Friday 26 December 2014

Dialectics 1991 by the late Dr D Ceri Evans from Whispers of a Forgotten Nation

Yr  Aflonyddwch Mawr has recently been sent a copy of a Whispers of a Forgotten Nation by Dr D Ceri Evans and has decided to publish his article on Dialectics has a prelude to the work we are undertaking in 2015 on a People's History of Wales.

Like Gwyn Alf Williams, Dr D Ceri Evans understanding of Wales and Welsh problems was seen through the prism of Marxism and the materialist dialectic.

For Hegel and Marx the dialectic was about becoming and not just being, for Lenin and Mao Zedong it was very much about knowing through doing.

Although Dr D Ceri Evans was from a different Marxist tradition than Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr we both agree with and affirm his writing on the materialist Dialectic..


[1991; written for a south Wales International Socialist Group education meeting]

It is said that men are the logical sex, whilst women possess greater intuition. Intuition is an inexplicable hunch or feeling, whilst logic is a system with definite rules and outcomes.

In this way bourgeois ideology attempts to label women as emotional and irrational whilst men are controlled and methodical.

At the same time, this myth implies that there is something lacking, something lifeless and unfeeling, in the so-called logical approach.

So what is logic?

There are three fundamental laws of formal logic :


- an object is always equal to itself

Formal contradiction

- objects of one type are distinct from objects of another type

Excluded middle

- no object can belong to two opposing categories at the same time These laws are used by all of us, women and men, every day.

They are the axioms, or basic assumptions, of most mathematics and of digital computing. They are very useful for many practical purposes and all correspond to reality - if we omit motion

 However, if we look around us we see that in reality everything is in perpetual motion

All things, be they plants, animals or social systems, are born, develop, age and die.

We therefore need laws that reflect this and approximate to reality more closely than formal logic.

This is what dialectical logic attempts to do, though matching laws totally to reality is impossible, precisely because reality is in continuous motion.

Dialectics is therefore an open and continually developing system, part of the endless process of acquiring and refining knowledge.

 It does not reject formal logic but absorbs it as a useful tool, whilst being clear about its limits.

Dialectics can be summarised as: The great basic thought that the world is not to be comprehended as a complex of ready-made things, but as a complex of processes, in which the things apparently stable [...] go through an uninterrupted change of coming into being and passing away. [...] If [...] investigation always proceeds from this standpoint, the demand for final solutions and eternal truths ceases once and for all; one is always conscious of the necessary limitation of all acquired knowledge, of the fact that it is conditioned by the circumstances in which it was acquired. (Engels)

Everything comes into being and exists as a result of definite, or determinate , conditions and causes. But this is only half the truth: things also develop and pass away, a process called negation

 All things... meet their doom; and in saying so, we have a perception that Dialectic is the universal and irresistible power, before which nothing can stay, however secure and stable it may seem itself. (Hegel)

The fundamental cause of all motion, or self-movement , is the internal contradictions of the changing thing.

Contradiction is the co-existence of elements opposed to each other, called opposites

The unity and interpenetration of opposites is a keystone of dialectics.

 There is a struggle within everything, between that which exists and that which is coming into being. This struggle gives rise to change and is eventually resolved by negation, whereby the previously subordinate qualities become dominant.

Contradiction, above all things, is what moves the world: and it is ridiculous to say that contradiction is unthinkable.

The correct point in that statement is that contradiction is not the end of the matter but cancels itself. (Hegel) Negation is not simply about destroying, it is also its own opposite. It is sometimes termed transcendence , to signify elements of conservation and development as well as destruction.

Out of a negation comes a new affirmation , which in turn contains the seeds of its own negation.

Negation of the negation implies returning, via two negations, to the original affirmation, though at a higher level. Changes which maintain the structure of a thing are called quantitative

At a certain point these changes transform the object: a qualitative change has occurred. This is called the transformation of quantity into quality.

The coexistence of opposing elements within a structure is not random but forms a structured totality or whole, governed by specific relations. These elements at the same time struggle to break up that whole.

When studying an object it is necessary to not only analyse its contradictory elements but also how these synthesise to form a totality

Dialectics attempts to look at an object in all its aspects and understand its movement in its totality.

We must look at things not in isolation but in all their interconnections and indirect connections, or

The truth is always concrete, never abstract. (Lenin) How well any theory corresponds to reality can only be determined by practice. In the beginning was the deed. [...] The proof of the pudding is in the eating. (Engels)

Friday 19 December 2014



Why no  big Welsh Promotion of this popular Novelist, is it because he was too over 'popular and widely read by the 'Masses' and had an international following as much as Dylan Thomas if not more so. 

