Swansea March for Independence. Photo: Socialist Party Wales
Swansea March for Independence. Photo: Socialist Party Wales

Roger Butler, Swansea Socialist Party

The Socialist Party found a lot of support at the Swansea march for independence for our socialist programme on the way forward for Wales.

The march, held on Saturday 20 May, through the centre of Swansea, and rally were organised by Yes Cymru and All Under One Banner Cymru, who estimated up to 6,000 people took part.

Socialist Party members handed out bilingual leaflets and sold the Socialist.

We had a ready response from marchers who were open to our ideas, snapping up all 600 of our leaflets with an interest in finding out more about the Socialist Party.

It was clear that the overwhelming mood among marchers was to use independence as a way of tackling social and economic problems, with complete disillusionment in Westminster. There was a wide range of people on the march, with no one organisation dominating, and an openness to discussing ideas on how to go forward.

Our leaflet (text below) clearly set out Socialist Party Wales’s position:

For a Socialist Wales

Enough is enough of all austerity politicians

Working people in Wales have had enough of the establishment parties in London and Cardiff Bay.

And it’s hardly surprising after 13 years of austerity which has destroyed one third of our public services, depressed wages for the longest period in history, and thrown thousands of people in Wales into homelessness.

Desperate For Change

The increase in support for Welsh self-government, the support in Wales for Jeremy Corbyn and the determined strike wave by workers across Wales showed the huge appetite for change in favour of working people.

But we won’t get this from either Labour or Plaid Cymru politicians. This desire for change must be given a socialist direction to begin to solve the problems of working people in Wales.

Limited devolution—no solution

The limited devolution settlement of 1998 has delivered very little for Wales. In 25 years Welsh Labour and Labour/Plaid coalition governments have presided over the decline of public services.

Instead of defying the UK Tory government and refusing to implement their cuts, they have imposed them. Spending on services has been cut by £5 billion since 2010 and many public services have been privatised.

Cost-of-living strikes

And the Welsh government has followed the lead of the Tories in cutting the real wages of public sector workers in Wales as prices soar. It has been left to trade unionists to fight for decent pay rises against the Welsh government, exposing the emptiness of their ‘social partnership’.

Need for a new workers’ party

We need a new party in Wales initiated by our trade unions which fights for the working class. A party that fights for wage rises that at least match inflation, fights the cuts, and fights for a socialist Wales.

For a Socialist Senedd

And the Senedd has significantly less powers than even the Scottish parliament because the Welsh government has not fought Westminster for those powers. Socialist Party Wales calls for the Senedd to have full legislative and tax raising powers so that it has the legal ability to make real changes to Welsh society. And for a government that will use those powers to fight for the working class.

Socialist change

Socialist Party Wales calls for socialist change.

For the Senedd to have powers to carry out socialist policies with the ability to:

  • Reverse all the cuts—for the Welsh government and Welsh councils to set no-cuts budgets, pool reserves and build a mass campaign to force the UK government to return the funds robbed from Welsh services
  • Give our health workers above-inflation pay awards now! Invest in the NHS to expand local hospitals with free training of doctors and nurses.
  • Ban compulsory zero-hour contracts              
  • Raise the minimum wage to £15 an hour for all
  • Renationalise rail and the utilities
  • Nationalise the commanding heights of the economy
  • For a socialist Wales as part of a voluntary socialist confederation of Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland