The independence movement must embody the principles of the nation we want to live in

One of Plaid Ifanc’s new stickers being used by a supporter of the message at the rally. Picture by Plaid Ifanc

Morgan Bowler-Brown, with contributions by Sioned James (co-chairs of Plaid Ifanc)

On Saturday I joined 8,000 other people and their flags on the maes of Caernarfon, within the walls of its famous castle, to march for Welsh independence. If you weren’t there, you missed something special.

Of all the great speeches I’d heard that day, one line in particular by YesCymu chair, Siôn Jobbins, had stayed with me as he described gaining momentum for the movement:

“We want you – we want you as you are.”

These words are foundational to the All Under One Banner campaign: one goal, all voices. Yes Cymru also state proudly that they are an organisation “open to all who believe in independence for Wales”.

With this understanding, it can be expected that what an independent Wales looks like will be different to each of the 8000 people who marched for the cause. These visions cross political divides, share and exclude differing values, and rest upon unique experiences.

All individuals and organisations have a part to play in the independence movement. To Yes Cymru we owe the launch of the campaign, the momentum, the growing rhythm of the pendulum dial, #indycurious, meme pages, and dozens of groups and communities popping up across the country standing up for Wales.

They are the 8,000 pairs of feet on the ground and flagpoles held to the sky – the broad church of Welsh Independence.

Radical

It’s the role of Plaid Cymru within that movement, and all its members and sections, to stand firm and proudly present our vision of the Wales we want to see. There should be no mystery box – it should be crystal clear.

When the time comes, like Scotland, we must be ready and waiting with white paper in hand, built by the evidence and ideas of people from all walks of life, all societies and all communities.

It’s therefore important to keep at the forefront of our minds that Independence isn’t the end of the story. What will a Post-Yes Wales look like?

As Plaid Cymru leader, Adam Price, has said, we must employ people’s imagination and move their ideas from the abstract to the concrete. We must help others design their vision of a Free Wales.

How do we do this? As my nan used to say “it’s better to be early than late”. Why should we wait for a yes vote when we can start living by our principles now? We need to act according to the blueprint of our independence manifesto.

This means sexism, racism, transphobia, fascism, climate change deniers, anti-refugee rhetoric and the opinion of “independence uber alles” is not welcome in the Wales we want to see. Our Free Wales will be radical and life-affirming, not a tinkering at the edges.

As has been said numerous times in discussions across Wales, including with supporters of Yes Cymru, those who are #IndyCurious, and members of the Plaid Cymru at all levels, there is absolutely zero point in going for Indy unless it’s a country worth living in.

I don’t want to be independent if we are just a carbon-copy of the British-state with all the same problems.

A recent article by Adam Price marks the end of internalised separation of ideas within our party. The days of populism and bigotry are behind us. We now stride towards a Plaid Cymru government backed by progressive and inclusive politics.

The first 6 of our new ‘We are’ message

Welcome

Mirroring this demonstration of core values, this weekend Plaid Ifanc, a section of Plaid Cymru dedicated to members under 30, launched a new membership campaign.

Its purpose is to help grow our base of young activists who can contribute to our outward looking vision of a just and equal future.

I’ve designed  a series of posters, stickers and flyers  emblazoned with a simple messages and pattern:

“Our members are” … “if you are too, why not join us?”

The campaign is a call to arms, clearly stating the issues most important to the youngest members of our party, ranging from climate change, to the rise of right-wing groups in Wales.

A Plaid Ifanc member, Polly Manning, wrote last year:

“Plaid Ifanc are feminist, environmentalist, anti-racist, pro-LGBT and BAME rights, anti-imperialist, and anti-classist. Yes, that’s a lot of ‘ist’s. Do I see that as a problem? Of course not.

“All inequalities within a society are inherently interlinked, woven of the same cloth. What I most admire about my peers in the youth section is their ability to perceive intersectional struggle, to recognise the way in which the protection and promotion of these values is not only ideal, but completely critical to the achievement of our ultimate aim: namely, that of an independent, socialist Welsh Republic able to be a force for good on the global scale.”

Plaid Ifanc are not afraid to stand up for what we believe in, simply put I see it as being up to us to lead and let others follow.

