Sunday 31 December 2017

Lessons in Solidarity : Paul Robeson and the Welsh Miners Yesterday - Catalonia Today

                                   WELSH SOLIDARITY WITH CATALONIA IN 2018

You honour the struggles of the past by engaging in the struggles of today

Wales: Land of My Fathers : Dear country whose sires, that their sons might be free, Have suffered and perished for thee!

Land Of My Fathers 

Dear land of my fathers, 
whose glories were told 
By bard and by minstrel who loved thee of old; 
Dear country whose sires, that their sons might be free, 
Have suffered and perished for thee! 
Wales! Wales! Land of mist and wild, 
Where'er I roam, Though far from my home, 
The mother is calling her child 
The Lord of great Snowdon in brave days of yore for thee fought for freedom by Mona's green shore their courage undaunted inspires all our lays our harps ere resound to their praise. 
Wales! Wales! Land of mist and wild, 
Where'er I roam, 
Though far from my home, 
The mother is calling her child Wales! 
Wales! Land of mist and wild, 
Where'er I roam, 
Though far from my home, 
The mother is calling her child

Friday 29 December 2017

Thursday 21 December 2017

Magnificent Strategic Defense by National Movement in Catalonia to the Article 155 Attack says Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr in Wales says despite trying to make the Catalan Independence Movement Headless and with leaders in prison the pro Independence Parties held their ground totally 70 seats well done Catalan comrades.

Mariano Rajoys People's Party collapsed from 11 seats to 4

This is a magnificent strategic defense of the Independence Movement from the Madrid assault but much more has to be done especially to expose the article 155 enablers in the Socialist Party who supported Rajoy.

We have already made our views clear on the two faced Catalunya en Comu with its leftist phrases but collaborationist practices.

Therefore winning more on the left to the Catalan Republic is a task that still has to be undertaken in the process of moving to the next stage in 2017/18

Manuel Sanchez Gordillo speaking to the Candidatura d'Unitat Popular, CUP

Manuel Sanchez Gordillo is one of the inspirers of Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr and we greatly admire his leadership on the land question in Andalusia and the village of Marinaleda.

The most worthy people, perhaps one of the most worthy people of the planet earth,  They do not want to find out, the  economic imperialism the greatest sovereignty thief which the history of humanity has given birth and it  has decided to take off the mask, and they  call globalization what is simply imperialism and in that imperialism there is something that at this moment cannot stand, the  freedom, democracy and sovereignty, because freedom means men and women who say their word, democracy means power of the people with the people and for the people, sovereignty means capacity to decide, real capacity to make concrete decisions on concrete problems. 

They do not want to learn and do not want to make as normal what is an aberration, they want to make us swallow like something natural that a minority exploit, steal, plunder, oppress and repress without any limit, children of the constitution the mother who supports you , the father who supports you.

It must be said that imperialism is the greatest sovereign thief and that means more market and less state, the decanting of sovereignty of the real capacity to decide of the people, of the people who have been to the market, and who controls the market, the big multinationals, the international monetary fund, and the global trade organization and that is where a fierce dictatorship is exercised and the governments, all the governments are no more than simple puppets obedient to the capitalist system of production. 

Therefore, the national question, the identity question and the class struggle, are the same struggle annoying the left-wing, which is neither  left-wing nor nothing,  because you have to be here with the people who claim for their  sovereignty. 

They do not allow sovereignty; they destroy sovereignty from the monopoly of violence, they say they want a monopoly on violence and I say why the rich men, why the powerful, because the empires in order to maintain their petty and criminals interests can use  the violence as much as they   want against the poor. and when these defend themselves they are called terrorists. 

When they defend their rights, although they use nonviolence as the Catalan people they are accused of being violent. 

Violent are they, terrorist are they. Just look at my dear comrades, when they disarm themselves. We want nonviolence, but it's the same. I was there on October 1st, and I saw a peaceful people with dignity, men and women, children and elderly people all of them defending their dignity, their dignity as persons and as a people and I saw the violence of the civil guard and I saw that they did not come to pay a visit, but to punish to repress to give an example that cannot be followed along that path.