Maybe it was because he did not write poetry and hence not one favoured by our 'Intelligensia' and 'Cultural' Establishments not least 'Y Crachach Newydd' of the Cardiff Media Establishment who have this year doled out any number of Dylan Thomas Documentaries and now three films are on line to boot.

Amazes me they can find money for all this along with paying for three versions of 'Hinterland, one Cymraeg, one in English and one biligual but cannot find the money this year to give us at least Cordell's 'Rape of the Fair Country', why not? 

Maybe because it put forward as did most of his books in this series, a Socialist version of Welsh History, ironic then in the 'Sixties' his books greatly contributed to my Welsh Identity and as much made me then, now i see as mistakenly a Welsh Nationalist.

Do not think I do not like Dylan Thomas Poetry, and I love Under Milkwood but what did Dylan say 'The Land of my Fathers and my fathers can keep it!'.

I somehow think he his rolling around in his grave laughing to high hell with all the 'Cultural Establishment' adoration, maybe hypocritical.

What ever, one and all write to the Cardiff TV Media and 'Film Cymru and demand a film is made of the three books in the Mortymer Triology, sure to gain huge international acclaim and pubums across the World.

Not least hopefully advancing a Wales Socialist Radical Struggle!
The Mortymer Trilogy is the story of the Mortymer family, commencing in 1826, and tells of the trials of several generations of the family, set against the background of the coal mining and iron industries.

In 1985, at the suggestion of fellow South Wales author, Chris Barber, Cordell wrote a prelude to the trilogy, This Proud and Savage Land, which starts in 1800 and tells the story of sixteen year old Hywel Mortymer, who comes from rural Mid Wales to work in the coal mines and ironworks of the industrial South Wales Valleys, owned by early ironmasters and coalowners.

It ends with the birth of his son Iestyn, with which the next book commences.

Cordell was born in Ceylon in 1914 to an English family.[1] A major in the Royal Artillery, he retired from the British Army to civilian life as a quantity surveyor for the War Office and moved to Abergavenny with his wife Rosina and daughter, Georgina.

It was from here that his obvious love for Wales began to grow; in later life he referred in his writings to his mother being from the Rhondda Valley.

Cordell left Wales for spells in Hong Kong and the Isle of Man. Yet he kept coming back to Wales.

He settled at various times in Abergavenny, Chepstow, Milford Haven and Wrexham.

Before he died he lived on Railway Road in Stansty near Wrexham.

He collapsed and died while walking near the Horseshoe Pass in Denbighshire.

It has been suggested that he had gone there with the intention of committing suicide with brandy and anti-depressants, but he died of a heart attack.

He is buried at Llanfoist, Abergavenny.

A personal note from Nickglais Editor of Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr on Alexander Cordell : I remember Alexander Cordell when he lived in Abergavenny  and met him on at least one occasion and my mother read all his books - in fact although they were works of fiction they included much real history - I remember my father telling me about the hiring fairs and discussing with my mother. Cordell's works.

In fact just like Gethin my personal Welsh Revolutionary Socialist identity owes much to Alexander Cordell and his impact on my parents as well as myself.


Monday 15 December 2014

Pound Shop Enoch Powell from UKIP Toys

Whatever criticisms of Russell Brand comrades may have his line on Any Questions that Nigel Farage was a POUND SHOP Enoch Powell was wonderful ! 

Good to see the quick response above of Farage Dummies from UKIP Toys..
Nicholas Glais For those that do not know Enoch Powell was a racist Tory - long since gone to meet the devil and Farage is in the que for Hell to meet Enoch Powell his mentor..


Saturday 13 December 2014

What a real Land Movement Looks Like - MST Brazil - Movement of Rural Landless Workers

MST has been successful in establishing 96 small and medium-sized cooperatives, 1800 public schools, literacy and health programs.

The MST is expanding their reach in their fight for agrarian reform, a free, sovereign, egalitarian Brazil and a continent free from the FTAA (MST, 2010).

Along with La Via Campesina, they have been one of most influential, highly organized peasant movements that have been a cause for real change in agrarian societies.

