Friday 25 November 2016

Almost one in three children in Wales lives in poverty, the highest proportion of any country in the United Kingdom. Why is this?

Almost one in three children in Wales lives in poverty, the highest proportion of any country in the United Kingdom.  Why is this?

A recent report also highlighted deep wealth inequalities within Wales.  In Trevethin in Pontypool, an astonishing 75% of children under 4 are living in poverty, compared to 11% in nearby Panteg. Why is this?

As our two eldest headed off to school in fancy dress on Friday to raise money for Children in Need, it seemed timely to reflect on the underlying causes of child poverty in Wales and the rest of the UK. To ask some of the questions that the appeal and its commentary on the BBC does not necessary always invite us to ask. Uncomfortable but essential questions.

Children in Need supports a great many charities across the UK to carry out essential work. Charities like Whizz Kids, Llamau and Bobarth Children’s Centres. An example local to me, Pedal Power, receives funding from Children in Need that enables young people with physical and learning disabilities to experience the benefits of cycling using specially adapted bikes and tricycles.

In one Children in Need film, James McAvoy talks to camera on the topic of child poverty. He begins with the very moving story of an individual family’s experience, and goes on to say:

3.9 million children are living in poverty in the UK.  Its not their fault that they find themselves in this situation.  Every year, Buttel UK receives thousands of applications for emergency help, and the simple fact is that they cannot afford to fund all of them. That’s where you come in.
I would agree it isn’t the fault of these 3.9 million children.  Which begs the question, whose fault is it?

The BBC certainly isn’t asking this question.

Now I don’t blame the Children in Need appeal for shirking the politics of poverty. Politics isn’t sexy, and encouraging people to unpack the causes of poverty on a macro level, as opposed to focusing on individuals, is unlikely to leave the public feeling inclined to put their hand in their pocket.  I get that.

Of course we should continue to support Children in Need, and other similar causes, because they do great work for children who otherwise would not get help. But once we’ve dressed up /done a fun run /cycled the length of Wales /sat in a bath of baked beans, let’s pause to reflect.  Let’s talk about why there are so many children living in poverty, and why a higher proportion of them live in Wales.  Not poverty caused by a debilitating accident or other tragedy.  Not those whose lives are turned upside down by a rare childhood disease.  But the 29% of children across the UK who are living in poverty, for no reason out of the ordinary. And the 31% of children in Wales.  Whose fault is that?

In 1999 the UK Government made a commitment to halve child poverty by 2010 and eliminate it by 2020. The Child Poverty Act was passed in 2010, but scrapped by the Westminster Tory Government in 2015 and replaced by the Welfare Reform and Work Bill.

So, a little over three years to go before 2020, how are we doing on tackling child poverty? The proportion of children living in poverty had been falling.  Key indicators in Wales were improving as of 2009, things such as the proportion of children living in workless households, and the incidence of in-work poverty.  But child poverty has since been on the increase. According to research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, child poverty has plateaued since 2011, and in 2013 began to rise.

The causes of child poverty are complicated, but the consequences are well understood:

Children who grow up in low-income households have poorer mental and physical health, on average, than those who grow up in better-off families…. From an early age, children in poverty are more likely to score worse in tests of cognitive, social and behavioural development. ….. Living in a low-income family greatly increases the likelihood of children leaving school with lower educational attainment.

Extract from JRF ‘We can Solve Poverty’

In Wales, the Government has also made a commitment to eradicate poverty by 2020, but acknowledges in their latest strategy that progress has been poor.

A review of Wales’ Child Poverty Strategy in July 2014 found that:

Wales has a higher proportion of children living in poverty than England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, and a higher proportion than any English region outside of London. Wales also has a high proportion of children in workless households – again, much higher than Scotland and most of England. (My emphasis).
So why is this?

I don’t have the answers, but I have a shed load of questions.

For a start, let’s unpack the Welfare Reform and Work Bill.  This is the piece of legislation you’ll remember that brought us the bedroom tax and benefit sanctions.

The charity Gingerbread supports single parents. They provide advice on their website for parents who have received a benefit sanction (a withdrawal of Job Seekers allowance for either 4 or 13 weeks as a punishment for breaking the rules – the length of the withdrawal depends on the rule you have broken).

So one of my questions is this.   What kind of society do we live in?

And what kind of society do we want to live in?

Not this one.  Not one that punishes families struggling to make ends meet, because they have failed to comply with the red tape, or because they missed an appointment at the Job Centre for unavoidable reasons. Examples such as this are well documented.

