Saturday, 12th June, 11.00-17.30
EDINBURGH RIC ASSEMBLY-26.5.21
AFTER THE MAY 6th HOLYROOD ELECTION – WHAT NOW?
An introduction by Kate Nevens – Scottish Green Regional List candidate Lothians
What happens next?
- All Green MSPs will campaign and vote for a referendum within this Parliamentary term
- We will continue to build the Green YES movement and vision, and work with the broader independence movement and sister Green MEPs in the European Parliament
- We will work with other parties in parliament on key priorities, laying the groundwork for a fairer, greener and independent Scotland eace
Our vision for an independent, fairer and greener Scotland
- Investing in a green recovery and playing our part in global efforts to tackle the climate crisis
- Reversing the politics of austerity, addressing social, gender and wealth inequalities, and valuing the role of care in the economy
- Being a voice for peace and human rights on the global stage, and a sanctuary for those who need it
Voice & actions for peace
- Nuclear-free world
- AND end all support to conventional arms industry
- Decolonising aid & trade; standing in solidarity with oppressed groups
- Contribute to global roll out of COVID-19 vaccine
Abolish the Home Office (and Defund the Police)
- End dehumanising asylum application process and end immigration detention / close Dungavel
- Reunite families & provide safe passage
- End outsourcing of asylum accommodation
- End No Recourse To Public Funds
- End Police Scotland support to Home Office
- Ending oil and gas extraction
- Restorative climate justice and reparation funds
- Collective global action
For further information contact
Kate.email@example.com Twitter: @katenevens
This was followed by contributions from those attending the meeting. Issues raised included the following:-
A Labour Party member said that many members in Scotland were becoming increasingly disillusioned with their party in Scotland and that some were likely to join the Scottish Green Party.
The significance of autonomous campaigns, such as those around Extinction Rebellion and Living Rent were raised. Others added the action taken at Kenmure Street in support of migrants threatened with deportation, and the Sisters Uncut demonstrations following the Sarah Everard murder, highlighted the growing willingness to take the sort of action which would be needed to defy the UK state in the forthcoming Scottish independence campaign.
Another contributor thought that the demand to defund the police, which made immediate sense in the USA and had been highlighted by the Black Lives Matter protests, would need to be rethought in the UK contest.
The issue of the political pressures on the Scottish Green Party arising from going into coalition with the more neo-liberal SNP needed to be considered.
The prospect of the Scottish Greens giving their backing to the Radical Independence campaign was raised. This could be brought up at the next Edinburgh and national meetings.
Introduced by Kate Nevens, Scottish Green candidate
If you wish to attend send your e-mail address for Zoom details to
A. Articles on the May 6th election
- Terry Conway – Disunited kingdom, Anti* Capitalist Resistance, 22.5.21
2. It’s the constitution stupid! – Allan Armstrong, RCF, 19.5.21
3. After the election – what comes next? – Sean Bell, Source Direct
B. Articles on the Alba Party
1. The Alba Party and the Left in Scotland – Allan Armstrong, RCF, 30.4.21
2. Alba is a dead end – rs21.ISS, 13.4.21
Nearly 400 protesters attended the Kill the Bill demonstration at The Pavilion on The Meadows on May 1st. This demonstration was held to protest against the Tory government’s new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Amongst other things, this bill targets organised demonstrations following Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter and the police attacks on the women’s vigil at Clapham Common, after the murder of Sarah Everard, for which a police officer has been charged. As a consequence, more than half the Edinburgh demonstrators and speakers were women, including two of the three BME speakers. It was pointed out that the proposed new law provided a possible ten year sentence for attacks on property (such as the toppling of statue celebrating a slave trader, Edward Colston ,in Bristol in June 2021) compared to only 5 years for rape.
