The largest pro-independence march and rally to date has attracted thousands of people to Edinburgh to demonstrate their commitment to an independent Scotland. Under the banner Independence for Scotland, Princes Street Gardens was awash with saltires and lion rampant flags as people from all over the country gathered to show their support for a Yes vote in the 2014 referendum.
Saturday's rally was independently-organised and distinct from the official Yes campaign. Rally organisers intend to hold similar events in the lead up to the referendum and have already announced plans for a similar march and rally this time next year.
Figures from across Scottish society came together at the rally to celebrate the opportunities that arise from Scotland being an independent nation. First Minister Alex Salmond and representatives from the SNP addressed the crowd, other speakers included former Labour MP and former independent MSP Dennis Canavan, independent MSP Margo McDonald, Scottish Green Party co-convenor Patrick Harvie, journalist Ruth Wishart, human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar, author and broadcaster Cameron McNeish and comedian and broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli.
Addressing the rally, independent MSP Margo MacDonald said:
"If a third of Scots believe in independence and want independence now, every one of us has got two years to persuade another Scot, and then we're home and dry.
"That's not fanciful, that's just practical."
Respected lawyer Aamer Anwar, perhaps best known for his defence of Tommy Sheridan during his perjury trial, told the rally that the Olympics were over, and the Unionist parties should stop imagining that flag-waving will win the campaign for them.
Mr Anwar added:
"I've spent most of my life believing in the Union and I no longer do. I don't want to be dictated to by Westminster. I want a future for my children. A future which isn't one predicated by austerity for decades and decades. I think the people of Scotland can govern themselves."
Writing in the Scotsman about her decision to attend the rally, journalist Ruth Wishart said:
"I will vote Yes, and I will do so from conviction. From the belief that Scotland, like many similar small nations, has the natural resources to survive and thrive.
"From the belief that taking control of our own finances and budgeting is not only the essential building block of a modern nation, but that it will finally kill off the persistent charges of whingeing jocks and subsidy junkies which cause unnecessary tensions between ourselves and our friends in the south."
"However, the over-riding reason why I will come out loud and proud today is because I truly believe this to be a historic opportunity to shape the kind of nation we want our children and grandchildren to inherit and grow up in."
Over the summer, SNP members – who have distributed Yes Declaration leaflets and postcards, and been involved in Yes Scotland street stalls the length and breadth of the country – have collected over 100,000 signatures for the Declaration. This is a major milestone and contribution towards the Yes Scotland campaign's objective of signing up one million supporters in Scotland for the Yes Declaration by the time of the referendum in autumn 2014.
Speaking at the rally, Scottish National Party leader and First Minister Alex Salmond announced that the SNP have already gathered over 100,000 signatures for the Yes Declaration, which was published when the Yes Scotland campaign was launched in May.
Mr Salmond said:
"We know that the most popular option for Scotland's future is for the Scottish Parliament to make all the decisions, instead of leaving vital powers over the economy, social welfare and pensions in the hands of the Tories at Westminster – where they are presiding over economic stagnation, and making some of the most vulnerable members of society pay the price with cruel cuts.
"The challenge and the opportunity is clear – to translate this desire for democratic control in Scotland into a majority vote for independence in the autumn 2014 referendum.
"The momentum lies with the cause of independence and equality for Scotland. Already, the SNP have signed up over a hundred thousand supporters for the Yes Declaration, as the Yes campaign builds towards a million people by the time of the referendum.
"In devolved areas such as health and education, Scotland already has the powers to decide an independent policy from Westminster
"As a result, Scotland has led the way in the UK by introducing the smoking ban, we passed world-leading climate change legislation, we reintroduced free higher education in Scotland and have a record number of Scottish students at Scottish universities for the coming year, we have delivered 1,000 additional police officers, and our National Health Service is being protected and promoted.
"In all these areas, Scotland is governed incomparably better compared to the position south of the Border. The record of the last 13 years is that self-government is good for Scotland – and the lesson is clear.
