The Welsh Republic
The Welsh Republic
(Published by the Welsh Republican Movement, Cardiff)
Some while ago the SOCIALIST STANDARD printed an article exposing the policy of the Welsh Nationalist Party. Recently there has come to our notice a pamphlet printed by a group known as “The Welsh Republican Movement.” We find, on reading, yet again a somewhat familiar dressing for the same old wound—Capitalism— though dressed in somewhat different phraseology.
The pamphlet begins by criticising the Labour Party (emphasising the prefix ENGLISH Labour Party) and explains that whilst it began its growth on sound Socialist ideals including self-government for Wales, it has dropped its early Republicanism for Monarchy, the symbol of class society. This sounds very nice to the Welshman with a grievance (and who hasn’t?) but is really very naive to those who know something about the Labour Party. The Labour Party never was an ENGLISH party, being composed of representatives of the four nations of the British Isles. Its policy has never been Socialist whatever its ideals may have been.
To say that Wales is governed by “English Concepts” (page 3) asks us to enquire “What are English concepts?” Wales, like Scotland, England and Ireland, is governed by “Capitalist Concepts” which bear equally hard on the workers of these respective countries. Of course, there are spasmodic periods when the workers of one part of Britain are relatively better or worse off than those of another area, due to fluctuations of capital investment. At the moment, S. Wales is in the main “enjoying” a boom period in tinplate.
We are also told that England has imposed its Monarchist tradition on an “innately democratic people” (page 3). The Republicans have obviously written their own history book here. The Wales that was conquered and finally integrated with Monarchist England was herself the Wales of the Princes; indeed, to the patriotic Welshman, the finest chapter in Welsh history was the last great insurrection for independence led by Owain Glyndwr, prince of ancient lineage and doyen of the Welsh of his time.
The structure of Welsh society changed in the same manner and from the same causes as existed everywhere else. To talk about the “old classless society of the Welsh Nation ” is utterly wrong. The Welsh Nation began on a class basis as did other nations.
With the revolt of the Roman Magnus Maximus and the disintegration of Roman Britain, leading families took over “trwy ganiatâd y Rhufeinig” (by permission of Rome) as the old historian Carnhuwanawe states in Hanes y Cymru. Maximus represents the figure from which flowed the river of the nobility by whom Wales was ruled until the Conquest. The transition to Feudalism of the English pattern was a relatively simple matter in a land where there had already existed for centuries a class society composed of Kings and Princes (Breninoedd a Tywysogion), lords and gentry (Arglwyddi a boneddwîr” and a slave class (caethion).
Not only are the Republicans wrong in appealing the Welsh as “an innately democratic people.” but they ignore the fact that in modern Wales the Caethion (slave class) is for the first time a Majority Class—as slaves to Capitalism.
What are the positive points in the Republican pamphlet? There aren’t any. There is a 12 point manifesto at the end containing generalities, obviously intended to tickle the patriotic palate, e.g., that the monarch England shall have no jurisdiction over the Welsh Nation (point 2). The pamphlet contains nothing even mildly anti-Capitalist except for opening with a tirade against the Labour Party and closing with a condemnation of Toryism. This is, of course, merely criticism of the manner in which these parties have conducted the system.
The Welsh industrial worker, like his comrades all over the Capitalist world, has been forced from time to time to rebel against the insufferable conditions imposed by Capitalism. The history of the coalfield provides ample proof of this. It is to such people that we of the Socialist Party speak.
Wales can achieve, along with the workers of all countries, the victory which will end for all time the exploitation of man by man. The history of the future will tell of the final assault and triumph of humanity over slavery and humiliation and the world will be the inheritance of the people as a whole.
The voice of the Socialists in Wales is a small but a constant one. All parties are in opposition to it but it persists. It will continue to expose those who, under the guise of liberators, continue to mislead the working class, included in this category being the Republican Movement.