RIC2016 Closing Remarks

From closing remarks at the Autumn 2016 Radical Independence Conference in Glasgow.

It’s not just Scotland. It’s not just the UK. As we’ve heard from a range of speakers today, our movement is part of something bigger, something global. People are rejecting the status quo all over the world. People want change.

But that change isn’t necessarily the kind of change we want. We’re also seeing the rise of the far right, of fascism, of racism, of hatred all over the world. Because people are angry and afraid.

Martin Luther King Jr said the arc of history must surely curve towards justice. But that doesn’t happen automatically. We have to work for it.

In Scotland, we’ve been told that the establishment will decide when we get another referendum. But that doesn’t matter. For us, the campaign has already started. For us, it never stopped.

RIC groups have been organising in their communities over the past two years, quietly keeping this network alive, maintaining the connections we built during Indyref 1. And now independence is back in the limelight.

As others have said today, we need to define what independence means on our own terms, what it means for ordinary people, what it means for social justice and democracy and peace. We need to fill in the gaps and develop our vision for what a better Scotland can look like.

We can’t leave it up to the bosses to define independence for us. And we certainly can’t leave it up to them to organise it.

There’s a lot of work to do. And it’s easy to feel hopeless, to feel like nothing we can do will ever make a difference. It’s easy to get outrage fatigue and just want to shut down. I’ve certainly felt it enough over the past few years.

But we have to remember that outrage is energy. Genuine outrage, genuine love, genuine vision can be fuel for change.

And we need it now more than ever.

We’ve just passed 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and we’re still asked to bomb the Middle East and starve the poor.

The crisis is not just of the British state, but of the entire neoliberal system across the world. The far right are growing, the establishment is tearing itself to bits, and now is not the time for the left to falter. There is more that unites us than divides us, and we need to work together to build the world we want to see.

Future generations will not thank us for being timid.

The future is not pandering to liberals as they watch the world burn.

The future is in our hands.

The future is radical.

Thank you.

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