Monday, April 15, 2013

The Great Unrest Group Statement for a Welsh Socialist Republican Party on why Wales must bury Thatcherism and not just Thatcher.

Thatcherism swept away the twin pillars of heavy industry on which the Welsh economy had rested for two centuries – iron and steel and coal and devastated Wales in a few decades.
Thatcher and Thatcherism are words that mean free market neo liberal capitalism and unless we confront and defeat the Thatcherite mantra of marketization and privatisation we will not reverse Welsh economic decline.
The privatisation of the steel industry in 1988 led to the closure of works at East Moors in Cardiff, Shotton in North Wales and Ebbw Vale which had in the mid Sixties employed 10,000 men.
By its closure in 2002 it employed 400.
The contraction of the steel industry progressed slower compared to the rapid disappearance of coal.
By July 1985 only 31 mines were left in Wales compared to 620 at the outbreak of World War I.
After the 1984-85 miners’ strike the rate of closure accelerated.
By 1993 a further 18 had disappeared.
The last deep mine in South Wales, Tower, closed a year later.
Nor was rural Wales safe from Thatcher policies.
Thatcher's championing of private home ownership and the consequent rise in house prices enabled many from more affluent parts of Britain to buy second homes in rural Wales or move there permanently to live off their property market windfalls.
The result was an intolerable strain on the Welsh language heartland and its culture.
However the naked figures of the industrial closures belie the real devastation to communities built around over two centuries of coal mining and iron and steel making, the catastrophic collapse of employment in Wales in many communities saw the rise of a drug culture and crime which reflected the social hopelessness of the situation.
Wales entered into trajectory of decline whereby today Wales is the second poorest country in Western Europe after Portugal and some areas of Poland and Romania are now more prosperous than Wales.
We at the Great Unrest Group for a Welsh Socialist Republican Party want to arrest this decline by new policies and new politics of Welsh renewal - yes a new Welsh Revival, fundamental to that Revival and Renewal is the rejection of further marketisation of the Welsh Economy and the creation and socialisation of new industries.
We have already called for the creation of public enterprises to create employment via a new Welsh Banking System and a new Welsh Land Act.
Wales will have a future.

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