Jun 26 2014

MAKING PLANS FOR NIGEL

Allan Armstrong (RCN) examines the situation Socialists face across these islands in the light of the recent European election and the ongoing Scottish independence referendum campaign. 

 

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A SOCIALIST REPUBLICAN ANALYSIS OF THE STATE OF THE UK AND ‘NEW UNIONISM’ IN THE LIGHT

OF THE RISE OF UKIP AND THE FORTHCOMING SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM

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CONTENTS

 

Introduction

 

1.         How the British ruling class sees their strategy for retaining control over these islands

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Aug 04 2002

Successful republican festival and victory at free speech trial

Category: Emancipation & Liberation,Issue 03RCN @ 1:59 pm

The following report comes for Y Faner Goch, issues no 134 and 135

More than 300 people attended the three day Stuff the Monarchy festival organised by Cymru Goch in Pontypridd’s Clwb y Bont over the Jubilee bank holiday. Those attending were a broad mix of republican, socialists and greens from across Wales and enjoyed a laid-back variety of debates, videos, music, poetry and drinking.

The event opened with a great speech by Alan McCombes of the Scottish Socialist Party. Alan spoke about the need for a Scottish Socialist Republic in his own country and the way the SSP was advancing that vision. He made it clear both during and after his talk that Welsh socialist republicans would be welcomed in future in Scotland.

The history of Welsh republicanism was explained in two separate sessions by Pedr Lewis and Tim Richards. Pedr outlined the history of the Welsh Republican Movement in the late 1940s and 1950s in a session that delighted many younger comrades and drew praise from IRSP speaker Terry Harkins.

The one notable absentee was Simon Brooks of Cymuned. He pulled out after the Welsh Mirror highlighted the fact that he was sharing a platform with an Irish republican socialist – which in the Mirror’s warped logic became the British leader of the INLA!

However, prominent Valleys socialist republican and member of Cymru Goch, Tim Richards, had his house raided and was charged before being given bail on condition he was banned from Trehafod where the Queen was going to visit! Tim went on to explain the reasons behind this.

Let’s not forget all police officers swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen and we were slagging off the monarchy. I think they were looking for an excuse to criminalise Welsh socialist republicans. The Special Branch is essentially political and its role is to monitor dissent, particularly socialists, greens, anarchists, anti-capitalists, etc. In my case they went one step further by trying to trump up a charge against me for political reasons but it has backfired badly on them.

The support has been great. My first worry was that it might affect my job, but support from my colleagues (Tim is an FE lecturer) has been 100%. In Abertridwr (Tim’s home village), once again the support has been magnificent and it has to be said that the political support has been surprisingly wide. One of the first people to support me was Dafydd Iwan and Welsh Assembly Members from Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal-Democrats, anarchists, greens and so on have been marvellous. It shows that while not everyone might agree with my republican views they feel the police vendetta is a massive overreaction.

It is an interesting reflection on what the establishment perceives as a threat. Unfortunately, they feel quite secure against socialist politics, but less so when it comes to Welsh republicanism. The English establishment are not used to having their Queen criticised by us Welsh peasants. Cymru Goch led the anti-Jubilee protests in the UK and that was not to be tolerated.

The wider implications are that we are going through a dark period in civil liberties. Even before September 11th, New Labour had shown itself as an authoritarian party more interested in law and order than justice. Tony Blair’s government is holding a number of Moslems in prison without trial and has already deported people without any legal justification. Internment is a direct attack on the civil liberties of all of s.

When Tim’s case finally came to Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court, it was revealed that two undercover police officers had attended Cymru Goch’s Stuff the Monarchy festival posing as would-be demonstrators. Socialists and republicans rallied in support of Tim with large noisy pickets outside the court hearing. There was also a positive outcome with excellent public meetings in both Pontypridd and Wrecsam on the arrest and its wider implications for free speeech in the wake of the war against terrorism.

After the case was dismissed, Tim said, I am relieved that this farcical case has been dropped, but I am angry that it should have happened in the first place.

In addition the success of the Pontypridd republican festival has prompted Cymru Goch to make it an annual event for the Mayday weekend.

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Jul 26 2002

Jubilee: Wales

Category: Emancipation & Liberation,Issue 02RCN @ 7:27 pm

Mike Davies reports on Welsh Republicans’ preparations for the Royal Visit: Jiwbili ych a fi!

Welsh Socialist Republicans have been at the forefront in building a coalition against the Queen’s Jubilee Jamboree in June. Cymru Goch, Earth First! activists, leading trade unionists and socialists have come together to form an ad hoc group called Stuff the Monarchy to oppose the event.

The weekend of the official celebrations will see a Republican Festival in a Welsh social club called Clwb y Bont, Pontypridd, which has been declared a people’s republic for the duration of the weekend. It’s going to be a vibrant exchange of ideas, debate, music, poetry and videos from struggles around Wales and the world. Speakers include socialist republicans from Scotland and Ireland as well as anti-globalisation campaigners, community activists, trade union militants and direct actionist greens.

The weekend will also be the final chance for campaigners opposing the Queen’s visit to Wales on June 11-13 to get organised. The Festival will also be an informal meeting place for like minded socialists committed to national liberation. We see this as a chance to break with the stale electoralism of the Welsh Socialist Alliance and build a real alliance of socialists, direct action campaigners, trade union militants and community activists who have not been enthused by the lukewarm reformism of the current WSA.

The traditions of republican resistance to the monarchy are well established in Wales. The traditional method for the monarchy to win over the rebellious Welsh was a subtle thing called the Investiture of the Prince of Wales. This imposition first happened soon after military conquest and was repeated whenever the natives got restless. In 1911 and most recently in 1969, there were protests from radicals opposed to British rule in Wales. This very crude symbol of Wales’ annexation by England (no-one seems to remember needing a referendum for that one) remains a live possibility for when Queenie pops off and Charles finally gets a day job. It’s possible that William will be made Prince of Wales, but much will depend on the kind of reception the royals get on their tour of Wales.

Our Stuff the Monarchy campaign isn’t just about the Jubilee – it’s about ensuring that Charles is the last Prince of Wales and urging his Divestiture. It will continue beyond the Jubilee frenzy being whipped up by the Palace media machine and loyal newspapers. They have a steep climb to convince an apathetic population – and a hostile youth – that Royalty means anything to Wales.

There are interesting developments beyond the orthodox (i.e. Brit) left – a new radical language movement called Cymuned (Community) has sprung up in Y Fro Gymraeg (the Welsh-speaking heartlands) with 1100 members in just 10 months. Its recent conference placed it firmly in the camp of non-violent civil disobedience with a commitment to oppose colonialism and racism. It stands up for the rights of a community – the Welsh language community of 500,000 people and specifically the 300,000 or so who live in majority Welsh speaking areas in the West – to exist. It pits that right against the right of an individual and freemarket forces to destroy a fragile community and culture. In these areas at least, it is becoming a mass movement against speculative housing developments that are far beyond the reach of low-paid young local people.

Similarly, campaigners against waste incinerators and further opencast mining in some our most deprived communities are taking new and novel forms of direct action and lobbying to get their message across. All are being ignored by the mainstream political parties.

These new movements are part of a trend against capitalist party politics, against globalisation and for an imaginative rethink on who controls our communities and world. The trend towards direct action rather than electoral success underlines the common consensus that if you vote for Tweedledee or Tweedledum, you end up with Tweedledummer.

Welsh Socialist Republicans who are casting off the tired old orthodoxies of the British left are well placed to take their part in this new alliance of rebel forces.

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