‘Welsh Republican Recollections’.
2006, 7 and 8 are key 50th anniversary years in the establishment of the first Welsh Republican Movement, I attempted in 2006 to see if those who self styled themselves as “Welsh Republicans” would organise something to commemorate the 1946 Anniversary but none seemed really very interested. Not “Mr Welsh Republic” Gareth ap Sion, nor others who make much of their so called “Welsh Republicans” but whom for most part are a derisible bunch of “Romantics and Retros” posing and posturing as “Welsh Republicans” and usually at Cilmeri, since the 60’s more perceived as an patriotic radical nationalist rally rather than having anything to do with any form of ‘Republicanism’, Welsh or otherwise. However, of late I have observed the thoughts and writings of David Lawrence on ideas of advancing a new Welsh Republicanism and I am most impressed, believing he has the best ideas and initiatives on such matters. I wish him well and at end of this posting on history of the WRM I 1946 – 1956 will make some suggestions to he and others who rally to his more realistic Welsh Republican cause, but now on with some Welsh Republican history in form of a time line. NB: There is so much that could be done regards telling the history of Welsh Republicanism 1946 – 1956. In time I will follow up to fairly recent times, including history of the Welsh Socialist Republican Movement that in reality requires it’s own blog or even website. Hopefully, if this new Welsh Republicanism arises they may take responsibility for such, until they possibly do I will continue to post Welsh Republican interest material here and on my blogs: See info at end.
Welsh Republican Movement 1946 – 1956: Time Line.
1946: WW II ends, Welsh Service Men return home some with new political ideas and Ideals.
(Compare with Algerian Insurrection; Old Nationalism and post war new young nationalist radicalism).
1948: An “English speaking” (Republican Sympathising) Branch of Plaid Cymru is formed in Caerdydd.
· On 23 October 1948 at the Cory Hall in Caerdydd organises “Republicans” within Plaid Cymru.
1949: Ithel Davies produces a document on proposed “Welsh Republican Policy” later their “manifesto”.
· On 30th April 1949 at Rhydaman: “Welsh Republicans” heckle meeting of James Griffiths MP.
· At the annual conference of Plaid Cymru in Dyffryn Ardudwy Republicans attempt policy change.
· 24 – 25 September 1949 at Castell Nedd: The Welsh Republican Movement was founded.
A Green, Red & White Tri Colour is adopted as flag of the newly formed W.R.M. launches an all Wales Union Jack burning campaign that leads to a number disturbances, arrests and court appearances. Welsh Republican flags are tied to tops of lamp posts and trees – imitating successful Irish anti – English Monarchist campaigns.
1950: The Council of the WRM determines to stand a Republican candidate at Ogwr in the B.G.E.
· Trefor Morgan a “Republican” stands for election as an Independent Nationalist ‘in Merthyr Tudful.
· At Eisteddfod Abertawe Republicans launch their paper ‘Y Gweriniaethwr’’ also at this Eisteddfod appeals are made to Welsh Republicans not to burn Union Jacks.
1951: Links made with the Irish R.M and WRM Branches start to be established in areas of rural Cymru.
· 28th April 1951 WRM meeting at Creunant hears speech warning against ‘Pacifism’.
· 16th June 1951 at Neath a WRM Union Jack Burning rally is disrupted by police action.
· 25th July 1951 appears at Magistrate court in Caerdydd making WRM case against conscription.
1952: Welsh Republican Movement instigates various campaigns through out the land.
· .Against Forestry Commission land grabbing in Ystrad Tywi.
· 17th June 1950 Republicans launch Anti – Conscription Campaign at street rally in Aberdar.
· Union Jack flag burning campaign continues.
· Campaign in support of imprisoned Bretons.
· Campaign for restoration of lost lands ‘Blaenau Diroedd’. (We need to revive this campaign)
· Call for a Welsh Trade Union Congress and independent Welsh Unions.” Republican Trade Unionism”
· 5th October 1952: Celtic Alliance Campaign Rally in Trafalgar Square.
19th October 1952: Bomb attack on the Fron Aqueduct in Central Cymru as protest against water theft. By England in building of the Claerwen Dam project, also viewed as a protest against the English Monarchy with it being known that Elizabeth of England would open the dam.
1953: Coronation Year Celebrations in Wales reminds Republicans just how servile the Welsh are.
· 13th March 1953 Republican Beriah G. Evans on trial for being in possession of Explosives.
· 20th March 1953 Peter Rhyswil Lewis in custody for possession of detonators later imprisoned.
· Welsh Republicans express their discontent with the ‘Parliament for Wales Campaign’.
1953: Witnesses the fourth year of publication of ‘Y Gweriniaethwr’ and in Oct – Sept issue of the paper, boldly printed on the front page was celebration of the 19 October 1952 first anniversary of the Fron Aqueduct bomb attack and birth of contemporary “Secret Underground Welsh Resistance Movement’’
1954: Signs appear of a crisis within the Welsh Republican Movement?
· June 1954 Pedr Lewis is released from Stoke on Trent Prison.
WRM ‘Y Gweriniathwr’ continues to be published and distributed, no doubt the best ‘’nationalist publication’’ ever and only seconded by its reissue in the late 1970’s by a new generation of ‘Welsh Republicans’’ led by Niel ap Siencyn and Gareth ap Sion representing a form of ''Cultural" Radical Cymric Republicanism (See Padreag Pearse and Irish Republicanism).
1955: Republicans despite issues with, foolishly I believe supports the ‘Parliament for Wales Campaign’, ‘Y Gweriniaethwr’ continues to be published but there is little evidence of usual campaigning?
1956: The Welsh Republican paper continues to be published but little to record of any activities.
interestingly an editorial in ‘Y Gweriniaethwr’ states REMEMBER AND BE PROUD – The Lessons of our National Struggle…Editorial goes on to say….I quote in full: "In this year of 1956, Wales celebrated a number of significant anniversaries. First in point of time, it is a century & a quarter this summer since Lewis the Huntsman and Dic Penderyn rallied their men on the windy heights of Twyn – y – Waun, above Dowlais, and raised for the first time in our land, the Red Flag” NB: historically this is wrong, it was Hirwaun Common that should have been referred to (see my writings on the 1831 Insurrection) where the Red Flag was raised on 31 May 1831 by Lewis Lewis and Radicals of Penderyn and Hirwaun.
1957: The Cilmeri Cenotaph is unveiled and it seems from reading ‘The Young Republicans’ that editorial of the WRM I paper finds this to be some kind of worthy marker mile stone along the “Welsh Republican Road to Independence’’. I say it is not and I find it very ironic that in this same year it looks as if the first Welsh Republican Movement comes to an end? Which leads me to ask a number of considerations: despite the first WRM as other WRM’s declaring its ‘Socialism’, ultimately all attempts at ‘Republicanism’ in Wales have fallen prey to their ‘Welsh Nationalism’ and this is no better seen and exemplified by the rather pity full sight of professed ‘Welsh Republicans’ meandering about at what may be perceived as "Welsh Medieval Monarchist Commemorations" at Machynlleth, Corwen and not least – what now seems to me to be the death bed of so called ‘Welsh Republicanism’ the Cilmeri Cenotaph. I might beg the question should there not be inscribed upon that ‘rock’ the words ‘W.R. M. 1946/7/8 – 1957 R.I.P.?
My thanks to Cliff Bere RIP and the book THE YOUNG REPUBLICANS by “Gweriniaethwr’’ published by ‘Gwasg Garreg Gwalch’. I strongly suggest that you obtain this book and read it, I remind that many Welsh Republicans of this period have died and few are left and are now themselves growing old. Should not some one set out to record their important ‘WELSH REPUBLICAN RECOLLECTIONS’.
How did this come to pass? I have my view that the WRM were torn by it’s Nationalism and Socialism, we know this as true for when this first WRM concluded and disbanded a number of ex members went into the Labour party, whilst a number returned to their Plaid Cymru ‘Nationalist Fold’. One of those who would take the latter path would be the largely ‘Romantic Rebel’ librarian and patriotic bard Harri Web who following 1957 preached more about Llywelyn and Glyndwr than he did of Dic Penderyn and Merthyr 1831 (students of ANM&S take note here, see my ANM&S history, it is here where we start to link into the ‘’Radical Nationalism’’ of the 60’s.) where Harri piped many other largely ‘’Romantic Republicans’’ followed and still today it is this dominant brand, now largely desperately ‘’Dilletante’’ as in form of ‘Cymru Rydd’, ‘Balchder Cymru’ and the so called derisible ‘Mudiad Rhyddhad Cymru’. It’s a ''Taff Laff" really, that Welsh Republicanism has come to this ‘’Riff Raffery’’. Alternative to this form of ‘’Republicanism’’ there was the more ‘’Radical Republicanism’’ of Ivor Wilkes, An amateur historian who clearly saw the truth of our history and it’s betrayals by ‘’Bourgeoisie Victorian Cultural Nationalists’’ and knew only too well that Welsh Republicanism must of necessity receive inspiration from 19th century workers rebellions and inspiration for their struggles and not those of ‘’Medieval Welsh Princes’’. Somehow, despite my over riding passionate interest in Medieval Welsh History, I must say that politically Ivor Wilks is 100% right. However, will radical Republicans and progressive Patriots ever come to see and believe this – well perhaps over the coming years we shall know – the annual Cilmeri Commemoration is well past it’s “Sell by date’’, so now is the ideal time for radical Republicans and progressive Patriots to launch a new annual rally, possibly at memorial to David Williams in Caerffili (see recent Republican writings of Republican David Lawrence). A big decision but I am sure it would be the correct one under the circumstances, not least also perhaps more pertinent for radical Republicans and progressive Patriots to designate and Recognise, Observe and commemorate 22 February 1798 as "Welsh Republic Day’’ than all their ‘’Patriotic Pandering’’ to 1282 and ‘Dydd Llywelyn.’
Afterthought:: I have never myself publicly professed “Welsh Republicanism” as I have never been convinced that such a particularly Welsh Republican political ideology exists. However, a place of residence I first lived in upon making home in our “First City” aka London had a window which looked out on “Mazzini’s Cottage” where the Italian Republican patriot lived in exile. A plaque adorned this building (an Italian barbers shop) which encouraged me to look more into the republicanism of 1848 in particular and I came to understand that ‘Welsh Republicanism” was possibly more of the “Garibaldi Romantic Patriot school” rather than owing anything to Mazzini. What ever, the point is that my politics after my exile in Ireland 19670 - 72 took me down a very different path that that of my contemporary nationalists, I leaned more towards the politics of the Black Panthers and American Indian Movement whilst many of they professed this belief in a “Welsh Republicanism” which amazes me, when I see most of them only ever in reality promoting a form of ‘’Militant Nationalism” or of late a revival of "knee Jerk Super Patriotism” seems to be back on the agenda all too sadly – all of which moves further away from any concept of a true “Republicanism” be it “Welsh” or otherwise. Little wonder I am so critical? However, WRM I was brilliant campaigning movement but failed to develop any real “Welsh Republican” ideology nor theory that could be handed down to future generations to sustain continuation of a genuine “Welsh Republican Movement and Struggle”, instead we get two failiures and the aforementioned ‘’Riff Raff Republicanism”. The future of alternative Welsh Nationalist Political, let alone struggle is so feebly precarious that perhaps there is a need to launch a new “Welsh Republican Movement” but before that is done then there really is needed a big change of heart and some serious deep thought as to directions, not I am afraid the road that keeps taking so called ‘’Welsh Republicans’’ to Cilmeri , Machynlleth and Corwen but best that “Welsh Republicans” march toward a more “Republican History” as should have been founded at Garreg Gwasted 1798 and at the memorial to David Williams in Caerffil (See at end).
