My name is Jim Dunckley and I have been a member of Yes Cymru since it was founded back in 2014. Since that time Yes Cymru has grown and developed, and despite recent ups and downs has established itself as a solid presence on the Welsh political scene. The “Indy genie” is out of the bottle and no amount of Unionist Jiggery Pokery will put it back in!
For my part I am a Socialist and a Republican and have been active on the Welsh political scene for 30 years, on a whole range of community issues from housing and tenants rights to environmental campaigns against large energy projects. I have served on two town councils. In the late 1990s I campaigned along with thousands of others for Devolution, but recognise that Devolution is not enough. As Enoch Powell once said (not a fan but it’s a good quote) “Power devolved is power retained” and post-Brexit, a rabidly Unionist Conservative government is bent on undermining and dismantling Welsh democratic institutions.
I believe that Independence is now the only way forward. As part of my broad commitment to campaigning for Independence, part of my role will be to support the excellent hard work of the existing members of the Board.
However, I look forward to working with new members, and have a few ideas of my own.
What concerns me is the mechanics of building a mass movement. While Yes Cymru is now a significant presence on the Welsh political scene, it’s not yet a mass movement that can mobilise significant sections of the Welsh population in ways
that other movements across these islands have done over the last 200 years. To do this Yes Cymru needs to be not just visible and active in communities the length and breadth of Cymru, but tangibly embedded in them. Activities such as litter picks and supporting food banks are a step in the right direction, as we engage with social groups and communities that have been marginalised by the British State.
But we can go further.
WE MAKE OUR OWN RULES.
As a basic principle, we should be making our own rules, and not playing by the rules of others. This means re-defining the terms of the debate around Independence to suit our own objectives, and by extension the benefit of our Nation.
As a step in this direction, I propose to look into the feasibility of establishing an independent localised Welsh currency system, developed within, and promoted by Yes Cymru. Communities have used local currency systems as a means of exchange since time immemorial; anything from grain to cattle to iron bars in Wales during the Iron Age. Central banking is a relatively new innovation, designed to serve the agenda of centralised states like the UK, siphoning wealth from the poorer corners of the state to the wealthy parts. Such currencies only really serve a small minority, not the rest of us.
But we can break this system.
Setting up a localised currency system serves a two-fold purpose. Firstly, it further embeds Yes Cymru in communities, as it allows groups to readily engage with a wide variety of local institutions to build the system, from community councils, to credit unions, to small businesses.
Secondly it redefines the entire currency debate by demonstrating that we do not need to wait for Independence to set up our own currency; we can set up a community-based currency now. In doing so Yes Cymru becomes more than just a
campaigning organisation or lobbying group; we become nation builders who make our own rules, and do not play by the rules of others.
Affiliating organisations do not have to directly endorse Welsh Independence, but they endorse the principle of an independent Welsh currency system by signing up to it. A system that is designed to ring-fence wealth in Welsh communities and support smaller traders in particular, the cornerstone of our small communities and generators of employment and wealth in Cymru.
To examine the feasibility of such a currency, and subject to the ratification of the Bwrdd, I propose to set up a working group, in conjunction with other interested members of the Board, the Council of Deputies, and grassroots members. In this way, grassroots engagement is further developed, and unity is also supported within the organisation.
As an initial step, I will submit a position paper for wide consideration.
More widely, I look forward to working with the Bwrdd and serving the wider membership of Yes Cymru.