Welfare and benefit policy in Wales is not devolved. We have no influence over these policies and the cruel, dehumanising impact they have on some of the poorest, most vulnerable people in our communities.

We can tinker around the edges in other policy areas, like education and health, which are devolved.  But child poverty figures show that this isn’t working.  It isn’t enough.

In a report by Children in Wales (the national umbrella organisation for voluntary, statutory and professional organisations and individuals who work with children, young people and families in Wales), changes to benefits / benefit sanctions, and the bedroom tax are reported in the top eight poverty related issues.  Others include lack of access to affordable housing, food poverty, debt and rising living costs.

So some of this is already within our gift to improve – housing for example, is devolved to Wales. As with all areas where we are failing children and other vulnerable members of society, we should be holding the Welsh Government to account and demanding better.

But many of the policy decisions that are turning the screw on the poor in Wales, pushing an unacceptably large proportion of our Nation’s children further and further into poverty, are being dictated to us by Westminster.  We have no control.

Some of the issues identified by the Children in Wales report are systemic, but again are influenced by factors outside of Wales’ control.  Why are so many families in Wales experiencing food poverty?  There are now 157 food banks in Wales compared to 16 between 1998 and 2010.

One hundred and fifty seven.

The rise in food banks has been greatly hastened by welfare reform measures and austerity policies, particularly since the introduction of the Welfare Reform Act 2012

Dr Hefin Gwilym, Bangor University

Wales has not chosen austerity and regressive welfare reform.  These policies have been foisted upon us, by a Conservative Government that the majority of the Welsh population did not vote for (only 27% of those who voted in Wales chose the Conservatives in the 2015 general election).

And to be clear, austerity isn’t saving anyone any money; the UK National Debt has gone up under the Conservatives.  Austerity is a lifestyle choice. A choice made by the rich that affects the lifestyle of the poor. It’s a ‘screw the poor to keep them quiet’ kind of a policy, because the busier people are trying to feed their children or choosing between heating and new school shoes, the less chance they have to organise a class rebellion against the 1% in their spare time.  And the more squeezed the middle class are the more likely they are to blame the poor (conveniently written off as lazy by the Welfare Reform and Work Bill) and not the 1% who are creaming off the riches and busily offshoring them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Wales has any more right to be pissed about the current state of affairs than any other part of the UK, or that Welsh people are the only ones that didn’t vote for this.  But we have more options available to us than people in England (amongst whom I count a great number of my friends and family).

We have the option to say:

Enough is enough.

We can draw a line in the sand and say:

This much and no more.

Our part in this ‘Union’ has gone on long enough, and our people, our communities, our children, are no better off.  We are still lagging behind.  Our being part of the United Kingdom is not helping us reduce child poverty, it is making things worse.  The power that Westminster has to determine our macro economic outcomes, to limit our potential as a Nation and to generally keep us down, has gone on long enough.  We must start to ask questions.

Why, when a third of our children are living in poverty, are we not, collectively asking questions such as:

How might an independent Wales deliver a better outcome for our children?

How could we distribute wealth more effectively in an independent Wales?

How would we design a welfare system that was humane, valued people as individuals, and was fit for the changing future of work, if we had the power to do so as an independent Nation?

There are so many questions we could ask and are morally obligated, in my opinion, to be asking.

Are we dependent on the rest of the United Kingdom because we are poor, or are we poor because we are dependent? Because we are not, yet, independent?

Wales’ children are poor because we haven’t the powers in Wales to do anything about it. Shouldn’t we be talking about this? Shouldn’t we ask the question ‘how might we tackle child poverty differently if Wales were an independent country, empowered to make policy decisions in the interests of its own citizens?’

We weren’t doing any better before austerity either. Cast your mind back to the last major redesign of the UK economy under Thatcher, when industrial communities in Wales and across the UK were decimated in favour of a move towards a finance dominated economy based in London.  How’s that one been working our for us in Wales?

Half of households living in poverty in Wales are in work.  Is this an economy that is functioning well? Where 23% of households are in poverty, and a full half of those are in work? Is this a model of work that is delivering good outcomes for Wales? We must take a good hard look at why we are failing to lift people out of poverty.  Why such a high proportion of jobs in Wales are low paid, low skilled, or precarious.  We can tinker, but until we have all the levers of power at our disposal, and all the confidence, belief and vision that come with being empowered as a free, independent Nation, how are we ever going to change any of this in a meaningful way?

