by Selwyn Williams
Selwyn Williams draws on Raymond Williams’ socialist vision and inspiration from the Swedish Rural Parliament to introduce new proposals for a ‘Community Movement Cymru’ and a Parliament of the Communities, building on the grassroots success of Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog.Why Community Movement Cymru is so needed as we emerge from the pandemic
Since the Second World War the state’s primary role has been to sustain the capitalist system, but it was able (for a time) as a secondary role to cushion communities from some of the worst aspects of capitalism. Over the last forty years the balance between these two roles of the state has shifted as capital’s lobbying and enormous influence on governments grew. Our communities need to empower themselves, co-operate together and become politicised so as to change government priorities to favour supporting communities rather than corporate capitalism. To this effect we desperately need a powerful community movement in Wales.
Key to a truly progressive community movement is the concept of the ‘foundational economy’. The foundational economy refers to those goods and services that everybody needs, or whose sustainability is essential for communities to flourish, and that are anchored within communities – for example, care and health services, high street retailers, housing, energy, construction, food and tourism. The principles of a progressive foundational economy are firstly that those who work within these sectors benefit from decent wages and working conditions, and secondly that these enterprises (whether public or private) are run according to social and communal priorities rather than the pursuit of private gain. This way of looking anew at the economy leads to different government policies which question the business models, public and private, which prioritise minimum cost and maximum profit as the aim and neglect the community basis for environmental, economic and social sustainability.1Sign in to read more
Selwyn Williams was brought up in the Conwy Valley and has worked as a farming and building labourer, research scientist, schoolteacher and lecturer at y Coleg Normal and the University in Bangor. He has a background in teaching, research and writing in the fields of Biology, Philosophy, Economics and Community Development. He is a director of several community enterprises including the community hotel, Y Pengwern in Llan Ffestiniog, and Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog