Nationalist rival?

The south Wales town of Merthyr Tydfil provided the venue for a debate on 'the future of the Welsh left' on June 7, called by Seren, Cymru Goch's newly launched left nationalist paper. Bob Davies was there

The south Wales town of Merthyr Tydfil provided the venue for a debate on ‘the future of the Welsh left’ on June 7. Called by Seren (socialist, environmental and republican news), Cymru Goch’s newly launched left nationalist paper, the meeting was advertised as being “for those people interested in building an SSP-type party in Wales”.

Around 30 people attended - made up, of course, of those who look to the divisive separatism of the Scottish Socialist Party as an example to follow, with members from Cymru Goch and Plaid Cymru constituting over a third of the total. Two current Welsh Socialist Alliance members were present - myself and an independent from Merthyr.

Chairing, Tim Richards (Cymru Goch) stated that the discussion was to be exploratory on the way forward, given the “bruising effect of the WSA”. What really rankles with so many of those present is not so much the Socialist Workers Party’s bureaucratism or the Socialist Party’s sectarianism prior to its departure, but the recent WSA decision to join forces with the Socialist Alliance in England.

From the outset, there was always going to be a difference of opinion over the type of organisation needed. Some argued for an “activist organisation”, orientated around “community issues”, whilst others (myself included) argued the need for an all-Britain party which could take up the big, global issues and not simply those on a community level. Unsurprisingly, Cymru Goch argued for a socialist party of Wales, organised separately from working class activists in Scotland and England. Supporters of Seren stated they were trying to arrange a public meeting with the SSP in August to discuss the possibility of building an SSP-type party in Wales.

I understand that some want a Welsh Socialist Party which, while claiming to be “inclusive and democratic”, will set out to exclude the “Brit sects”. Whether this nationalist rival will be able to take off where the WSA has so far stalled is another matter.