Monday 29 June 2015

Sir Thomas Picton : Khafra Kambon told the BBC he was regarded in Trinidad as a beast. Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr says remove his picture from court of Justice in Carmarthen

Magazine cartoon
                                                        Pictoning a form of torture

"He had a very bad reputation as a governor of Trinidad," civil rights campaigner Khafra Kambon told the BBC programme.

"He was extremely harsh in the kind of punishments he meted out.     "There was a lot of terror associated with him. He was a very hard, unfeeling governor, he was regarded as a beast."  The BBC programme tells how he introduced tough slave codes, raising the number of lashes which could be given to a slave from 25 to 39.

He also introduced a 9pm curfew which slaves would receive 25 lashes for breaking.  Slaves had traditionally been given Saturdays off to grow food on their small plots or sell produce at market. Picton abolished this and fined owners who allowed it to continue.

Executions and torture were common under Picton's regime said Mr Kambon.  "You have to see the kinds of punishments that were meted out...the torture, the beheadings and the hangings. The laws were extremely harsh. The practice of slavery was extremely harsh," he added.  "For minor offences - like if you stole some sugar - they would slit your nose. If you do it again they would cut off your ears," said Kambon.

Source BBC

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr call for the removal of the Picture of Sir Thomas Picton from the Carmarthen Courtroom has he is a symbol of injustice and torture and has no place in a court of justice and his picture should be replaced with the  banner of the people of Carmarthen who stormed the Carmarthen Workhouse in 1843.

Justice and Lovers of Justice are we all

Cyfiawnder a charwyr cyfiawnder ydym ni oll

See also :

Also read important new study of primary documents relating to the Case of Sir Thomas Picton published in 2012 :

"Scandal of Colonial Rule- Power and Subversion in the British Atlantic during the Age of Revolution" by James Epstein

See Also;


Saturday 27 June 2015

from Merthyr to Newport to Carmarthen the battle for the Peoples Past of Resistance continues.

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr  says from Merthyr to Newport to Carmarthen the battle for the Peoples Past of Resistance continues.

The recent destruction of the Newport Chartist mural touched the hearts and minds of the people of Wales.

The Newport Council acted in a very bureaucratic insensitive way demolishing the Chartist Mural and the people of Newport and Wales protested strongly that monuments to their history should be honoured and preserved.

Merthyr Council has also just been reminded of the deep feeling of the People of Wales for their working class history and a new artwork to commemorate the Merthyr Rising is promised after the temporary artwork associated with the Merthyr Rising has been taken down.

Our past struggles are important because they give us confidence in our future struggles, our past struggle in Merthyr and Newport helped develop socialist working class politics - a politics that is urgently required today to combat neo liberal Tory austerity,

The Carmarthen branch of the Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr has opened up a new front in our battle for our past by rejecting Sir Thomas Picton as one of the twelve heroes of Wales and we are exposing him as a symbol of Injustice of Empire and torture that he is  rightly seen as in many other parts of the world.

We demand that the banner of the Carmarthen People that stormed the Carmarthen workhouse in 1843 Justice and Lovers of Justice are we all replace the picture of Sir Thomas Picton in the Carmarthen courtroom has he is a global symbol of injustice and torture.

The battle for our past is not just an academic matter - it is also the hope of our future

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr salutes the people of Merthyr and Newport and Carmarthen who have always been in the frontline of the democratic struggle in the past to step forward today and lead the struggle for democracy against Tory austerity  in 2015.

For we are in the words of the people of Carmarthen

Justice and Lovers of Justice are we all
Cyfiawnder a charwyr cyfiawnder ydym ni oll

                                                     Cyfiawnder a charwyr
                                                     cyfiawnder ydym ni oll


The Merthyr Rising mural that has been at the centre of a row after the council ordered it to be painted over will be replaced by the commission of a new piece of artwork, it has emerged.

Last week, we reported how the striking mural, painted on the back of a shop near to Penderyn Square, had become a focal point of the cultural festival, which saw hundreds flocking to the town centre to enjoy live music, films, theatre and debates.

But when the order came for the artwork to be removed by last weekend, many locals reacted with anger.

However, the council has now said it will ask the public what they would like to see replace the mural.

A spokesperson said: “Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council has approved a Public Art Strategy that has identified Penderyn Square as a location for public art that could possibly interpret the Merthyr Rising event.

“Arts Council for Wales has recently approved funding and an artist will be commissioned during the summer to take forward this project in conjunction with a comprehensive public consultation along with events for stakeholders over the next few months.”