Other speakers pointed out that although the Bill did not extend here, Scotland had its own record of police violence, highlighted in the killing of Sheku Bayoh in Kirkcaldy in May 2015. The women’s prison at Cornton Vale, in Stirling, has become termed the ‘Vale of Death’, following the high level of suicides. This prison has been described by Lord Advocate, Eilish Angiolini, as “antediluvian and appalling.” Furthermore, the Scottish police already have some of the new powers in the proposed bill under ‘breach of the peace’ legislation.
A Gaelic speaker told of the longstanding oppressive record of police. They were sent in against crofters in Skye and Tiree in the 1880s. Travellers and Roma have also long suffered police harassment, and this new bill has provision for further attacks. It is only very recently that both the Scottish miners, sentenced during 1984-5 Miners’ Strike and Shrewsbury Pickets convicted in 1973, both of whom faced organised police lying in court, had their sentences quashed. A Living Rents speaker also pointed out that police have been nowhere to be seen when tenants have been threatened with violence by landlords attempting to evict them during Covid-19.
No right has ever been conceded by the British ruling class without a struggle which challenged the laws of the day. This is true whether struggling to gain security of tenure for crofters, trade union rights for workers, a widened suffrage for women, or anti-racist legislation for those from a BME background. So as one placard said “Protests R Meant To Be Annoying’, especially to an arrogant and privileged British ruling class, and to aspiring Scottish emulators.
EDINBURGH MAY DAY ONLINE RALLY
Saturday, May 1st, 13.00-14.30
To register for the rally go to-
EDINBURGH KILL THE BILL DEMO, 1.5.21, 15.30
at the Pavilion on The Meadows
(social distancing will be observed)
Edinburgh RIC has also received this May Day statement
from Dumfries Trade Union Council
May 1st – International Workers’ Memorial Day
Open Letter to Alister Jack MP, Secretary of State for Scotland
Dumfries & Galloway TUC decided to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day by writing to you as the Scottish representative of the UK Conservative Government.
Three consecutive governments (those of David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson) have imposed austerity on the UK. For the NHS the strict budgetary controls had the effect of preventing the updating and replenishment of stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
This was your government’s responsibility, as the Scottish Government’s website makes clear: “Prior to Covid-19 the purchase (of PPE) was carried out by the UK Department for Health and Social Care with a Scottish allocation.” (https://www.gov.scot/publications/personal-protective-equipment-ppe-covid-19-scotlands-action-plan/pages/3/)
The result was catastrophic for workers ( those who your Government clapped and called “heroes”) in the NHS and social care.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), between 9th March and 28th December 2020, 414 healthcare workers and 469 workers in social care died from Covid-19. (These figures are just for England and Wales – separate figures for Scotland are not published by occupation.)
In addition to these preventable deaths, many thousands of health and social care workers have been off work with Covid-19, due to the PPE shortages in the first wave of the pandemic.
There was a further insult to NHS and care workers in the panicked response to these shortages. Your Prime Minister presided over a system of procurement that squandered billions of pounds of public funds on Conservative donors and supporters who were given deliberate preferential access to NHS contracts for PPE and the pitiful “test and trace” system in England.
Conservative austerity should be inscribed as a principal contributory cause of death on a lasting memorial to the workers who have died caring for others in hospitals, care homes and the community.
John Dennis, Secretary Dumfries TUC
Independent from Imperialism – Independent from Inequality – Independent from Fossil Fuels
Mim Black, one of the speakers at Scottish Independence and the Path to Climate Justice, argues that true independence for Scotland would mean “independence from imperialism – independence from inequality, independence from fossil fuels and independence from a devotion to profit above all else.”
2021 is a crucial year for the Scottish climate movement, with the COP26 (26th Conference of Parties) UN Climate Negotiations coming to Glasgow. At the same time, as polling for independence is at an all time high, the Scottish independence movement is increasingly splintered between political party machineries and reactionary elements of the Yes movement, with critical conversations about Scotland’s future not taking place.
