Following a decision taken at a National Forum meeting of the Radical Independence Campaign in December 2019, Radical Independence Queers, the LGBTQ+ wing of RIC, was established at a meeting in March 2020. While the pandemic has made organising in a substantial fashion difficult, we are still committed to our goal of establishing a space within the independence movement for LGBTQ+ people to come together and make sure that the cause of queer civil rights is firmly linked to the struggle for an independent Scotland that benefits the working class, not the wealthy and powerful. In times of rising transphobia and homophobia in Scottish society, we feel it would be a terrible time to dissolve. Scotland needs militant, autonomous, socialist LGTBQ+ activism more than ever.
It is for these reason that we are disappointed by the decision taken at the recent RIC AGM to dissolve the Campaign as a national body, and here announce our intention to continue on as a group regardless. Furthermore, we welcome the decisions made by local RIC groups such as Dundee, Angus and Mearns, East Kilbride and Glasgow to continue, and we will be glad to speak and collaborate with local RIC branches and affiliated groups in the months to come as we work out a way forward for RIC on the national level.
The National today published some right pish from Alyn Smith, wherein he doubles down on the statements he made in his now-leaked communication to SNP members in Stirling.
“A cautionary tale – Donald Trump won Wisconsin in the last US presidential election because, in part, he was able to attack the local Democrats as being out of touch, spending all their time debating gender neutral bathrooms while the economy was going to the dogs.
It was probably untrue, but impressions matter. Likewise, Labour in the 1980s was able to be portrayed as “Loony Left” and out of touch precisely because some of its leading members were.”
Sure Alyn’s article later contains some schmaltzy platitudes about how “independence is nothing unless everyone matters. Equality is at the heart of our proposition for a better Scotland, it is not either/or,” but the previous paragraphs we’ve quoted give the lie to that. Alyn has suggested that Trump may indeed have had a point about democrats being out of touch in trying to do something about trans civil rights. Sure Trump’s line of attack might have “probably” (read: fucking obviously) been untrue, but Alyn wants to make clear to his audience that it’s the imaging and the message that was the point.
Alyn here reduces politics to what is essentially a question of brand reception. Like all liberals, he is willing to play games with trans rights, to play things safe and moderate for image reasons. Because god forbid the SNP try to do too much of the right thing by trans people and appear, shock horror, Out of Touch!
By this policy the SNP may ensure that it appears a perfectly palatable choice for some bigoted conservative landlord or businessman, but it will not succeed in leading a national struggle that works for the dispossessed and the downtrodden people of Scotland.
Remember this: False friends like Alyn Smith are not just ready to sacrifice commitments to trans civil rights for quick political gain. They are also ready to skip out on struggles for racial justice, disability justice, and workers’ justice if it makes them look like a “proper”, “sensible” political force. If you think the trans struggle is just something that can be shelved til independence, just remember that a time will come when voices in the SNP will call for a struggle that is important to you to be dropped from the cause. We must resist this kind of divide-and-conquer political opportunism at all costs- together!
At 10:30 on Saturday morning, Radical Independence Campaign members in Dundee will be holding a small, socially distanced gathering at the Burns Statue in Albert Square to show solidarity with activists from the Polish collective Stop Bzdurom who have been arrested as part of a renewed wave of repression of LGBT people by Andrzej Duda’s right-wing government. The struggle in Poland and our struggle – not only for equal rights but for the radical transformation of the world – are one and the same.
Please bring flags and placards (or make placards with us on the day) so that we can make our solidarity as visible as possible.