E-bulletin of the Welsh Communist Party
Issue 6, March 2010
- INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – THE MORNING STAR PRESENTS:
- LEADING COMMUNIST TO CONTEST CARDIFF SOUTH & PENARTH
- WELSH COMMUNISTS’ ELECTION UP DATE
- WHEN WE WERE MINERS
- SEARCHLIGHT CYMRU AGM AND TRAINING DAY
- DIARY OF MEETINGS AND EVENTS
1. INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – THE MORNING STAR PRESENTS:
2010 is the hundredth anniversary of the decision to hold an International Women’s Day annually. In this year, the 20th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison under apartheid, we are delighted to have Joyce Moloi-Moropa from South Africa to speak to us.
Joyce is an MP for the African National Congress (ANC) and served previously from 2001 to 2004. She chairs the Public Service and Administration Portfolio Committee in the National Assembly and is the Deputy Chairperson of the South African Communist Party.
This is an opportunity to hear and meet a woman who is committed to fighting against injustice and poverty, and for the rights of women within that struggle. She will be speaking about that struggle and, in her own words, “bearing in mind the fact of the negative impact that the current global financial crisis has on the black working classes and poor women of the world.” She will talk about how we are to understand and oppose this crisis, and how we are to organise an international movement against it.
We invite you to celebrate the contribution that women make daily to gender equality, social liberation, national liberation, and world peace, bringing women together who are making a difference in their communities and in their country by their actions and ideas.
We will also be welcoming a speaker from the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and the Red Choir
Venue: UNISON OFFICES, Custom House Street, Cardiff, CF10 1AP (see link below)
When: 7pm, Tuesday, 9th March.
The meeting is sponsored by UNISON Wales Women’s committee and International committee; UNITE; PCS and GMB
2. LEADING COMMUNIST TO CONTEST CARDIFF SOUTH & PENARTH
Welsh Communists have selected the party's General Secretary in Britain, Rob Griffiths, to contest Cardiff South and Penarth in the forthcoming General Election.
Mr Griffiths lives in the constituency, in Splott, and was brought up there in Llanrumney where he attended Bryn Hafod primary school.
He will be challenging New Labour MP Alun Michael, former Home Office minister and First Minister in the National Assembly for Wales until forced to resign in 2000.
'The Communist Party will put forward an alternative left-wing programme to New Labour policies of privatisation, a police state and imperialist war - policies with which Mr Michael is closely identified', Mr Griffiths told the party's Welsh Committee in Pontypridd at the weekend.
'Our manifesto will support workers taking action to defend public services, manufacturing jobs, wages, pensions and trade union rights. We need public ownership of gas, electricity and public transport to cut charges and plan for a low-carbon economy', he declared.
The Communist Party leader also attacked Mr Michael's political record. 'From nuclear disarmament to a Parliament for Wales, he has abandoned many of the principles and values on which he was first elected', Mr Griffiths pointed out.
In contrast to Mr Michael's position, which has embroiled him in controversy about his parliamentary allowances, the Communist prospective candidate insisted that MPs should receive no more than the average wage of a skilled worker, with minimal expenses.
Robert Griffiths is known for his activism and speaking engagements throughout Wales and across Britain. He recently returned from visiting India to speak at an International Conference on Marxism in the 21st Century. He is chair of the all-party anti-fascist organisation, Searchlight Cymru.
Robert is an author and broadcaster in English and Welsh. His books include:
S.O. Davies: A Socialist Faith,
Driven by Ideas: A History of ASLEF, the train driver's union
Streic, Streic, Streic! a television feature and Killing No Murder: South Wales and the Great Railway Strike of 1911.
A prolific propagandist, his pamphlets include:
'Real Power for the People of Wales' and 'Marx and Engels on Wales and the Welsh'
3. WELSH COMMUNISTS’ ELECTION UP DATE
The Welsh Communist Party had previously decided to contest the Caerffili constituency, rather than clash with another left-wing challenge in Cardiff South and Penarth.
Now that it is clear there will not be an independent left candidate in Cardiff South and Penarth, Welsh Communists have reverted to their earlier preference to contest that seat.
The Welsh Communist Party will also be contesting Alyn & Deeside in north Wales.
4. WHEN WE WERE MINERS
When we were Miners - A book by Ian Isaac, published on March 5, 2010, (to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the ending of the 1984-85 miners’ strike).
Tuesday, March 2, 7pm, Railwaymens’ Club, Wind Street, Swansea SA1
Wednesday, March 3, 7pm, Chapter, Market Road, Cardiff CF5 1QE
Thursday, March 4, 7pm, Maesteg Workingmens’ Club, Temple Street, Maesteg CF34 9YY
Saturday, March 6, 11.30am, Afan Forest Park Visitors’ Centre, adjacent to South Wales Miners’ Museum, Cynonville SA13 3HG
The miners’ strike of 1984-85 was a pivotal moment in Welsh history that changed the character and outlook of valley communities irreversibly. Ian Isaac was in the frontline of that epic and bitter struggle to retain the mining industry and to save valley communities from destruction.
Ian Isaac recalls in When we were Miners what it was like to be an area leader of the South Wales Miners before, during and after the strike. He recalls the battles during that period from his position as a member of the South Wales National Union of Miners executive from 1983 to 1988, and as lodge secretary of St John’s Lodge NUM in Maesteg from 1978 to 1986.
The book recounts the build-up to the 1984-85 strike, the colossal struggles, solidarity and humour of the miners and their communities during the strike, and the enduring bitterness that the defeat of the strike brought, along with a devastating economic and social aftermath in the vastly changed world of the former mining communities.
