Dec 04 2014

EMANCIPATION & LIBERATION RIC 2014 conference special magazine

We are posting the two lead articles from Emancipation & Liberation, issue no. 23, produced for the 3000 strong Radical Independence Campaign conference held in Glasgow, in the Clydeside Auditorium on Saturday, November 22nd. The first is by Murdo Ritchie (RCN), the second by Allan Armstrong (RCN).






“There are decades in which nothing happens and there are weeks in which decades happen.” Lenin

When 1,517,989 voters (44.7%) declared they were prepared to abandon their primary, legal national identity to build a better Scotland, it was clear that Scottish national independence was coming. The defeated felt triumphant; the victorious worried.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement on the morning of the ballot declaration was filled with wishful thinking, “the debate has settled for a generation or as Alex Salmond has said, perhaps for a lifetime. So there can be no disputes, no re-runs –we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people.” The media may have declared the result decisive but the numbers and mood told otherwise.

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May 06 2013


Working class voices are often underrepresented in poetry. James Foley of the International Socialist Group interviews Rab Wilson, a pioneering voice in contemporary Scottish poetry, who writes in the Lallans Scots dialect to narrate the working life of miners and rural labourers. 

Rab Wilson

Rab Wilson

Rab Wilson has established himself as one of Scottish poetry’s unique voices.  Writing – and speaking – in Lallans Scots, his rhymes reflect on the social effects of deindustrialisation through memories of the harsh conditions – and the banter – of rural Ayrshire’s pit life.  His poetry, he says, is a form of social revolt: although he has gained respectability as the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Association’s “Robert Burns Reading Fellow in Reading Scots”, he urges poets to “bite the hand that feeds them”.

I caught up with Rab at his home in New Cumnock after viewing his documentary, Finding the Seam, which he describes as a personal poetic journey into the decline of the mining industry.  “Kirkconnel, New Cumnock, Auchinleck…all these villages are only here because of coal,” he says.  “Socially and economically, it made these local communities.”

Rab took an apprenticeship with the National Coal Board, and lived through the Miners’ Strike of 1984-5.  He started writing verses in chalk on the shaft walls, “just ripping the piss…folk in the pits were always writing daft rhymes to wind each other up”.  He has subsequently worked as a psychiatric nurse, and today lives in a very respectable bungalow on the outskirts of town overlooking a new windfarm development.  But if this sounds like embourgeoisement and adaptation to post-Thatcherite Britain, you’d be dead wrong.


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