If 600 years as part of the UK has left Wales’ children poorer than every single English region except London, then I believe we owe it to those children to ask whether continuing to be a part of the UK is really in their best interest.We owe it to the children of Trevethin.

And don’t give me ‘but we are too poor to be independent’.

Wales’ children are too poor for us to not be independent. Let’s make it happen before things get any worse.


Thursday 10 November 2016

The “Sri Lanka Model” in Northern Kurdistan: Counterinsurgency As Genocide by Sitharthan Sriharan

Every year on May 18th since 2009,

Tamils come together for “Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day” to remember all Tamils who died in the final stages of the Sri Lankan Civil War.

During this period, the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) perpetrated unprecedented levels of violence on Tamils, both combatants and civilians alike, to push through a decisive military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The fact that a recent investigative report by Vice magazine claimed that 146,000 Tamils disappeared is enough to show why Tamils consider the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War as a genocide that is still not recognized by many.

What is distinctive about the conclusion of the military conflict between the SLA and the LTTE though is not only its brutal nature but also how it was the culmination of implicit and explicit support by regional and world powers, especially the U.S. and India.

Such international backing enabled the Sri Lankan state to destroy Eelam Tamils’ counter-hegemonic force, the LTTE, and thus turn the balance of power in favor of the Sri Lankan state’s genocidal solution to the Tamil national question.

Since then many other governments racked with similar conflicts, especially Turkey, have expressed a desire to replicate Sri Lanka’s supposed success.

Thus, it comes to no surprise that the AKP-led government is currently attempting to pursue a military solution to the Kurdish question.

Similar to justifications put forth for the Sri Lankan state’s “last war”, the discourse constantly reiterated in rationalizing the Turkish state’s war policy is that the government wants to destroy terrorism in Turkey by annihilating the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and its affiliates.

Since the U.S. and EU have refrained from taking the PKK off their list of proscribed terrorist organizations, Turkey’s “War on Terror” discourse still has some legitimacy.

In contrast to Turkey’s position on the war in Northern Kurdistan, the Kurds and their supporters claim that Turkey is repeating its habits of conducting genocidal war against the Kurds to suppress them as a meaningful political force.

In supporting this claim, evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and analyses of the Turkish State’s present behavior as a continuation of past atrocities against the Kurds have been put forth.

And so, the present conflict between the Turkish State and the Kurds is not only a war between NATO’s second largest army and Kurdish militants, but also a war of words.

On the surface, the narratives of both sides are competing to be the view of what is really happening on the ground.

When one considers the Counterinsurgency (COIN) dimensions of the conflict though, Turkey’s claims of fighting terrorism just ultimately lends more support to the Kurdish narrative.

What the Kurdish struggle in recent times has reminded the world of is how the so-called War on Terror is used as one of many other ideological and repressive state apparatuses to justify neo-imperialism at the expense of the rights of peoples struggling against oppressive states.

While much of alternative media has played a large role in exposing this systemic trend, what is often missing in writers’ analyses is just how pervasive the theory and practice of COIN is in our international world order from the military practice of states to the ideological language used by alleged independent observers and more. Therefore, discussing the COIN dimensions of the conflict between the Turkish State and the Kurds helps us understand the more hidden political machinations behind Turkey’s wish to do a “Sri Lanka” on the Kurds.

COIN As An Ideological and Repressive State Apparatus

It was the late Tamil journalist Dhameratnam ‘Taraki’ Sivaram who largely wrote about how COIN was a salient feature of the war between the Sri Lankan state and the LTTE.

He was especially instrumental in demonstrating how the Sri Lankan state’s last war against the LTTE and the peace process prior to it was an internationally sanctioned and coordinated COIN campaign intended to obliterate the LTTE in the short term and set the stage to keep Tamil resistance permanently suppressed in the long term.

In theorizing about COIN, he contended that modern nation-states are never interested in genuinely resolving a conflict with an insurgent group when engaged in a COIN campaign because doing so would require fundamentally restructuring the state in such a way that cedes power away from the state-controlling group, especially its monopoly on violence.

The state’s monopoly on violence was especially important to Sivaram’s discourse on COIN since he argued that the persisting challenge to the state’s monopoly on violence by an insurgency with its ‘counter-violence’ was what made an insurgency a potent threat to the state. Thus, the monopoly on violence is the last aspect of its power that a state-controlling group will give up.

As a practice, COIN originates in colonial wars of the 19th century. It began to take shape as a body of knowledge during this period as a way of colonial powers figuring out how to suppress rebellions that frequently took place in colonies and fighting forces of Communism.