And what do the gentlemen who control the market and the branch of the constitution of 1978 and to those who protect it, Rajoy as we already know; he is the fascism of always, but the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party),  it is the best foreman of the bourgeoisie, it is like the Trojan horse in the bosom of the workers movement, first they enter and then they stab us in the back, the CF the smiling fascism,  and I say that we have to face him from the active nonviolence and they are confusing us with lies, with many lies,  they talk about democracy and it is the market`s dictatorship , the dictatorship of a class, the state has been turned it into a repressive machine, some had doubts, you have to understand that the state is not neutral,  that the state is a machine of the dominant class to repress upon  the dominated classes,  upon  the peoples that reveal themselves against the established order because they want to make a different order more just, more utopian, more human, more libertarian, more humanitarian, 

They speak to us about the law, the law is nothing more than the infirmity of the powerful to impose its dictates and its advantages, they tell us that there is a division of powers and a detestable  lie, what a  more extraordinary myth ! 

I listen to Garzón of left-wing united and I listen to Pablo Iglesias of PODEMOS and you believe in the independence of the judiciary and they say it is indisputable. 

We do not realize, it is needed more since the crisis of 2008 and now here in Catalonia we need no more proof that the judges are more stooge of economic and political power and nothing more than that. 

I heard them said here and there law, democracy, freedom, nonviolence and they tell us other stories, they tell us that nationalism is bourgeois, that nationalism does not respect the working class that nationalism leads to violence and war.

I say that the one that breaks freedom, the one that breaks sovereignty, the one that leads us to war is the imperialism that destroys sovereignty by the simple whim of changing blood for oil, where is the sovereignty of the Libyan people, where is the sovereignty of the Palestinian people, where is the sovereignty of the Saharawi people. 

What crime had they committed? the wanting  to be sovereign, the wanting to decide on their own people,  and they  have been bombed  without mercy, and although we do not act from violence I have no doubt that if they had to go further in their violence I would say it, but, we cannot fear their violence, we have to respond to nonviolence knowing that we will never kill, but probably we may have to die, if it is necessary, for the life of the people, for their dreams, for their freedom, for their hopes

They are carrying out an experiment, and they are doing here as in the civil war before the fascism of Hitler and Mussolini. They want to see how long a people which is oppressed and repressed is able to endure, when they repress and imprison, and I have been in jail, jail is a punishment and there is no right that someone is in jail and less by political ideas, of course, there are rogue political prisoners, of course, there are political prisoners. 

And they impose the rules of the game, now they say that a democratic decision was going to be made because the conditions are right, and I say that there is already a fraud there is already a fraud because when Mr. Rajoy calls to vote for a people sovereign and legitimate, there is a fraud when you put O Jordi in jail, there is a fraud when they are not going to stop or in the recount of the votes.

 I expose my doubts here if the state has done what it has done, if the state is able to get to where it has come, what will they not do? they will not allow you to win, not because it would be recognizing that there is a people fighting for a superior humanity, that there is a people that requires dignity, that there is a people that is capable of breaking the structures of the system, that there is a people that by sovereignty is anti-imperialist, and that they cannot tolerate it, they cannot allow it therefore, you will have to observe them because they will not play fair or in the recount of the votes, they will not play fair in anything and I want to say and regret here that Andalusia a nation that requires sovereignty of an oppressed people since centuries ago, of a culture that has been silenced since centuries ago. 

It hurts me extraordinarily Andalusia, it hurts me that Andalusia be used as the vanguard of rancid Spanishness and do it from the board of Andalusia. they do it by bringing the Andalusian folklore, I do not justify it, Andalusia is not here, it is not here with Mrs. Theresa an unwelcome guest, that means to manipulate Andalusia, it is to rob Andalusia its folklore in order to attack Andalusia itself, traitors of Andalusia, scoundrels of Andalusia, scoundrels of the Catalan people, because they want to confuse it, they have no forgiveness, it is not a job because the executioners charge a salary, But, it is no justified to use Andalusian folklore to give strength to fascism, they have no forgiveness and this is what it has been doing from the presidency of the board, And that is what the unwelcome guest lady doing , She plays that game, they or we, and we are in a historical moment, and you break the history, you are creating a new history, you are an example for the world and for all the peoples that fight for their sovereignty, you are an example for the Andalusian people and from Andalusia we say thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Long live the people of Catalonia…. Long live Andalusia free and sovereign...Long live the people who fight for their freedom.... Come on, come on, come on.... they will not stop us, no matter how much they want to use us.. Come on, come on, come on.... 

