Mass movements like the Scottish independence movement are made up of lots of individuals like you and me. This might read like a no-brainer, but when we consider more deeply the part individuals play in social movements this apparently obvious fact begins to get a lot more complicated. Not all people join a particular movement for the same reason, and this creates challenges and opportunities we must be thinking about if we want our movement to grow and continue to be effective.
We all want independence – obviously – but “independence” means so many different things to so many different people. This is our first challenge as individuals within the movement; we have to ask ourselves some very serious questions? Ask yourself what independence means to you. What does it mean, in your thinking, for Scotland to be an independent country, and why do you want this? Take some time to write your ideas down and think them over.
Discuss your understanding of independence with other members of your group or pro-independence friends, and share with them all the reasons why you think independence is important for Scotland. Remember, you are a unique member of the movement and what you think is important to the future of our whole project and will take on greater importance in an independent Scotland. Some of what you think will help others see more clearly what they want and need.
Listen to other people’s ideas. We all have different perspectives on what is happening around us. We all have different priorities. By listening to what other people think and what they want we all get a better view of the complex thinking and hopes of the wider movement. While we may think our ideas are more important – and maybe they are – we will only succeed when we work together as a movement, and this demands that we work for each other’s goals too.
It is absolutely crucial that we know what it is we want and why we want it. Sooner or later it is how we think of independence that will be put to the rest of the country, and many No voters, soft Yes and No voters, and undecideds need answer to the questions they are struggling with. In thinking through our questions now, by sharing them with others, and by listening to the ideas of others we building up a strong collective ideas set and knowledge back that will be instrumental in convincing others.