Monday, March 30, 2009

Wales and the World

No big news, just thought you'd like to see some videos and news from different parts of the world about people's struggle to keep their languages and identity. The politics of the world in the twenty first century will be the politics of Wales.

Dutch language under pressure from monoglot French-speakers on Flemish border (Aljazeera):

An introduction and history (yes, unlike Marx and Engels we at BNW think all nations and languages are valid in their own right)

Greenland moves to Independence (Russia Today). BNW is all for it, but as has been posted previously, believe that ditching the Danish language could make Greenlandic more open to linguistic domination by the English language. It makes good linguistic, cultural and economic sense for small language communities to be trilingual.

Amazigh / Berber
We're used to hearing Arabs complaining of discrimination against Arabs by the West and Israel but how often do we hear of Arab discrimination against one of the original inhabitants and languages of the Maghreb, the Berber (Amazigh)? From the first video it's obvious that the Berbers have suffered a 'Welsh Not' in education and that the language of authority has been Arabic. The fact is, Arab-speakers in Israel have more linguistic rights that Berber-speakers in Algeria for instance, something which is rarely mentioned.
The green, blue and yellow are the colours of the Berber flag. There's also a song by Lounes Matoub, the Berber 'Dafydd Iwan'.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Aneurin Glyndŵr Farce

I'm aware that quite a lot of the visitors to this site come from outside Wales.

The last posting showed the little-known ideological roots of the contempt of the 'big nation' left-wing chauvinism of people like Eric Hobsbawm and numerous communist and socialist politicians and writers towards the many Bretons, Basques and Gaels (and Welsh) who visit this site (see video clip in previous posting).

For those of you outside Wales it's worth you also seeing how low the British nationalist left wing in Wales - the 'Welsh' Labour party - have stooped. This time, it's not so much ideological as erm, well, embarrassing. The noise you can hear in the background is the 'Welsh' Labour party digging its own grave!

As one person said; they've discarded their ideology, they are bereft of ideas, they have no vision and they're left with being a tribal, childish, spiteful party which would rather hamper self-government for Wales and so be ruled by the Westminster Tories whom they claim to hate so much. Compare this childish website and video (if you can bare to watch it all - I couldn't! - just too embarrassing) with Plaid Cymru's intelligent laying the argument for Wales to become a normal independent nation state.

Plaid = grown-up party

Labour = childish

I really think that this is the beginning of the end of British nationalist project which was Welsh Labour. It's not over yet. But when a once mighty political party has this to offer, and when Peter Hain thinks that this is "Obama moment for Welsh Labour" you know they're on their last legs. A party can't last for too long without some intellectual belief and project.

Needless to say, this video has clogged the bloggersphere and websites in Wales. Here are some of the latest links:

And here are a few quotes:

"Check it out, if only for a laugh. It's cringeworthy. It's so obvious that they're angry with Plaid for coming up with the idea of Walescan and feel threatened by it. Everything about it is wrong." -
Heledd Fychan

"Aneurin Glyndwr - not even funny. What a complete joke. Not worth a meagre link even." - Rhodri ap Dyfrig
"If Aneurin Glyndwr is the best Labour can offer in terms of modern campaigning in Wales then bring on the General Election." - Geraint Day

"Still can't quite believe that 'Aneurin Glyndwr' is an official Labour site. It's a set up job surely?" - Cynical Dragon

"At the moment is the internet equivalent of watching your dad dance at a disco." - Peter Black

"Peter Hain said it was Welsh Labour's 'Obama moment'. I think he meant 'Dubya Bush moment'." - Rhydian Fôn

"Anuerin Glyndwr - the new web site - its supposed to be satirical. It's pathetic." - Valleys Mam

And the 'student' behind this project? None other than Leighton Andrews' researcher, and Welsh Assembly pin-up David Taylor. According to Martin Shipron of the Western Mail, he is "feared for his skills on the internet, being seen as one of the most talented disciples of Adrian McMenamin". Internet Skills? Talented? If this is the best Labour have to offer, God help them!

We have blooged about David before, back in 2005. View posts below:

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Roots of Left Wing Racism?