We are on the right path, on the revolutionary path, on the subversive path, on the path of humanity... 

Long live the people who fight for their rights. 

Long live Andalusia... Long live Catalonia.


Comradely Critique of Gordillo at Democracy and Class Struggle

Monday 18 December 2017

Catalan Candidates campaign from behind bars'

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr says Frances's Melenchon and Britain's Owen Jones speak at the anti independence party Catalunya en Comu in Badalona located in Barcelona Province.

European Social Democracy is a stinking corpse providing left cover for the repressive Spanish Centralised State.

While we get the occasional left phraseology from the social democrats about right of nations to self determination - their determination is to oppose it and not lead it just like Melenchon and Owen Jones the stinking corpses of social democracy.

The Progressive Lawyer Juan Manuel Olarieta from the Basque Country speaks eloquently  about the domestic Spanish Revisionists and Social Democrats on the Question of Catalan Independence and his comments apply to those Social Democrats and  Revisionists from outside Spain as well like Melenchon amd Owen Jones.

"Like all charlatans, Garzón* confronts the working class with national rights, as if they were opposite things, to conclude that "the independence of Catalonia will not allow the popular classes to live better or emancipate themselves from capitalism," which is absolutely false.

What Garzon conceals is that Catalonia is a nation, so independence is one of so many democratic demands of the working class, the whole working class, including the Spanish working class, must not only support or sympathize, but must take charge and direct it , as any other just struggle directed against the State.

The whole effort of the social fascists, like Garzón and Izquierda Undida, is aimed precisely at preventing the working class from leading the struggle of Catalonia for its national demands, because it is precisely that, to leave it in the hands of the bourgeoisie, then accuse to the nationalist movement of "bourgeois", which for the "left" demagogues must be something like the plague.

Not only "the bourgeois" is always oblivious to "the worker" but must appear to be confronted in any circumstance. That is the short sketch that about the class struggle have in their head the types like Gazon.

Naturally, this shabby schema extends it to its notion of "internationalism" which, in the same mechanical way, considers it as opposed to "nationalism", a label distributed to a broad mass movement. In case those subjects have never traveled to Catalonia, they should see photos of the popular mobilizations that are everywhere, where the struggle has reached a scale typical of any national movement.

The social-fastidious geeks must learn that in such a broad national movement not only nationalists participate, but all of them. Or have they not yet digested that internationalism arises precisely to defend the national interests of peoples oppressed by colonialism and imperialism? What do they think was the Communist International?

Contrary to what Garzón says, the right to self-determination is not only demanded by "the richest parts". Or has it been believed that in Catalonia the "richer" parts add up to many millions of people.

Do the Social Fascists want us to believe that when Marx and Engels defended the slogan "Workers of the world, unite!" 

They referred to the forced union of workers of different nations within the same State ? 

That is all they have understood ?

In this respect, in the Marxist tradition there is no "everything" about the right of self-determination, as Garzón pretends to believe. 

In Catalonia the recent battle has drawn a line in the ground.

The one who does not defend self-determination is not only outside Marxism, but outside of democracy. 

Those against Catalonia are with fascism,  must be treated as such. 

There is no other label for him".

*PS Alberto Garzon is a Spanish Revisionist

Sunday 17 December 2017

The Welsh Land - Call for its Defense in 2018 - Towards March 1st 2018 and the Land of our Mothers and Fathers Day

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr came into existence in 2012 to defend Welsh Land and we continue that struggle into 2018 taking up the Welsh Land banner that fell in the mud in the 1890's when a Welsh Land Act was ditched by the Liberal Imperialists who called themselves Home Rulers.

In October 2016 Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr joined the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress and expanded our campaigning to a Public People's Bank for Wales and a Welsh Water Act to defend our precious natural resources.

In 2018 we will take the messages of Welsh Land, Welsh Banking and Welsh Water to Welsh communities throughout Wales utilizing the latest new media. 

We will Educate, Agitate and Organize and lay the foundations for a Wales that is truely socialist and truely independent.

By raising our class and our nation we raise ourselves in 2018

Thursday 14 December 2017

Oriol Junqueras, wants to play his role as Esquerra’s top candidate. The Catalan News Agency has been able to interview him via correspondence, and, in today’s show, we’ll go into what he said.

