The CP congress in Wales has finished with a rousing singing of the Internationale - anthem of Communists around the world - in French, to express solidarity following the recent massacre in Paris. We reproduce here, the full resolutions.
WELSH CONGRESS RESOLUTION
Pontypridd, November 28, 2015
FOR A PEOPLE’S WALES IN A FEDERAL BRITAIN
For economic planning and intervention
All the major economic, social, cultural and political problems confronting the working class and people of Wales remain those identified in the Communist Party’s programme Real Power for the People of Wales.
The Welsh economy is only slowly recovering from the 2008-09 crash and crisis. This could be choked off altogether if the Tory government’s proposed cuts in public expenditure are not blocked and reversed. The block grant to the National Assembly and Welsh government is being slashed disproportionately in order to punish Wales for not going fully down the road to privatisation, notably in the NHS and secondary school education. Proposals to devolve tax-raising powers to Wales to replace a proportional element of the block grant are intended to reduce equalisation funding, placing more of the financial burden on the mass of working people and their families.
Welsh Communists reaffirm our support for the devolution of revenue raising powers in principle, but oppose attempts to make them conditional on formulas which eliminate a fairer distribution of wealth and public funds between the nations and regions of Britain. We also reiterate our demand for an end to restrictions on the ability of the National Assembly and Welsh government to raise funds on capital markets for investment in our country’s economic, social and cultural infrastructure.
A Welsh National Investment Bank should be established, accountable to the National Assembly and its ministers and financed through bond issues and levies on large scale profitable corporate operations and luxury developments. Its investment programme should be determined in accordance with an Economic Plan for Wales which should involve wide consultations with the public, private, cooperative and voluntary sectors including the trade unions and business.
That programme should include the construction of coastal lagoons to harness the tidal power of the Severn estuary for energy production; and an extension of the railway network in Wales under public ownership. Financial support should also be given where necessary to Welsh local authorities planning to set up non-nuclear, carbon-free energy generation and community heating schemes.
Greater Welsh government intervention will be needed in the economy in order to secure balanced and sustainable development that provides stable, well paid jobs in modern, technological industries. The deepening crisis in the steel industry confirms that monopoly market forces will never put the economic or social interests of the Welsh people and their communities first.
Public funds to the private sector must be tied to concrete objectives such as job creation, wage levels including equal pay, training, increased R&D activity in Wales and trade union recognition.
For progressive federalism
The devolution of economic and financial powers to Wales is becoming an ever more urgent necessity in the light of British ruling class and Tory government strategy, the continuing failures of capitalist market forces and the continuing instability of the capitalist system internationally. It is intolerable that Wales should have the most restricted, policed and impoverished legislature in Europe if not the world.
The people of Wales should demand at the very least equal status between their National Assembly and the Scottish Parliament (in addition to removing the existing veto powers over Welsh legislation held by the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Westminster Parliament, the monarch and the Supreme Court). This means the transfer of powers in a host of policy areas at present ‘reserved’ to the central government in London, including in land registration, charges and development; non-energy minerals; major infrastructure projects; the criminal justice system, anti-social behaviour and policing (which would require the construction of a distinctive Welsh juridical system); alcohol licensing; public surveillance and private security; people trafficking and slavery; dangerous dogs and hunting; sports ground safety; teachers pay and the sale of student loans.
The Tory government’s proposals for ‘English votes for English laws’ in the Westminster Parliament highlights would only reinforce the present iniquities in present arrangements as far as Wales is concerned. The special procedures for draft legislation which will not apply in areas devolved to the Scottish Parliament, but which will apply to Wales in non-devolved (‘reserved’) areas with or without England, would explicitly allow England’s 533 MPs to continue to override the wishes of the 40 MPs from Welsh constituencies.
This latest constitutional dog’s breakfast, alongside the survival of the House of Lords as a legislative institution comprising the beneficiaries of birth or patronage, underlines the need to move towards a fully federal system in Britain. In place of the House of Lords, there should be a federal chamber in which the representatives from England, Scotland and Wales have equal national status, in which all proposals for Britain as a whole must receive the support of a majority from each nation.