We're quite used to hearing some left wing politicians from the imperial or dominant cultures and states like France, Britain, Spain etc accuse the nationalists of the smaller countries of racism. But, the fact is that there is an underlying bigotry if not racism bound up in their world view. If you've ever wondered where the colonial and arrogant attitude of French, Spanish, Chinese or even British left wing nationalists comes from - the kind of racism which always hides behind the veneer of class unity or enlightenment of course then you need to go back to the roots of Marxist theory.

It seems Engels, the founding father of communism with Marx believed that some pre-capitalist nations were 'racial trash' because they were 'two stages away from communism'. Poland likewise had no reason to exist.

Marx said, 'the classes and the races too weak to master the new conditions of life must give way .. they must perish in the revolutionary holocaust'.

Words which are never quoted to you when French or UK left wingers accuse Bretons of being Nazi-sympathisers.

It seems the part of left wing, communist and socialist thinking has a long and, illustrious history of racism towards so-called non-revolutionary nations. This idea that some nations or languages have no worth in their own right and can only justify themselves in their role in 'progressive politics' or if they follow a certain agenda is an echo of this deep attitude of many so called socialists in France, Spain and occasionally the UK.

Marx and Engels' prejudice were the cause for the justification of the deaths of millions and the philosophical antipathy of many towards weaker and 'backward' European languages and cultures.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Three Cheers for Sara Medi Jones!

Well done Sara Medi Jones. It must be quite intimidating asking a question to Hillary Clinton especially among all the smug Euro and US press corp, but she made Wales proud (view video below).

She could have chickened out with some question about GM, Gaza, nuclear weapons or another safe 'radical' agenda which Plaid sometimes promote to the detriment of Welsh self-government as they try and prove that they're part of a broader movement. Nothing wrong with that, but if Plaid Cymru won't raise the issue of Welsh independence or language rights - then who will? Her simple forthright question - a lesson to some Plaid AMs and MPs - made the news in Catalonia... but not the useless BBC Wales (must be some cat stuck up a tree).

So, Sara goes up to the mark and asks the world's most important woman, what her views are on independence for nations like Wales, Scotland and Catalonia? Of course some members of the press corp snigger - you know, Wales, Wales for heaven's sake, having ideas above their station? What, more food Oliver, more?! No doubt, the same kind of attitude which fills the ranks of Brit Nat Welsh and Scottish Labour MEP's. But Sara stood her ground.

Clinton wasn't supportive - but then George Bush Snr famously told the Lithuanians and Ukrainians to stay part of the USSR but had to eat humble pie a few months later. But she's not against the idea either. We're not going to get independence any day soon but the principle has been made. The USA see it as an internal matter for the 'nation states'. If the UK or Spain can sort it out then they won't oppose.

The Brit and Spanish Nats will talk of constitutions (even though the UK hasn't really got one!). But constitutions can change. Would the Labour Brit Nats stop campaigning for a woman's right to an abortion, or gay marriage rights, or for segregation or women's vote ... because it's in the constitution?! Or is independence for Wales, Scotland, Catalonia etc the only part of a constitution they wouldn't change?

In any case. Three cheers for Sara Medi for retaining Wales' honour - unlike our First Minister who managed to embarrass his American hosts this week. And three cheers for Hillary Clinton for not being a patsy to British and Spanish nationalist agendas. Clinton supports democracy after all.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On the Right Road!

Plaid's new website is just fantastic. A political party which actually maps out where they want Wales to be not in two or five years, but twenty. At last, we're starting to have the self confidence to take the first steps to being a proper nation.

Adam Price explains why we are the WalesCan generation

Of course, the British nationalists will rubbish it and talk Wales down - no news there. But I think we're on to something. My hunch? In the same way that the First World War initially saw a strengthening of the existing 'nation' states and empires - Russia, Austria-Hungary, Britain, as the war progressed other radical voices, voices which just a couple of years earlier were seen as marginal, maverick or extremist - Czech, Irish, Estonian, Slovene nationalists - became mainstream and ultimately it was their prescription and their assessment of the future course of their nations which won the day.

Why do some peddle the myth that being pro-Welsh independence means you're anti-English?

Thank heavens, the present recession/depression is as nothing of the scale and carnage of WWI, but I've got a sneaky feeling that the initial strengthening of Britishness will wane. After all, Britishness has decreased with every recession in the last hundred years.