A week to go in the very important Catalan Elections for National Rights and Social Progress in Europe - the ideas of Popular Unity CUP are the nearest to the views developed by Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr in Wales

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Interview with CUP Party in Catalonia : ‘Sixena works of art removed from Catalonia’

Red Salute to the Candidatura d'Unitat Popular (CUP) from Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr you are the only principled movement for a Catalan Republic in the Catalan Elections.

Long Live The Catalan Republic and forward to a Constituent Assembly for a new Catalan Constitution 

Thursday 7 December 2017

55,000 at Catalan European Wake Up Protest in Brussels

CUP Denounce Complicity of European Union in suppression of Catalan Democracy 

Candidatura d'Unitat Popular - What they stand for in Catalan Elections

Tuesday 5 December 2017

Candidatura d'Unitat Popular - What they stand for in Catalan Elections

The CUP opposes Catalan membership of the EU and of Nato, and urges a future Catalan state to prioritise alliances with the likes of Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, the Palestinian Authority and Kurdistan.

It calls for economic policies that are no longer based on the profit motive but on the common good and collective development.

To that end, the CUP advocates the nationalisation of financial entities as well as the suspension of debt payments.

Debt is one of the main forms by which the working classes are impoverished and whole nations plundered, for the benefit of capital,” its programme states.


Spanish Supreme Court Lifts Extradition Order and International Arrest Warrant on 5 Catalan Leaders in Belgium

Irish Socialist Republicans: On the Death of Comrade Pierre

Irish Socialist Republicans express our strongest solidarity to our comrades, the Parti Communiste Maoïste (France), and to our comrades at Redspark following the death of Comrade Pierre.

The sudden death of Comrade Pierre is felt by all revolutionary forces across Europe and the world and is a major loss to the French proletariat and the international Working Class.

At 81, Comrade Pierre was a life long fighter on behalf of the Working Class and oppressed people, a revolutionary leader and a leading cadre of the PCM. Comrade Pierre led by example and gave freely of his time and experience to educate and train new generations of cadre in revolutionary theory and practice. Such revolutionaries are all to rare.

The continuity and experience of leadership personified in Comrade Pierre, is an incalculable loss to the revolutionary movement in France and Europe. While now is a time of mourning, a new generation must step forward, take up the mantle of struggle and continue the class war until victory. Such actions are the only fitting monuments to comrades like Pierre.

As Mao said “ All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said,

“Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.” 

To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.”

The loss of Comrade Pierre, therefore is weightier than Mount Tai. Forward to the international victory of the Proletariat!


Saturday 2 December 2017

AJ Cook - Class not Nation by Nickglais

War against War must be the Workers Cry
AJ Cook in 1917

It is argueable that the South Wales Coalfield reached it highest degree of class consciousness in the period called The Great Unrest - Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr in 1910 to 1912.

Its historic moment was the publication of Miners Next Step a document still worth reading with a section about leadership which has lessons for today and certainly anticipated the personality effect on the leadership of Socialist and Communist Movements in the 20th century.

The Miners Next Step was a product of the Miners Unoffical Reform Movement and one of  the authors of this collective work was A J Cook a Miner from the Rhondda Valley.

However this class consciousness was to evaporate into thin air in 1914 amid a welter of Anti German propaganda and a parade of Union Jackism.

Members of the Unoffical Reform Movement were stunned into silence by the patriotic fevour Noah Ablett and AJ Cook outstanding leaders of the Miners Unoffical Reform Movement remained silent in 1914.

W.F Hay was the exception that made a stand and put his head above the parapet and declared that he was opposed to the War and that War was :

"The Sport of Kings, the hired assassins trade"

Charle Gibbons of the URC joined the Medical Corp and people like Frank Hodges and George Parker who were linked to the URC declared themselves pro War urging Miners and others to enlist in the forces and fight for King and Country.

The Social Imperialist Robert Blachfords "Merrie Englanders" were converted into "Murdering Englanders" and the obscenity of working people murdering each other was urged on by Christian Churches and the British Social Imperialists.

AJ Cook did not make any patriotic jingoistic speeches but choose to remain silent, he had written articles in 1913 in the South Wales Worker criticising the military build up but that was his limit.

We stressed in our First Chapter the psychological war in which the mass media principally the Northcliffe Press played in creating the anti German hysteria and how the radical population was stunned into silence with the honourable exceptions of Niclas y Glais and W F Hay in Wales.

1915 began to see some movement when the Miners Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) refused to be part of a Treasury Agreement giving up the right to strike and against a so called "Industrial Truce".

In March 1915 the MFGB demanded a 20% wage increase to compensate for the rising inflation during wartime.

The coalowners flatly refused and the South Wales Miners struck alone in 1915.

The Government intervened and agreed to an eighteen and half percentage rise.

                                                                  AJ Cook

In South Wales it was as if the Unoffical Reform Committee was brought back to life and by 1916 AJ Cook was making his opposition to the war apparent and stated :

"Daily I see signs amongst the working class with whom I move and work of a mighty awakening. The chloroforming pill of Patriotism is failing in its power to drug the mind and consciousness of the worker.

He is beginning to shudder at the stupidity of allowing himself to be party to such a catastrophe as we see today.

The chains of slavery are being welded tighter upon than ever.The ruling classes are ever overreaching themselves in the hurry to enslave us.

Economic conditions are forcing the workers to think- the scales are lifting from their eyes.

Men are wanted who will give he lead.

Comrades I appeal to you to rouse your union to protect the liberties of its members.

An Industrial Truce was entered into by our leaders behind our backs which has opened the way to an encroachment upon our rights and liberties.

Away with the Industrial Truce !

We must not stand by and allow workers to be exploited and our liberties taken away".

AJ Cook has been described as a lightening rod for the Lewis Merthyr Colliery men and this speech in 1916 was indicating that he was going to be part of something bigger in future an anti War movement.

When the Government planned to lift War exemption for Miners and conscript 20,000 of them into the forces AJ Cook turned up his anti War speeches and actions. Notices appeared at Pit Heads telling Miners not to report for medical examinations for military service.

Soon after the Chief Constable of Glamorgan Captain Lionel Lindsey had Arthur Cook in his sights and requested the prosecution of AJ Cook under Defence of the Realm Act (DORA), but his requests were turned down.

AJ Cook was becoming more bold everyday and in 1917and declared :

" I am no pacificist when war is necessary to free my class from the curse and enslavement of capitalism.

What then is my opposition to the "comb out".

As a worker I have the interests of my class than any nation.

The interests of my class has not benefited by the war, hence my opposition.

Comrades let us take heart, there are thousands of Miners in Wales who are prepared to fight for their class.

War against War must be workers cry"

On April 17th 1917 a mass meeting of Lewis Merthyr chaired by AJ Cook called on the SouthWales Miners Federation Conference:

"To get a resolution passed in favour of peace by negotiations"

In June 1917 AJ Cook and other Rhondda militants attended the Leeds Convention summoned to welcome the Foreign Policy of the Russian Provsional Government.

AJ Cook spoke in Ynyshir and Porth and declared :

"Since the day of declaration of war I have unflinchingly opposed the same. To hell with everbody bar my class. To me the hand of the German and Austrian is the same as the hand of my fellow workman at home. I am an internationalist. Russia has taken the step, and it is due to Britain to second the same and secure peace and leave the war and its cost to the capitalist who made it for the profiteer."

Certainly his silent opposition in 1914/15 had now become very vocal in 1917 and his explicit Marxist views were reaching the authorities again.

Deputy Chief Constable of Glamorgan John Williams reported that the economics classes that AJ Cook was giving were "an insdious campaign against law and order"

Captain Lindsey of Glamorgan Police said of AJ Cook.

"Anyone with the slightest knowledge of human nature must be aware that to punish a conceited upstart of this type always gives universal satisfaction"

At a meeting at Ynyshir on the 20th January 1918 AJ Cook declared :

" Are we going to allow this war to go on ? The Government wants a 100,000 men, they demand 50,000 immediately and the Clyde workers would not allow the Government to take them. Let us stand by them and show that Wales can do the same.

I have two brothers in the army who were forced to join but I say No ! I will be shot before I fight. Are you going to allow us to be taken to the war, If so I say there will not be a ton of coal for the Navy."

In March 1918 the Home Office agreed with Captain Lindsey's request for AJ Cook to be charged under DORA along with his said accomplice George Dolling.