It is only during Britain’s successful war in Malaysia and other colonial wars after World War II that COIN started to assume the more modern form as we know it today.

The writings of British army commander Frank Kitson gives a disturbing but reliable history of what went on in COIN campaigns including counter-terror by the army, recruiting informants, and torture.

Furthermore, COIN has continued to be refined in the post-Cold War era with studies on terrorism, with the very idea of terrorism becoming part of the conceptual tool box of COIN theory and practice.

It must emphasized though that COIN is not a purely military phenomenon, but a politico-military phenomenon. It is about “forcing the target population to lose its collective will to achieve the objective you are trying to destroy or head off…the state is always focused on destroying the political will of the target population, and…the art and science of doing that is counter-insurgency, including its political components”. [1]

The political components of COIN goes beyond the parties to the conflict within a given country since there are always geopolitical conditions. Other states may either support the main state fighting against an insurgency or support the insurgents in order to destabilize the state they are fighting against depending on their interests.

Furthermore, while each COIN campaign has its own circumstances and particularities, in each case the State is ultimately looking to maintain the status quo for the most part. Usually this means only reduce the insurgency to a more tolerable level rather than substantially incapacitate their organization as Sri Lanka did in its last war against the LTTE while at the same time keeping obscured the real key issues that caused the insurgency in the first place. [2]

A Summary of the Sri Lanka Model as a COIN Strategy

In developing his discourse on COIN, it must be kept in mind that Sivaram articulated all this in the context of the conflict between the Sri Lankan state and the LTTE. In fact, by the mid-nineties Sivaram had come to view Sri Lanka’s civil war as “a kind of military-political laboratory in which the various repressive forces of late modernity (local and international) were testing their clever, often cruel, counter-insurgency tactics”. [2]

The results of the last of these experiments, Sri Lanka’s final war against the LTTE, was militarily successful due to a confluence of international support for the Sri Lankan government while the LTTE was largely isolated in the international arena and the genocidal intentions of the Sri Lankan state serving as an ideological motivator.

Traditional COIN theory would not deem Sri Lanka’s military success over the LTTE a complete victory since Sri Lanka has failed to resolve the underlying political causes of the conflict to this day, the Tamil national question, in any decisive manner.

However, many people from the COIN establishment have gone as far as hailing Sri Lanka’s military defeat of the LTTE as a complete success, saying that the traditional “winning-hearts-and-minds” precept may need to be reconsidered in light of the Sri Lankan experience. [3] It is these kind of arguments that are being used to justify a “Sri Lanka Model” of COIN, which can ultimately be reduced to the following axioms as articulated by Tamil academic R.M. Karthick:

- Military solution first. Display ruthlessness in securing your hegemony and the population will be willing to accept any political solution you throw at them later.

- Winning ‘hearts and minds’ is outdated. Break the spine of the population; throw fear in their hearts and numb their minds. They will be grateful to you for letting them to just live.

- The press does nothing to influence public opinion that you don’t want it to. If they are against you, they are with the ‘terrorists’ and are to be dealt accordingly. [4]

While genocidal violence against an opposing group it not anything new within human history, the COIN establishment’s embrace of Sri Lanka’s methods of war sets a dangerous precedent for all resistance movements that have been forced to take up arms.

With respect to Turkey, the above principles seem very much to be in play in the Turkish state’s COIN campaign against the PKK and its affiliates with tactics being used such as massacres of civilians and crackdowns on any press and civil society that would dissent from the Turkey’s official line on the war.

But it must be emphasized that there is no pure model of COIN so it not should be assumed that Turkey is simply “applying” the Sri Lanka Model to its conflict but is implementing it in its own way with a mind towards the specific context it is operating in as well as the specific tools it has at its disposal. Thus, in order to discern how Turkey is implementing the Sri Lanka Model, we must analyze how its COIN campaign is operating.

Key Issues and Geopolitical Conditions of Turkey’s COIN Campaign

In discussing the macro trends of Turkey’s COIN campaign that help us to make sense of the State’s violence against the Kurds and their supporters, there are two sets of questions that need to be answered:

1. What are the real key issues from which the PKK and other Kurdish insurgent forces are given a reason to exist, and what are the ways in which the state tries to conceal these key issues?

2. What geopolitical conditions exist, who are the actors connected to these conditions, and where do their interests lie with respect to the conflict? The key issues of the conflict between the Turkish State and the PKK can be summed up in the following manner: a historical denial of the Kurds as a distinct people different from the Turks due to how the modern Turkish State was founded on a centralized state which included in its ideological foundation a concept of “Turkishness” as being the only nationality that really existed within the borders of modern Turkey.