We’re eager to welcome those who share our stance, I hope that our new campaign is a beacon for anyone in search of a community and a home.

Truly our arms are open wide and we want to welcome all.

Our hope, as a movement, is to solidify our role in the road to independence. Our messages will be seen in rallies all over, on placards, on walls, on flags, on clothing. More importantly the words will be matched by our actions.

We can be a counter-voice to fascism and intolerance, we can pressurise those with a stage to ensure all voices are heard and represented, we can empower others to do the same.

Plaid Cymru is proud to have a hugely varied membership. Growing our party sections and displaying our diversity is vital going forward if we are to shake off the old stereotypes of Welsh Nationalism.

The youth are our future as they say. The ideas, energy and enthusiasm that comes from “y Genhedlaeth Annibyniaeth Newydd” – “the New Independence Generation”, will be that final push helping us over the last one inch of the final mile we are now in on Plaid Cymru’s 94 year long journey to a Free Wales.

It’s because of this that I’m so proud to be a co-chair of Plaid Ifanc, right at the heart of ‘Y Genhedlaeth Annibyniaeth Newydd’ where I belong.

So say it with me “What do we want? Independence. When do we want it? Now.”

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Mair
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Mair

Agree wholeheartedly! I was there and those were the words that made it for me. It’s the only way in an internationalist global world. We cannot afford to be narrow-minded when it comes to race, colour, sexuality and language.
We can encourage a diverse nation, which brings with it skills and other positive features, and hopefully an encouragement to embrace the language and culture.
It’s all about attitude to other people. If we do this successfully then we will automatically attract followers. The future is better than I thought this time last week
Ymlaen / onwards!

Joanne Davies
Guest
Joanne Davies

So let’s welcome all and sundry shall we? Everyone’s welcome! No borders! The population of Llandysul is now 60% English but who cares! Gender fluidity and niqabs for all!

Ask yourselves who the real fascists are here.

Plaid Cymru are a joke.

Joanne Davies
Guest
Joanne Davies

Have you been to Ceredigion recently? There are hardly any native Welsh people left. Towns that 40 years ago were bastions of Welshness are now packed with white flight, hippies, retirees and problem families dumped from England.

Only 5pc of Cardigan primary school children are from Welsh-speaking homes.

Your little pathetic Grangetown lefty world is not representative of the vast majority of people who live in Wales. Grow up.

Cris Dafis
Guest
Cris Dafis

What do you suggest should be done with them?

Joanne Davies
Guest
Joanne Davies

Nothing should be done with them per se but we need some common sense policies. Housing is devolved but housing associations are not. Eradicate all English-medium secondary education in west and north Wales apart from key towns like Carmarthen and Aberystwyth to deter English incomers. £500/month tax for those retiring to Wales Intensive and free language course for those who do move there. Devolve benefits and welfare and only make it available to those who can prove they have lived in Wales for 15 years. Otherwise Wales won’t really exist in any meaningful way by 2040. The writing is on… Read more »

Norm
Guest
Norm

Armbands for English people to be worn at all times?

KK
Guest
KK

I can only agree with Joanne with regards to the changing face of rural Welsh communities in Welsh speaking areas. During a work placement last year I was told by one of the aforementioned settlers that the problem with Pwllheli was that people were just too Welsh! Whatever that means I don’t know but suffice to say the ignorance and changing face of these communities is worrying especially when key employers such as Wylfa or Trawsfynydd are put on hold or no longer exist. A lack of employment opportunities needs to be addressed and whilst I agree with an independent… Read more »

Joanne Davies
Guest
Joanne Davies

Great post KK.

I too have grave reservations about modern feminism and how Plaid are happy to have women wearing niqabs representing them. Leanne Wood and Bethan Jenkins want to smash the imagined western patriarchy but fully embrace actual patriarchy by getting into bed with an intolerant, pre-medieval ideology. As a gay person I feel Plaid and other leftist parties need to make a choice: LGBT or Islam. As the Birmingham parents incidents prove, you can’t have both.

