#RIC2014 Reflections: I never thought I was radical
- #RIC2014 on Bright Green: Read more reports and reflections from the event, watch all the sessions online, or visit the Radical Independence website.
Caroline is a sustainability worker and singer-song writer in Edinburgh. She joined the Scottish Greens after the independence referendum and attended her first RIC conference this weekend.
I never thought I was radical.
If you’d told me even ten years ago, when I first realised I was going to have to go a bit further into political action than dutifully reading and voting in elections if I wanted to even scratch the surface on action necessary to avoid dangerous climate change, that I would find myself at the Radical Independence Conference yesterday, part of a movement working for the self-determination of a country, I don’t know if I’d have believed you.
And it’s all because, unbelievably, you now have to be radical to want people to be nice to each other, to want people not to die for the sake of making the rich richer, and to want us to nurture a planet that is safe for humans to live on.
This thread ran through various aspects of yesterday’s conference.
Myshele Haywood, shamelessly dropping an F-bomb before midday, commented that any system where people who care about their neighbours and think we shouldn’t kill each other realise they’re radical, is kind of “fucked”.
Saffron Dickson also made reference to the idea that “radical ideas aren’t so radical anymore” and that we have neither a crisis of funds, nor a crisis of hope.
In the afternoon, we heard from Focus E15, a group of mothers campaigning for more social housing. Yes, they’re doing ‘civil disobedience’, but to interpret them as aggressive or violent, you would definitely need to do some sizeable stretching of the truth. They rightly make the ‘mainstream’ establishment look coldhearted, ignorant, and inhumane.
So maybe this isn’t radical activism that I’ve found my way to after all, but if that’s what we need to call it to draw attention to it, and fight for decent standards of living for people in Scotland, the wider UK, and the across the world, which we do not currently have, then that’s what I’ll be part of.
From Alan Bissett’s talk on ’The People’s Vow’, which finished the conference:
“We are radical independence ONLY because an amoral vacuum has occupied the centre ground….What we propose is NOT radicalism. It is the basic normality and decency under which any human should expect to live.”