Related content: Hundreds turn out as Merthyr Rising paints the town in a positive light

The organisers of Merthyr Rising said it was time to draw a line under the row and move on.

“Before we painted the mural, it was agreed with the shop-owner that the mural would be there on a temporary basis,” said one of the organisers, Lyn Williams.

“As much as we’d love for it to remain, we had to remove it to avoid any issues for the shop-owner, who has been more than kind enough in allowing us to use his property.

“The mural has served its purpose for the festival and, yes, it was well received by the general public – for which we are honoured – but we have to live up to our promise to the shop-owner, who has been caught up in all of this fracas and had been served notice by the council.

“The group who designed and produced this work, Hwyl, have already been encouraged by members of the council to pitch some ideas for a replacement in the near future.

“Members of Hwyl will paint over the mural and will now move on to what we hope will be a bigger and better piece of art for town.

“Now it’s time to draw a line under this, as we don’t want to cause further anxiety for parties who have been helpful, yet have had to put up with a lot of bother.

“The mural may disappear but Merthyr will still be rising!”

However, those who backed the original mural can now have the logo emblazoned on their hearts after festival organisers launched a range of T-shirts featuring the striking image.

The T-shirts can be purchased from

Saturday 20 June 2015

Picton Unveiled : Sir Thomas Picton's Injustices Revealed in Carmarthen Meeting : Solidarity Greetings to Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr from Trinidad, Venezuela and Ireland

    Remove Picture of Sir Thomas Picton from Carmarthen Courtroom
    Picton is a by word for injustice and torture and has no place in a  court of justice         

The meeting was also presented with a poem Picton's Veil originally published by John "Jacobin" Jones and Peter Finnerty which resulted in them being accused of seditious libel by Lord Castlereagh in the early 19th century.

See Castlereagh with dauntless front
Who in Hibernia bore the brunt
Of flogging torturing without end
In Soul allied as Picton's friend

Oh ! Fullerton the brave and good
With noble firmness you withstood
Torture and waste of human blood
Long may the god of mercy spare
Thy life unto a country's prayer
Gainst Tyrant Foes to prove her shield
Either in council or in the field.


Solidarity Messages for the Meeting were received from Trinidad, Venezuela and Ireland supporting the removal of Sir Thomas Picton's picture from Carmarthen Courtroom.

The National Workers Union of Trinidad and Tobago extends solidarity to you in your effort to reveal the real Thomas Picton, who far from being a hero, was a leading representative of the British empire who unleashed a reign of terror in Trinidad in the early years of the nineteenth century and is held in our part of the world to be an able representative of naked imperialism built on slavery, colonialism and economic exploitation. Keep up the good work!

Gerry Kangalee
Education and Research Officer

Solidarity message from Venezuela from Jesus Rojas

I extend solidarity to you in your effort to reveal the real Thomas Picton, a man who unleashed a reign of terror in Trinidad in the early years of the nineteenth century.

A man who inflicted an inhumane torture on Luisa Calderon who was one of those heroine that like many have suffered humiliation and injustice by oppressive regimes.

Today justice is asked by the many Luisa Calderon so that every day are forged in the struggle for the emancipation of their people..

One of the historian's responsibilities is to make such individuals better known to people of the present day, to rescue them from the "oblivion" or forgetfulness of history.
Keep up the good work......

Solidarity message from Ireland to Saturday Meeting from Belfast

The narrative of Irish Slavery in the West Indies and the United States remains an untold narrative as does the narrative of Native American tribe members who were also shipped as slave labour to the Carribean.

The extent of the cruelty and suffering of the enslaved, African, Native American and Irish peoples in the Carribean has only recently came to attentions of historians. Some historians seek to justify or even deny that cruelty and injustice existed, and that the Irish were merely indentured servants. They were without doubt in the complete possession of their owners who enslaved, brutalised, raped and murdered those they claim as their property.

We fully support the campaign to have the portrait of Sir Thomas Picton, removed, known the tyrant of Trinidad, his brutality and violent excesses horrified even his peers (a rare feat in in itself) and the British Government had him recalled from his position of prominence to answer to the courts in England for his conduct.

It is wrong that people who, throughout history profited on the misery of others, and are exalted for their promince, and those who suffered remain un named and un remembered. If Sir Thomas Picton is to be remembered it should be for his evil deeds not for any fleeting glory in battle. Remove his offensive picture

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Remembering Frances Evans and The Storming of the Carmarthen Workhouse by Nickglais

"Justice, and lovers of justice are we all "

Cyfiawnder a charwyr
cyfiawnder ydym ni oll

This was emblazoned on a banner held by one of the Rebeccaites has they entered Carmarthen on the sunny 19th June 1843 , all 2000 Rebeccaites on foot and 300 on horses were to present resolutions to the magistrates.

Social Justice was the Rebeccaites cause as the banner made clear.

The arms of the Rebeccaites had been stored in Newchurch, so they entered Carmarthen unarmed due to the persuasive intervention of Lloyd Davies, and Captain Evans. An Act which probably prevented fatalities on that fateful June day in 1843.

June had already been a tulmultous month with the sacking of Toll Gates and arrests and attempted of Rebeccaites

The behaviour of the crowd was quite orderly when they  entered Carmarthen by the Water Street gate and the procession turned westwards towards Picton's Monument, where it was joined by a contingent from St. Clears, then went down to the Quay, came back up Castle Hill, went along Spilman Street and around St. Peter's Church, on to the Cross (Nott's Square), and into the Guildhall Square.

They waited before reaching the Guildhall, where the Rebeccaites resolutions were to be presented to the magistrates.

The procession had been joined by people from the town who poured out of the congested back alleys and the slum houses along the quay.

Many of them were fishermen who, on occasion,had had a taste of workhouse . 

They linked arms at the head of the procession and led it on to the workhouse.

There they called on the Workhouse master to surrender his keys in order to let all the paupers out,and he complied.

The demonstrators  then rushed into the courtyard and broke into the house.

Frances Evans, a farm servant from the parish of Newchurch, who had recently given birth to her illegitimate child in the workhouse, led them in. 

She did a wild dance on a table in the hall as she urged the men upstairs. 

Frances Evans is now rightly beginning to be recognised has one of the female heroines in the fight for social justice in the 19th century. 
Suddenly there came a cry: 'the soldiers are here'. 

The 4th Light Dragoons were on their way to Carmarthen under the command of
Major Parlby who had received an urgent message from the Mayor of Carmarthen informing him that rioters were attacking the Workhouse. 

Major Parlby immediately ordered the troop to a full gallop which they maintained all the way to Carmarthen.

They galloped over the bridge and up into the town, scattering the amazed bystanders. 

A local magistrate had joined them. It was long remembered that he had
shouted to the dragoons to 'slash away' .

Their arrival at the workhouse led to a scene of indescribable confusion. 

The mounted demonstrators  stampeded wildly up Pen-lan Hill behind the workhouse.

Some were trapped in the courtyard others scrambled over the walls, abandoning their
horses, which they were afterwards afraid to claim.

The board, with its noble message Cyfiawnder a charwyr cyfiawnder ydym ni oill'
lay symbolically trodden underfoot by the 4th Light dragoons.

The demonstrators scattered in all directions, over hedges and ditches,through fields and woods. 

While the soldiers rested,the magistrates immediately began the examination of some sixty prisoners taken in the workhouse.

They committed a number to jail while others were bound over to appear if required.

At the Summer Assizes a true bill was found against twelve men, but their trial was deferred and they were remanded on bail.

Among them was John Harries, and it is noticeable that his bail was very high.

Harries was then sentenced to a year's hard labour, and five other men to eight months' hard labour, but the remainder were discharged.

By that time the authorities were taking a more lenient view of the disturbances.

More than ten years would pass before the 4th Light Dragoons would make a similar charge. and it would not be against terrified men, women and children, but Russian artillery at Balaclava, in that ill fated charge of the Light Brigade.

Maybe there is a moral here that solidiers should not be used against their own people - but that is for the reader to judge.

Fire in old Carmarthen Workhouse in 2018 - the fire burns eternal so people do not forget !

Sunday 14 June 2015

Sir Thomas Picton and The Injustice of Empire by Nickglais

                                  Sir Thomas Picton's Picture in Carmarthen Courtroom

At the beginning of the 21st Century we saw the bizarre phenomena in Britain of a nostalgia for the British Empire promoted by Michael Gove of the Conservative Party who as Education Secretary at the Hay on Wye Literary Festival waxed enthusiastic about Niall Ferguson's history defending the British Empire as a road to modernity and wanted every school teacher to tell this "wonderful" story.

It just so happened that Niall Ferguson's defence of the British Empire fitted perfectly with his neo-conservative defence of the American Empire in the post 911 world and hence Niall Ferguson was jettisoned into a successful literary orbit.

