In July, at least 8,000 supporters of an independent Wales marched through the streets of Caernafon. The number of demonstrators had doubled since an indyWales march in Cardiff in May.
Councils vote for independence
A moment of opportunity
The “Brexit saga” has triggered renewed interest in independence in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Many see it as opening up new possibilities for Wales too. According to a booklet on independence released by YesCymru:
The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in 2016. Scotland is readying itself for a second referendum on independence. The peaceful reunification of Ireland is on the agenda. The United Kingdom is changing radically, and Wales must not be left behind.
According to campaign group Undod:
An obvious reason as to why the idea of an independent Wales is suddenly becoming attractive to people who never would have dreamt of the idea a few years (or even months) ago, is the political crisis of our age. Within the British State, of course, this is being played out painfully, pathetically, in the Brexit saga, which is finally bringing the former Imperial state to its knees – its long retreat from Empire ending with a whimper.
Undod (which means ‘Unity’) is a movement for radical independence in Wales.
A movement for democracy
One of the reasons many people in Wales want independence is because they don’t feel that the current system is democratic. According to YesCymru:
Welsh MPs make up 6 per cent of the House of Commons. In general elections, no matter how Wales votes, we get the Westminster government that England wants. Since 1945 the vote of the people of Wales at UK general elections only influenced the political map of the UK for two years, between 1964 and 1966.
YesCymru is one of the groups supporting the march on 7 September.
Inspiration from Kurdistan for a radical democracy in Wales
Some people have begun looking to the revolutionary ideas of the Kurdish Freedom Movement for inspiration on how to create radical democracy in Wales. A revolution is taking place in Rojava in northern Syria based on ideas of direct democracy, with decisions made by grassroots communes that confederate together across the region. According to Heledd Williams of Undod:
Those of us interested in Wales’ autonomy and freedom don’t want a carbon copy of the colonial British state. The hope is that with true independence we can lift our people out of poverty in the abolition of the class system, heal our environment that has been so ravaged by industry, live in a democratic society that gives those of us held at the margins, such as women, our rightful share of power in that society.
This is what has been achieved by the Kurds and other ethnicities that have been part of the democratic confederalist revolution in Rojava… For anarchists that support Wales’ independence, these ideas are very exciting indeed.
“Seriously big change is coming”
Carl Morris of Undod told The Canary:
Undod is really happy to be working with other groups to promote the march for independence in Merthyr Tudful [the Welsh spelling of the town’s name].
We will be making the case not only for constitutional independence from the tired and regressive Westminster system but freedom for all Wales’ people – a community of communities that is a republic, feminist, anti-racist and internationalist, with a thriving democratic green economy. We welcome anybody from any background to join us in striving and organising towards this.
It is notable that the Westminster government now has a role of ‘Minister for the Union’: it’s a clear sign that Boris Johnson and his right-wing pals know that seriously big change is coming.
A growing movement
This is an important moment for the Welsh independence movement. More and more people are being attracted to the idea of independence. And they’re beginning to see it as a real possibility. It would be a great thing to see a truly radical vision of independence take root in Wales. One that could create real democracy and challenge capitalism and state power.
Featured image via Wikimedia – Llywelyn2000
- Join the independence march in Merthyr Tydfil on 7 September.