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Saturday, 4 August 2012

Labour Raises Red Flag of Revolution... but only in commemoration of past

According to some historians the use of the red flag as a symbol of revolution and working class revolt dates from the 1831 Merthyr Rising. Armed workers and the unemployed seized the town, after sacking the debtors' court, and held it for a number of days against troops sent to put down the spreading revolt and associated strike action.

Trade unionists in Wales continue to commemorate the revolt and remember the unjust execution of Dic Penderyn. On August 12 there is a memorial walk organised by NUT and supported by PCS and others, on which participants will be encouraged to carry red flags in memory of the raising of the red flag of revolution in 1831.

At this event they will be joined by Wales' First Minister, Carwyn Jones. The Labour Party, which he leads in Wales, is happy to celebrate revolutionary acts at a distance of 180 years but the current Labour Party spits on trade unionists fighting to defend their terms and conditions. Leader Milliband's demands that PCS members in UKBA not be allowed to disrupt the corporate shop window that the Olympics has become, through strike action after a democratic vote, is consistent with his refusal to back public sector workers striking to defend pensions.

Welsh Labour often claims to be different from their big brothers and sisters in Westminster but the Welsh Labour Government is presiding over cuts that threaten the Labour Party's greatest achievement, the NHS in Wales.

Trade unionists should remember the struggles and martyrs of our movement. The Labour Party has abandoned the symbol of the red flag along with support for workers in struggle. Socialists celebrate working class fighters of the past by dedicating ourselves to supporting struggles today and by struggling for a fairer society, a socialist society.

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1 comment:

  1. This echoes the recent news from Ireland about plans to commemorate Ché Guevara with a statue in Galway. Unsurprisingly it has attracted condemnation from a leading US politician with Galway roots but what is surprising is that the idea was first proposed by Labour Party Councillor.

    As a Socialist myself and a huge admirer of Che, I would welcome any commemoration of the revolutionary, however I find it incredible and hypocritical that the person behind the plan is a representative of a party that would scorn any Socialist or revolutionary action, a representative of a party who condemn strikes and fail to defend the working class from austerity.

    I'm sure both Che and the workers of 1831 Merthyr would roll in their graves at the thought of being fawned over by a party of the ruling class and a party of Capitalism which the Labour Party have undoubtedly become.


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