Michael Gove who has now moved from Education to Justice in the new Conservative government of 2015 - so it is opportune to look at the question of Justice and Empire.

This month of June 2015 witnesses the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo at which one of the "heroes" of Empire Sir Thomas Picton who was killed in battle of Waterloo resulted in his being immortalised by Victorian England with memorials throughout the Empire and a bust in St Paul's Cathedral in London and another monument in Carmarthen - Wales.

What manner of man was this hero of Empire Sir Thomas Picton, let us look at his commanders comments first :

The Duke of Wellington said of Sir Thomas Picton

"I found him a rough foul-mouthed devil as ever lived, but he always behaved extremely well; no man could do better in different services I assigned to him, and I saw nothing to confirm what Miranda had said of his ambition"

Source :

Philip Henry Stanhope, Notes of Conversations with the Duke of Wellington, 1831- 1851, Oxford University Press, 1938, p.69

Furthermore Wellington noted :

"It would be impossible to deny that a very strong dislike towards the General was prevalent; his conduct on the island of Trinidad ... and the torture inflicted by his order on Luis Calderon, a torture which , by the way, had been given up in our army as being worse than flogging, had impressed all ranks with an unfavourable opinion of the man "

Source: William Gratton, Adventures of the Connaught Rangers from 1808 to 1814.

It is also possible the soldiers had heard of the execution of Hugh Gallacher an Irish artilleryman who served in Trinidad who was executed without even the pretense of a miltary trial by Thomas Picton

So what was it that happened in Trinidad that made The name of Thomas Picton a by word for injustice and Empire.

Let Bridget Brereton History Professor at the University of the West Indies inform us :

"I'll start with Luisa Calderon, because she lived in the very early 1800s. She was what was known as a "free coloured": a mixed-race person, daughter of a freed "mulatto" woman of Venezuelan origin.

She wasn't enslaved; she lived with another mixed-race person, Pedro Ruiz, a Port of Spain merchant.

In 1801, when she was about 14, or maybe even younger, she was accused of stealing money from Ruiz's shop. Ruiz himself accused her, and claimed she was acting in collusion with the man he thought was her new lover, Carlos Gonzalez.

Luisa was first examined by the governor, Thomas Picton, and then handed over to the chief magistrate of the town, St Hilaire Begorrat, Picton's close ally.

After she spent some days in the town jail, Begorrat tried and failed to get a "confession" from her.

He recommended that Luisa should be tortured, and Picton authorised it.

In fact, it seems clear enough that there was no robbery, that Luisa and Gonzalez had been framed by a jealous Ruiz"

The Case of Luisa Calderon might never have been known but for the visit to Trinidad by William Fullerton as part of a government commission into the future of the island.

A previous visitor to the prison McCallum describes the horrors of the prison in Trinidad as follows :

"In the lower department, which was like a hen coop .. were lodged no less than one hundred negroes, with large ugly chains riveted above their necks, waists and to my astonishment several British seamen confined to the same filthy hole.

In the ajacent cells were lodged about thirty or more poor Africans of all ages, accused of withcraft and necromancy. All these unfortunate creatures were schackled and rivetted to the ground, much exhausted with long and tedious confinement and extreme heat in a dirty hole"

McCallum - Travels p 174

Bridget Brereton continues :

William Fullarton, and his wife brought Luisa to Britain in 1803, and supported her there for several years—the court case involving her took a long time and of course her testimony was needed.

People's love for scandal being as great 200 years ago as today, Picton's allies spread rumours that Luisa gave birth to Fullarton's child when she was in Scotland. (Fullarton sued, and the case was going on when he died; Mrs Fullarton continued to look after Luisa in Britain).

More generally, the rumour was that she was a prostitute whom the Fullartons introduced into "polite society" in Britain.

Her testimony concluded with exhibiting the permanent marks of torture in form of a "seam or callus formed on both wrists"

Luisa did give evidence at Picton's trial in the Court of the King's Bench in 1806; he was found guilty.

But a retrial was ordered, and he was eventually acquitted in 1808.

Thomas Picton was a Tory and a fervent supporter of the Slave Trade and Slavery he borrowed and invested personally in land and slaves in Trinidad to make his fortune.

William Fullerton was liberal Whig influenced by the Scottish Enlightenment and an opponent of the Slave Trade and was to spend much of his later life exposing the barbarity of the Thomas Picton rule of terror in Trinidad leading to ultimate conviction of Thomas Picton for the torture of Luisa Calderon - but while a guilty verdict was returned no sentence followed and the script was flipped in 1808 making Thomas Picton the hero and Luisa Calderon the villain- she died in poverty in Trinidad.

