Thursday 31 March 2016

The Tory Attempted Murder of the Welsh Steel Industry by Nickglais

Craig Murray writes :

The Conservative show of dashing home to look after the British steel industry is just smoke and mirrors. Savid Javid was fully aware it was being collapsed by subsidised and dumped Chinese imports, but argued that this cheap Chinese steel was beneficial to the UK economy more generally. 

Arguing against higher EU tariffs on Chinese steel dumping, Javid stated to MPs only six weeks ago

“The responsibility of government is to look at the overall impact on British industry and jobs,” the Business Secretary said.

“If duties get disproportionate it would have an impact in Britain and elsewhere on consumers of steel. Those businesses tell us it will cost jobs and exports if duties got out of control…

“To go further might in the short term look the right way to go to protect industry but you have to remember in Britain there are also companies that consume steel as part of the production process.”

This is pure Thatcherism. 

On Javid’s instruction, last year the British diplomatic mission to the EU (UKREP Brussels) was lobbying the EU commission against higher punitive tariffs on Chinese steel than the 13% the UK supported – even though the Commission found that dumped Chinese steel had an effective state subsidy of up to 72%. I have this from a British diplomatic source.

So the apparent flurry of activity now is a blind. This is a situation the government was quite happy to see develop. 

Of course, the effects are in Wales, Scotland and Northern England. 

There are no steel mills in Tory constituencies.

The banks received state subsidies to the value of £35,000 from every man, woman and child in the UK. 

Yet it is unquestionable dogma that not even 0.1% of that can be given to aid manufacturing industry. 

I can think of no legitimate explanation of this duality.


Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr says time for Wales to start thinking about its 21st century future  -  a future that we can take into our own hands and not be dictated to by comprador capitalists of India like Tata or the British Finance Capitalist State but the people of Wales taking the initiative from the bottom up - not relying on the top down hand outs.

We at the Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr call for two initiatives

(a) The knowledge of Iron and Steel making in Wales is 200 years old and Wales has historically been forefront of metallurgical change - it is important that an Institute of Advanced Metallurgy be established in Wales  to keep and develop and innovate in advanced Metallurgy for the 21st Century.

(2) In times of crisis the spirit of co-operation is calling out to the people of Wales

We can learn from other communities like those in the USA who have suffered the devastating closure of their Steel Industry and the creation of Steel Co-operatives.

See article below on USA from 2012 - I have confirmed that the Steel Co-operatives talked about in this article are still working and developing

Wales and Welsh Steelmaking will have a future and we must make it so.

Peck reported on the MCC's ( Mondragon) collaboration with the United Steelworkers of America (USW) to identify and convert 5 steel companies to a worker co-op form of ownership. 
Since the USW/MCC partnership was announced last October, the USW has been working to identify potential companies for conversions. Ten companies are under consideration.
MCC is interested in this partnership since it has been difficult to access North American markets. The partnership has great potential for both partners -- better market access for the MCC; and, preserving and growing membership for the USW. MCC has well established cooperatives in the steel industry such as Fagor, Ederlan and Arrasate. 
The collaboration will be able to join the MCC's established global markets.
Employee ownership using an ESOP (employee stock ownership program) is vulnerable to domination by management and can ultimately work against the interests of workers. Both organizations value the role of labor. MCC considers co-ops an excellent way to promote community solidarity and self-reliance. 
Peck noted that the discourse that views co-ops as socialistic is not accurate. MCC relies on capital markets and international markets. They acknowledge pay differentials but stress the importance of worker ownership of the companies.
Peck sees this as the right time for creating what he calls the "competitiveness renewal laboratories." 
These are "Rust Belt" communities that are attempting to restart their economies in cities such as Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Cleveland with a focus on local purchasing anchors and an infusion of social investments to create jobs that will build assets and better compensated work for local residents.

"Both in Canada and the U.S., we see emerging "competitiveness renewal laboratories" such as Cleveland's Evergreen Cooperatives, reflecting Spain's Mondragon model and supported by progressive funding sources such as the Cleveland Foundation, and with technical assistance from the Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC), and the Democracy Collaborative in College Park, Maryland. 
These practical and successful next generation blueprints showcase how North America's working and entrepreneurial classes can shut the door on discredited models and reach for a better way."


