John Lanigan (RCN) attended the book launch of YES: The Radical Case for Independence, written by James Foley and Pete Ramand of the International Socialist Group and the Radical Independence Campaign. The book was launched at the Centre for Contemporary Arts on Sunday March 30th. Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, James Foley and Pete Ramand spoke. Below is John’s report of this event.
In the midst of the debate on the Scottish Referendum, nothing could be more important, and timely, in terms of literary contribution and academic thinking, than this work by James Foley and Pete Ramand.
The Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow welcomed an audience of around 150 people who were treated to a wonderful speech from none other than Bernadette Devlin McAliskey who had been invited over from the North of Ireland to speak about the book.
Bernadette who is no stranger to Glasgow or Scottish politics outlined the purpose of the book and the political thinking behind it.
The launch was chaired by Cat Boyd of the International Socialist Group and Radical Independence Campaign.
In her now famous quote Bernadette told the audience that “Another Scotland is possible, but not only is another Scotland possible, another Scotland is probable” Bernadette went on to draw conclusions between the Republican case in Ireland and that of Scotland and warned of the pitfalls and the need to work hard, to make sure that the alternative vision for a radical, independent, Scottish Republic can become a reality.
It looked like everyone in the hall understood that message, that either way, whatever the vote, the work would continue for a radical alternative to the City of London politics and also that of the SNP. The message from Bernadette was firmly one of a socialist alternative that would make Scotland a country that others could look to for leadership.
James Foley of the International Socialist Group and an economist at Edinburgh University spoke on the politics of the book and the arguments raised within. He also spoke at length about the No camp’s efforts to smear pro-independence supporters by equating them with far right nationalists, while at the same time saying patriotism is all right. When it was suggested to them that they were British nationalists they got offended (as they didn’t want to be equated with the likes of the BNP) but who were happy to make the same kind of insinuation about independence supporters.
James outlined very well the reasons why we should be voting YES, and with reference to the risks of Independence, stated that it’s much more risky for Scotland to stay within the UK. James has also written another book on the socialist case for independence Britain Must Break (see the review by Allan Armstrong at:-http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2012/09/16/britain-must-break-to-defend-real-labour-or-the-break-up-of-the-uk-to-advance-republican-socialism/)
Pete Ramand the co-author of YES: The Radical Case for Scottish Independence and a founding member of the Radical Independence Campaign looked closely at the benefits to be had from a Scottish Socialist Republic that was able to shape it’s own future, with the people of Scotland at the forefront of the decision making. Pete was very persuasive in showing just how Scotland could afford independence and of the need to get rid of Trident.
YES: The Radical case for Scottish Independence has had many recommendations from writers and political figures alike, and will no doubt be referred to over the coming months as we approach the Scottish Referendum vote.
For those who are still to be convinced of the case for Scottish Independence this book is undoubtedly essential reading.
( Published by Pluto Press and available to buy online)
Bernadette McAliskey also spoke at the second Radical Independence Campaign Conference in Glasgow on November 23rd, 2013. Her talk can be seen on:- http://republicancommunist.org/blog/2013/11/25/2nd-ric-conference-after-the-uk-the-future-of-4-nations/