However we should understand that both Thomas Picton and William Fullerton were for Empire and Imperialism - Thomas Picton with Slaves and William Fullerton with settler colonialists - Fullerton discussed with McCallum bringing Highland Scots from the Clearances to settle in Trinidad - their Whigism and Liberalism was racist but in a different way from Thomas Picton.

Luisa Calderon was used and abused by Thomas Picton the Tory Imperialist and also to lesser degree by William Fullerton in the battle for Whig and Tory Versions of the British Empire.

The tortured fourteen year old girl Luisa Calderon was to die in poverty in her thirties back in Trinidad and Sir Thomas Picton picture was to hang in a British Courtroom as a symbol of British Justice or as my title implies the INJUSTICE OF EMPIRE.

See also :

Also Read : Scandal of Colonial Rule- Power and Subversion in the British Atlantic during the Age of Revolution by James Epstein

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Solidarity with Luis Jalandoni from comrades in Wales

                                                                     Luis Jalandoni

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr in Wales calls for the end to the harassment of comrade Luis Jalandoni in the Philippines and we remember his message of support he gave to us in our struggle in 2013 when we started our Red Flag Ceremony in Merthyr here.

That message at that time gave us much needed  support and encouragement and we at Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr will do all we can to support Luis Jalandoni and the Philippine people today in their struggle.

Long Live Proletarian Internationalism and the unity in struggle of the Welsh and Philippine Peoples

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr/ Great Unrest

3rd June 2015

Press Statement by Prof. Jose Maria Sison Chief Political Consultant of the NDFP Negotiating Panel
June 3, 2015

Since the 1990s, Luis Jalandoni the chairperson of the Negotiating Panel of the Nhational Democratic Front of the Philippines has visited the Philippines a number of times for peace consultations and family visits under the protection of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) . He met and conversed with Presidents Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo.

Also since the 1990s, Jalandoni has acted as the Chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel and as authorized representative of the NDFP, including the CPP and NPA, in facilitating the safe and orderly release of personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the custody of the NPA as prisoners of war.

In sharp contrast to previous regimes, the Aquino regime has emerged as the worst violator of the JASIG by harassing Jalandoni with an invalid and improperly served subpoena and threatening to arrest and imprison him on trumped up charges of nonbailable common crimes, such as “kidnapping and serious illegal detention of four named policemen (captured by the NPA on July 10, 2014 in Surigao del Norte and released on July 29, 2014) and violation of R.A. No. 9851 (Crime against Humanitarian Law and other Crimes against Humanity”.

The Aquino regime is the most malicious of all regimes by using its representatives (like DILG Secretary Mar Roxas and Nani Braganza) to seek the release of the aforesaid policemen with the help of Jalandoni on humanitarian grounds and now hurling against him false charges of common crimes as aforementioned. Defense Secretary Gazmin and OPAPP Secretary Deles were with Secretary Mar Roxas during the safe and orderly release of the aforesaid policemen.

It is reprehensible that the Aquino regime is acting viciously and maliciously by violating the safety and immunity guarantees that protect Luis Jalandoni and by misrepresenting as a crime the facilitation done by Jalandoni to help realize the humanitarian act and goodwill measure of the NDFP in causing the release of the four policemen and seeking to improve the atmosphere for the resumption of formal talks in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations.

It is unfortunate that the Aquino regime is making a vicious and malicious attack on the NDFP and the person of Jalandoni exactly at a time that he and I have just recommended to the NDFP Executive Committee to give permission to the NDFP Negotiating Panel to undertake exploratory talks prior to formal talks, despite the recent outburst of Aquino against the NDFP and the undersigned.

In order for the GPH and NDFP to engage in exploratory talks, as urged by the Royal Norwegian Government as third party facilitator and the many peace advocates, the Aquino regime should respect the JASIG and allow the safe passage of Jalandoni to his negotiating post and office in The Netherlands. Thus, the exploratory talks will proceed and not be disrupted by petty-minded and malicious obstructions.

Monday 1 June 2015

At the Merthyr Rising 2015

Red Salute to Cambria Band
Posted by Nicholas Glais on Sunday, 31 May 2015

Red Salute to Aflonyddwch Mawr
Posted by Nicholas Glais on Sunday, 31 May 2015