The fight for climate justice and independence are potentially transformative moments to radically rethink the systems we live in. Our global political economic system has pushed us past breaking point, where inequality is not only accepted, but indeed required for profit, and those profits (mostly of large corporations) hold vastly more political weight than any needs of the people. The top 1% are responsible for double the emissions of the poorest 3.5 billion people, most of whom do not have access to electricity – the inequality is staggering. And the state-level response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been a game of who can kill the most people whilst making the most money. This is a mere curtain raiser to how we’re currently tackling the climate crisis.
The vision for what Scotland could look like, and in some ways already stands for, is one committed to justice, fairness and equality. To make this vision truly a reality, we must be independent from more than just Westminster rule. We must be independent from imperialism – as both the colonised and colonisers – independent from inequality, independent from fossil fuels and independent from a devotion to profit above all else.
We must challenge the status quo, with the recognition that the global political economic system is deeply invested in maintaining it. While it may seem like there is no alternative, capitalism is only a few hundred years old and neoliberalism only decades. Without changing the systems and tackling the root causes which have created and embedded structural inequality and domination, an independent Scotland will only deliver more of the same, draped in a Saltire. And without systemic change, action on climate change is only deepening inequality, with climate apartheid and ecofascism looming both on the level of the nation state and within country lines.
The fight for climate justice is rooted in the understanding that those who have contributed the least to the climate crisis are the ones who will, and are already, bearing the sharp end of it. The climate crisis does not hit equally: we may all be in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat. While the elites (and richer countries) invest in safeguards, techno-fixes and hard borders to keep climate refugees out, it’s the previously colonised countries of the Global South – most of Latin America, Africa and Asia – who are being treated as sacrifice zones in the boom of extractivist mining for renewables, in the campaign to continue ‘normal life’ in the North. Similar sacrifice zones exist here in Scotland, with poorer more rural areas being subjected to toxic air and terrifying vibrations, as is the case with the residents of Cowdenbeath in Fife, terrorised by the ExxonMobil Mossmorran plant.
Wars are being fought over lithium and water, while tech is built with ‘planned obsolescence”. Richer countries who have the infrastructure to decarbonise (like Scotland) must do our fair sharenow, so that countries which have extreme rates of poverty have more time to do so. The climate crisis doesn’t recognise borders. We are in a planetary crisis, which requires a global, equitable response, accounting honestly for historical responsibility. If Scotland is to be independent, will it step onto the world’s stage as a competitor in the mindset of scarcity, or as an ally to those worst off?
There has always been enough to go round – enough good food, clean air and fresh water, enough warm and affordable homes to live in. Can Scotland commit to really taking the steps needed to be an independent country that makes the deeply transformative changes which both end the climate crisis and work towards collective liberation?
Scottish Independence and the Path to Climate Justice
Part of From the Ground Up #2: Take Action Now, a Global Gathering for Climate Justice to move our thinking towards how we can collectively tackle the multiple crises we are facing.
Sarah Glynn makes an appeal for solidarity with the Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, currently being suppressed by the Erdogan’s Turkish government. This article first appeared in bella caledonia.
In what dystopian world could support for Kobanê as it withstood siege by ISIS be considered a crime? The answer, it seems, is in Turkey. On 26 April, 108 leading members of the leftist pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will face trial in Ankara for calling on people to protest against the ISIS attack on Kobanê over six years ago. This case is part of a campaign that aims to expunge the party from Turkish politics. Already, thousands of party members have been imprisoned, including former MPs and mayors and the party’s former co-chairs. The HDP have called on everyone who cares about democracy to show their solidarity on the day that the Kobanê trial starts. To help you do that from your home, we are asking you to send us a photograph of yourself holding a supportive sign, which we can then combine into a collage for publication as a virtual protest that day. (More details at the end)
In October 2014, news from Kobanê was getting more and more alarming, and the black flags of the as-yet unbeaten ISIS militias could be clearly seen from across the Turkish/Syrian border. The Turkish government had promised help, but instead were using their military to prevent Kurds and others crossing into Syria to join the defence. At that time, the HDP were facilitating peace negotiations between the Turkish government and the PKK ,and they didn’t want to do anything that might threaten fragile relations, but they could no longer keep silent.
