“Politics, for a short time in 2014, belonged to the people.” Duncan McCabe of Radical Independence Dundee looks ahead to RIC initiatives that aim to keep it that way.
The UK General Election looms on the horizon, political parties vie for position and prospective candidates queue up to be (well-paid) voting fodder in the Westminster boys club lobbies. Is this what politics is all about?
During the referendum, politics began to happen everywhere as people began to undercut the media and the politicians and spoke to each other. In the streets; in the pubs and clubs; on doorsteps; at work and at home the possibilities of change and a better future were discussed. In November following the referendum, the Radical Independence Campaign brought 3000 people together in a political conference event surpassing in size the conferences of all the Scottish political parties put together. Politics, for a short time in 2014, belonged to the people.
This national conversation shouldn’t now be allowed to degenerate into the low-level of most election debates, polarising complex issues into position statements and soundbites, putting the politicians back in charge of the agenda. It is vital that there are spaces available for people to take the discussion further in a party-political free atmosphere. Politics is, after all, about much more than parties, and this is something that many people realised, often for the first time, during the referendum campaign.
RIC is now undertaking initiatives across Scotland to keep the real conversation going, and ensure that people’s views continue to be heard through encouraginging participation and discussion of many of the underlying issues, seeking radical solutions, engaging with all levels of government – but, potentially, also taking more direct action.
The first of a series of participatory events takes place on Saturday 24th January, when the RIC Land Reform meeting in Dunkeld will discuss responses to the current Government consultation, along with wider discussion on land ownership and reform. The meeting will be based around small workshops with plenary sessions.
Following the inclusion of fracking in the People’s Vow, RIC are hosting a Summit on Unconventional Gas Extraction on 7th February at the Pearce Institute in Govan. The summit will be a full day and include keynote speakers, breakout sessions and the opportunity for groups to communicate with one another to enhance local and national impact.
Dundee then holds the #RIC2015 Spring Conference on Saturday 14th March. This conference will allow all conference-goers the chance to listen, discuss and create with three distinct types of sessions available. Everyone will have the opportunity to take part in our innovative world cafe sessions where issues and ideas related to creating an alternative Scotland can be discussed in some depth. Free movement between different tables and topics will be possible. Outcomes will be used as a basis for further web-based discussion.
There will be a lecture style session with Robin McAlpine of Commonweal who will look at how we can develop the radical agenda following the indyref No vote.
Duncan McCann of the New Economics Forum (NEF) will outline their ideas for an alternative type of economy, focussing in particular on complementary currency options for Scotland in a part lecture/part workshop session.
There will also be two panel debates and plenary sessions. Details and updates can be found at https://radicalindependencedundee.wordpress.com/ric2015/
#RIC2015 tickets will be available at the RIC Land Reform meeting in Dunkeld ; by post/bank transfer via firstname.lastname@example.org; or via this eventbrite link