Wednesday, 1 October 2014


Thanks and greetings to the organisers and those attending this Welsh rally for Scottish independence. People from Wales have already been up to Scotland to help the ‘Yes’ campaign. On July 22ndLeanne Wood made very stirring speech of solidarity to a Radical Independence Campaign meeting in Glasgow.

In this speech, Leanne emphasised the Welsh radical, republican and socialist links between South Wales and Glasgow. We would like to develop these further. It was John Frost and the Welsh Chartists, who in the 1839 Newport Rising, sought create to a Silurian Republic, as a trigger to an alliance of republics throughout these islands. In the 1870’s and ‘80’s, Welsh and Scottish Highland tenant farmers gave their support to Michael Davitt and the Irish Land League in their common struggle for ‘land for the people’. This in turn inspired the coalminers to push for independent labour organisation and representation. And, it was in Merthyr Tydfil, in the South Wales coalfield, that Keir Hardie, the Ayrshire miner, was first elected in 1900. In the same period, the slate quarriers of Bethesa in Gwynedd and Ballachulish in Earra-Ghaidheal (Argyll) faced protracted lock-outs and great deprivation, imposed by owners with no sympathy for their lives or culture.

In those days, it was hoped that Home Rule or Devolution might answer the demand for self-determination. Since then, the UK state’s continued support for barbaric imperial wars, the City of London’s determination to impose austerity both in the Depression and since the 2008 crash, and the growing corruption at Westminster, haveshown that the only way to gain meaningful self-determination is by breaking up the UK. This is why we need independence.

We have noted that your Labour First Minister, Carwyn Jones has offered Milford Haven as a new site for Trident, if the Faslane nuclear submarine base is closed down after Scottish independence. We doubt this is big vote winner in Pembrokeshire, butCarwyn seems to have a record of not consulting the people of Wales. He is on record of saying he would deny Scotland the use of sterling after independence, arguing, “If you remember the banking crash, what we needed was swift decisions from stopping our economy going under”.  Did Carwyn, or the people of Wales, play any part inAlistair Darling’s “swift decision” to let the banksters of scot free, and to offload the cost of the bailout on the hardest pressed in society”?!

Well, we need to show that Scotland and Wales can offer something better to humanity than Alistair Darling and Carwyn Jones. Their shared support for British unionism and imperial wars must be countered by our internationalist determination that the UK and its dreadful legacy are consigned to the history books.  The blow we hope to strike on September 18th, will also inspire the people of Ireland, and those in England lying outside the City of London’s political orbit. It will inspire the people ofCatalunya and Euskadi. But, we know that its most immediate impact will be in Wales.

However, a ‘Yes’ vote on September 18th is only the beginning. The Radical Independence Campaign has organised meetings, street activities, cultural events andmass canvassing throughout Scotland. Wwill not be resting on our laurels. And in this, we know we can depend on your continued support.

Ddraig Goch ddyry gychwyn (The red dragon will show the way)


On June 7th, Andy Ashe spoke on behalf of Edinburgh RIC at the annual James Connolly memorial rally organised by the James Connolly Society and held in the Cowgate. This is Andy’s speech.

The Radical independence campaign is coalition of different groups and campaigns who are in favour of independence but do not support the vision set out by the SNP government inthe white paper. This includes greens, socialists, anti-cuts campaignersfeminist and LGBT activists and republicans.

I don’t need to tell people here, but radical independence make it clear that the UK state has failed. A state where there is a million dependent on food banks, while the Sunday Times rich list have doubled their wealth since 2008. A state where the political establishment are united in shameless scapegoating of immigrants, with racist harassment of ethnic minority communities and detention of asylum seekers including children. A state that is wedded to the NATO imperial alliance glorifies war and has deep, nasty nostalgia for empire. This state has failed working class people within and beyond its borders and we believe that with the powers of independence, we could change that.  
War abroad and austerity at home is not the best we can hope for and we keep the memory of Connolly alive in fighting for the only real alternative: a break-up of the UK state and thefight for a socialist republic.

I know you have all heard it before but it bears repeating, our campaign for independence is not synonymous with that of the SNP.

We don’t want the Queen as head of state, we don’t want to be part of NATO, we refuse to blame immigrants for the economic crisis, and oppose homophobes like Brian Souter and above all we do not want a replacement of the low wage, low tax “business friendly”nightmare economy that engulfs the UK.

At radical independence we are united around the need for a better society and are agreed that a yes vote is a step forward in doing that. Even though we are a diverse group, the republican arguments are strong in our movement. Recently Radical independence Edinburgh voted to support the call for an All Ireland referendum and will push for Radical independence to take the same position nationally.

We don’t think Scottish independence is going to solve anything in and of itself but the break of the UK state must be taken as a positive step for republicans, in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England, and as a unique opportunity in strengthening working class power in politics in Scotland.

As I have said we oppose the SNPs vision of an independent Scotland but we also oppose the SNP’s idea of how we will change society. We go out and campaign and canvass in working class areas of Edinburgh, we hold fortnightly meetings, leafleting sessions, speaker eventsand work to convince others in trade unions, anti-cuts and community groups that voting yes means a step forwardWe believe that change comes about from movements of ordinary people, fighting for a better future, not leaving it up to governments or politicians.

This campaign is about putting working class interests at the centre of politics and engaging working class communities in the discussion about the future of ScotlandWhen we go out canvassing people- no matter what they are talking about; unemployment or trident, childcare or the NHS- the discussion always has one similarity- politics and politicians have failed, they are untrustworthy, corrupt and disinterested in the lives of working class people so there is no point in voting.
They are right. This is absolutely true.

But as republicans and as socialists we have a responsibility to go out and convince peoplethat change is possible, that through a militant democracy organised from the ground up we can take control over our own lives and circumstances. That the power lies in organising with other working class peopleand voting yes is just one part of this struggle to live in a society that works for us all.
I will finish with a quote from a great republican socialist Bernadette McAliskey. She spoke at the Radical Independence conference in Glasgow in November, and spoke about the lessons we should learn from the Irish republic. She said:

“When the cry for freedom was labour must wait. It’s 2014 and the labouring classes are still waiting for a republic fit for working people to live in”

Let’s take that lesson and build a Scottish republic that is fit for working people to live in.  

Thank you.