Over the past two weeks there has been an understandably high level of curiosity about the identities behind and the intentions of the Butterfly Rebellion. We have come to realise that our launch into the world of Scottish social media and activism for a better Scotland, as if from nowhere, would naturally cause alarm for quite a few people. Our rapid growth certainly caused no small amount of alarm among ourselves. We decided to do something for a number of reasons. Pictures and news on the night of the nineteenth of September from George’s Square in Glasgow caused instant outrage and indignation. Phone calls and information about irregularities in the referendum count, along with other worrying statements, pertaining to the same, inspired two of us to create a Facebook page, a Twitter account and open the now infamous ‘Arizona hosted’ WordPress blog. In two weeks such a great deal has happened. We have spoken with lawyers, coöperated with the police, taken on more than thirty volunteer administrators and moderators, witnessed the replication of the first page over much of Scotland, met the digital versions of some of the most amazing Scottish independence activists, discovered what trolling really means, and answered thousands of items of mail. Two weeks, and we all have jobs, family and friends in the ‘real’ world. Some of us even have pets. One rabbit, two cats, a dog, and two parakeets (Skye and Jura) have become known so far.
People are suspicious of anonymous newcomers. That is fair enough, except for the fact that all of us have been part of the independence campaign in Scotland for a long time. Our first page was merely a response to the shift that became apparent in the early hours of the nineteenth of last month. Each of us was inspired by the Yes movement, we were transformed by it, and awoken to the reality that we were independent already – and we couldn’t go back. Realising this personal independence meant that in conscience we were at odds with another political claim that held us dependent. It wasn’t that we had actively rejected anything; it was more the case that he had become aware of two contradictory claims that could not share the same space in one person. We chose Scotland. At no point did we make a choice to be the enemies of Westminster, it was quite the other way around. Our affirmation of Scottishness to the exclusion of that other claim made us enemies of another state. Do we trust Westminster, the British establishment, and their press, had we become known, with our personal and public reputations and wellbeing? No, of course we don’t!
As we are speaking of enemies, we must make it clear that we are pacifists. We do not see Britain, or Westminster, or England as our enemies. These are people just like us, and it is annoying to have to underline this truth. We do not advocate violence, or even violent resistance. All that we desire, more than anything in this world, is to see our nation as independent as we now consider ourselves to be, and we are working along with so many others to see that transition happen peacefully.
So what we have determined to do is to set down our ideas, a written portrait of our vision, to explain ourselves more fully to the rest of Scotland. From today a draft of this is being prepared which will be submitted to our administrators and moderators for discussion and revision. It is hoped that the end product will be a document that explains the Butterfly Rebellion to which every member can agree. As people, in general, may want to read this document we will make it publicly available in the cheapest way that we can – electronically and in print. If any profit is made from this manifesto, however small or large a sum, we will ensure that all proceeds go to support food banks and social projects in Scotland. Proper financial measures will be put in place and all accounts will be made public. It is our hope that our vision of social involvement for justice and fairness, our resistance to the economic victimisation of the most vulnerable, and our stance against the involvement of Scotland in British violence abroad will inspire others and contribute to the ongoing work of so many other groups over Scotland working for independence.
We hope even to give an account of our name. Robin McAlpine used these three words when Scotland so desperately needed hope. These three words, The Butterfly Rebellion, inspired us and convinced us that we had to do something. They are his words, but language has the magical ability to grow wings. No one owns language. All that we can hope is that our use of the words he gave Scotland will not bring shame on the nation he helped to inspire. We had to do something. So far this is what we have done.
– Butterfly Rebellion