Saturday 17 March 2018

Urgent call by Hevi Mustafa, Co-Chair of Afrin's executive Council

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr says we are facing the same silence and blindness that we had in May 2009 when the Sri Lankan Army genocided the Tamils but this time it is the Turkish Army with the Kurds.

When will the world learn to speak out and speak up ?

We live in a shameful epoch where morality is dead and geo-politic's rules and enforces global silence for its murders.

Thursday 15 March 2018

Turkey randomly bombing centre of Afrin - Silence on this bombing is complicity

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr says this is not a time for silence but for a mighty voice to stop the Turkish attack and bombing of Northern Syria - Afrin.

Those that are committing war crimes against the Kurdish people and other ethnic groups in Afrin will be held to account and the silence of those that did not speak out against this murder by the Turkish State will be remembered in profound shame.

The Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr/ The Great Unrest may be the smallest voice in Wales but social justice burns in our heart has it has in previous generations of Welshmen and women.

 We want our small voice to have the butterfly effect and make Wales roar its support for Afrin.

Thursday 8 March 2018

Spain : Pablo Hasel cannot be Silenced : Atraco a mano armada/armed assault


Remembering Frances Evans on International Women's Day and the Storming of the Carmarthen Workhouse by Nickglais

"Justice, and lovers of justice are we all "

Cyfiawnder a charwyr
cyfiawnder ydym ni oll

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frances Evans is now rightly beginning to be recognised has one of the female heroines in the fight for social justice in the 19th century.  

Suddenly there came a cry: 'the soldiers are here'. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday 4 March 2018

After 1831 - The Scotch Cattle by Alan Jones : Edward Morgan of Scotch Cattle executed 6th April 1835

The working class movement was not defeated in 1831 it did exactly what working class movements that suffer setbacks have done ever since 1831 it went underground.

The Scotch Cattle is an example of an underground working class movement that existed prior to 1831 and existed for many decades after underground.

The origins of the Scotch Cattle' name have been lost, but several possible interpretations have been offered. Some of the disguises worn by Scotch Cattle were actual cowskins, and this alone may have provided the name.

Alternatively, it may have been meant to evoke the fierceness of certain breeds of actual Scottish cattle, such as Highland Cattle, or may have referred ironically to a herd of Scottish cattle owned by a local mine-owner in the early 19th century.

However the 'Scotch Cattle' first appeared in the early 1820's in Gwent Valleys.

The movement was formed by discontented workers mainly from the coal mines of the Gwent valleys.

Their aims were to improve the pay and working conditions of the local workers but their tactics were for direct action against any person or group who opposed their working class cause.

They existed as a secret society with its members swearing allegiance under pain of death to the Scotch Cattle.

Each Valley town and village had its own group and a leader was elected, usually a person respected and feared for his physical strength, known as the 'Bull' or in Welsh 'Tarw' 

Their meetings were always clandestine, being held at dark in secret locations usually on hillsides.

Victims were usually workers who had 'blacklegged' or refused to join strike action or workers who were prepared to work for less money or informers.

 A warning would be issued to offenders - failure to comply would invoke drastic consequences.

Retribution was swift - offenders were 'scotched' which involved a visit by the Cattle, faces blackened and dressed in animal skins with the 'Tarw' wearing a headdress bearing a bull's horns.

Normally, the punishment would be undertaken by a herd from another area to avoid recognition by local residents.

The Cattle's code, however, dictated that any foodstuffs found in the household would always be left intact.

Company property was also targeted, with Truck shops and other buildings ransacked and burned down.

Despite attempts by the authorities to penetrate the movement and bring the ring leaders to book, their activities continued for nearly 40 years mainly due to the extreme secrecy of their organisation and the reluctance of the general population to speak against their actions.

The movement was wrongly said to have died out after 1835 when one of their members, Edward Morgan a coal miner, was framed for attempted murder and hanged at Monmouth Jail on 6th April 1835.

Edward Morgan should be has famous in Wales as Dic Penderyn and Lewis Lewis but has largely been written out of history.

Our task at the Great Unrest Group/Yr Aflonywddch Mawr is to bring him back and get him recognition has leader of the Scotch Cattle's fight for social justice expressed in those days as natural justice.

There is evidence that the Scotch Cattle continued well into the 1850's in the Aberdare area.

Aberdare as much as Hirwaun and Merthyr was a revolutionary 'storm centre' during the 1831 Merthyr Rising,

The Scotch Cattle Revolt in Aberdare in both 1834 and 1850 both are hardly mentioned in the more popularly known historical references to the Scotch Cattle of Gwent.

It appears that representatives of the Aberdare Gadlys works attended a meeting at Rhymney on 13 June 1834, this was a genuine attempt at 'Unionism' and solidarity in struggle against the Coal Owners.

However, it is obvious that there had also been meetings with the Gwent 'Tarw Scotch' as well.

That Summer into the Autumn there was some limited Scotch Cattle activity in the Aberdare and Hirwaun area, this was also very much a post script to the 1831 revolt which Gethin ap Gruffydd has rightly called the 'Heads of the Valleys' Insurrection.

During the following years matters became quiet until the years 1842 - 43 when Coal Miners of Tredegar went on strike and those of Aberdare came out in sympathy.

However, the strike failed largely due to lack of unity with other pits who insisted on their own 'autonomy' in right to negotiate and make deals with the Mine Owners.

In the years that followed after another strike failure at the Powell Pit at Cwmbach the idea of 'Unionism' began to take root and by 1849 a primitive Union had been set up and worked stopped at the Gadlys Pit in an attempt by the colliers to secure certain rights regards employment.

As in 1831 in 1849 there was an huge gathering of 7.000 people on Hirwaun Common and the authorities no doubt very mindful of 1831 began to draft into the area police and troops.

As the strike continued bitterness began to rise amongst the workers and people of the area, not least against black- legs.

Matters were to turn more serious as the Scotch Cattle rose up again and this time more violently, a black-leg was fatally wounded when a black powder bomb was thrown through a window into his bed room.

Further, two black-legs were shot at.

Funerals of other black-legs were unceremoniously disturbed with 'Rough Music' in demonstrations of anger by Colliers and their families.

An unusual incident during this strike was the 'excommunication' of a black-leg from his local chapel for his refusal to go on strike.

At the time it was usual for the Non - Conformist Chapels to oppose strikes, Unionism and 'Secret Oaths'.

The strike failed and the area settled down and the outbreak of the Crimean War brought prosperity to the valleys and of course with it a rise in British Patriotism and a rush to the colours.

However, it was not until the 1870s that trade unionism established itself widely across the developing South Wales coalfield.

Then, the Lancashire-based, Amalgamated Association of Miners built up a membership of 42,000 miners in South Wales.

In two long and bitter disputes in 1871 and 1875, however, the A.A.M. was defeated. The defeat was partly due to the continuing hostility of Coal owners to trade unions-'blackleg' labour that was imported into the coalfield to replace strikers.

Lessons for Today : The Scotch Cattle from 1820's to 1850's were a clandestine working class underground organisation that unlike the Chartists which included the middle classes was not penetrated by police agents.

The Scotch Cattle took infiltration seriously and it was well known that there would be serious consequences for any informers, hence their ability to survive for nearly 40 years in the Valleys of Gwent despite attempts to penetrate them by the British State.

WSRC Welsh History Videos : 3rd February 1935 - When the People of South Wales Made History

The Welsh Socialist Republican Congress has put sub titles to one of comrade Nickglais's history videos on the Blaina riots of 1935.

Saturday 3 March 2018

Free Pablo Hasel - Statement from Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr


Pablo Hasel supports Anti Imperialist struggles around the World and is a voice for revolutionary democracy in Spain.

The Spanish State has imprisoned him for two years for his rapping/songs  in support of of national struggles in Spain and anti Imperialist Struggles which they conflate with terrorism.

Allowing Spain to imprison Pablo Hasel within European Union is a threat to all supporters of national struggles in Europe and the anti Imperialist Movement.