Radical political analysis, commentary and discussion in Wales
Dadansoddiad a thrafodaeth radicalaidd o wleidyddiaeth yng Nghymru
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An open letter to Leanne Wood AM

Dear Leanne,

I'm writing because I know you'll listen. Thank you so much for your message of solidarity to Occupy Cardiff the morning of our attempt to set up camp.

Thank you for coming out to support us, as you have so many other demonstrations. You were stood in the cold and the rain next to the Plaid Cymru deputy leader of Cardiff Council, Neil McEvoy. This tableau raises the theme I wish to address: contradictions.

Cllr McEvoy offered us the choice of decamping to Callaghan Square, invisible to the working class of Cardiff. This surprised me: McEvoy lobbied extensively for £60 million of public money to be handed to Callaghan Square – to the very kinds of big business, banks, insurance companies, mega-law firms, which caused the banking crisis and contribute to many of society's biggest injustices; this money being extracted from the budget for Cardiff's public services.

Cllr McEvoy cannot possibly think he can sit on both sides of this matter. Indeed, Plaid Cymru as a party cannot possibly feel itself to sit on both sides of the irreconcilable conflict between capitalism and
"a new economic order based on fairness and justice".

On 'Dragon's Eye' last year, you defended the 2010 Welsh budget, which cut public services, as
"playing the hand you're dealt".
We both know the dealer is cheating. My party put forward a 'needs budget' proposal, with the Assembly, backed by a mass movement, wresting cash from Westminster to stop all cuts. At the time you doubted a mass movement was plausible.

On 11th November 2011, the vanguard of that movement was at Cardiff Castle, and a Plaid Cymru-supported Council used the police to force us back. A Plaid Cymru at once willing to go to court for acts of peaceful protest, decry police treatment of peaceful protestors, yet to have protestors arrested cannot survive.

Members believe Plaid to be united by nationalism; but the thin green ribbon of independence doesn't bind Plaid;s ennobled right to its republican left. As the economy worsens, intraparty class war becomes inevitable. The only question is how it will be fought.

The sidelined left could be purged as party bosses talk of 'electability'. Standing for nothing, Plaid might eventually win a majority. What would be the point?

The left can rise, linking in with unions, opposing every cutback and job loss, fighting for full powers for Wales, cementing party democracy; such a party would be a nucleus for a new workers' movement. If 'political realities' make whipping the McEvoys and Kinnocks-redux to heel impossible, the only path forward is a split with the dead to forge new live unity.

When we shared a hustings platform in 2010, you asked me:
"let's keep this left vs. right?"
If the left and right of Plaid Cymru will sit comfortably at the same table, Leanne, the Welsh 99% must stand outside in the rain.

Yours with comradely greetings,
Edmund Schluessel
Cathays, Cardiff