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Dai's leaflet "REPWBLIC?"

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Joined: 31 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 3:38 pm    Post subject: Dai's leaflet "REPWBLIC?" Reply with quote

Formatting lost in text - original was exactly three pages long - sorry !

Dear Cymru Goch & other Welsh Republicans,

Back in June of this year, during the 'Up the Republic'
weekend in Pontypridd, there was a long overdue stirring of pride
once again in using the word 'republican' of welsh radicalism. I
applaud this, since I have long advocated the point that
republicanism is the sole grounds upon which we can unite the so-
called 'left'.

The advent of the Welsh Socialist Alliance was close enough
to this purpose for me, and I was also one of the first to let my
membership lapse as the same old struggle between doctrinaire
factions emerged. I am glad to see that Cymru Goch left the
W.S.A. to focus once more on keeping 'Y Faner Goch' going - this
has been an admirable achievement over the past twenty years.

I have to bemoan however the presence of terrorists as
speakers at the 'Up the Republic' weekend. The devastating splits
in what had been a reviving welsh republican movement twenty
years ago were created by the doubts induced by the arrests and
charges that led up to the so-called 'Conspiracy' Trials of 1983.
This was not least because of the ambivalent stance taken towards
violence of Cymru Goch's predecessor the Welsh Socialist
Republican Movement, which seemed to be intoxicated by the
parallels it assumed between Wales and Ireland to the point where
it preferred the Fenian Republican tradition to the Cambrian. In
openly sympathising with the motives if not the methods of the
welsh bombing groups it inevitably drew into itself would-be
terrorist infiltrators and agents-provocateurs.

Let us be clear, if we are welsh republicans, that we have a
long history of anti - militarism and the rejection of violence,
saving - in extreme circumstances - that used to defend life and
limb. Commonly in the welsh tradition a distinction has been made
between violence as some harm enacted upon sentient beings and
the harm of the destruction of property, which we have regarded
as 'non-violent' but mere vandalism if not directed exactly to
the end of alleviating some form of oppression. Terrorism has
always been deplored by the welsh republican tradition as
fundamentally anti-democratic.

Hence I direct this letter towards Cymru Goch because of
your long-used slogan of 'extreme democracy' and invite you to
consider its implications. Democracy as a political theory is
directed towards the creation of a consensus of opinion to
promote social cohesion. Democracy demands not merely toleration
but the accommodation of differing points of view that are being
advocated in a democratic way. Socialist politics as normally
displayed among left wing groups are not democratic and
consequently these prove to be schismatic, with a penchant for
fantasising how to impose their views on others - typically by
coercive methods. Whilst the W.S.A. foundered once more on this
rock of anti-democratic factionalism, I deem 'Y Faner Goch's'
longevity to be a sufficient demonstration of Cymru Goch's
democratic traditions functioning adequately.

I do wince however at those lazy and slanderous remarks that
discredit the news content of 'Y Faner Goch' : political
frustration and despair should be more honestly expressed to
remain creditable to your readers. I feel that 'Y Faner Goch'
remains the foremost credible organ of welsh republicanism at
present, and so is the place to put forward an alternative
analysis of the past twenty years and to note the prospect of
some hope for a revival of republicanism in Wales. You may well
share in some of the opinions that follow.

Most of us are aware that the fallout from the Labour
party's witch-hunts of the 1980's was for non-doctrinaire
radicals who were committed to improving the world to opt out of
party politics and into single-issue pressure groups. The
subsequent history of Labour was that it was denuded of activists
and couldn't get itself elected until a whole new generation had
grown up. Labour is now led by those who only want to possess
power rather than use it for any purpose. Those who left or never
joined the Labour party in the last twenty years, who would
attempt to change things by being elected, are scattered and lack
the financial resources to form a party able to contest elections
effectively. Ofcourse, many doctrinaire radicals have formed and
reformed those schismatic cults that pretend to be political
parties but do not seek election, consoling themselves in mutual
affirmations of their opinions. This is perhaps fair enough as an
activity, but a consequence of this isolation from political
action is that it is not obvious to these doctrinaire socialists
that both the Liberal and Conservative parties lost large numbers
of activists in much the same way as Labour, and not all of them
ended up in Plaid Cymru. The Conservatives lost the most because
of the reactions to Thatcherism in Wales.