Tories Lies about defending Steel Industry exposed by European Steel Association - Tories are called vermin for VERY GOOD reason
Charles De Lusignan, from the European Steel Association, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the UK had been blocking a European Commission proposal from 2013 to lift the lesser duty rule, which caps tariffs at 9%, as an anti-dumping measure.
"The fact that the UK continues to block it means that when the government says it is doing everything it takes to save the steel industry in the UK but also in Europe it's not," he said.
"European Steel and UK steel is viable so there is no fundamental reason why it shouldn't go on for the foreseeable future.
"But action should have been taken already. We find ourselves discussing a problem which should never have arisen and would not have arisen had we modernised trade defence instruments when we had the chance."

Tuesday 29 March 2016

1916 Easter Uprising : Wales and Ireland Brothers and Sisters in Solidarity : Representatives of Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr in solidarity with Republican Socialists on the Streets and at the Graveside

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr representatives at the graveside of Seamus Costello above and in the Streets of Dublin below outside the GPO.

Paying tribute at the grave of Seamus Costello great Irish Republican Socialist leader as part of our celebrations of 100 Anniversary of the Easter Rising with comrades of Irish Republican Socialist Party and Eirigi.

"Of all the politicians and political people with whom I have had conversations, , and who called themselves followers of Connolly, he was the only one who truly understood what James Connolly meant when he spoke of his vision of the freedom of the Irish people”

— Nora Connolly O'Brien on Seamus Costello

Speech read by Simon Peter Mckernan on behalf of Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr at the grave of Seamus Costello

"2016 represents an enormous opportunity to make a new future for ourselves and our children. To cast off the shackles of Westminster, and the hated British establishment, that benefits none but themselves! 

To create a new country out of the ashes of the failed, morally bankrupt state,that is Britain! To create a new land, Ireland and with the opportunity to include Wales and Scotland along with Scandinavia! 

Drawing on our shared experiences, developing a strong economy with a truly socialist government, of the people, for the people, by the people,indivisible in purpose. 

To secure by hand and brain the full fruits of our people's talents, and labour! Strong enough to stand alone, but willing to perform a leading role in international affairs, to be a haven for those seeking freedom and opportunity! 

To escape from poverty, injustice and racism in all its forms and never again to be ruled by the hated despised detested reviled and repudiated British State ! 

To cast off all their corruption and make a truly equal state, where the people have true rights and freedoms and responsibilities! All enshrined in law and a constitution to which all can refer regardless of means! 

Where every man and woman shall be treated equally, irrespective of religion, race or creed under the protection of a united flag, universally recognised as a place of true freedom!

For only then will we be able to look our heroes in the eye and say we achieved what you worked so hard for and ultimately died for!

We do it for them and ourselves and our children!


Sunday 27 March 2016

Portrait of 1916 : James Connolly by Daughter and Speech by Grandson in 2016

Speech from James Connolly's Great Grandson -  A grandson that Connolly would be proud of

Thursday 24 March 2016

Statement of Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr on the 100th Centenary of Easter Uprising in 1916

What have we learnt with passage of a 100 years since the Easter Rising how far have we come ?

Well we start by reminding readers how the British Left  behaved during the Easter Uprising in Ireland in 1916.

Arthur Henderson of the Labour Party was a government minister and party to the brutal repression of the 1916 Rising - not much change from the Labour party in the last 100 years here.

What about the Left wing Independent Labour party

"We do not approve of the Sinn Fein rebellion," announced the ILP's Socialist Review in September 1916.

"We do not approve of armed rebellion or any other form of militarism and war".

Leading ILP anti-war figures such as Ramsey MacDonald, at that time well to the left of the Labour Party leadership, were among those 'on the left' to vigourously condemn the rebellion

The Plebs, the journal of the movement for independent working-class education in Britain took a similar view:

"The tragedy of the revolt from a socialist point of view is that that 'romantic nationalism' was largely the inspiration of it; and that Connolly - the industrial unionist, the sane writer and thinker - should have been goaded by circumstances into sharing it".

Similar voices today echo opposition to Welsh and Scottish Independence on the Left. No learning from the past by the British Left here.

Then what did a real socialist revolutionary like Lenin have to say about 1916.

Lenin clarified thhe question for those socialists who sought to counterpose the fight for "pure socialism" to the national struggle and who had contempt for national independence and sovereignty Lenin said :

" To imagine that a social revolution is conceivable without the revolts of small nations in the colonies and in Europe, without the revolutionary outbursts of a section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without the movement of non class conscious proletarian and semi proletarian masses against the oppression of landlords ,the church, the monarchy,foreign nations etc.

To imagine this means to repudiating social revolution.