Such a monocultural conception of the Turkish state can be gleaned from how Ataturk himself referred to the Kurds as “Mountain Turks”. In the past, the way the Turkish State attempted to make this national myth a reality with respect to Kurds includes policies of forced assimilation and even outright denying that the Kurds ever existed as a people ethnically distinct from the Turks.

Such state practices not only constitute structural genocide of the Kurds but are also processes of obfuscation enacted by the state to hide how the state’s foundations on a conceptual level as well as the political tradition of the state generates the Kurdish national question in Turkey despite repeated attempts to suppress the Kurds as a political force.

What stands at the forefront of Turkey’s current attempt to obscure the key issues that lie at the heart of its conflict with PKK is its narrative that its current military campaign against the Kurds is seeking to end terrorism in South East “Turkey” once and for all.

The Turkish State is essentially saying the Kurdish national question will be resolved in due time once the PKK and its affiliates are eradicated. This War on Terror rhetoric is a common COIN tactic today since the concept of “terrorism” or “terrorists” allows a state to posit that the insurgents fighting them are actually separate from the people the insurgents claim to be fighting for since they are merely “terrorists” that need to be either contained or destroyed entirely.

But Turkey’s efforts to make this conceptual dichotomy as representative of the reality of the situation are not holding water as the war progresses. Unlike the LTTE, which was isolated internationally in Sri Lanka’s last war, the PKK has some degree of international support even though it remains proscribed as a terrorist organization by significant regional and world powers.

Furthermore, the Kurdish people also have enough international awareness and sympathy for their plight that is growing by the day than Tamils did in 2009 that the assertion that the PKK is essentially a terrorist organization that has no legitimate cause to fight for can be constantly challenged. Concurrent with this process of growing sympathy with the struggle of the Kurds is the increasing international isolation of Turkey which further delegitimizes its criminalization of the PKK.

While discerning the key issues and how the Turkish state obfuscates them helps to lend support to that Turkey wants a genocidal solution to the Kurdish Question, it is important to also consider the geopolitical conditions. As a particularly important actor in the current geopolitical dynamics of the Middle East, the Kurds not only have to contend with the state and non-state actors they are fighting against on the ground but also the geopolitical battles played out between regional and world powers.

Considering that the people-centered resistance and political paradigms of the PKK and Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria are anathema to maintaining Saudi Arabia and Turkey as regional hegemons that provide a counterbalance to the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance, the lack of significant action by the US and EU to force Turkey to halt its genocidal war on Kurds can be construed as nothing less as an implicit endorsement of Turkey’s wish to resolve the Kurdish question in a genocidal fashion.

The support of programs of extermination enacted by states like Sri Lanka and Turkey is part and parcel of the current world order where the interests of regional and world powers are prioritized above all else. With respect to oppressed nations like Tamils and Kurds, neo-imperialism ultimately seeks to subjugate or keep subjugated any national liberation movements fighting for people-centered political paradigms that run counter to the status quo and interests of regional and world powers.

Thus, not only is the destruction of Kurdish resistance and autonomy in Turkey in the cards, but also dismantling the PYD’s governance and its military arm, People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), is also on the agenda of the West-Saudi-Turkish alliance in addition to continuing efforts to overthrow the Assad regime. [5]

Solidarity with the Kurdish Struggle as a Necessary Solidarity

Recently, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein urged Turkish authorities to allow independent observers unimpeded access into “South-East Turkey” to verify reports of severe human rights violations committed by Turkish military and security forces.

While this is a welcome development from the UN since it means that all the evidence put forth by media, activists, and human rights organizations is forcing them to respond, one should still keep a critical eye at what is said by mouthpieces of establishments like the UN.

What is interesting is how Zeid puts forth concerns over reports of human rights violations in Northern Kurdistan while at the same time adhering to Turkey’s line that they are fighting against terrorism and not the armed resistance of the Kurds in using terms like “terrorist acts” and “counter-terrorism operations”.

What this choice of words reveals is the integral part COIN plays in our international world order today.

This is why it is all the more important to be in full solidarity with the Kurdish struggle and revolution at this critical juncture. 

Given their place in the Middle East right now, the Kurdish people are not just fighting for their people’s freedom.