AJ Cook was sentenced at a crowded Pontypridd Police Court to three months in prison and George Dolling was acquitted.There were a few sporadic strikes in protest at AJ Cook's imprsonment but AJ Cook only spend two months in prison before being released and was back in the Rhondda by July 1918.
                                                                AJ Cook

This later period also saw the formation of the South Wales Socialist Society really a revival of the old Rhondda Socialist  Society with AJ Cooks help.

The South Wales Socialist Society was open to all who accepted the class war theory and the society was composed of groups or trades that would consider their own problems and recieve the co-operation of the whole in bringing about reforms in their own industries.

The South Wales Socialist Society was strongly anti Parliamentarian and Syndicalist in outlook.This outlook was to dominate AJ Cook's thinking even in short lived further incarnations of his ideas like the Communist Party of Wales and the West of England.


We do not tire of repeating the immense hostility to anyone who questioned the First World War in Wales in 1914 and while we can be proud of Niclas Y Glais and W.F Hay we should not dismiss AJ Cook who bided his time until he could have some effect - which he certainly did from 1916 -1917 onwards.

The South Wales Coalfield like the whole of Wales and the British Isles succumbed to the worst excesses of Jingoism and Union Jackism. AJ Cook unlike Niclas y Glais did not have deep Welsh roots to fall back on has he came from West of England and the saw class struggle through British eyes and not the Welsh eyes of Niclas y Glais.

Essentially AJ Cook could not oppose British Imperialism or deconstruct and destroy it like James Connolly did in Ireland and John Maclean did in Scotland because he thought in terms of a British Labour Movement and absorbed the ideology of the centralising British Imperial State even though he was a syndicalist, even Niclas y Glais the best revolutionary Communist Wales produced joined the Communist Party of Great Britain, and the historic revolutionary moment following the Russian Revolution was stabilised by the British State precisely because the ideology that could have combined national and social liberation in these islands was not developed at the critical hour.

In fact the British State shot Connolly to death in 1916 and caused early the death of John Maclean in 1923 by forcing rubber tubes down his throat, the very men that combined national with social liberation were treated with the utmost brutality.

It made sure that revolutionary ideology of national and social liberation in the British Isles never got a grip in peoples consciousness has that would be end game for the British Imperial State.

The Left in Britain basically pursued Reform of the British State after 1920 and were scared to death of smashing the British State which would have been a consquence of revolutionary movements in Scotland and Wales and Kernow for national and social liberation in the 1920's.

The deconstruction of the notion of Britishness a practical 18th Century social construct that merged with the idea of British with the idea of Empire has origins with London Welsh trying to sell the idea of Brythonaeg from Tudor and Stuart times to the English as ideological preparation for Empire.*

Learning the lessons of revolutionary failure can be instructive if we have the will to revisit our past mistakes and draw lessons for the future - the movement that arose in opposition to the First War World throughout the British Isles is instructive in that respect and nowhere more so than Wales.

*Unpublished paper of David Lawrence

Wales and the Russian Revolution by Colin Thomas

“I remember the miners when they heard that the Tsarist tyranny had been overthrown” recalled Aneurin Bevan, “rushing to meet each other in the streets with tears streaming down their cheeks, shaking hands.”[i] 

Public meetings were held throughout south Wales to mark the abdication of Czar Nicholas II and the formation of Kerensky’s provisional government and, after the Leeds Convention of Labour, Socialist and Democratic organisations on 3 June 1917, a similar gathering was planned for 29 July in Swansea.  

Even before the Russian Revolution, the British government were concerned about the activities of those who were opposed to the war and to the introduction of conscription in 1916. In February of that year, David Lloyd George, then the Minister for Munitions, agreed to the creation of an intelligence service within the Ministry, and three officers of the Parliamentary Military Secretary Department number 2 (PMS2) were based in the Cardiff area.[ii]

The authorities would have been aware of the enthusiastic response in Wales to events in Russia. 

The Pembrokeshire Baptist Association conference regarded the Russian Revolution as “God’s answer to his people’s prayer”,[iii] the Llanelly Star said that “since the fall of the Bastille, there has been no such wonderful event in human history as the Russian Revolution”[iv] and Harry Davies in Cwmafon told an audience of four to five hundred that it was “the greatest event of modern times.”[v]

More disturbing for the government, some were making direct connections to Britain. “Congratulations to Russian Proletariat” read the headline of the Pioneer paper which recorded that an audience of between 2,500 and 3,000 people had heard a speech by a Mr Brobyn, engine driver, member of the ILP and a strong opponent of the war. 