Only those who imagine that an army will line up and say "We are for socialism" and in another place an army will say "We are for Imperialism" and that this will be a social revolution, only those who hold such a ridiculously pedantic opinion could villify the Irish Rebellion by calling it a "putsch", 

"Whoever expects a "pure social revolution will never live to see it, such person pays lip service to revolution, without understanding what a revolution is"

Lenin - Discussion on Self Determination Summed Up - 1916

The British Left in 2016 has not made much ideological progress in the last 100 years and substitutes supranationalism and the ideology of cosmopolitanism for the proletarian inter - nationalism and mutual respect for nationalities. This can be clearly seen in support for European Union supra - nationalism.

The rise of the nationalist right in Europe and the World is a direct consequence of the Left abandoning the national question and opening the door to Fascism.

"We are not for national nihilism or bourgeois nationalism" 

said the great Bulgarian anti fascist Georgi Dimitrov in 1935 and the more we understand Dimitrov's comment the more we will re build the revolutionary Left and sweep the right and fascists out of national politics.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

From Venezuela to Ireland at Easter by Jesus Rojas and Juan Gil Alvarez

                                              General Daniel Florence O'Leary

The people make their history. Sometimes, they intertwine in time, through glorious deeds and the characters who shape it, with their actions. Although they seem very different, their customs nationalities and events are often interrelated. The fact is that if you understand that the people should rebel against their oppressors who enslaved them, then they should rise up against the bourgeoisie who currently occupy that role. We must understand and reveal the facts so that future generations can learn and understand their circumstances and achieve full liberation.

Latin America seems to be an example even for other countries where according to the so-called 1st world by which is interpreted its history was born with the arrival of Europeans to America, Later in the walk of the people's struggles Che Guevara said in the eyes of the world

"This epic that we have before us is going to be written by the hungry masses of Indians, landless peasants, exploited workers; it is going to be written by the progressive masses, the honest men and brilliant intellectuals who abound in our suffered lands of Latin America”.

In that unconcerted affinity of the people, I venture to locate those of Venezuela and Ireland, beginning in the days of Simon Bolivar, with the embarking of our independence leader, the young man born in Cork, Daniel Florence O'Leary, who would become in one of the most faithful to the Liberator officers, and who also would write his memoirs and even would be devoted to provide data on the physiognomy of our national heroes which have been very useful in the search for truth in times of Bolivarian Revolution. So much was the admiration of the struggles of Bolivar for this hero that his son would be called Simon Bolivar O'Leary.

The 100 years of the uprising Easter calls us to remember, not only the struggles of the Irish people for autonomy, but also highlight the contribution of the brave soldiers in the American emancipation, but, in turn the contribution of the libertarian ideals of America to Europe which was the great legacy of General Bolivar, ambitious when he expressed in his time his intention of going to liberate the people of Spain of the monarchy to establish a truly democratic government in the Iberian peninsula.

The wonderful epic uprising of Easter should be seen in the greatness of the mass organization from the feelings of patriotism against the Overseas oppression, the sacrifice of their leaders and all its actors marks the beginning of a different view of confronting tyranny in all its forms, and although we know that there were not only the names of; Patrick Henry Pearse, James Connolly, and the contribution of Eamon Valera a Latin America-born, are a good starting point to reflect on the interpretation of the succeeding facts.

In Venezuela, was not in the days from 24 to 29 April 1916, but on 27 and 28 February 1989, in which the people spontaneously, the same people as their leader raises his voice in the events of the Caracazo (On Feb. 27, 1989, Venezuelans rose up in spontaneous protests against catastrophic free-market policies.

The uprising, known as the Caracazo or Sacudon, was brought on by soaring poverty and the collapse of living standards. The government responded with brutality, with state violence claiming up to 5,000 lives) against the treacherous system with new forms of colonialism emanating from the world economic order, and this fact brought us to the popular victory with Commander Hugo Chavez, projecting the Bolivarian revolution as a hope for the peoples of the world, which today imperialism world constantly threatens to lead to a momentary setback in elections last December.

The peoples of Ireland and Venezuela each with its peculiarities; one to vindicate the unity and sovereignty over all the Celtic Isle and the other resisting the onslaught of global capital to definitively establish the revolution framed in the Bolivarian doctrine, but, in the end a common goal, the harmonic balance that allows the greatest happiness to future generations.

It will be sounded, then, melodies with Bagpipes and maracas, with cuatro and lyres that make us to remember that in the struggle for peace and justice, in one way or another, they will always be walking together.

"The most perfect system of government is the one that produces the greatest possible happiness, the highest level of social security and the greatest degree of political stability"- Simon Bolivar

Sunday 13 March 2016

A model for Social Revolution for Syrian Kurdistan : The Modern Paris Commune

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr will be publishing videos on Syrian Kurdistan for discussion in a non sectarian way among the revolutionary Left.

