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Wrexham GWYL TWM SBAEN FESTIVAL 6th April 2019
A free festival celebrating the life and struggles of Tom Jones, Welsh miner and internationalist, was held in Ty Pawb, Wrexham last Saturday.
The event was organised by Plaid councilor Marc Jones, members of South Clwyd LP and local community activists in a solid effort to stand up to the local threat of fascist groups recently showing up in Wrexham. It had the full support of UNITE which also gave financial backing. Local activists and the wider politically aware population are appalled at the rise of the right wing here in North Wales and Saturday’s festival was an excellent, inclusive event
which gave a strong message of solidarity with anti-fascists across Europe and South America.
The event marked the 80th Anniversay of the International Brigades fight in the Spanish Civil War; Tom Jones (nicknamed Tom Spain) was in the 15th Brigade, fought, was captured and imprisoned for two years under sentence of death, before being released, returning to Wales and becoming the TGWU sec locally.
He died in 1990.
The day began with a rally in Queen’s Square with various speakers; a lively, peaceful march took place led by the excellent Cambria band through the streets; the Community Choir gave loud and tuneful voice to socialist classics in the Ty Pawb arts before the afternoon session of talks from David Ebsworth (local historian and author) on Twm Sbaen & Rhos, Dolores Long and Jim Jump (International Brigades Memorial Trust) on their family accounts of IB experiences, Jason Hunter from Hope Not Hate (fighting fascism here and now), Apolo Santana about personal experience of the rise of fascism in Chile and his subsequent exile, Julia Felmanas on Bolsanaro’s rise and Lula’s imprisonment in Brazil and Carlos Suarez on the current struggle in Catalunya.
The over arching message couldn’t be clearer- the far right are on the rise, are emboldened by events which give oxygen to their agenda of repression and we must learn from history, keep our history alive by telling the stories of those who are no longer here to tell it themselves, and resist and oppose fascism wherever it crawls out into the open.
This was a significant event which might become an annual one. It was non-sectarian, attended and supported by members of TUs, CLP, Plaid, WCP and LU as well as the wider public. The various stalls were run by UNITE, IWW, Welsh Communists, International Brigades. A film about Jack Jones was shown, there were debates, poetry and children’s activities with free music gigs showcasing six local bands from 7.30pm -1am.
It was lively, fun, thought provoking, serious in its intent and strong in its message. NO PASARAN!