A meeting of 108 people, who formed the HDPs Central Executive Board, agreed to send a call, via Twitter, for people to join the street protests against ISIS and against the Turkish government’s closure of the border. The protests were large and passionate, and they were attacked by members of the Turkish security forces, and by far-right Islamists and Turkish nationalists. The ensuing violence resulted in tens of deaths and many more injuries. President Erdoğan only heightened the tensions when he announced, with seeming pleasure, that Kobanê was about to fall. The official death toll was 37; the actual number was probably around 50, of whom the great majority were people protesting in support of Kobanê.
The HDP has made multiple demands for a full investigation into what happened. Each time they have been refused and no investigation has been carried out. Instead, over six years later, everyone who was at that HDP Executive Board meeting is being held responsible for the deaths, and is also accused of disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state. The prosecutor is calling for life sentences without parole.
Before the case was extended to cover so many people, the same charges were used to detain the HDP’s former co-chairs. Selahattin Demirtaș has challenged his pretrial detention at the European Court of Human Rights. The court’s ruling, issued just before Christmas, left the Turkish prosecutor without a legitimate leg to stand on. They concluded that the entire case was baseless and politically motivated – and called for Demirtaș’s immediate release. Instead of releasing him, the Turkish prosecutors extended the charges to include everyone who was then on the HDP’s Executive Board.
If you would like to help us show the Turkish government that they can’t hide behind a show trial and that the HDP are not alone, then please take a photograph of yourself holding the following message: Defending Kobanê is NOT a crime. Solidarity with the HDP from [Name of your town], and please send your photo to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send your photos by 24 April at the latest to give us time to collate them.
This was first posted at:-
RIC Edinburgh recognises the vote taken at the RIC AGM to disband RIC at the national level, whist allowing local branches to continue.
RIC Edinburgh has taken the decision to continue to operate and campaign for an independent Scotland based on RIC’s five principles:
1. For a social alternative to austerity and privatisation.
2. Green and environmentally sustainable.
3. A modern republic for real democracy.
4. Committed to equality and opposition to discrimination on grounds of gender, race, disability, sexuality or age.
5. Internationalist and opposed to war, NATO and Trident.
Furthermore, RIC Edinburgh will:
A. Look to work with other RIC local branches and collaborate when advantageous such as demonstrations, conferences and events.
B. Look to build links, when and where appropriate, with Now Scotland, Pensioners for Independence, Scottish Independence Foundation, Voices for Scotland, Women for Independence etc.
C. Continue to support progressive campaigns locally, nationally and internationally.
D. Promote events in relation to Scottish independence and progressive campaigns.
E. Continue to operate a regular assembly, not just to discuss Scottish independence, but also giving the opportunity for people involved in other campaigns to discuss the issues around their campaigns.
F. Invite people with expertise in topics to address our assemblies for discussion, such as Catalonia, currency, Universal Basic Income etc.
G. Continue to operate as an inclusive campaign, welcoming people who are members of different political parties and none who support Scottish independence and also those on the left who have not yet decided to support Scottish independence.
H) We will contribute our own archive and reports of meetings to a national archive of RIC materials to be made available to campaigners and historians. We urge our members to write up their own experiences of RIC to add to this.
EDINBURGH RIC – WORKING OUR WAY FORWARD
Facilitator – Bob Goupillot
21 people attended. 2 sent their apologies
Pete Ca and Willie put the case against continuing with a RIC national organisation. (see
The reply to these arguments were not raised at the meeting, which the Organising Meeting of 11.2.21 had decided should deal with proposals for future Edinburgh RIC activity.