It is a mistake to believe that New Labour has seized the
'middle ground' of politics in either Wales or the U.K. - this is
an idea that comes out of conceiving the so-called 'left v right'
model of political ideologies. I think that a 'sphere of
politics' whose axes are defined by polarities of ( socialist v
fascist ),( conservative v anarchist ),( liberal v communist )
helps us to immediately see more clearly what has happened in the
past twenty years. All the major political parties in Wales and
the U.K. have not so much converged on 'middle ground' politics
as have abandoned them altogether to shift in parallel courses
away from the centrality of democratically directed decision
making towards the empowering of favoured elites. They are all
obviously acutely aware of having estranged their electorate as
they worry over their lack of democratic credibility in having
declining memberships and increasingly fewer votes cast for any
of them in elections.

Their solution however is more than mere spin - they are
reducing democratic debate to a public spectacle that varies
between slapstick propaganda and subtle persuasion; 'democracy'
in the U.K. has become entirely perverted and inverted in meaning
to imply the business of managing the electorate - the
politicians are telling the people what to think and do, instead
of vice versa. The reason for this is that all the major
political parties are converging on those parts of the sphere of
politics whose common centre is fascism, offering to organise
society for the benefit of what used to be called imperial
cartels but are now seen to be supernational corporations
offering no reciprocal loyalties to those politicians that serve
them. The racist elements commonly associated with fascism have
been displaced into our economic relationships with the so-called
'third world', the exploitation of which finances the welfare
provisions that prevent extreme social unrest in the U.K. How
long these social and economic relationships can persist for is a
matter of speculation, but we should be especially concerned
politically because both Conservative and Labour governments in
the U.K. have been re-introducing those laws that were directed
against democrats in previous centuries. This has been their
response to the breakdown that they are generating in the U.K.'s
social consensus which is being expressed in lawlessness and
increasing social disorder. I see the prospect of democracy
itself coming to an end as increasingly secretive governments
suppress open debate and represent any political opposition as
subversive, either regardless of its democratic credentials or
because of them.

Meanwhile, all those radicals from what were labelled
politically 'left, right and centre' have converged into the
pressure groups and find that whilst we are divided ideologically
we have one uniting value in common - we are all democrats,
forced out of electoral politics into lobbying politicians who do
not want to actually embrace any policies at all, who equate
blandness with electability. Having occasionally overcome this
difficulty, we have also discovered that we share the same single
frustration : we have to campaign for decades to get any item of
legislation onto the statute books and then we find out that it
has all been a waste of time and effort because all of those laws
that we find cited by politicians as evidence of the liberal,
egalitarian, fraternal, ecologically aware, etc., society that we
live in are simply not enforceable.

The legal system in the U.K. is still essentially a feudal
one in which to procure justice - or just welfare benefits - the
lone individual has to confront the power of the state. To
overturn this situation in favour of an inquisitorial legal
system, in which the power of the state is put at the disposal of
the individual to defend their rights, is why so many of us want
the Welsh Assembly to be transformed into a law-making
government. Inevitably we find ourselves advocating a republican
form of government that establishes Wales as merely a confederate
state within Britain and the European Community, to prevent any
undemocratic interferences in our legal and constitutional

As democrats we see a sovereign republic as the only way to
procure the proper purpose of the state, which is to defend
vulnerable individuals within society rather than to protect and
promote the established interests of powerful communities that
excercise control over our society without being accountable to
it, whether from inside or outside of it. As activists, we see
the whole purpose of the state's existence to be the enforcement
of those laws that we make to serve this public interest in the
rights of individuals. This is the essence of what democratic
republicanism is; it does not promise socialism or any other
ideal social arrangements, but it makes them possible by the
least coercive and most non-violent means available. The
undesirable alternative is what may be about to develop, a
conflict between state oppression and the kinds of resistance by
direct action that can swiftly escalate into the social disorder
that is typically used to justify the suspension of due legal
processes and even the extinction of law itself. In thus
predicting violence breaking out in society I am not advocating
its propagation but its democratic anticipation and remedy by
political action.

By avoiding doctrinaire political dogmas and addressing in a
democratic way what people in a society actually want,
republicanism implies a kind of reflexive socialism that answers
to the peculiar and special conditions of each society in its own
time and place as its conditions and desires continuously
change. Thus the first step to a truly welsh socialism is to
dispense with dogmatic ideas about what constitutes 'Welshness'
and 'Socialism'.