In it he spoke “of the hypocracy [sic] of the British Government congratulating the Russian Revolutionary Party upon the establishment of freedom when here we may have been curbed and robbed of those very freedoms and liberties for which the Russians had fought so magnificently.”[vi]

But even at this early stage of the revolution Llais Llafur/Labour Voice, a socialist weekly based in the Swansea valleys, had some far-sighted anxieties. “Mr Lenin and his followers are not to be despised” said the paper on 5 May 1917, “but must be regarded as the Jacobins of the Russian Revolution, at present not very numerous, but exceedingly powerful and likely to grow. 

The Jacobins made a sorry mess of things in the French Revolution, and their failures, coupled with the effect of the onslaught of the beleaguered Kings of Europe, led to dictatorship, Napoleon and downfall.”[vii]

These were not the main concerns of the organisers of the South Wales Workers and Soldiers Council planned for 29 July 1917 at the Elysium Hall in Swansea. 

They would have been aware that a meeting against conscription at the Cory Hall in Cardiff on 11 November of the previous year had been disrupted by servicemen – Dr Aled Eirug suggests that government agents had a hand in that disruption.[viii] 

An item in Cambria Daily Leader of 16 June indicated that local ex-servicemen were now targeting the Swansea meeting, arguing that “steps should be taken immediately by our government to suppress such meeting being held.”[ix]

The meeting went ahead but over 500 pro war demonstrators broke in on it “and ejected the hundred or so remaining delegates with considerable violence.”[x] 

Two days later the Western Mail newspaper described the Swansea delegates as “a gang of sedition-mongers which has for some time been engaged in poisoning the minds of the workers in the South Wales coalfield.”[xi]

The label did not deter Bob Williams, the General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, who at an Independent Labour Party meeting in Cwmafon on 1 September 1917 “used the Russian Revolution as a symbol of what might be expected in this country, and of Lloyd George’s recent admission that there is a great deal of ‘inflammable material’ in the country.”[xii]

It seems that few Welsh supporters of the Russian Revolution were disillusioned by the Bolsheviks coup d’etat of October 1917 and there were protests against the British military expedition to Russia in 1918. 

The Rhondda No. 1 District of the South Wales Miners Federation proclaimed “that the overthrow of the Soviet Administration would be a disaster to the organised labour movement throughout the world.”[xiii] 

An Estonian violinist, Eduard Soermus (or Sõrmus) based in Merthyr, ended his concert in Bargoed on 26 January 1919 by speaking against British Army intervention and this led a soldier in the audience to object. 

An ex-servicemen’s meeting in Treherbert then weighed in, protesting “against the Government’s toleration of Soermus preaching revolution in South Wales while camouflaged as a Russian violinist and calling for his immediate arrest and deportation.”[xiv]

Morgan Jones, who had chaired the Bargoed concert for the Independent Labour Party (ILP), attempted to come to Soermus’ defence, arguing that he had been wrongly accused “of urging that our streets should be made to run with blood” and had simply objected to “our Russian campaign.[xv] 

But it is clear that the ILP now had misgivings about the direction that the revolution is taking – Jones’ letter continued “We sympathise naturally with their desire to establish a Socialist state but that is not to say that we by any means agree with the method of achieving that end.”[xvi]

This qualified support for Soermus was of no help to what one letter writer called “that insolent Russian Bolshevist violinist from Merthyr.”[xvii] 

On 14 February 1919 the Abergavenny Chronicle reported that he had been arrested under the Aliens Restriction Act and deported.

In July 1921 the South Wales Miners Federation voted to join the Red International of Labour Unions created by the new Soviet government[xviii] but it soon became possible for Welsh miners to hear a critical view from an anarchist eye witness of the revolution. 

On 25 May 1925, the Amman Valley Chronicle recorded that, after a speech in Gwaun-cae-gurwen by Emma Goldman, a motion was passed registering an “emphatic protest against the conspiracy of silence and boycott of Emma Goldman’s exposure of the Russian dictatorship.” 

It was the beginning of a long argument in the Labour movement in Wales on whether the Russian Revolution represented liberation or the replacement of one autocracy by another.