Ian Isaac stood for President of the South Wales NUM with the support of his lodge at the same time as conducting a high profile campaign to keep St John’s colliery open in 1985. Ian worked in the mining industry for 15 years from 1974 to 1989. He was one of the youngest ever full-time officers in the NUM becoming full time paid NUM Lodge Secretary at the age of 26 and NUM Area Executive Council member at 31.
The book is also a well-researched history of the mining industry and the struggle for leadership within the mining unions in the South Wales and British coalfields over decades.
Using original archive material and his own personal papers, Ian describes the political interference in the mining industry dating back to Victorian times, to the post-war struggles to establish a nationalised mining industry.
He chronicles how the industry was run down by successive Tory and Labour governments, until it became a ‘profitable’ rump industry ripe for privatisation.
Ian also shows how the social impact of the industry’s run-down was ignored, despite warnings from eminent economists such as the late Andrew Glyn, of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
The account also praises the stand of the Tower miners, while putting the survival of the mine within the political and economic context of the time.
The book, which has more than 70,000 words in 180 pages packed with pictures and illustrations, explores a number of key themes.
Part one looks at 1974 to 1984 - the ten years preparing for battle and explains the background to the dispute and issues facing miners in their daily working lives.
The second part recalls the monumental battle of the 1984 strike and the meticulous organisation that went into it by NUM members, organising picketing and negotiating agreements with companies and other unions during it.
The final part, from 1985 to 1989 looks at the campaign to Keep Mining in Maesteg. It covers the strenuous campaign by rank-and-file miners in Wales to return Arthur Scargill as NUM President at a time when there had been a complete turn to the right by the South Miners Executive in 1987. During this time Ian had been exiled to a methane drainage plant until he was victimised and left the industry in 1989.
“There were, however, a few dubious requests that came in our direction from the Pontypridd strike HQ for pickets to do strange things. I came back from the Midlands one day to find men in the strike centre making pinholes and blowing the yokes and whites out of eggs and refilling them with paint and then covering over them with sellotape.
“These were intended to be thrown at coal lorries leaving the steelworks in Margam. When this eventually happened, frightening scenes ensued, which I told Charlie (our lodge chairman) that this was out of order and not to be repeated.”
Contact: Ken Smith on 01792 556366 or 07840 168071.
5. SEARCHLIGHT CYMRU AGM AND TRAINING DAY
Rhag-rybudd yw hwn i'ch hysbysu y cynhelir Cyfarfod Cyffredinol Blynyddol a diwrnod hyfforddi Searchlight Cymru ar ddydd Sadwrn 27 Mawrth.
Ynghyd a chyfarfod blynyddol byr ac ambell araith, bydd y diwrnod yn canolbwyntio ar syniadau ymarferol ac hyfforddiant ar gyfer actifyddion cymunedol. Bydd cyfle i glywed y wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am weithgarwch ffasgaidd yng Nghymru a manylion am ein blaenoriaethau yn ystod y flwyddyn i ddod.
Cynhelir y digwyddiad yn adeilad Unsain yng Nghaerdydd o 10.30-3.30 gyda chinio bwffe, diolch i gwmni cyfreithwyr Thompson's. Byddwch gystal a nodi'r dyddiad yn eich dyddiadur. Byddwn yn anfon cadarnhad ynglyn a gweithgareddau'r diwrnod a ffurflenni aelodaeth atoch yn fuan iawn.
This is an advance notice for Searchlight Cymru's Annual General Meeting and training day, to be held on Saturday 27th March.
Along with a short AGM and a few speeches, the day will concentrate on practical ideas and training for local community activists. There will also be an update on current fascist activity in Wales and an outline of our planned priorities for the next 12 months.
The event will be held in Unison House in Cardiff from 10.30 to 3.30pm, with a buffet lunch compliments of Thompsons Solicitors. Please mark the date in your diary and confirmation of the day's events together with affiliation forms, will be sent out soon.
Ysgrifennydd / Secretary
12. DIARY OF MEETINGS AND EVENTS
Tuesday 9th at 7 pm in UNISON House, Cardiff
Morning Star International Women’s Day public meeting (see earlier article for full details)
Saturday 27th at 10 am in UNISON House, Cardiff
Searchlight Cymru AGM and training day
Sunday 11th at 12 pm in Clwb y Bont
Welsh Communist Party’s Executive Committee meeting
Saturday 17th at 10.30 am in Cayo Arms, Cathedral Road, Cardiff
Welsh Communist Party’s election day school
26th – 27th May in Llandudno
Wales TUC conference
Sunday 6th at 1.30 pm in Cayo Arms, Cathedral Road, Cardiff
Saturday 19th June
Morning Star conference
Sunday 4th 11 am at Cardiff Castle gates
Morning Star Sponsored Walk
Saturday 24th July 11 am – 4 pm at YMCA in Pontypridd
Wales Morning Star Conference ‘The Way Forward for Wales after the General Election’
31st July to 7th August
Morning Star stall on the Eisteddfod Maes
Saturday 14th from 2 pm in Efail Isaf
Welsh Communist Party Fund raising BBQ
20th – 22nd August in Aberystwyth
Welsh Communist Party’s Summer School
Sunday 26th at 12 pm in Clwb y Bont, Pontypridd
Welsh Communist Party’s Executive Committee meeting
30th – 31st
51st Congress Communist Party of Britain
Friday 26th at 7.30 pm – venue tbc
Gwyn Alf Williams’ Memorial Lecture
27th – 28th in YMCA, Pontypridd
Communist University of Wales