However, the arguments for reviving RIC as a national organisation can be seen at :-
- https://republicansocialists.scot/2021/02/ric-is-dead-long-live-ric-2-0/ – Grant Buttars
- http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2021/02/06/freedom-come-all-ye-resisting-the-ric-terminators/) – Allan Armstrong
Luke said there were other significant national developments, such as All Under One Banner and the Socialist Independence Group (which had emerged within the SSP)
Reports from other RIC local group experiences
Grant supplemented Edinburgh RIC experience with the possibilities of a revived RIC group in Fife, with possible activity around Moss Moran and Raytheon.
Emily talked about the work that Dundee and Glasgow RIC had done. They had held a successful meeting led off by Drugs Reform campaigner, Peter Krykant. This had even pushed Dundee City Council into taking some limited action.
Edinburgh RIC discussions and proposals
A) An Edinburgh RIC Statement
Stephen had said that it was important to get out an Edinburgh RIC statement emphasising the continuation of the local group. It was agreed that Stephen should draft a statement for the open Edinburgh RIC Organising Meeting on 8.3.21the next meeting
B) Now Scotland
Pete Cr thought we should be taking the opportunity to influence the new mass movement in Scotland – Scotland Now ( the successor to All Under One Banner). We shouldn’t leave it to others. The political situation was changing rapidly. The Holyrood election was likely to see a strengthening of the Scottish Greens. He thought we should be advocating a local Now Scotland group in Edinburgh. Willie also emphasised the working class nature of Now Scotland. He thought that George Kerevan (Now Scotland convenor) should be invited to address an Edinburgh RIC meeting.
Lyn said that we shouldn’t associate ourselves with particular individuals. Stephen raised his concerns about Kerevan’s past. Eric pointed to the socially reactionary nature of some of those prominent in Now Scotland. . He had an acquaintance – a very active left-of-centre independence campaigner in the run-up to the independence referendum, who had told him she would never consider being involved in Now Scotland because of the views of some current prominent members – and Eric commented that he thought this might be a fairly widely held view and that he would himself need strong convincing to participate.* Grant also expressed concerns about Now Scotland.
George argued that we should be able to ride two horses at once and develop Edinburgh RIC, but also form a republican and socially progressive pole within Now Scotland. Allan highlighted the work Edinburgh RIC had done in trying to persuade RIC and the wider Scottish Left of the significance of All Under One Banner (https://www.conter.co.uk/blog/2018/9/7/the-yes-movement-the-left). He had attended their last open national meeting for RIC in February 2020 and also the two founding meetings of what has become Now Scotland.
Since Now Scotland was area of controversy, it was agreed that involvement would initially be more fully discussed at the Organising Meeting.
C) Important economic and social issues
Lyn said we needed to address issues which challenge the SNP government. He thought that small groups could still be quite influential. They can form wider e-mail groups. We can also work through other groups. Jane added that she thought that Edinburgh RIC had been a very good organisation, but that we should take the time to decide on our overall approach. Lyn and Jane suggested that a) a Critique of the Growth Commission b) Currency and c) Universal Basic Income were important issues which Edinburgh RIC could address. Emily emphasised the importance of Feminism and in particular the issue of Abortion Rights. Willie added Climate Change and agreed that Women’s Rights should be proposed topics for discussion.
George raised the idea of having discussions on deeper political issues such as republicanism and their link with real economic and social reforms. There was still much to be learned from the debate between Edmund Burke and Tom Paine, which Bernadette McAliskey had also highlighted at an earlier RIC conference.
The meeting agreed that economic and social issues would be more fully discussed at the Organising Meeting.
D) Election Hustings
One area where there was general agreement was that Edinburgh RIC should try to repeat its successes in 2015, 2017 and 2019 and organise a hustings for the Holyrood elections in May. This was suggested by both Allan and Willie. Nick (Scottish Greens) pointed it the significance of the Scottish Greens in this election. They supported another independence referendum, rejected sterling as Scotland’s currency, were committed to a Green New Deal and its leadership is based on the 50:50 principle. The Scottish Greens are to the left of Labour under Corbyn.