[i] Quoted by Adam Hochschild in To End All Wars published by Pan Books 2012 p265 Originally in Labour Party Annual Conference Report 1951 p194
[ii] Aled Eirug “Spies and Troublemakers in South Wales” article in Llafur, 12.1, 2016, p103
[iii] Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph, 11 April 1917
[iv] Llanelly Star, 14 March 1917
[v] Neath Notes, 16 June 1917
[vi] Pioneer, 12 May 1917
[vii] Llais Llafur, 5 May 1917
[viii] Dr Aled Eirug paper at Llafur day school on the Anti War Movement in Wales, 10 December 2016
[ix] Cambria Daily Leader, 26 July 1917
[x] Robert Griffiths “S.O.Davies A Socialist Faith” published by Gomer Press 1983, p 40
[xi] Ibid., quoted by Robert Griffiths
[xii] Pioneer, 1 September 1917
[xiii] Quoted by David Egan in Llafur article Vol.1 No.4 1975 p33
[xiv] Cambria Daily Leader, 6 February 1919
[xv] Monmouth Guardian and Bargoed and Caerphilly Observer, 7 February 1919
[xvi] Ibid
[xvii] Cambria Daily Leader, 6 February 1919
[xviii] Hwyel Francis and David Smith “The Fed” published by Lawrence and Wishart 1980 p30

Colin Thomas is a television producer/director of history programmes and the author of the book/DVD “Dreaming a City – the story of Hughesovka/Stalino/Donetsk” and the app “The Dragon and the Eagle/Y Ddraig a’r Eryr”.



Red Salute to 1917 Centennial from Breton Comrades

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Catalunya en Comú candidate'


Santiago de Compostela, 21 November 2017.- The BNG presented the on-going situation in Catalonia to the Parliament, stressing the Spanish Government’s refusal to find a political solution to a political problem, unlike Canada, the United Kingdom and Denmark regarding Quebec, Scotland and the Faroe Isles

“Instead, the Spanish Government denies the plurinational character of the State and fails to act accordingly”, said the Galizan member for Parliament, Luís Bará, who went on to condemn the “democratic regression” with which the Government responded to the “legitimate right of all peoples to decide their future freely and democratically”.

The exercise of this internally recognised right, he added “should not be seen as going against anyone, but as a positive element fostering democracy”. Signs of this regression include the police requisitioning ballot boxes, seizing voting slips and referendum information, raiding printing presses, media offices and political party headquarters without a warrant, the indictment of 750 mayors, entering and searching the premises of the Catalan Parliament and arresting of politicians and public employees as well as fines and the disqualification and persecution of elected politicians.

“What we are seeing is a clear breach of the separation of powers and a political instrumentalisation of the justice system and the police forces which finally led to the suspension of the Catalan devolved government under Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, amounting to a coup against democracy,” stated Mr Bará. For the Galizan Nationalist Bloc (BNG) the application of Article 155 constitutes “a profound political error and reveals the authoritarian nature of the Spanish State and its unwillingness to seek a democratic and agreed solution based on the will of the majority of the Catalan people”.

Many experts agree that Article 155 was applied is clearly in breach of the legislation. But above and beyond purely legal concerns: “It is anathema to democracy and marks a step backwards that affects us all and which is not going to stop here”. In fact, Mr Bará further stated that everything indicated that the ruling People’s Party will “seek to artificially stifle national organisations in Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galiza by imposing severe electoral restrictions and even banning them”.

In the light of this situation, the BNG called upon the Galizan Parliament to “reject the misuse of the justice system to criminalise and the cut-backs in rights and freedoms carried out by the Spanish Government in response to a political conflict”, whilst at the same time demanding that the Spanish Government suspends application of Article 155 and accepts international negotiations “in order to find a democratic and peaceful solution to this conflict reflecting the will of the Catalan people”.

The private member bill presented by the BNG also demands that the Spanish Government recognises the right to self-determination, Galizan, Catalan and Basque nationhood and support for the politicians, public employees and members of the grassroots movements currently detained pending investigation for upholding the exercise of the right to decide one’s own future.

Finally, the BNG called for a defence of a fully-fledged devolved government and a respect for the legitimacy of the people’s will as expressed in the agreements reached by such democratically elected governments.