This is the conclusion of Completing Scotland’s Democratic Revolution, in which Allan Armstrong examines the legacy of  of Scotland’s 2014 Democratic Revolution and the 2023 Declaration of of Calton Hill, designed to complete that unfinished democratic revolution.


Democracy Cairn, Calton Hill, Edinburgh

After the attempted shutdown on 17.1.21[1] the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) was reconstituted on 29.1.22.[2]  Delegates and individuals attended from the Borders, Clydebank, Dundee, East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, North Lanarkshire and Stirling.  Aberdeen was cut off by Storm Malik!  Angus & Mearns, whilst unable to attend, sent in their support for the proposals, which had been circulated beforehand.  Two new affiliated organisations, the Republican Socialist Platform – RSP (a successor to the Republican Communist Network which had been affiliated to RCN mark 1), and the SNP Socialists, also attended.  Individual Scottish Green members were looking to the party’s reaffiliation. The Scottish Federation of Socialist Teachers continued its affiliation.  Others in particular political organisations, including anarchists, joined RIC as individual members.  Many are active in organisations such as Living Rent and international solidarity campaigns,

RIC went on to organise a very successful conference on June 12th, 2021, with guest speakers, Blair Anderson, Graham Campbell, Brenda Eadie, Janet Fenton, Katie Galloghly-Swan and Annie Lane.  RIC also formed part of the Cop-26 Coalition in November 2021.  RIC’s activities were favourably reported by Nan Spowart in the Sunday National[3].  This article covered RIC’s special emphasis on the role of stateless nations and indigenous peoples.

However, the key difference between the old RIC and the new RIC was the need to go beyond the old third principle:- ‘A modern republic for real democracy.’  In effect, this meant that a republic is seen as state without a monarchy. But republicanism is a democratic political principle, championing the sovereignty of the people.  The old principle acted as a kind of Labour Party Clause 4 – the abolition of the monarchy, could be left until after ‘Indy Ref1’.  The debate over republicanism began at the very first RIC conference.[4]  But it was only at the National Forum on May 17th, in Glasgow, that RIC agreed to recognise the sovereignty of the Scottish people and the need for a Constituent Assembly where their voice could be heard.[5]

However, this was never tested because of the ‘No’ vote on September 19th, 2014. And by the time of the 2016 Holyrood election, some of RIC’s Glasgow office bearers, having committed themselves to Respect, Independence, Socialism and Equality = Scotland’s Left Alternative, retreated even further from any republican, ‘sovereignty of the people’ principles.  Yet, it had already become quite clear that the unionists were not going to allow ‘IndyRef2’.  And by the time of Johnson’s reactionary unionist government in 2019, the British ruling class was quite prepared to resort to the full panoply of the UK state’s anti-democratic Crown Powers, not only to prevent ‘IndyRef2’, but even to roll back the limited democracy conceded under the 1998 ‘Devolution-all-round‘ deal.

This growing reactionary unionism, and the inability of either the constitutional nationalists or the liberal unionists to effectively challenge this, should have been the main issue at the RIC conference on 17.1.21.  But with the SNP government floundering, those former office bearers, now organised in conter, were looking for other Independence Movement leaders – Kenny Macaskill was mentioned and George Kerevan (ex-International Marxist Group, ex-Labour, ex-SNP, soon to be Alba) was brought forward. Conter rather easily fell into the still secret Alba plans to kill off RIC.  They certainly damaged RIC, but with a new keen younger membership, RIC has been revived.

And central to this was the unanimous RIC decision on 29.1.22 to adopt Six Principles:-

1) For a democratic, secular, socially just and environmentally sustainable, Scottish Republic

2) Action based on the sovereignty of the people not the UK Crown, leading to the setting up of a Constituent Assembly

3) Action to establish universal health, care, education, housing, income, pensions, and trade union rights; and to win land reform and challenge environmental degradation

4) Equality and opposition to discrimination on grounds of sex, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion/belief, disability or age

5) Solidarity with the struggles for workers’ rights, democracy and self-determination, based on internationalism from below

6) Support for Scotland’s artistic and cultural revival in all its languages

With the British ruling class facing constant constitutional crisis, they have turned to the royal family to front their Crown Powers.  Given that the Windsors are one of most dysfunctional families in the UK, this requires massive amounts media promotion.  But the BBC, once again fully living up to the meaning of its first initial,  leads the way, using royal births, deaths and jubilees to push all other programmes, and even mildly critical news, to the margins, for days at a time.