"The only way to ensure that Scotland is governed well in all areas is by completing our home rule journey and voting Yes to independence in autumn 2014."
Lothian and Borders police have confirmed that two arrests were made prior to the march after a scuffle between pro-independence supporters and a small group of members of an extreme far-right organisation who were reportedly waving a Union flag and swearing at marchers.
"I believe it is fundamentally better for us all, if decisions about Scotland's future are taken by the people who care most about Scotland, that is, by the people of Scotland.
"Being independent means Scotland's future will be in Scotland's hands.
"There is no doubt that Scotland has great potential. We are blessed with talent, resources and creativity. We have the opportunity to make our nation a better place to live, for this and future generations. We can build a greener, fairer and more prosperous society that is stronger and more successful than it is today.
"I want a Scotland that speaks with her own voice and makes her own unique contribution to the world: a Scotland that stands alongside the other nations on these isles, as an independent nation."
What is the world's most powerful and violent "ism"? The question will summon the usual demons such as Islamism now that communism has left the stage.
The answer, wrote Harold Pinter, is only "superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged," because only one ideology claims to be non-ideological, neither left nor right, the supreme way. This is liberalism.
In his 1859 essay On Liberty, to which modern liberals pay homage, John Stuart Mill, below left, described the power of empire.
"Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians," he wrote, "provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end."
The "barbarians" were large sections of humanity of whom "implicit obedience" was required.
The French liberal Alexis de Tocqueville also believed in the bloody conquest of others as "a triumph of Christianity and civilisation" that was "clearly preordained in the sight of Providence."
"It's a nice and convenient myth that liberals are the peacemakers and conservatives the warmongers," wrote the historian Hywel Williams in 2001, "but the imperialism of the liberal way may be more dangerous because of its open-ended nature - its conviction that it represents a superior form of life (while denying its) self-righteous fanaticism."
He had in mind a speech by Tony Blair in the aftermath of the September 11 2001 attacks in which Blair promised to "reorder this world around us" according to his "moral values."
At least a million dead later - in Iraq alone - this tribune of liberalism is today employed by the tyranny in Kazakhstan for a fee of $13 million (£8m).
Blair's crimes are not unusual. Since 1945, more than a third of the membership of the United Nations - 69 countries - have suffered some or all of the following: they have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted and their people bombed.
The historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions.
This has been principally the project of the liberal flame-carrier, the United States, whose celebrated "progressive" president John F Kennedy, according to new research, authorised the bombing of Moscow during the Cuban crisis in 1962.
"If we have to use force," said Madeleine Albright, US secretary of state in the liberal administration of Bill Clinton, "it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future."
How succinctly she defines modern, violent liberalism.
Syria is an enduring project.
This is a leaked joint US-UK intelligence file:
"In order to facilitate the action of liberative (sic) forces... a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals [and] to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria. CIA is prepared, and SIS (MI6) will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main (sic) incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals... a necessary degree of fear... frontier and [staged] border clashes [will] provide a pretext for intervention... the CIA and SIS should use... capabilities in both psychological and action fields to augment tension."
That was written in 1957, though it might have come from a recent report by the Royal United Services Institute, A Collision Course for Intervention, whose author says with witty understatement: "It is highly likely that some Western special forces and intelligence sources have been in Syria for a considerable time."
And so a world war beckons in Syria and Iran.
Israel, the violent creation of the West, already occupies part of Syria.
This is not news - Israelis take picnics to the Golan Heights and watch a civil war directed by western intelligence from Turkey and bankrolled and armed by the medievalists in Saudi Arabia.
Having stolen most of Palestine, attacked Lebanon, starved the people of Gaza and built an illegal nuclear arsenal, Israel is exempt from the current disinformation campaign aimed at installing Western clients in Damascus and Tehran.
On July 21 Guardian commentator Jonathan Freedland warned that "the West will not stay aloof for long. Both the US and Israel are also anxiously eyeing Syria's supply of chemical and nuclear weapons, now said to be unlocked and on the move, fearing Assad may choose to go down in a lethal blaze of glory." Said by whom? The usual "experts" and spooks.
