence Conference urged towards bold thinking

By staff writers
November 22, 2013

Ahead of the sell-out Radical Independence Conference (RIC) in Glasgow this weekend, Patrick Harvie MSP says Scotland’s radical voices have a crucial role to play in attracting voters to the 'Yes' cause.

The conference, which will bring together people from many political persuasions and none (including Green, SNP, socialist and non-aligned participants) is set to host almost 1,000 people at its all-day gathering on Saturday 23 November 2013.

Its organisers say that it exemplifies the resurgence of civic activism and grassroots, non-sectarian politics which the campaign for Scottish self-government has unleashed in recent months.

The themes of the gathering, which will feature high-profile speakers, seminars and workshops, are hope and transformation arising from an analysis of the failures of the British state in a context of globalisation.

Mr Harvie, who is co-convenor of the Scottish Greens, says the wide-ranging conference is further proof that those who claim Scotland is “on pause” are out of touch with the breadth and depth of thinking that has been provoked by the referendum.

The MSP for Glasgow said: "This conference brings together many of the most passionate campaigners for social progress in Scotland. They will be crucial in the referendum because they bring the transformational ideas our society so urgently needs, which can give the idea of independence real purpose for voters yet to be convinced.

"The referendum isn’t just about making decisions in Edinburgh instead of London, it’s about changing society for the better. The RIC conference will be addressing the key questions – what kind of country do we want Scotland to be, and what policies are really going to make our society fair, sustainable and democratic.

"Far from Scotland being on pause when it comes to new ideas, this conference will be bubbling over with creativity and determination to challenge status quo thinking, whether that comes from Westminster or the Scottish Government.

"With just a few days to go until the white paper, this gathering will show Scottish Ministers the demand for an open minded approach to designing a new country."

Radical independence activists stress that the campaign for a 'Yes' vote is far from the separation, isolation or self-regard that the Westminster-driven No campaign run by the the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour hierarchies tries to portray it as. Rather, its outlook emphasises local and global solidarity based on mutual respect between people's and nations.

RIC campaigners want to see a socially and economically just Scotland with a renewed ground-up democracy, a switch of priorities from war to welfare, the rejection of nuclear weapons, and a cutting edge approach to the environment.

Such an approach can support and encourage similar rebellions in other parts of the British Isles and a substantial challenge to the neoliberal Westminster consensus, they argue.

Ekklesia will be reporting and commenting live from the RIC.

* The full Radical Independence Conference agenda is available here: http://radicalindependence.org/index.php/2013/11/18/radical-independence-conference-updates-¦-ric2013/

* More on the 2014 Referendum from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/scottishindependence

[Ekk/3]

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