Monday 30 July 2018

Welsh Republican - Cliff Bere Remembered

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr has come across this obituary of Cliff Bere by Meic Stephens and we thought it would be of interest to our readers - it throws light on the early Welsh Republican Movement which we deeply respect.

Clifford Ifan Bere Obituary: by Meic Stephens 
Monday 22 September 1997

Clifford Ifan Bere, political activist: born Burnley, Lancashire 1915; married 1949 Eluned Rhys Evans (four sons); died Barry, Glamorgan 16 September 1997.

Cliff Bere was a Welsh Republican, one of a small group of militants, mostly ex-servicemen and intellectuals, who enlivened the political scene in Wales during the 1950s in a coalition of left-wingers whose natural homes should otherwise have been in the Labour Party or Plaid Cymru. Prominent among them were the poet Harri Webb and the Labour peer Gwilym Prys Davies.

The movement - it was not a party though it put up a candidate at Ogmore in the general election of 1950 - was hostile to the Labour Party because of its broken promises on self-government for Wales, critical of Plaid Cymru on account of its pacifism and recognition of the Crown, and utterly opposed to the Tories on just about every other count.

Besides heckling speakers from the main parties, at which they were adept, the Republicans went in for painting slogans and burning Union Jacks in public places, and holding open-air meetings up and down the industrial valleys of South Wales which sometimes ended in fisticuffs. They also excelled at making scurrilous attacks on prominent Welsh politicians of the day, including Jim Griffiths, later the first Secretary of State for Wales, and Aneurin Bevan, whom they considered to be a lost leader of his class and people.

Cliff Bere was, by common assent, the most single-minded of the Republicans, and the most hard-working. 

It was he who wrote the movement's manifesto, published in 1948, and held the group together for the eight years of its existence. 

As a public orator, he was no firebrand but would speak at street-corners with a conviction which never failed to impress his audience. Whenever he spoke in public, he addressed his audience as "Welsh men and women . . ." rather than as "Ladies and gentlemen".

He seemed to take particular pleasure in "the simple ceremony of burning the English flag" and hearing his record read out by policemen in court. It was his ambition to go to prison and refuse to wear uniform, as a political prisoner, but the nearest he got was when, in the 1970s, he was involved in a series of clandestine acts carried out on the fringe of the nationalist movement; he was very disappointed to be let off by a judge who had not fully understood the part he had played.

The main work of the Republican movement after 1954 was the publication and distribution of a bimonthly newspaper, the Welsh Republican. 

It had a circulation of a few hundred copies, many of which were sold in the street by the indefatigable Bere. 

The paper was remarkable for its coverage of Welsh current affairs, especially matters relating to the economy of South Wales such as the future of the coal and steel industries and the plight of the Cardiff docks. 

It also provided a vitriolic commentary on the Labour Party's attitude towards the question of Welsh self-government at a time when no such critique existed.

Many of its articles were written, mostly anonymously, by Bere. They were sceptical towards the Parliament for Wales Campaign of 1951-55 because it fell short of the republic on which the movement had set its sights. 

They also deplored the appointment of David Maxwell- Fyfe ("Dai Bananas") as part-time Tory Minister of State for Welsh Affairs and spoke out against military conscription in Wales, though arguing in favour of a Welsh army. 

Prior to the Coronation of 1953, the paper expressed staunchly anti-royalist views.

Cliff Bere was born of Welsh parents in Burnley, Lancashire, and had learned to speak Welsh as an adult. He studied law at the University College, Swansea, and at London University, but his studies were interrupted by the Second World War, during which he served in North Africa. It was there he resolved to fight for Wales after the conflict was over. A talented graphic artist, he was employed for 10 years at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.

He was also an able writer and polemicist. Besides a novel, I Was a King, he wrote a memoir of the Welsh Republican Movement, The Young Republicans (1996), which is a valuable source of information about politics in Wales during the post-war period, though it is mainly concerned to show the movement in the best possible light and makes no attempt to assess its legacy among the various groupuscules which have since laid claim to be its heirs.

The truth is that in most of their initiatives the Republicans were unsuccessful and the fire of republicanism which they hoped would did not materialise. Even the bookshop which Cliff Bere and Harri Webb opened at Bargoed in 1951 did not last the year.

With the movement's demise in 1957, some members went back into the Labour Party. Gwilym Prys Davies, for instance, stood as the Labour candidate in the Carmarthen by-election of July 1966 at which Gwynfor Evans won the seat for Plaid Cymru; he later became an opposition spokesman on Northern Ireland. Others withdrew from active politics, while one or two left Wales altogether to pursue distinguished careers overseas. 

But Cliff Bere threw in his lot with Plaid Cymru, becoming one of its most devoted members with a commitment which few have been able to match.

His private manner was quiet, courteous and rather shy. I never heard him raise his voice and, in conversation, he was reluctant to talk about himself, but his political zeal was always to the fore and his gentleness of spirit disappointed, then impressed many younger people who went to him for guidance and inspiration.

His unusual surname (pronounced as two syllables) was taken from that of the small castle near Cader Idris in Merioneth which had been built by order of Llywelyn Fawr in the early 13th century and reinforced by his grandson Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last prince of independent Wales. Its significance for him was that Bere was a Welsh castle, built for the defence of Wales rather than for its subjugation, and therefore a worthy name for a Welsh patriot.

He would have been pleased by the result of the referendum announced in the small hours of Friday, while at the same time arguing that the assembly which Wales is now to have is only "a half-way house" on the road to full self- government. 

It is fitting that, at his funeral today, his coffin will be draped with Y Ddraig Goch, the Red Dragon, the national flag of Wales, a country to which he devoted his life.

- Meic Stephens


Welsh Republican - July Days - Back in Carmarthen - One Day to go

Welsh Republican  July Days almost coming to an end - thanks to Tredegar in South Wales for our new sticker all the others went as soon as we printed them.

Saturday 28 July 2018

Welsh Republican - July Days - Whitland/Hendy Gwyn - Welsh Law

Whitland/Hendy Gwyn is the home of Welsh Law of Hywel Dda and it is with utmost respect we remember Hywel Dda and Welsh Law.

Welsh law was a form of Celtic law with many similarities to the Brehon law of Ireland and particularly the customs and terminology of the Britons of Strathclyde.[2] 

It was passed down orally by jurists and bards and, according to tradition, only first codified during the reign of Hywel Dda in the mid-10th century. 

The earliest surviving manuscripts, however, are in Latin, date from the early 13th century, and show marked regional differences.[3] 

The law is only known to have been revised by a few rulers (particularly Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, who was credited with revisions retained in the kingdom of Powys) but was obviously updated by jurists in response to changing jurisdictions and circumstances, so that the surviving manuscripts cannot be considered an accurate portrayal of Hywel's first code.

Notable features of Welsh law include the collective responsibility of kindreds (Welsh: cenedl) for their members; the gavelkind inheritance of land among all and only male descendants; a status-based system of blood money (galanas); slavery and serfdom; the inability of foreigners to naturalize earlier than the fourth generation; and very lax treatment of divorce and legitimacy that scandalized the non-native clergy.

Welsh Republican - July Days - Porthmadog

Welsh Republican July Days is back in North Wales at Porthmadog - nice to see one of our posters from 2016 from the Welsh Socialist Republican Congress still standing

Thursday 26 July 2018

Welsh Republican - July Days - Ffestiniog carries on the Welsh Republican Campaign

North Wales and Ffestiniog give new power to our All Wales Welsh Republican Campaign the July Days

Sunday 22 July 2018

Welsh Republican - July Days - Welshpool and Berriew in Powys

Welsh Republican - July Days in Mid Wales in Welshpool and Berriew - Salute to Mid Wales and Powys for spreading the Welsh Republican Message

Saturday 14 July 2018

Welsh Sea Shanty : Ar Log: Yn Harbwr Corc ('In Cork Harbour')

Cardiff After Dark - Frank Hennessy

After Dark the Welsh Crachach and British State plan together how to keep us from Freedom's Road - a Labour of Sisyphus  as each generation of Welsh men and Welsh women produces people who will batter down the door - and open Freedom's Road.

The new generation is already prepared.

Friday 13 July 2018

Welsh Republican - July Days - On the Road Again

On the Road Again - remember if you need stickers contact and make your part of Wales gets the message - we need to built the Welsh Republican Message for the future Investiture and support Investiture protest on 1st July 2019.

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Welsh Republican - July Days - Tredegar - South Wales

Welsh Republican - July Days - reaches Tredegar in South Wales - poster declaration for a Welsh Republic will resound in the valleys

Monday 9 July 2018

Welsh Republican - July Days - Pwllheli - North Wales

Welsh Republican Salute to Pwllheli 

July Days to wake Wales up to the Republican Cause and for Independence and Socialism for Wales

Struggle For Independence and Socialism - there is Crisis in the British Ruling Class over EU it is our opportunity if we bring clarity to the struggle

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr stands for Independence and Socialism.

There needs to be a debate around the meaning of Independence and Socialism as there are multiple players in Wales promoting Independence - but all have quite different meanings  - when it comes to interpreting Independence.

When it comes to Socialism it has become a much abused term because of social democratic betrayal of the working class by the Labour Party and revisionist use of the term.

We have made our conceptions of Independence and Socialism clear at the 1st Congress of the Welsh Socialist Republicans  in October 2016.

Time to end this ambiguity and make clear what Independence and Socialism really means - it is the ambiguity that lets the fake nationalists and the fake socialists into power,

They do not wish to be constrained by principle as their politics is nothing more than self promoting opportunism.


Welsh Republican - July Days - Nefyn in North Wales

Welsh Republican July Days reaches North Wales and Llyn Peninsula and Nefyn in Gwynedd - all of North Wales is now in our reach and will get the Welsh Republican Message in coming days.

Sunday 8 July 2018

Welsh Republican - July Days - Swansea

Welsh Republican July Days reaches Swansea after being in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire - the rest of Wales awaits us - remember you can request stickers at to cover your area

Welsh Republican July Days in Haverfordwest - Pembrokeshire

The Welsh Republican 2018 Campaign reaches Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire.

The Welsh Republican July 2018 Campaign starts in Carmarthen and moves onto Pembrokeshire 

Welsh Republicanism rises in the West but moves North and East and into South Wales

Saturday 7 July 2018

Welsh Republican July days - Llanddewi Velfrey - From Carmarthenshire to Pembrokeshire the campaign continues

The Welsh Republican July 2018 Campaign starts in Carmarthen and moves onto Pembrokeshire and Llanddewi Velfrey - Welsh Republicanism rises in the West but moves North and East and into South Wales.