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Year 2001 No. 42, March 6, 2001 Archive Search Home Page

Tony Blair’s Reference to the Welsh Nation

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Tony Blair’s Reference to the Welsh Nation

Turkey: What Is Behind the Attacks on Political Prisoners

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Tony Blair’s Reference to the Welsh Nation

Tony Blair was speaking to the Welsh Labour conference in Swansea on March 2.

His speech, "Wales has every reason to be confident", was along the lines of the now well-worn path of pointing out the serious problems which exist – "This is a time of struggle for Wales." Here he could not avoid pointing out the devastation of the farming community and the threat to jobs at Corus.

But then pointing out that, as the Prime Minister claims, although there is still much to do, the foundations have been laid for change – "The foundations are being put in place that will deliver a bright future for Wales." Here, Tony Blair points to the National Assembly of Wales providing leadership and the Welsh people rising to new challenges and shaping its own destiny.

And then, along with obvious swipes against the Tory Party, comes the issue of tough choices and the identification of the Labour Party with the nation – "The issue for us is not whether we have the right aims. The nation’s agenda and ours is the same. The issue is: can we deliver it?"

The conclusion of Tony Blair, of course, is that Wales can be confident that the Labour government can deliver this agenda, in partnership with the Welsh Assembly.

In the course of Tony Blair’s earnestness to identify Party with nation, the Prime Minister has actually been forced to recognise that the Welsh nation exists and that the Welsh people must shape their own destiny. In the majority of speeches he gives, of course, by sleight of hand the "nation" that he refers to is "Britain". That no such nation exists does not worry Tony Blair in his programme summed up in the slogan of "Making Britain Great Again". But in Wales, Tony Blair has realised this will not wash.

Therefore, his message to the conference was: "I believe Wales has every reason to be confident about the future. It is a time of optimism because devolution is bringing with it fresh leadership, home grown solutions to Wales’s challenges, the prospect of a Welsh nation moving forward with a sense of purpose and direction."

The programme of the working class is for modern sovereign states of Scotland, Wales and England, with a voluntary union between them should the peoples so decide. The Welsh nation must itself determine its own future.

Naturally, it will not do to identify this self-determination of the Welsh people with the agenda of the Labour Party. Tony Blair is caught with the logic of devolution, even though this constitutional reform was meant to head off the movement of the Welsh and Scottish peoples for self-determination.

The working class of Wales has also a strong sentiment for socialism, which the Prime Minister was at pains to rubbish with such non-arguments as: "Changing Clause 4 now seems such an obvious thing to do it seems amazing that it was as controversial as it was." But in unity with the working class of Scotland and England, the working class of Wales can also put the English bourgeoisie in its place. As in Scotland and England, the working class must rise to become the leading class of the nation.

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What Is Behind the Attacks on Political Prisoners

Article from Yeni Evrensel Turkish daily (24 December 2000)

WDIE has recently received a bulletin from "The Campaign for Human Rights in Turkey". This was launched by the Liverpool Dockers’ Shop Stewards Delegation to Turkey, July 1996. Here we reproduce the lead article published under the above headline.

History reveals that the ruling classes will attempt to smash the labour movement when faced with a social crisis which finds them weakened, and when society is embroiled in instability.

... All sections of society in Turkey are undergoing a period of mobilisation, discontent and fundamental change. The IMF and World Bank backed economic programme could not be implemented successfully, despite the fact that the labour opposition is not strong enough to halt the programme totally... All established parties have adopted the same programme which have the same results of leading to more unemployment, poverty, a decline in production capacity, privatisation, investment collapse, reduced purchasing power for the working people, etc. This policy is paving the way for the imperialists to plunder national resources and intensifying political attacks on the people. Despite this, the ruling classes are in a state of pessimism and internally divided.

The attacks on the revolutionaries in prison and other opposition forces cannot be understood in isolation from the instability facing the ruling classes, or from the increasing conflict among the capitalists, or from the more obvious signs of economic crisis. Their display of might and savagery is a cover for their powerlessness and impasse. Having witnessed the tendency of the expansion and rise of the labour struggle, the reactionary forces are trying to bring it to a stop, to deepen the divisions in the ranks of the people, and reinforce the ideology that "one cannot gain anything against the state"...

The ruling classes are aware of the conflicts among themselves and of the erosion of support from the people to establishment institutions and parties. In order to implement their programme fully, they seek to attack the popular movement from its weakest point and reap benefit from the division among the working people. In line with the requirements of psychological war as part of their propaganda apparatus, they use the weapon of "terrorism" to isolate the advanced sections of the working people from the less politically advanced majority.

... To achieve a successful tactic of assault on the people they tried to select the most suitable attacking point, in other words "the weakest point" of the opposition forces, and they have been successful to a certain extent.

The politicians of capital in intensifying the false propaganda and presenting the attacks and massacre as a "return to life" are relying on the tactic of political-psychological and ideological attack. They are trying to make the masses of people believe the "necessity of this operation" and portray themselves as "innocent".

The ruling classes are using the "death fast" and the developments in prisons as a weapon against the impulse to organise against capital and against the commitment of organised revolutionaries to struggle against imperialism and reactionary forces for the emancipation of the workers and working people in general. They want to get out of their economic crisis and their internal conflicts by intensifying the attack on this "weakest point" in order to prevent the working people from struggling and from taking action in response. Dozens of dead people, hundreds of injured, and the savage attack on protesters outside are all part of the wave of attack designed to repress the organised struggle of the working people, their social gains and abilities to struggle.

The broadest sections of the working class, especially those exhibiting class consciousness, are faced with the task of developing a struggle against these attacks, a struggle which can make the ruling classes and their government step back. Although this is not a new task, there are new developments which make it more urgent. The working people's ability to protect their rights will ultimately depend on how far they can unite around the advanced and organised sections. Achieving the unity among the class party and all other parties claiming to be on the side of the working people will help develop the struggle of the working people and make it possible to reverse the attacks of capital. Ideological differences and the principle of independent organisational activity will not be obstacles to this.

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