My suggestions towards relaunch of a “NEW” Welsh Republicanism: In the first instance I would stress the need for greater thought be given to such, in matters of understanding of a Welsh Republican History and the development of a “NEW” Welsh Republican philosophy and theory be given much greater attention. Back to Basics so to speak and I would also certainly advise that any “NEW” Welsh Republicanism takes measures to guard against being over intruded and influenced by the ‘’Retro and Romantic Remnants’’ of ‘’bodies’’ as 'Cymru Rydd/WRC' and ‘Balchder Cymru’. Undue haste to welcome into the ranks of any “NEW” Welsh Republicanism will kill it off before it is even born, I would strongly suggest that any “NEW” Welsh Republicanism for roots and foundations perhaps looks for support from former members of the WSRM, Plaid Cymru progressives and Labour Left of Welsh National Inclination. Even then there should be no undue haste to establish such a “NEW” Welsh Republicanism but rather an educative process is embarked upon which will include an annual outing to Abergwuan and Garreg Wasted in February and an annual WELSH REPUBLICAN CONVENTION (advancing educative work) being annually held in Caerffili, this “body” in time more formerly establishing itself as a WELSH REPUBLICAN CONGRESS (advancing Campaigns) prior to founding of any “NEW” Welsh Republican Movement but first note the below more affirmitave proposals regards a WELSH REPUBLICAN RECOLLECTIONS COMMEMORATION 2007 – 2009 as part of the educative and organisational process. However, note that whilst this dwells of course on commemoration of WRM I 1946 – 1956 I really do feel it is time for any "NEW" Welsh Republicanism to move away from Ireland 1916 and 1960’s Wales. It really is time to bring any “NEW” Welsh Republicanism into the history and world view of the ‘’Jacobin Welsh Republicans’’ as David Williams and Iolo Morgannwg et al rather than Cayo and Coslett and that of “Mr Welsh Republic” Gareth ap Sion with is rather ‘’Garibaldian Republicanism’’. Yes! time we had some Tom Paine as well as Wolfe Tone and Rosbpierre and Mazzini too, After all what has Llywelyn III and Owain IV to do with any ‘Republicanism’ ?
1: A ‘’Body’’ is set up to organise a commemorative programme. (I am not going to do this).
2: There should at least be a Conference of historical talks in Cardiff. Bangor and Aberystwyth.
3: Proceedings of Conference is published as a book, also re-issue of WRM I pamphlets.
4: Commemorative Ephemera as Poster and T – shirt etc is produced.
5: An exhibition Stand at the 2008 Caerdydd National Eisteddfod.
6: Talk associated with Eisteddfod. (Pedr Lewis, Niel Jenks or Gareth ap Sion et al)
7: Produce WRM I Republican ‘Roll Call’ Souvenir document and visiting Republican graves.
8: Other events marking Welsh Republican History as visiting sites so connected.
9: The future of Welsh Republicanism – a ‘Republican Convention’ to discuss ways forward.
10: Produce Recording of those ‘’Eng lang’’ Political Republican Songs as written by Web et al.
11: A Welsh Republican outing to visit ‘United Irishman’ Interpretation Centre at Wexford..
12: Annual ‘Republican Weekend School’ at Abergwuan and visit to Garreg Wasted.
I have drafted a number of documents which may be used in discussions above subject matters, available on request from firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject : LLWYBR HENRY DAVIES ABERGWUAN - GARREG WASTED 1797 ... all this up with Irish Catholics to "do down" Welsh Dissidents as Henry Davies and others ...ctd.6.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?p=9096&highlight=&sid=f7b96b104e0b767b9c7a4fcef9e40355 - 56k - Supplemental Result - Cached - Similar pages
Further Republican Information material and photos will be found on my other blogs:
* Adfywiad Gwladgarol Cymru at http://adfywiad.blogspot.com
* The Welsh Patriot at http://welshpatriot.blogspot.com
Ymlaen i'r Werinieath?
Alternative WNM&S History Archivist.