Richard Penderyn
Member
Richard Penderyn

Wylfa? Dont give me that scam (most new skilled imported workers wont ever learn you local welsh dialects, in this system – face facts)
…… its going to take over 100 billion to clean up … think lad…..decommissioning the expensive phase
Nuclear is not sustainable ……. community own renewables like tidal and offshore wind are….or even small scale hydroelectric and solar farms are getting cheaper

Sibrydionmawr
Guest
Sibrydionmawr

I couldn’t agree more, but perhaps you should be questioning whether or not those you are critical of are in fact feminists in the true sense? Feminism isn’t about the liberation just of women, but all of us, and should be promoted more as about the abolition of patriarchy. Unfortunately feminism, as a human institution, is as susceptible to the creation of hierarchies and cliques as any other, and so the movement will always be at rick of being hijacked by those whose interests are raw power, using feminism as a shield – think about what happened in revolutionary Russia… Read more »

martin
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martin

Who are the native Welsh? How many generations do you have trace your family back in Wales to count as a native? What if you were born here but your parents are English? Are the kids of the “hippies” native if they were born in England but raised here?

In the 2018-19 Welsh Givernment Pupil Level Annual School Census, 2,988 out of 8,393 pupils in Ceredigion were recorded as speaking Welsh at home.

Siôn
Guest
Siôn

“Only 5pc of Cardigan primary school children are from Welsh-speaking homes.”

This is categorically false. Fascists often try to justify their nonsense with lies, this being a prime example.

Richard Penderyn
Member
Richard Penderyn

…… Joanna…doesnt matter how true your comments may be …we know Wales is a colony,…..dont wallow in it

How is attacking a large segment of the population of Cymru helping the Welsh self rule movement how?

Ive met English people who have been AVID Welsh nationalists that have been put off by these types of comments ……. please think

Joanne Davies
Guest
Joanne Davies

I have also met them but they are a tiny handful.

Abi Thomas
Guest
Abi Thomas

Spot on Plaid Ifainc. I will not fight for an Independent Wales or Plaid Cymru that does not seek to end our still very patriarchal Welsh society, where Sexism is rife especially Maternal Discrimination. Mothers with childcare responsibilities are still one of the most discriminated against groups and is a majority contributor to why 40% of our Welsh children are growing up in poverty. There are still far too many misogynists, non feminists members in both our Welsh Independence and Plaid Cymru movements.

Mair
Guest
Mair

Good on you, don’t fight for independence because it won’t smash the ‘very patriarchal Welsh society’ but rather by not fighting for independence what will you get – oh, yeah, of course, you will get the very patriarchal British society that is eradicating Welsh identity – how does that society benefit you?

Morgan
Guest
Morgan

Youre missing the point of the article… Why wait until indy – let’s change these things NOW

Richard Penderyn
Member
Richard Penderyn

ummm Welsh society is actually very matriachial traditionally ……….. a lot of us remember the strong Welsh mam being the ruler in the household…………the patriachy was imported from England … in the workplace and in public spaces during the Victorian times

This isnt being anti-English …. theres been patriachial changes since the dcline of the celtic peoples and introduction of the church from rome…..Celtic Christianity was heavily towards women

WELSH PEOPLE NEED TO LOOK TO THEIR SPECIFIC HISTORY NOT “UK” HISTORY

Mair
Guest
Mair

Hmm, would that be interesting if only it were true – look to the history of Wales and you will see that power descended from male to male and that women who had power did so only in virtue of their relationship to a man.

Sibrydionmawr
Guest
Sibrydionmawr

I think you need to go back and seriously look at Welsh history and you’ll see that whilst Welsh laws might have considered women as being a person who had defined rights, but lesser than a man, unlike English law that saw them as chattels, mere possessions with no rights, they were still marginalised in a society that was as male dominated as any other.

It would be lovely indeed to think that ancient Welsh society was a patriarchy free zone, but sadly it wasn’t. We must be wary of believing the hype that some want to peddle.

Bryn Colion
Guest
Bryn Colion

*self-deleted*

Alwyn ap Huw
Guest
Alwyn ap Huw

Confused reasoning, claiming that the independence campaign is inclusive whilst wanting to exclude those who don’t share your left wing sentiments. My preferred vision of an independent Wales is one where parties with differing views; be they left, centrist or right; present those views to the electorate every so often and let the electorate choose; rather than one where middle class leftists force their creed on all.