They are fighting to preserve all peoples’ right to resist oppression, including armed resistance when need be, against an international world order that seeks at every interval to keep national liberation struggles and other people-centered movements subdued for the benefit of the oppressors over the oppressed even to the extent of supporting the genocidal programs of nation-states like Sri Lanka and Turkey.

[1] Mark P. Whitaker, Learning politics from Sivaram: the life and death of a revolutionary Tamil journalist in Sri Lanka (London: Pluto Press, 2007), 135-150.

[2] Whitaker, 118.

[3] Ibid., 138-141.

[4] R.M. Karthick, “UK author eulogising  Sri Lanka COIN backfires exposing USA”,

[5] R.M. Karthick, “Genocide as Counterinsurgency – Brief Notes on the ‘Sri Lanka model’,”

[6] “West endorses regional allies as State violence against Kurds escalates”,

Monday 7 November 2016


A court in Brussels has made what looks like a landmark decision against the prosecution of Kurdish officials and associations on terrorism charges.

In 2006 an investigation was launched by the Belgian Federal prosecutor against Kurdish politicians and associations for alleged membership and support to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Kurdish politicians and officials of the Kurdistan National Congress based in Brussels, Remzi Kartal, Zubeyir Aydar and Adem Uzun as well a Kurdish television channel and cultural associations in the country were under investigation. A total of 36 people were included in the indictment with the case beginning in October 2015.

A decision by the court today ended the trial with the judge making a landmark decision.

Saying that an armed conflict was going on in Turkey, the judge decided the terrorism law could therefore not be used in the case.

The prosecution against the Kurdish television channel was also dropped on the grounds it could be a violation of the right to freedom of speech the judge said.

A statement by the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) stated, "The court decision recognises that a war is going on in Turkey and that the allegations of the Turkish state, saying that the Kurds are terrorists, is false."

Commenting on the case, KNK official Adem Uzun tweeted, "The terror case against the Kurds has been dropped. Belgian court decided in favour of Kurds. It said this was an armed struggle and could not be prosecuted as terror."

The decision will go to the Federal prosecutor who has the right to overturn it.

Turkish media reported the development as a "scandalous decision" by a Belgian court.

Source: ANF,

Friday 4 November 2016

Greetings to Welsh Socialist Republican Congress from Flemish Socialist Movement

Dear comrades,

I am a member of the Flemish Socialist Movement (V-SB, ; or in English:, a small radical left organisation striving for Flemish independence. 

I was very happy to follow the WSRC from at a distance and was very sorry not to be able to attend and meet you all.

Know that we support you and that we are very glad to learn of the activities of a socialist republican movement in Wales, a country we love and where some of us (including myself) have been a few times, a place we hope to be able to return to soon.

Should you like to learn more of us or to get in touch with us, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us. I believe we have a common goal. 

We'd love to support you on the way to an independent and socialist Wales, if you'd like our support.

In solidarity,


The Flemish-Socialist Movement (V-SB) was founded by people who believe the Flemish political landscape should become more leftist and more Flemish. For the V-SB, leftist and Flemish demands are inseparable. That was the case one hundred years ago, when the Flemish fought for their social and cultural rights, and still is today, allbeit in a different context. The V-SB aims towards the creation of a socialist society with equal opportunities, rights and duties for all of its inhabitants in an independent Flanders, away from any antidemocratic and capitalist supranational structures, but in cooperation and solidarity with other freedom loving nations and states.

Being a socialist organisation, the V-SB believes the existing capitalist order only serves the interests of a small upper class and in no way those of the working class, for which it means nothing more than a continuous threat of living conditions. For the problems arising on social as well as ecological level, the V-SB considers the only solution to be replacing the existing order by a society in which solidarity and the democratic decision right about society and economics form the basic principles and in which the sovereignty is reinstalled and reinforced.

The V-SB considers Belgium as a construction only serving Belgian and global high finance, and limiting sovereignty and self development of those on its territory. Furthermore the V-SB believes the transition to a socialist structure can only happen with eye for the national context. Therefore the V-SB aims towards the creation of a new, socialist state, covering the territory of what`s currently known as the Flemish Region, including the Brussels-Capital Region.

In the light of above mentioned belief in the necessity of sovereignty, the V-SB will oppose every attempt to decrease or destroy it through the creation of antidemocratic supranational structures. This however does not mean the V-SB believes in the feasibility of a socialist Flanders as an isolated paradise island; the V-SB believes in the desirability and necessity of international cooperation, and therefore supports nations and movements abroad supporting similar goals.

