Speech by Myshele, from Syria solidarity rally, 5 December 2015
So, here we are again, telling our leaders that we don’t want them dropping bombs on the Middle East. Another year, another imperialist war to oppose.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, they say that madness is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting different results. Maybe we need a Warmongers Anonymous. They keep dropping bombs, they keep selling weapons, they keep destroying lives, and then they’re surprised when there’s more instability and terrorism and hatred. They’re surprised when more refugees are sent fleeing from the chaos they’ve caused.
Or maybe they’re not surprised at all. Maybe they understand exactly what they’re doing. Maybe they know that endless war is good for the arms dealers, good for the banks, good for the people in power. Nevermind the human and environmental costs.
Two days ago, more than half of referendum voters chose fear over hope.
However, 1,617,989 people saw through the intimidation, empty promises and outright lies of the No campaign. They rejected the constant negativity of the mainstream media and chose to seek out the facts for themselves. They chose to believe in their own ability to build a better future. Many chose to participate in the democratic process for the first time, after a lifetime of disillusionment and exclusion.
Working class areas are the areas that voted Yes most overwhelmingly, and they are the areas that Westminster politicians want to ignore. We will not let them ignore our neighbours, our fellow citizens, our friends.
We may have lost this referendum, but we have won unprecedented levels of engagement, inquiry and appetite for change. We may have lost the battle, but we’ve won the reason to keep fighting.
I believe that the union of Scotland and England allowed the creation of the British Empire, 30% of whose administrators were Scottish. This was/is a wicked conspiracy to exploit the planet’s people and resources: slavery, tobacco, opium, torture (we still do that!), and genocide (for example, the deliberate extermination of the Tasmanian population). It’s all been for the benefit of the elite, who will be the only losers if we vote Yes.
It is our moral duty to write the final chapter and bring this to a close. Scottish Independence will be the best thing to happen to England since Clement Atlee. Who are you? What are you for? These are the questions that are being asked and answered in Scotland.
Tonight’s Garthdee referendum debate was a great success, with excellent turnout and a very vocal audience! Lots of positive response to RIC speaker Myshele, and the Yes side in general. It was wonderful to see people getting so enthusiastic about politics and voicing their opinions! The real campaign isn’t happening on TV or in the newspapers, it’s happening here in community centres and village halls across Scotland, in the streets and on the doorsteps, in countless conversations where ordinary people get informed and get involved. Exciting times!
Many thanks to everyone who came out, especially to Paul O’Connor for organising the event and Rick Brooks for chairing.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to video the whole debate, but here’s a video of Myshele’s opening remarks:
The 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum Voting Guide came in the post today. The contrast between the two visions of both campaigns is fairly evident judging by the tones and context.
As a person who is very optimistic about the direction Scotland could go in post-independence and how we have a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take responsibility for our future here, every time I read anything from the “No Thanks” lot I just get turned off by the relentless negativity and stultifying arrogance.
by Ross and Doug
This past weekend has witnessed two contrasting yet similar military celebrations in Stirling. They have much to tell us about the state of the Independence campaign on both sides.
We have the utmost respect for all those who have put their lives on the line for us now and in the past, but we don’t support militarism or war. Might is not right and we like to think that we live in an age when we should be distancing ourselves from resorting to violence to solve problems. We recognise that we must be able to defend ourselves – the world is a dangerous place – but both celebrations seemed to be at best anachronistic and at worst downright dangerous. The military, past or present, shouldn’t be the focus of jingoistic celebration.
If Scotland votes Yes in September we will be handing the prize to the people of Scotland. The SNP was only formed in 1934 and the pursuit of Scottish Independence long predates 1707. George Galloway is a curious, and I’m sure uncomfortable, bedfellow for the No campaign, but they seem happy to hail his speech as ‘a landmark oration which could help save the Union’. Here I’ll go through the more notable blunders of his speech and explain why he’s wrong.
The European election results have created a situation of deep volatility across Europe. The right have made significant advances with swings across Europe towards populist parties like UKIP, and more worryingly, the fascist FN in France. In Denmark and Austria the right captured something like 20% of the vote and even in Greece, alongside the resounding victory by the radical left party Syriza , Golden Dawn, the fascist party could win 9.5% of the vote. In Scotland, for the first time ever, a UKIP MEP has been elected with 10.4% of the vote on a turnout of 33%. The North East of Scotland had the highest percentage of UKIP voters in Scotland.
The two countries which had the strongest showing for left parties, Greece and Spain, significantly, are also the two countries which have experienced the highest grassroots resistance to austerity. In Britain we saw Nick Griffin of the BNP and his fellow fascist Andrew Brons defeated. This was largely due to the activity of anti-fascists in their former constituencies.
I only took an interest in Harry Potter when the third film, The Prisoner of Azkaban came out. I like Alfonso Cuarón. It was a pleasant surprise. I got The Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber Of Secrets on DVD to catch up. I didn’t read the books though. Didn’t want to spoil the films! I was excited when Goblet Of Fire hit the cinema, and sad but entertained when it all ended with The Deathly Hallows Part 2.
Today, I was really disappointed to read J.K. Rowling’s essay in favour of a No vote on the heels of a £1 million donation to the No campaign. As a friend pointed out, she is entitled to vote as she pleases, and that’s fair. She’s also welcome to make a contribution to the debate, but Rowling’s reasoning troubles me. She frequently discusses her experience as a single mum on benefits – the very benefits that Westminster is cutting and demonising. Could she have written Harry Potter without the welfare state? Could someone in a similar position do it now? Probably not. I want to focus on the issues she raises though. Without making any personal attacks, I want to highlight some inaccuracies and offer some alternative opinions.
Recently I was at the RIC Highland Conference in Inverness. During the course of the day there were some wonderful, moving, even odd contributions and discussions but one small incident keeps popping up in my mind. I’m not sure exactly what the context was but we were in the main hall and people were discussing a leaflet drop in a village in the Black Isle. This went on for a moment or two and the organisers ended by saying that if that is something that people want to do then it is over to them to do it.
There was a subtle power shift involved in the conversation. The young activist had started asking for resources, leaflets, info packs, support – and most importantly, permission. Permission from those organising RIC at a national level to do the leafleting. Permission from those in ‘authority’ to act. By the end of the conversation, the penny dropped. He realised that he didn’t need permission. He had as much right to instigate, plan, organise and act as anyone else in that room. As anyone else anywhere.