Joanne Davies
Guest
Joanne Davies

Agreed Alwyn.

It’s such a shame there isn’t a nationalist right wing party in Wales.

Mair
Guest
Mair

It won’t just be those who don’t share the more left wing viewpoint (such as me) but one of the tendencies of the left is to keep splitting on the question of ideological purity and supposed transgressions against the latest version of dogma that is being pushed, these organisations turn constantly turn in on themselves time and time again in ways that just leave them as small isolated groups. Just look at the history of the Labour party, splitting constantly or the Socialist Worker or even Plaid Cymru which is slowly going through a split (even if Plaid doesn’t realise… Read more »

Richard Penderyn
Member
Richard Penderyn

The mixtures of arguments between authoritarian and libertarian policies are even more important than left or right ….. look at the Political spectrum its not linear people/pobl!

Sibrydionmawr
Guest
Sibrydionmawr

Agreed, the last thing we need is a Welsh equivalent of the Bolshevik party.

Royston Jones
Guest

If the independence movement allows itself to be controlled by the intolerant leftists of Plaid Ifanc, Undod and Undeb Plaid Cymru – containing maybe two dozen activists at most – then it will alienate far more people than it will attract with its hypocritical ‘inclusiveness’ . . . ‘but only on our terms’.

As I saw on a tweet earlier from a Welsh woman of Asian ancestry, the last thing we need at this stage in our political development is more labels. But the left thrives on labels, and dividing people.

David Roberts
Guest
David Roberts

test!!

Richard Penderyn
Member
Richard Penderyn

The YES campaign in Scotland had a broad range of views…many of which conflicted with each other

If the Welsh self rule movement is based on narrow terms …. it wont happen

We need to stop getting lost down side issues and splitting hairs……MOST PEOPLE HATE FASCISM …. self rule and empowerment is the overarching unifier

John Young
Guest
John Young

Correct Richard. Anyone who is for Independence should join as one to promote that single aim. It doesn’t matter what your political persuasion is. Argue the pros and cons of your political opinions AFTER Indy is achieved.

Bryn Colion
Guest
Bryn Colion

“We are” message is missing huge basic needs …. refer to maslov hierarchy of needs please….

Affordable housing ….. good quality food etc

Eric
Guest
Eric

“I don’t want to be independent if we are just a carbon-copy of the British-state with all the same problems.” You have to start from where you are, not what you want to be. If Wales became independent it would have the same people as it has now, facing the same problems. By and large these are not problems of racism or transphobia or the absence of the dreary doctrine of intersectionality, but those of an ageing, poorly educated and unhealthy population, many of whom will not want Independence. You would inherit the existing structures, legal system and so on.… Read more »

Siôn
Guest
Siôn

This is not a perfect article by any stretch, but it is based on the right sentiment. Plaid Ifanc and similar organisations have done more organic work to make the national cause pallatable / attractive to others than Royston Jones and his grumpy band of fascists ever will.

GELERT
Guest
GELERT

Where? They are a joke. Its about time that priorities were made to i clude all who want independence be they conservative, liberal, socialist, and nationalist, also and more important than anything is to forget banging on about Brexit as the majority of Welsh plebs voted for it. But seems to me PC are not really interested appealing to Labour /Brexit voters in the valleys or work on a grass roots level changing coomunities throughout Wales. And i don’t mean changing by voting in soft, usually thick, reactionary, old fashoined grey haired male councillors , because as we see in… Read more »

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

Try as I may, I see nothing whatsoever to suggest that Royston Jones is a fascist. Grumpy, perhaps; fascist, no. In fact his current blog-posting includes an alert on right-wing organisations in Abertawe. As far as I can see, he’s a member of the independence movement, just like Plaid Ifanc claim to be. What grumpy band is he in, and what do they play? Grump rock? I don’t think I’m alone in being curious as to why certain individuals claiming to speak for Plaid Ifanc are trying to undermine the independence movement in this way? Whose side are they really… Read more »