Demonstrations of the popular will of the movement are important, but we must bare in mind that marches and rallies serve an internal rather than an external function in the broader strategy of resistance. The unionist media has rightly pointed out – something we already know – that marches do not win people over to our cause. This was never the purpose of the popular demonstration. Convincing others of our need for independence is of the greatest importance, and – within the movement – is proper to the role of the revolutionary praxis of education, organisation, and agitation.
Ideally these three ingredients should operate in tandem, but this synergy of action has to be built up; passing through the stages of education, to organisation, and ultimately to agitation working in harmony with the processes of outreach and organisation. In Scotland the independence movement is ready to progress to the stage of open agitation. It is both the case that the movement itself is ready and can achieve little else without it and that the actions of the British state are creating an urgency.
Regardless of the actions of the state, however, the movement must not be hurried into a course of action for which it is not ready. This would only be counterproductive.
Agitation cannot to take the shape of physical force violence under any circumstances. The state holds a monopoly on violence and will always be able to use more force. Violence is unnecessary, and those eager to use it or who are engaging in it must be rejected. Agitation must always serve two functions; it must harass the state to the end that it takes from it its sources of power, making it impossible for it to govern, and it must encourage the mass participation of the whole movement.
With every victory, no matter how seemingly insignificant, the state will be weakened and the strength of the movement and the cause for independence increased. Weak governments invite further acts of resistance and disobedience – right across society, which can be harnessed by the organisational structures of the movement to add to the level of support for independence.
At the heart of this agitation the message that the British state has no power to rule over us must always be clear. In itself this is further education – it lets those who are sitting on the fence see with absolute clarity who in this society has the power. Everywhere, Britain’s assumed right to rule must be challenged, its laws – as opposed to the laws of Scotland – must be challenged, along with the institutions of the state and those in support of the state. Mass, non-violence is a strategy the powerful cannot understand or control. Our task now is to use these strategies to maximum effect.