Hence the question arises, Cymru Goch, as to whether you
consider yourselves to be firstly and foremostly republicans, or
socialists , or nationalists ?

Being 'Welsh' isn't particularly special and doesn't justify
a separate government, or even a Welsh Assembly. Socialism is
best pursued over as broad an electorate as possible, which means
atleast at the level of the U.K. government and ultimately at a
global level - which doesn't justify but rather contra-indicates
a separate government for Wales. Republicanism does however
indicate a reason for a separate welsh government, in order to
address the peculiar circumstances of our nation in a rational
way. Furthermore, it implies that we need not concern ourselves
with trying to change the U.K.'s constitution against the will
of a resistant majority - we only need to expend our efforts on
removing the sovereignty of the United Kingdom's parliament and
crown over our affairs.

I see this question arising out of your slogan 'extreme
democracy'. Does that mean democracy entirely without any limits
to its scope, where the majorities dictate to the minorities and
decisions upon other's lives are made by the ignorant and
prejudiced ( and the Welsh would be voted out of existence,
outnumbered 15-1 by the English ? ) I hope not - the limits upon
democracy should be that those who vote on decisions fully
understand them. Politicians should not reserve to themselves the
right to decide what sentiments the electorate possess and vote
as representatives when a referendum is possible; general
elections should not be conducted on the basis of choosing
decisions that the electorate are not competent to make - the
role of the elected representative is as one who either already
possesses the knowledge pertinent to the decision, or is able to
acquire it, or willing to appoint qualified deputies to make the
decision instead. Such principles keep the mechanisms of
democratic decision making from becoming another form of
oppression operating in society, as they have been in some past
experiments of socialism. If as socialists you intend to apply
such limits to democracy to preserve individual privacy and
public policy then as democrats we can share some hope in the
welsh republican movement being properly repaired.

The reasons why we need to consciously set about repairing
the welsh radical cause lies in its history. The first
significant split occurred in the 1880's between the nationalists
and the socialists, when working class men first got the vote and
emphasised their fight for better conditions as a more urgent
issue than national self-determination. The second split occurred
in the 1980's between the socialists and democrats, when
activists divested their environmental and peace campaigns of
political theories in order to unite greater numbers of people to
them in an era of economic recession, violent protest and
political controversies. These splits in welsh radical life
continue to persist and have hardened into mutual suspicion
despite our being conscious of our sympathies for each others
concerns. Republican values are what we have in common to heal
these breaches, and we could be more confident in sharing them if
we saw them being worked out and referred to in other activists'

To reunite the welsh republican movement is not just a
laudable aim to revive a now ancient tradition, it is a
democratic service for those 20% of welsh people who have for
fifty years been consistantly telling opinion pollsters that they
are essentially republicans. But it does pay to recall the sheer
length of the welsh republican traditon that helped to inspire
the philosophies of both the American and French revolutions. The
very first republican writings traceable in Wales appear in the
16th century in response to the Acts of Annexation made by Henry
VIII. The advent of cheap printing in the 17th.century
disseminated those ideas widely and inspired Christopher Love's
resistance to Oliver Cromwell's increasingly tyrannical power,
giving us our first martyr in 1651. The first book setting out
the basis of the modern republican ideal was arguably David
Williams' 'The Philosopher' of 1771, much admired by both
Franklin and Brissot, who both quoted Williams in their arguments
for new constitutions. Thereafter a host of advocates of Welsh
democracy, socialism and political self - determination to defend
welsh society and its cultural values became a commonplace.
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Keith Ein

Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very well said!

I would have to say democratic means are and always will be a means to a Free Wales. Given the choice I think people will be more willing to join a Republican party that they trust will not lead them to violence against others.

Republican Values will only be held by the people if they can trust the Republican party.

This trust I believe will only be acheived as a result of trust that is earned through peacefull leadership that strives to make Wales a economic power house one that can take on the world with advances in Science Technology and breakthrews in medicine as well as schools that hold true not only to a higher education but at the same time preserve the Welsh culture and language for all future generations to enjoy and in rich they're lives with.

It can be done although It's going to take a strong Republican party to do so a Republican party were everyone is on the same peacefull page.

Cymru Am Byth!
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