For a Welsh Socialist Party

Cymru Goch calls for WSA members to set up a left nationalist party committed to independence

Tprivatisation of many basic public services is a good time to re-assess the left in Wales. New Labour won a grudging vote of approval from Welsh workers. Many discontented voters stayed away while some voted Plaid or for one of the 14 socialist candidates. None of these did well and we have to ask ourselves why.

Part of the problem was the failure to connect with working class communities and their concerns. The case for socialism and the overthrow of capitalism went unlinked to any grassroots campaigns. The shining exception on the left in this disunited kingdom was the Scottish Socialist Party, which has made itself a force to be reckoned with in Scottish politics, both electorally and in campaigns. Whether its anti-nuclear protests, environmental and community campaigns, legalising cannabis demos or cultural activities, the SSP is leading the way. The SSP did not materialise overnight. It took years for diverse groups and individuals to form the SSP based on principles of socialism, independence and internationalism.

We believe many socialists in Wales would welcome the chance to join a similar organisation here - an organisation that broke the mould of the orthodox left sects and offered a real challenge to the establishment parties.

Since its formation 14 years ago, Cymru Goch has sought to unite socialists in Wales through a variety of grassroots initiatives: eg, Welsh Community Resistance, the Welsh Anti-Poll Tax Campaign, Wales United and most recently the Welsh Socialist Alliance. We have devoted much of our energies over the past four years to the WSA, but the main players in that alliance, the Socialist Workers Party and Socialist Party, seem to be wedded to a line handed down from London that insists there will be no significant broadening or deepening of the alliance.

We remain hopeful that ordinary WSA members will take up our arguments. But, given that the majority are members of one or the other main groups, we are sceptical that it will move beyond being an electoral flag of convenience.

By contrast, a broader, deeper organisation has been shown to be the way forward in Scotland, especially one that unambiguously calls for independence. We know that Wales is not Scotland but, given that 30% of Welsh people now support independence but most do not identify with the pro-capitalist and two-faced Plaid Cymru, it is an ideal time to start defining our socialism in clear Welsh as well as internationalist terms.

This is an opportunity to build a clearly defined alternative that is socialist, pro-independence, green, decentralist and democratic. Cymru Goch has no interest in remaining a small fringe group, which we freely admit we are at present. This is no short-term recruitment drive, but a long-term project we hope you will help to shape. We want to be the catalysts to building a real challenge both on the streets and electorally to the status quo.

We do not offer a blueprint for this new party. It is up to you, as members or supporters, to decide because it can only work as an open and democratic organisation. We welcome your response to the proposal that we seek to unite the left under the banner of a pro-independence, pro-internationalist socialist party.