This should be combined with a constitutional duty upon the federal chamber to enact measures to redistribute wealth and public funds between the nations and regions of Britain, thereby counteracting the huge concentration of wealth in the hands of a small minority of people – the super-rich – in the south-east of England. In this way, federalism would be central to a progressive agenda that differentiates itself from the separatism that would deny the people of Wales access to the wealth that they have created over successive generations.
Welsh Communists will therefore urge our party’s Executive Committee to carry forward the development of a coherent class-based policy for a federal Britain. This would be a counter-argument to the reactionary piecemeal devolution that is being implemented by stealth by this Tory government, as well as a counter-balance to the populist illusions being peddled by parties advocating separatism.
Building a united popular front
In defending public services in Wales, it is essential that the public at large understand and appreciate that these were hard won through struggle, with popular demands often backed by militant action. They were not given to us by kind-hearted politicians. The Communist Party has a significant role to play in raising people’s awareness by showing that there is an alternative to austerity. Our programme Real Power for the People of Wales offers a strategic guide to action.
In the light of the challenges and opportunities facing the working class and people of Wales, Welsh Communists will prioritise the following strategic objectives over the next two years:
• Working more systematically with our allies and potential supporters to build and strengthen the People’s Assembly movement against austerity at local and all-Wales levels.
• Promoting the National Assembly of Women with the objective of building a network of NAW members and supporters across Wales.
• Working with the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom and the Institute of Employment Rights to urge the Welsh government and local authorities to refuse wherever feasible to implement any of the repressive measures set out in the Trade Union Bill.
• Strengthening our links with the left in the Labour Party and trade union movement at local and Welsh levels to carry forward the battle of ideas for left policies and socialism in the labour movement.
• Renewing efforts with Morning Star readers and supporters to establish or sustain groups in at least four localities, as well as seeking to coordinate promotion of the paper at an all-Wales level in liaison with the trade union movement.
• Assembling a broad-based left coalition against European Union membership in preparation for the referendum in 2016 or 2017, explaining how the anti-democratic, pro-big business fundamental treaties and institutions of the EU undermine public services, jobs, planning and balanced economic development in Wales.
• Playing a more active role in CND Cymru at every level, especially in the campaign against renewal of Trident and further British military intervention in the Middle East, and promoting the work and policies of the World Peace Council and its affiliate in Britain.
• Working with allies and potential supporters to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish anti-fascist war, celebrating the heroic contribution of the International Brigades and their volunteers from Wales.
• Supporting the activities of Cymdeithas Niclas in localities and at the National Eisteddfod and contributing more actively to the work and organisation of the society to promote the politics and poetry of renowned Welsh Communist T.E. Nicholas.
• Supporting and helping to establish new local Palestine Solidarity groups in support of the national and democratic rights of the Palestinian people against Israeli oppression.
• Renewing the organisation and work of the Communist Party in Wales, including through quarterly meetings of the Welsh Committee and a reorganisation of branches to draw more members into planned and focused political activity.
Welsh Communists will also work with other campaigners to expose the iniquities of Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act, which enables unscrupulous landlords to obtain a court order evicting tenants from assured shorthold tenancies without giving a reason.
Vote left in 2016!
The National Assembly elections in May 2016 provide an opportunity to demonstrate the opposition of the workers and people of Wales to Tory policies of austerity and privatisation. The need to provide a united, popular front places major responsibilities on Welsh Labour to present an anti-austerity manifesto to the electorate, in defence of our public services, in line with the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Labour Party members and supporters who elected Jeremy Corbyn as party leader; and on Plaid Cymru, to target the anti-people policies of the Tory government rather than the social democratic approach of the Welsh Labour government.
In particular, Welsh Communists will work closely with Hope Not Hate and other anti-racist groups and individuals to expose the reactionary social and economic policies of UKIP in order to oppose its drive for seats in the National Assembly.
In all the regional list elections, Welsh Communists will urge electors – including Labour supporters whose regional vote for Labour would be otherwise wasted – to vote Communist. Our candidates will stand on a platform of left and progressive policies, for democratic and progressive federalism, and for mass political action against austerity, privatisation, the EU and nuclear weapons, to bring down the Tory government as soon as possible before the end of its five-year term of office.