Plaid's bold and high-risk website and strategy may seem foolhardy to some now, but I reckon, give a few years and it will become mainstream.

Myfanwy Davies looks at how Independence would affect her community – Llanelli

My only plea for Plaid is to stop being so timid and so referential towards the British nationalists. As Adam Price notes in his blog, Brit Nat MP, Albert Owens, wants to see the end of a Welsh football team, or is at least willing to jeopardise it for the sake of British nationalism and nation building. Why doesn't Adam or the other Plaid MP's and AM's refer to Albert (who's a nice enough chap) as British nationalists? Is there still a lingering lack of self-confidence, or self-censorship within the Plaid elite, a deep fear of Labour? I don't know. In any case, if fighting for an independent Welsh football team is Welsh nationalist, then it stands to reason that fighting for an independent British football team is British nationalist. Come on - "hyder yn ein hunain" as they say in Welsh - confidence in ourselves.

More of CanWales and more of calling British nationalists by their true description - British nationalists!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Galician Warning for Plaid

Sunday's election for the Galician Xunta (assembly) in the Spanish State should stand as a warning to Plaid.

Since 2005, for the first time ever, the 'regional' assembly in Galicia had been run by a Socialist - Nationalist coalition. By doing so they broke an unbroken tradition of Galicia being run by the right wing PP - heirs to Franco. However, on Sunday, the loss of one seat each by the PSdeG (Galician Socialist party alligned to Spanish Socialists, PSOE) and the BNG Gallician nationalist parties saw the PP return.

One of PP's first decision is the 'depoliticise' nursery education - Spanish nationalist New Speak for reversing a strategy of promoting the Galician language in education - promoting Spanish at the disadvantage of Galician is, obviously, not political (!).

The BNG had just 4 years to try and implement new policies to reverse the fortune of the Galician language and culture. Plaid could be in the same situation in 2011. Plaid AM's need to look at this term in government as possibly their only term in government for ten or maybe twenty years. If Plaid were to 'lose' in 2011 - which is possible even if Plaid win more seats - then what will Plaid have achieved in 4 years in government.
The message is - don't delay for 2012 what can be done now, or needs to be done now - Language LCO, referendum on further power to Wales, sort out education in Welsh, council housing, rail improvements and expansion etc. Treat every term in office as now or never!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Saint Piran's Day - March 5th - Patron Saint of Cornwall

St Piran's Day march in Truro, Cornwall (05/03/2009)

Saint Piran or Perran (traditionally in Cornwall, saints are simply named, without this title) is an early 6th century Cornish abbot and saint, supposedly of Irish origin. He is generally regarded as the Patron Saint of Cornwall.

Dydh Sen Pyran Lowen!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

St David's Day Success

Congratulations to all those responsible for organising the 6th St David's Day parade in the capital. A truly excellent and life affirming event! Have a look at the videos on the site. Well done to Cardiff City Council, the Assembly, HLW Insurance, the Arts Council and Celtfest for sponsoring.

Plenty of people, music of different kinds - the newly formed, Breton-inspired Bagad Morgannwg leading the parade; our Breton cousins in their costumes (pity they forgot the Gwenn ha Du flag so that the thousands that lined the streets could learn about Brittany), excellent music by Samba Galez drummers, athletic young people on those bouncy stilts things and just loads of people - families, oldies, one or two eccentrics (always a good sign!) and even some respectable people. In fact every type was there .... except anyone from the 'Welsh' Labour party.

Heavens, how anti-Welsh do you have to be to boycott a St David's Day parade?

Ah, well, as one person said, their loss. Wales is marching on without Labour, we'll allow them to wallow in 1930s and 1940 nostalgia whilst the rest of us get on with building a new, inclusive, colourful Wales, a Wales proud of its culture and history and not afraid to show it. Life's too short to be in the so-called Welsh Labour party.

Wales is on the march, with a big smile on her face, and Labour is having a big sulk about it!

Great also to see the first St David's Day parade in Wrexham - things are moving in the North East. Swansea next year! As the Irish song goes - 'Northmen, Southmen, Comdrades all!'