Political expert Bilhan Tuncel urges international solidarity with Kurds, and says the bottom-up governing system in Rojava, or Western Kurdistan, is an important example of empowering a diverse population

Friday 11 March 2016

Euromania Uncovering the EU by Peter Vlemmix

Thinking about Iceland, Norway and Switzerland outside the European Union and their lessons for Wales in 2016.

The Euro crisis is currently being used to create a Neo Liberal Europe before our eyes with European Central Bank (ECB) subsidising corporations by buying corporate bonds and providing cheap money to banks to re capitalise them - but these same banks do not lend to small businesses and individuals to ease the crisis for the people of Europe.

Quantitive Easing for rich is what the ECB is all about.

While the right wing British Populism of the UKIP dominates the European Union debate it is basically hypocritical - they stand for the centralised British State and are against the local democracy with underlies Welsh and Scottish National demands.

At core UKIP is a City of London creation.

We should turn  the demand for British Sovereignty on its head -with demand for Kernow and Welsh and Scottish Sovereignty and expose UKIP's hypocrisy on the democratic question at the heart of the European Union Question.

Switzerland with its direct democracy and Iceland with its anti austerity democratic rebirth and Norway with its sense of community should inspire us to think of an Independent Wales in a new relationship with Europe - all of Europe from Portugal to the Urals.

We need a local public bank a Community Bank of Wales has part of our local democracy for economic regeneration something the Lisbon Treaty makes difficult with its commitment to privatisation and competitive free markets. 


Saturday 5 March 2016

The Spanish Anarchists of Merthyr in the early Twentieth Century

Dowlais Furnacemen


Colliers Crusade - Welsh Miners and Spanish Civil War - Echoes of the Past for the Present Struggle in the Asturias in 2012 - Gwyn Thomas speaks "Asturias feels like the Rhondda"


Ebbw Vale and The Valley of Steel

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr remembers Ebbw Vale and the Steelworks many of our members had family who worked there and the devastation effect of its closure are still with us.

      Thatcherism swept away the twin pillars of heavy industry on which the Welsh economy had rested for two centuries – iron and steel and coal and devastated Wales in a few decades.

Thatcher and Thatcherism are words that mean free market neo liberal capitalism and unless we confront and defeat the Thatcherite mantra of marketization and privatisation we will not reverse Welsh economic decline.

The privatisation of the steel industry in 1988 led to the closure of works at East Moors in Cardiff, Shotton in North Wales and Ebbw Vale which had in the mid Sixties employed 10,000 men.

The contraction of the steel industry progressed slower compared to the rapid disappearance of coal.

By July 1985 only 31 mines were left in Wales compared to 620 at the outbreak of World War I.

After the 1984-85 miners’ strike the rate of closure accelerated.

By 1993 a further 18 had disappeared.

The last deep mine in South Wales, Tower, closed a year later.

Nor was rural Wales safe from Thatcher policies.

Thatcher's championing of private home ownership and the consequent rise in house prices enabled many from more affluent parts of Britain to buy second homes in rural Wales or move there permanently to live off their property market windfalls.

The result was an intolerable strain on the Welsh language heartland and its culture.

However the naked figures of the industrial closures belie the real devastation to communities built around over two centuries of coal mining and iron and steel making, the catastrophic collapse of employment in Wales in many communities saw the rise of a drug culture and crime which reflected the social hopelessness of the situation.

We at the Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr want to arrest Welsh decline by new policies and new politics of Welsh renewal - yes a new Welsh Revival, fundamental to that Revival and Renewal is the rejection of further marketisation of the Welsh Economy and the creation and socialisation of new industries.

We have already called for the creation of public enterprises to create employment via a new Welsh Banking System and a new Welsh Land Act.

Wales will have a future.
The Welsh people must make it, nobody else will


Note On South Korean Steel Industry

It is one of the myths in the West that the Steel industry in South Korea especially Pohang Iron and Steel (POSCO) were free market competitive enterprises - they were not - they were heavily subsidised both directly and indirectly by the South Korean Government

I flew over the POSCO plant in the 1990's it was so massive and impressive but it was a product of South Korean State intervention and not the Free Market.

While we swallowed free market Thatcherism it was the South Korean opportunity to build their Steel Industry and seize world markets.

Thatcher left us the poisoned chalice of the City of London financial parasitism and destroyed our industries in the name of the free market.