Like them, Freedland desires "a revolution without the full-blown intervention required in Libya."
According to its own records Nato launched 9,700 "strike sorties" against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. They included missiles with uranium warheads.
Look at the photographs of the rubble of Misrata and Sirte, and the mass graves identified by the Red Cross.
Read the Unicef report on the children killed, "most under the age of 10."
Like the destruction of the Iraqi city of Fallujah, these crimes were not news, because news as disinformation is a fully integrated weapon of attack.
On July 14, the Libyan Observatory for Human Rights - which opposed the Gadaffi regime - reported: "The human rights situation in Libya now is far worse than under Gadaffi."
Ethnic cleansing is rife. According to Amnesty, the entire population of the town of Tawargha "are still barred from returning... their homes have been looted and burned down."
In Anglo-American scholarship, influential theorists known as "liberal realists" have long taught that liberal imperialists - a term they never use - are the world's peacebrokers and crisis managers, rather than the cause of a crisis.
They have taken the humanity out of the study of nations and congealed it with a jargon that serves warmongering power. Laying out whole nations for autopsy, they have identified "failed states" - nations difficult to exploit - and "rogue states" - nations resistant to Western dominance.
Whether or not the regime is a democracy or dictatorship is irrelevant. The same is true of those contracted to do the dirty work.
In the Middle East, from Nasser's time to Syria today, Western liberalism's collaborators have been Islamists, lately al-Qaida, while long discredited notions of democracy and human rights serve as rhetorical cover for conquest "as required." Plus ca change.
“Ever since monopoly capital took over the world, it has kept the greater part of humanity in poverty, dividing all the profits among the group of the most powerful countries. The standard of living in those countries is based on the extreme poverty of our countries. To raise the living standards of the underdeveloped nations, therefore, we must fight against imperialism. And each time a country is torn away from the imperialist tree, it is not only a partial battle won against the main enemy but it also contributes to the real weakening of that enemy, and is one more step toward the final victory. There are no borders in this struggle to the death. We cannot be indifferent to what happens anywhere in the world, because a victory by any country over imperialism is our victory, just as any country’s defeat is a defeat for all of us. The practice of proletarian internationalism is not only a duty for the peoples struggling for a better future; it is also an inescapable necessity.
“If the imperialist enemy, the United States or any other, carries out its attack against the underdeveloped peoples and the socialist countries, elementary logic determines the need for an alliance between the underdeveloped peoples and the socialist countries. If there were no other uniting factor, the common enemy should be enough.” Che Guevara
"At the present time the whole of social life is being militarised...
What will the proletarian women do against it? Only curse all war and everything military, only demand disarmament? The women of an oppressed class that is really revol
utionary will never agree to play such a shameful role.
They will say to their sons: 'You will soon be big. You will be given a gun. Take it and learn to use it. The proletarians need this knowledge not to shoot your brothers, the workers of other countries, as they are doing in the present war, and as you are being advised to do by the traitors to socialism, but to fight the bourgeoisie of your own country, to put an end to exploitation, poverty and war, not by means of good intentions, but by a victory over the bourgeoisie and by disarming them." Vladimir Lenin.
"Tell it to your daughters too. They hold up half the sky. So I'm pretty sure they are more than capable of holding up half the guns too" Not A Dinner Party
Report on free social housing in the DPRK from CCTV News (China). Meanwhile back in the crisis stricken capitalist west, homelessness is rising as welfare states are slashed, rents and house prices rise, inflation soars, wages are cut and social housing stocks dwindle... and the rich just keep getting richer...
Never in human history has so much been achieved in such a short time. Lives transformed beyond recognition. A nation driven into the dirt after a century of war and humiliation now stands tall and proud. The path is long and the struggle is hard, there will be many twists in the roads, setbacks, false paths, but the forward march will not be stopped. And yeah, haters gonna hate. Fuck em.