[Marxism] On English Oppression in Britain

mike pearn neprimerimye at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Jun 23 18:23:27 MDT 2004

For many years I thought myself, as a straight white
male anglophone worker, to be exploited (well when
employed at any rate) but I never imagined that I was
a victim of not one but many extra economic
oppressions. It seems from reading the cntribution of
DoC that I'm oppressed by reason of being Welsh, by
reason of being Cornish by ancestry and because I do
not speak Welsh. Really somebody somewhere owes me big

Better yet DoC might care to visit reality or at least
Wales. Certainly Welsh speakers were persecuted
historically but this by and large is not the case
today. In fact the resurgence in the numbers of people
speaking some Welsh is largely the result of state
sponsorship of the language. Discrimination against
Welsh speakers is illegal and the two tongues are
treeated equally before the law. While it is illegal
to restrict jobs to speakers of English only a, small,
number of jobs are restricted to Welsh speakers.
Spending on arts by the state is far heavier in the
Welsh medium than the English and so on.Despite all of
which the number of people speaking the language
everyday is declining. This because here we have a
relatively dsmall languge surrounded on all sides by a
media that is English. This has nothing to do with the
British state ut a massive amount to do with

As for the self determination of Wales in a peoples
Europe. Well really the comrade should say what he
means. For if in fact he is arguing that Wales should
be constituted as an independent state in Europe than
the majority of people here are totally opposed to
that notion. And it makes no sense from a socialist
point of view either as Wales simply ain't an
oppressed nation. So whats the point of advocating an
independent state? Moreover the idea that Scottish,
Irish, Welsh and Cornish people share a comoon Celtic
identity is pure bunkum. I might add that you forgot
the Manx and Bretons. The national languages of these
groups belong to a common family of languages but that
is all.

The comrades remarks concerning the undeniable
militancy of the South Wales valleys and the Welsh
speaking heartlands of the north is nonsense. The
militancy of the Valleys is now as one with the grave
as the mining industry no longer exists and was long
ago bureaucratised due to the influence of Labourism
and its cousin Stalinism. In addition I note that very
often the most militant leaders of worker militancy in
the Valleys, and elsewhere in Wales, were socialists
who were opposed to Welsh nationalism on
internationalist grounds. Welsh nationalism by
contrast beginning as a right wing ideology and to
this day retains a strong right wing hostile to any
notion of socialism. In power in local councils Plaid
Cymru being every bit as eager as New Labour, the
LibDems and the Tories to enforce cuts.

Quite frankly I've been surprised by the lack of
knowledge of britain displayed by some of the posts
here in the last few days. ireland is not the burning
question of the british Revolution and any idea of a
common Celtic identity is myth and self deception.
Wales and Scotland are not oppressed nations and to
suggest they are is to insult the irish struggle for
national liberation. it is also condescending to those
of us in Wales and scotland who fight for the unity of
our class across national borders. Well we've been
insulted before i guess so never mind, huh! But really
this post from DoC has departed from any connection
with the reality of Wales today.

From: "DoC" <donaloc at hotmail.com>
Subject: [Marxism] On English Oppression in Britain

I am dissappointed but not surprised by the failure of
Phil Ferguson to correctly understand the dynamics of
the British state.

He denies the fact of Welsh and Scottish (and Cornish)
oppression within the British state as mere economism
- despite the undeniable history of anti-Celtic
oppression metered out to Cymraeg, Gaedhlig and Cernow
speakers and to their English-speaking compatriates.
These constitute the backbone of the oppressed
nationalities within Britain and are now joined by
oppressed groups who have come to Britain from her
former colonies.

Worse still is his position of opposing the struggle
of many within those countries for national
self-determination within a People's Europe. I have to
say I totally agree with all what Michael Keaney said
in his definitive take on the tasks ahead of us all in
Europe (and in particular in the Islands of the North
Atlantic). Breaking the British state is a primary
objective. To do this it is encumbant upon us all to
find a common unity in the face of the dominance of
the British State hegemony. Points made by comrades in
the IRSP are also very well made. Irish Republicans of
all hues are keen to advance the cause of
pan-Celticism (in a similar manner as African
liberation leaders pushed for pan-Africanism to unify
their people and to counter the cultural and
intellectual impact of Eurocentricism). Similarly, we
must be able to counter the cultural impact of the
British Empire at home - and it is much more difficult
given the length and depth of English occupation of
our common homelands.

The fact that Phil doesn't understand this is mainly
reflective of his lack of experience of actual life in
Wales or Scotland. My mother was from a medium-sized
Welsh mine town and it has to be said that even any
casual view of Welsh history would have to demonstrate
clearly that it was those elements who promoted
working class (British) unity (to the detriment of
national consciousness) who ended up leading the
militant workers in Wales into supporting social
democracy at a time when the British State itself was
on the defensive. It is undeniable that militancy in
the Welsh vallies and the radicalism of its
Welsh-speaking areas in the North is miles ahead of
their equivalents in England's urban and rural areas

The similar case of Scotland is further complicated by
the division of the Scottish working class on lines of
Loyalism/Republicanism in much the same manner as the
North-Eastern part of Ireland.

Nobody is saying that the English working class aren't
oppressed - indeed in the North of England there are
strong popular demands for increased regional
government (is it merely a coincidence that this 
area was the centre of the non-Welsh British Celts and
has large numbers of Irish/Indian immigrants?).

The people who need to be disempowered are the twenty
million or so, Home County'ers who live in the
Southern areas around London and consistently vote
Tory or else UKIP. The first step to doing this is to
break up the British state by uniting Ireland. Victory
in Ireland will aid the oppressed nationalities within
Britain and will also prefigure a huge challenge to
the forces of reaction in Britain. Failure to
understand this leads to social imperialist positions
on the British State. I'm dissappointed that Phil F.
doesn't understand this but he usually never lets
facts get in the way of what appears to be a nice
revolutionary line, this time its: Unity of the
British Working Class! Ah, how you miss the ultraleft!

Le meas,

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