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Radical Independence Conference: another Scotland is possible

Benoit Renaud

November 30, 2012

On November 24, in Glasgow, 800 progressive activists from across Scotland came together under the slogan « Another Scotland is possible » in order to lay the foundations of a joint Yes campaign leading up to the referendum on Scotland’s independence to take place at the end of 2014. The Radical Independence Conference (RIC) was attended by delegates from a wide range of organisations, from the Green Party to Labour for Independence, from the Scottish Socialist Party to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. In short, the whole Scottish Left was there.
The referendum will be taking place 15 years after the election of the first democratic Scottish Parliament, following devolution in 1999. Since then, Scottish governments, both from the Labour party and the Scottish National Party (SNP) have been distinguishing themselves by resisting many of the neoliberal policies championed by British governments in Westminster, giving strong credit to the notion that an independent Scotland would be more socially progressive.
The latest wave of austerity measures implemented by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government, following the financial crisis, was the last straw which gave the SNP a majority government last year and the mandate to go ahead with that consultation. But the SNP government itself, although to the left of New Labour on several issues, remains at best a social liberal government. And their campaign, much like the Parti québécois campaign of 1995, is almost devoid of social and environmental content and is not generating much enthusiasm. The SNP even recently changed its position on NATO, stating it would remain within the Alliance after Independence, which led to the departure of MSP Jean Urquart, who spoke at the RIC’s opening panel.
I had the honor of representing Québec solidaire at this remarkable event. My message to the attendees was quite simple: Don’t let your nationalist party lead you into a defeat! The British State and ruling class will not let Scotland go without a fight, and they will play dirty. The only way to win is to mobilize working people behind a program of social justice, peace and ecology and making the referendum about rejecting austerity and imperialism. Another Scotland will be possible if the Scottish people fight for it and get organized. Hopefully, the Radical Independence Conference was only a first step in that direction. 

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