With that in mind, the V-SB opposes against every form of Flemish Nationalism that opposes the Walloon people, and movements that only aim for the Flemish independance to get rid of solidarity with our southern neighbours.

Flemish considers the V-SB everyone living on the territory of the future Flemish state, without discrimination based on origin, gender, religion, mother tongue, sexual preference or other non-important criteria. Within the Flemish state, cultural rights of minorities will have to be guaranteed. This can however not lead to supporting the creation and affirmation of parallel societies having a desintegrating function on the social tissue.

Sefydlwyd y Mudiad Sosialaidd Ffleminaidd (V-SB) gan bobol sy'n credu y dylai bywyd gwleidyddol Fflandrys fod yn fwy asgell-chwith ac yn fwy Ffleminaidd. Ni all y V-SB wahanu'r agweddau asgell chwith a Ffleminaidd. Dyna oedd y sefyllfa gan mlynedd yn ôl pan ymladdodd y Ffleminiaid am eu hawliau cymdeithasol a diwylliannol, a dyna yw'r sefyllfa heddiw, er bod hynny mewn cyd-destun gwahanol. Nod y V-SB yw creu cymdeithas sosialaidd gyda chyfleoedd, hawliau a dyletswyddau cyfartal i'w holl drigolion mewn Fflandrys annibynnol. A hynny yn rhydd o strwythurau gwrth-ddemocrataidd a chyfalafol, ond mewn cydweithrediad a solidariaeth gyda chenhedloedd a gwladwriaethau eraill sy'n caru rhyddid.

Fel mudiad sosialaidd, cred V-SB fod y drefn gyfalafol bresennol ond yn gwasanaethu buddiannau dosbarth uwch bychan ac nad yw'n cynnig dim i'r dosbarth gweithiol. Y cyfan y mae'r drefn yn ei olygu iddynt hwy yw bygythiad cyson i'w hamodau byw. Er mwyn datrys y problemau sy'n codi yn y meysydd cymdeithasol ac amgylcheddol cred y V-SB taw'r unig ateb yw gosod trefn gymdeithasol newydd yn ei lle. Bydd y drefn newydd yn un lle mae solidariaeth a phroses ddemocrataidd er mwyn penderfynu yngl?n â chymdeithas ac economi yn egwyddorion sylfaenol. Bydd y drefn  hon hefyd yn sefydlu ac yn atgyfnerthu sofraniaeth y bobol.

Cred V-SB fod Gwlad Belg yn greadigaeth er mwyn gwasanaethu y byd ariannol Belgaidd a byd-eang, ac er mwyn cyfyngu sofraniaeth a hunan-ddatblygiad y rhai sy'n byw yn ei thiriogaeth. Cred y V-SB y gall y newid tuag at strwythur sosialaidd ond digwydd gydag un llygad ar y cyd-destun cenedlaethol. Felly mae V-SB yn ymgyrraedd tuag at greu gwladwriaeth sosialaidd newydd yn cynnwys tiriogaeth bresennol Rhanbarth Fflandrys a Rhanbarth Prifddinas Brwsel.

O gofio'r hyn a ddywedwyd am bwysigrwydd sofraniaeth, bydd y V-SB yn gwrthwynebu unrhyw ymgais i'w leihau neu ei dinistrio trwy greu strwythurau swpragenedlaethol annemocrataidd. Nid yw hyn yn golygu fod y V-SB yn credu fod Fflandrys annibynnol fel ynys bellennig ar wahân i bawb arall yn ymarferol; cred y V-SB fod cydweithrediad rhyngwladol yn ddymunol ac yn angenrheidiol, ac felly mae'n cefnogi cenhedloedd a mudiadau tramor sy'n arddel yr un amcanion.

O gofio hynny, mae'r V-SB yn gwrthwynebu unrhyw ffurf ar genedlaetholdeb Ffleminaidd sy'n gwrthwynebu pobl Walwnia, a mudiadau sydd ond yn ceisio annibyniaeth i Fflandrys fel modd o ddiddymu solidariaeth gyda'n cymdogion deheuol.

Ystyria'r V-SB bawb sy'n byw yn nhiriogaeth gwladwriaeth Fflandrys y dyfodol fel Ffleminiaid, heb unrhyw wahaniaethu ar sail tarddiad, rhywedd, crefydd, mamiaith, rhywioldeb a materion eraill dibwys. O fewn i wladwriaeth Fflandrys sicrheir hawliau diwylliannol lleiafriroedd. Ond nid all hyn arwain at gefnogi creu a chynnal cymunedau cyfochrog sydd â'r gallu i ddadfeilio undod cymdeithasol

Wednesday 2 November 2016

The Policies of the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress

Resolution adopted at the First Welsh Socialist Republican Congress

The Policies of the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress

The  policies  of the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress  are an integral part of our strategic aim of an Independent Welsh Socialist Republic  which we see as social process over many years rather than just one single event.