It was agreed that the organisation of a hustings would be discussed at the Organising Meeting.
D) 3rd Scottish Radical History Event
Allan raised the issue of Edinburgh RIC sponsoring its third Scottish Radical History event around the theme of John Maclean. This could also be a cultural event with poets and musicians. He had been in contact with Ray B (who had given his apologies for this evening’s meeting). Ray had some specific proposals . Pete urged caution since we did not know whether we could get the speakers or the money. Allan agreed that we would need a Working Group (as for the 1st and 2nd Scottish Radical History Conferences) to examine the possibilities. The issue of who might wish to join such a Working Group would be raised at the Organising Meeting.
E) Edinburgh RIC as a clearing house for campaigns and struggles
George emphasised Edinburgh RIC’s role as a ‘clearing house’ for campaigns and struggles in the city, nationally and internationally. Edinburgh RIC had gained wider credibility for the role had undertaken in this. It was able to attract people from other Left backgrounds, e.g. Labour, who did not necessarily support RIC’s aims.
It was agreed that this aspect of Edinburgh RIC’s work should continue. Whatever struggles were taking place forming part of the agendas of RIC meetings. Emily had already highlighted Abortion Rights. Pete and Stephen had emphasised the importance of the Cop26 conference later this year.
F) Support for the Dundee Glasgow RIC meeting on the Catalan elections
Allan raised and Willie supported Edinburgh RIC giving its backing to the forthcoming Dundee/Glasgow RIC meeting on the outcome of the Catalan elections. We could approach Edinburgh RIC member, Gerry Mulvenna to sing at this event. Gerry had written In Defence of Our Professor (Carla Ponsati) (https://edinburghric.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/defending-clara-ponsati-23.3.18-1.pdf), Support for this meeting was agreed by the Assembly.
It was agreed that the next Edinburgh RIC Organising Meeting will be on Monday, 8.3.21 at 18.00. Bob Goupillot will arrange the Zoom meeting and will act as co-Facilitator with Pat Smith.
Allan Armstrong, 2.3.21
- Eric later clarified (in post-meeting correspondence) that that was why he thought RIC Edinburgh should take a formal position on Now Scotland, issuing a statement along the lines that any participation by RIC members in that organisation did not imply endorsement of the actions or views of any of the other Now Scotland participants with regard to anything other than the principle of independence, or support for anything other than an egalitarian, socialist and republican independent Scotland.
ZOOM MEETING, WEDNESDAY, 24.2.21, 19.00
Many Edinburgh RIC members have been involved in the continuous work our group has been doing since April 2013. This includes the important part we played in ‘IndyRef1’ in this city, joining with autonomous ‘Yes’ groups to register and canvass voters. We also organised well-conducted debates with Left ‘No’ groups. Our preparedness to engage with others was also taken into the election hustings, which we organised and participated in, in 2015, 2017 and 2019.
We have been involved in support for a wide variety of economic and social struggles, e.g. striking workers in Dundee and Glasgow, Living Rent campaigners , and have provided immediate solidarity for victims of racist attacks, e.g. Deborah Kayembe and Shabaz Ali. We also have a consistent record of solidarity work with the Welsh, Irish ,Catalans, Kurds and Palestinians. We participated in the mass rally in support of Black Lives Matter in June 2020
Edinburgh RIC has sponsored a successful RIC national conference in Spring 2018 and two Scottish Radical History conferences in 2015 and 2016.
Edinburgh RIC took the lead in an attempting to revive a national RIC at the 2019 conference, in recognition of the changing political circumstances. We face an intransigent, reactionary unionist, Tory government, the collapse of Labour in Scotland and an SNP leadership which has no effective strategy to win independence. We also face attacks on jobs, pay, working conditions, the right to secure accommodation, and on consumer and environmental safeguards. These will be greatly exacerbated by Covid-19 and the growing environmental crisis.
We need to act not as passive British subjects but as active Scottish citizens. Come to the meeting and make your views and suggestions for the future known.