But most of all, events like royal jubilees, deaths, and royal proclamations allow the armed and security forces to create conditions resembling a military coup.  They organise massive displays of military force.  Highly armed soldiers are placed on prominent buildings.  There are major clampdowns on people’s movement.  For all those royalists, or even just the curious (e.g. overseas tourists) who line the routes of royal processions., countless subjects trying to go about their daily business have their lives seriously disrupted.  Indeed, this is the intention, as roads are blocked for hours, not only to others wanting to drive along them, but to prevent people trying to cross them (e.g. parents trying to collect their children from nurseries or schools – who can be diverted for miles).  These hours-long clampdowns are imposed are completely unnecessarily, since the position of any royal cortege is known down to the last imperial inch.

To counter this, and to demonstrate that RIC will not be intimated by state attempts to suppress Scotland’s self-determination, RIC has taken part in some events, and initiated others.  Our Republic organised a protest against the queen’s Platinum Jubilee on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill on 3.6.22.  This was joined by RIC, RSP, Tommy Sheppard MP and Maggie Chapman, Scottish Greens. MSP.  RIC, along with Our Republic, protested on 11.9.22 at the royal proclamation [6] outside St. Giles Cathedral (with heavily armed soldiers looking down). The Church of Scotland, is the  official upholder of Protestant ascendancy north of the border and just does what is asked..

RIC organised the ‘Let the People Decide’ protest outside the Supreme Court in London on 23.11.23, when it ruled that there is no constitutional way, based on the democratic right of national self-determination, to achieve Scotland’s independence.[7]  RIC also provided a speaker at the large ‘Time for Scotland’ protest rally that evening outside Holyrood, organised by Lesley Riddoch.[8]  Here the RIC speaker announced the Our Republic rally had organised a rally to protest the royal coronation on May 6th, 2023.

This rally is being organised on Calton Hill, a place with a long tradition of democratic dissent.  More recently this has included the Vigil from 1992 to 1997 to establish a Scottish parliament. [9]  When a Scottish parliament was agreed in the 1997 referendum. Donald Dewar ensured the new building would be sited, well away from Calton Hill, and as near to Holyrood Palace as possible.  This was done to emphasise Scottish-British subjecthood under the Crown.  But following the first Declaration of Calton Hill in 2004, the royal opening was challenged by a well-attended and entertaining rally.[10]  This was sympathetically reported by award-winning Scottish journalist, the late Ian Bell, great-nephew of James Connolly.

Today, in anticipation of king Charlie’s coronation on May 6th, a new Declaration of Calton Hill has been drawn up –  This defends and advances this earlier Declaration.  But it also turns to Scotland’s 2014 Democratic Revolution.  The aim is to bring together once more that rainbow alliance which achieved so much in 2014. Its initial signatories are drawn from the worlds of Scottish politics, grassroots campaigning and from Scotland’s vibrant cultural scene.

We have no constitutional means to achieve Scottish independence.  Our protest on May 6thanticipates the withdrawal of participation in the UK state’s directly imposed institutions.  And it looks to  extra-constitutional, non-violent, direct action until we complete Scotland’s Democratic Revolution.

Nae tae BOSS – British Occupied Subject Scotland

Aye tae a Scottish Democratic Republic

Freedom Come All Ye

 Allan Armstrong, 22.3.23


[1]         Freedom come all ye, Allan Armstrong, bella caledonia –

[2]         RIC Revived, Allan Armstrong, bella caledonia – 2022/02/05/ric-revived/

[3]         Radical Independence Campaign builds bridges with groups around the world, Nan Spowart, The National,

[4]         Genuine self determination means acting like republicans now – Allan Armstrong, bella caledonia –

[5]        What happens after September 18th? and Organisation after September 18thEmancipation & Liberation RIC special bulletin, May 2012 – /blog/ 2014/05/01/a-republican-perspective-is-important-for-scotlands-future/. The motion was overwhelmingly passed.

[6]  and https://www.theguardian. com/uk-news/2022/sep/12/anti-monarchy-protester-charged-with-a-breach-of-the-peace-edinburgh-queen-death-king

[7]           RIC statement on Supreme Court ruling

[8]          Gordon Brown’s  report and the Supreme Court Ruling, 2,Let the People Decide, Allan Armstrong, 2022/12/09/gordon-browns-new-report-and-the-supreme-court-ruling/

[9]          Vigil for the Scottish Parliament Monument Scottish places info –

[10]         The Declaration of Calton Hill and the Scottish independence movement – Text of a leaflet produced and handed out by RCN (Scotland) for the Declaration of Calton Hill event on October 6th (2004) – /the-declaration-of-calton-hill-and-the-scottish-independence-convention/



also see:

For a republican all-islands  coalition, Allan Armstrong