"You will not take this opportunity away from us"
Project Terror – the unprecedented campaign of fear against Scottish independence by big business, the media and the capitalist political establishment – has produced a fight back. Ordinary working class people are increasingly taking the campaign for a Yes vote into their own hands.
There is an overwhelming mood of “you will not take this opportunity away from us”.
Without any direction from the official Yes campaign, people are calling mass mobilisations to show mass support for Yes in the squares of major cities and town centres. This is a real grassroots mass street movement. On Tuesday 16th September, for example, thousands filled George Square in Glasgow for a Yes gathering called no more than day previously.
From all sides a mass of working class people entered the square off the buses, from the workplaces, shops and pubs. Quickly over 3,000 filled the space.
As well as the saltires people brandished large homemade placards and banners, scrawled slogans such as “Hope Over Fear – Our Hero Tommy Sheridan”, “Fuck the establishment, No to austerity, Vote Yes!”, “Our day of reckoning” in reference to the call for nationalisation of oil companies by Jim Sillers.
Chants went up of ” Where’s your cameras BBC?” and an insistent cry of “Yes” that got louder and more vociferous as passing motorists beeped support.
In the crowd speakers spoke from small microphones raging against the actions of Project Terror, particularly the bias of the BBC.
Socialist Party Scotland were the one of the first organisations to arrive in the square. We spoke from a street microphone throughout the gathering, often we were the only speakers calling people over to our stalls.
We petitioned calling for a £10 an hour living wage and an end to zero hour contracts but we also were bold in presenting our full socialist case for an independent socialist Scotland.
Our stalls were mobbed throughout the evening, with many signing up for more info on SPS. 140 copies of the Socialist were sold and one hundred pounds of donations received.
We rallied the crowd calling for a Yes vote against austerity, for not a penny more austerity cuts to be made and for public ownership of the banks, oil, gas and the major corporations. We explained the need for working class people to organise and fight back against project terror and the bosses crisis ridden capitalist system.
People came and shook the hands of our speakers, they particularly applauded our calls for a new mass party for the working class and young people and our highlighting of the collusion between big business and the right wing media. Many queued up to film us on camera phones, we were interviewed by press from four different countries, funnily enough no British media!
Later on Tommy Sheridan spoke at the final Hope Over Fear – Socialist Case for Independence rally to over 1000 people in Glasgow. The night club venue was full to its 500 capacity and a further 500 waited downstairs in a bar for the first meeting to finish. Even then another 2-300 were locked outside. The night before in Motherwell, as a huge audience overflowed from a venue, Tommy spoke from a roof of a car to hundreds outside on the street.
Large mobilisations took place in other towns and cities. In Greenock a spectacular torch-lit procession and gathering, with thousands of people chanting together in support of YES took place in the dark. Further rallies, including an information day to counter the Project Terror media barrage in Glasgow has been called and is expected to fill the square again. Many others are planned in the run-up to the vote on Thursday.
The determination not to allow Project Fear and the interests of British capitalism to win out was reflected in the Paul Mason report on Channel Four news from George Square.
“If you want to understand how the Yes campaign came from nowhere to frighten the life out of Westminster just look behind me (crowd cheer). These people have been holding a meeting with a speaker system that just consisted of a shoe box. Like me, no one could hear them.
“The important thing about this grassroots movement is that you see many people around me here have come from movements like campaigns against the bedroom tax, local committees, these are people who know how to use a megaphone and they did it in the registration campaign and will do it on Thursday. These are people who know how to get ordinary Glasgow out and this is what’s terrifying the party machines of the official parties.”