The MST  have won land titles for over 350,000 families in 2000 settlements and have gained prominence and legitimacy in state affairs

Brazil’s Landless Worker's Movement was born from the concrete, isolated struggles for land that rural workers were developing in southern Brazil at the end of the 1970's. Brazil was going through a politically opening process towards the end of the military regime. Brazilian capitalism was not able to alleviate the existing contradictions that blocked progress in the countryside. Land concentration, the expulsion of the poor from rural areas and the modernization of agriculture persisted, while a mass exodus to the cities and the policies of colonization entered a crisis period. In this context, various concrete struggles slowly began to surface. From these developments, the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, or the Movement of Rural Landless Workers was born and structured with the Encruzilhada Natalino encampment in Ronda Alta, Rio Grande do Sul and the Landless Farmer Movement of Western Paraná (Mastro) as its origins.
The MST was officially founded in 1984, during the 1st Meeting of the Landless Rural Workers in Cascavel, Paraná. The following year, the MST officially organized itself at the national level at the 1st National Congress of the Landless.
This version of the story makes the MST's beginnings seem simple, but the vision for an MST goes back before 1984 and involves much more than just one person’s ideas. This history begins during the end of the 1970s, when a military dictatorship ruled Brazil. The country lived under the manner of the “Brazilian Miracle", but for the rural poor, it was more like the “Brazilian Plague": unemployment and migration of workers from rural to urban areas. The intense mechanization of agriculture, which was introduced under the military governments, left no place for salaried farmworkers, renters or sharecroppers. There were rural workers, however, who believed that they could organize themselves and defend their rights to work the land. As a result, on October 7, 1979, landless farmers from the state of Rio Grande do Sul occupied the Macali land in Ronda Alta. At the same time, similar struggles were taking place in other Southern states such as Mato Grosso and São Paulo. In each state, rural workers were carrying out occupations and news of these occupations spread across the country.Brazilian society supported these actions and the landless occupations became part of the push for democracy throughout the country.
The MST, however, is not the first movement in the struggle for land in Brazil, nor is it the first in Latin America. Much earlier, farming families had organized themselves in search of land and better living and working conditions. We can cite the following examples: from 1950 to 1964, the Peasant Leagues (Ligas Camponesas) and MASTER (Movimento dos Agricultores Sem Terra or the Landless Farmers’ Movement); and at the end of the 19th century, Canudos and Contestado. The Mexican Revolution during the beginning of the 20th century and the Cuban Revolution of 1959, both of which carried forth the idea of “land for those who work it.These and other struggles inspire the MST to continue fighting for a Brazil with more equitable land ownership - "A Brazil Without Latifúndios" (large land tracts with a single owner).
Little by little, the MST began to understand that winning land was important, but not enough. They also need access to credit, housing, technical assistance, schools, healthcare and other needs that a landless family must have met. Somehow landless families needed to survive without very much to start with. In addition, the MST discovered that the struggle was not just against the Brazilian latifúndio, but also against the neoliberal economic model. From this initial work, the MST went on to organize more encampments and occupations of large farms (or fazendas) and headquarters of public and multinational entities, as well as to eliminate fields of genetically modified crops, to carry out marches, hunger strikes and other political actions. One such event was the National March for Employment, Justice and Agrarian Reform, where marchers simultaneously left various states and arrived in the capital city of Brasília on April 17, 1997 (exactly one year after the massacre of 19 workers in Eldorado dos Carajás, Pará). Another example is the 4th National Congress also held in Brasília, where 11,000 landless Brazilians participated in August 2000. These events are still in the minds of the Brazilian people, in a time when agrarian reform is associated with the false promises of the federal government.

Scotland swings decisively behind the SNP and independence in amazing new YouGov poll

The headline results from a new full-scale Scottish poll from YouGov have been released by the Sun on Twitter.  So far I haven't been able to track down the fieldwork dates, but Calum Findlay mentioned yesterday evening that he'd just taken part in this poll, so it's presumably bang up to date.  Let's hope so, because the results are very much at the extreme upper end of what my expectations would have been.

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :

SNP 47% (+4)
Labour 27% (n/c)
Conservatives 16% (+1)
Greens 3% (-1)
UKIP 3% (-3)
Liberal Democrats 3% (-1)

There have of course been two post-referendum polls from other firms that were even better than this for the SNP (Ipsos-Mori gave them a 29-point lead and Survation gave them a 22-point lead).  But to see a gap of as high as 20 points from YouGov is still a bit startling, because that firm's previous estimate of a 16-point lead was more in line with the average results of their daily subsamples.  In fact, the SNP's subsample lead both today and yesterday was exactly 16 points.  And perhaps more significantly, the party's raw share of the vote in the subsamples has more often than not been quite a bit lower than 47%.  So this poll raises the serious possibility that the daily GB-wide YouGov polls have been understating the SNP's strength, in spite of the party performing outstandingly well in them.  To be fair, there's always been a straightforward reason for supposing that might have been going on - in GB-wide polls YouGov use Westminster-oriented weighting by party ID.