National Community Bank for Wales

We consider any talk of Welsh Independence that does not address the question of a community public banking system for Wales as irresponsible - a Welsh Public Banking system is at the core of our demands to build an Independent Socialist Wales.

Every 24 hours money from Wales flows into the big Five British Banks to be be on deposit in City of London overnight - we want that money to stay in Welsh Banking System to aid Welsh national local and community development.

We will support legal changes to  create  a National Community Bank of Wales through a Welsh Banking Act.

Land Act for Wales

We want all Royal Lands owned in Wales by British Monarchy to be returned to the Welsh People - this demand is not limited just to the Crown Estates but to all the Royal family ownership vehicles that operate in Wales.

We call for a Welsh Land Commission to establish the detailed  ownership of Welsh Land and to return absentee or unused Land to local community land trusts for communities to develop.

We call for halt to the sale of Welsh Land by local governments in Wales who are forced to sell public land because of British Government austerity policies.

Welsh Water to be owned by the people.

We call for the end of 999 year agreements to supply water to England for token sums  signed by Welsh Water with English Utility companies - we want Welsh Water brought back into public ownership.

Water is a precious natural resource and one that should be regulated and controlled to benefit the Welsh Economy and not abused by the British Economy as at present.

We demand a Welsh Water Act that puts ownership of Welsh Water into the hands of the people of Wales.

Our Demands are as simple as they are basic

1. Welsh Public Banking System
2. Welsh Land Act
3  Welsh Water Act



The Welsh Socialist Republican Congress stands for Welsh Independence and Socialism

                       Introducing the Resolution on Independence and Socialism

Resolution adopted at First Congress of Welsh Socialist Republican Congress

The  Welsh Socialist Republican Congress stands for Welsh Independence and Socialism

Welsh Independence

The Welsh Socialist Republican Congress stands for Welsh Independence, we do not agree that Wales is a mere principality of England but a sovereign Nation.

We stand for Welsh Independence as it is the only way to restructure the relationship between two unequal nations the Welsh and English Nations from one of domination by England to one of equality and mutual respect.

The road of the Home Rulers of Constitutional changes and a Welsh Assembly is nothing more than a new management arrangement for the continued domination of Wales by the British State.

We look to the separation of Norway from Sweden as a model of how new relationship between a once dominant nation and subordinate nation was turned into one of mutual equality and respect following Norwegian Independence.

Independence is a prerequisite of a new long term amicable relationship as the Norwegian case has proved.

Continued domination of Wales by the British State no only damages Wales but ultimately the harmony between English and Welsh working people.

Welsh Socialism

Socialism is an idea that was born in Wales and Ireland at the beginning of the 19th Century.

The first socialist was an Irishman called William Thompson from County Cork - he was also called a communionist in the vernacular of the time because he did not believe in a competitive market road to socialism.

Robert Owen also called a socialist took the view that the stock market would aid the road to socialism and ultimately his views came to dominate the Labour Party and are associated with Labour Party reformist politics.

While Owenism led to the Labour Party the ideas of William Thompson  influenced Marxism and the Irish Socialist Republican Party of James Connolly.

Thompson's and Connolly's ideas further inspired John Maclean in Scotland

The Welsh Socialst Republican Congress is very much in the revolutionary tradition of William Thompson and James Connolly and John Maclean who see independence and socialism as part of the same process of social liberation.

Bringing the stream of  thought of Independence with that  of Socialism is the task of the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress in the 21st century

Today 700,000 people in Wales out of a population of three million live in or below poverty line , this is after a 100 years of the Owenite Reformist Labour Party.

In 21st Century Wales we need a new revolutionary political strategy and direction based on the ideas of William Thompson, James Connolly and John Maclean - that is revolutionary socialism combined with national liberation from the British State.

The Welsh Socialist Republican Congress in the business of ideas, not events or personalities because it is ideas that will shape the future of Wales and bring about about an economic and cultural renaissance.

Join the new revolutionary stream in Welsh Politics that will turn into a mighty river of National and Social Liberation  into the Welsh Socialist Republic in the 21st Century.

Join The Welsh Socialist Republican Movement Now !