During last week’s bizarre, wall-to-wall coverage of Elizabeth Windsor’s casket making its way from Ballater to Edinburgh, a BBC correspondent, embarrassed by the quietness of the watching crowd, offered the dubious explanation that Scots “don’t emote as enthusiastically as people down south”. This remark — contradicted within hours as protesters risked, and in some cases faced, arrest and prosecution to show their disapproval of the state-sponsored pageantry — revealed a remarkable misunderstanding of working-class Scotland.
It was working-class women in Dundee’s factories who made ‘heckle’ into a universal term for treating a figure of authority with brazen irreverence; the women whose job in the textile mills was known as ‘heckling’ were regarded as the most militant and quickest to interrupt the reading of the day’s news from the shop floor to make their views known. As the British establishment tries to bind the UK together under Charles, this radical class tradition must reassert itself.
This is precisely why our new project is named Heckle. We chose this name because we have no fear of being uncivilly loud; because we have a strong sense of connection to Scotland’s radical history; and because we know, like our radical forebears, that if we want something done well, we have to do it ourselves. Heckle is the new online magazine of the Republican Socialist Platform and will, over the weeks and months to come, publish theory, criticism, commentary, and art from a distinctly Scottish, republican, internationalist, and socialist perspective.
Though you would find little evidence of it by observing the supine British media, there is good reason to believe republicanism is undergoing a quiet renaissance across these islands. Part of our mission will be to further develop the anti-monarchism which has come to the fore in recent weeks into a more holistic republicanism, which recognises the sovereignty of the people as the central component of the full democratisation of our society and government.
Our doors are open to writers, artists and creatives — in and outwith Scotland — who share our ideas. We are particularly keen to receive pitches from artists and articles in Gàidhlig, Scots (particularly non-Central Belt variants like Doric and Orcadian), and from other minority language speakers. Our small freelance budget, which we hope will grow with time, will primarily be used to support those whose work would otherwise struggle to find the light of day.
We hope that our work will be of value to those struggling against capitalism, imperialism, and all forms of oppression — the hecklers, not the mourners.
Heckle is overseen by a seven-person editorial board elected by members of the Republican Socialist Platform.