The other point that leaps out is just how dreadfully badly the smaller parties are doing.  I had assumed that the Liberal Democrats' 4% share in the last YouGov poll was a freakish result, but the chances of them being significantly underestimated by random margin-of-error effects in two consecutive polls is obviously pretty low.  The jury is still out on UKIP, though, because they fared a bit better in the last poll.

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 48%
No 45%

It's impossible to know the exact significance of this result until we see the datasets, or find out whether there have been any methodological changes.  The last YouGov poll (which was the only other post-referendum poll from the firm to ask the independence question) produced almost identical results to this, putting Yes on 49% and No on 45%.  However, it was immediately criticised by John Curtice and one or two others for not weighting by recalled referendum vote, which would have had the effect of keeping No in the lead, albeit only very narrowly.  I was slightly cynical about that intervention, because I don't recall Curtice making similar unofficial adjustments to the many pre-referendum polls that failed to weight by country of birth, and which therefore underestimated the Yes vote.  However, it's possible that YouGov will have heeded his complaint, in which case tonight's result is even better for Yes, because it suggests there has probably been a further swing in real terms since the last poll.

If they haven't made any methodological change (which is also perfectly possible - they may want to keep the trend figures meaningful) then it means there hasn't been a further swing, but also that the headline numbers remain directly comparable with pre-referendum YouGov polls, which in all but one (legendary) case had No ahead.  So either way there is no real doubt that a significant number of voters have been converted to independence since September 18th.

Views on the Smith Commission and its proposals for further devolution :

It doesn't devolve enough powers : 51%
It gets the balance right : 23%
It goes too far : 14%

And there, in a nutshell, is the explanation for why the SNP have either maintained their advantage over Labour or increased it somewhat - it appears that they've comprehensively won the battle of perceptions over Smith.  It's all very well for Michael Portillo to sit on a BBC sofa in London, smirking at Alex Salmond like an overgrown schoolboy while tittering : "The Vow has been delivered!  You know that!  You're just playing games!"  But unfortunately for the London establishment and the Daily Record (is there a difference between the two?), it turns out that Scottish voters are not half as stupid as Portillo takes them for.  They know what they heard Gordon Brown promise - and they also know that what the Smith Commission has come up with is quite simply not "Home Rule".  Nor is it "near federalism".  Nor is it the "Devo SUPER Max" promised by Better Together's official representative at the TV debate in the Hydro.

Assuming that YouGov only offered respondents the three options listed above, roughly 58% of people who gave a view said that the Smith proposals are inadequate.  It's also fascinating to see how few people thought the proposals go too far, because that must encompass the evidently dwindling group who are opposed to devolution/self-government altogether.

I've been slightly bemused over the last few days and weeks by the number of London commentators who appear to think that Scottish Labour's problems are being caused by a "leadership vacuum" and that some sort of "honeymoon period" for Jackanory Jim is about to provide a quick fix.  In reality, the Scottish media have been shamelessly treating Murphy as the unofficial leader for weeks now, so that's already factored into the polling results.  To be fair, that doesn't necessarily mean that what's going on is Murphy's fault.  The electorate know that Miliband is the real leader, and above all else it's him that they don't like, rate, trust, or respect.

*  *  *


Tonight's Poll of Polls update is based on the full-scale YouGov poll, plus Scottish subsamples from five GB-wide polls - four from YouGov, and one from Populus.  That means fourteen-fifteenths of the sample comes from YouGov, which is plainly less than ideal!

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :

SNP 45.0% (+2.4)
Labour 26.5% (-0.4)
Conservatives 16.7% (+0.6)
Liberal Democrats 4.5% (-1.8)
UKIP 3.5% (-1.1)
Greens 2.9% (+0.5)

(The Poll of Polls uses the Scottish subsamples from all GB-wide polls that have been conducted entirely within the last seven days and for which datasets have been provided, and also all full-scale Scottish polls that have been conducted at least partly within the last seven days. Full-scale polls are given ten times the weighting of subsamples.)