Education

‘Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today’ – Malcolm X

‘Without Revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement’ – Vladimir Lenin

Education is crucial to building up Socialism in Wales. Education should also be free, so here is a list of key-works to read, all in PDF format ready to download.

Please let us know if any links are broken, or if you’d like to make any suggestions to the list (valleysunderground@gmail.com).

We will be expanding this list over time, so keep an eye out for new additions.

Must-Reads

Blackshirts & Reds explores some of the big issues : fascism, capitalism, communism, revolution, democracy,  and serves as a must-read to disprove the myths surrounding Socialism.

Can Capitalism be reformed?  Can voting truly bring about Socialism? What is the nature of the State?  A medium read, but one that’s essential to understanding modern-capitalism and ‘Western’ democracy.

A light-read, Capitalist Realism deals with the common belief that ‘there is no alternative to capitalism’, and the dystopia this belief creates.

A classic, Chomsky serves to prove the limits of mass-media corporations, showing it up as nothing more than the malicious propaganda network of the ruling-class.

A heavy read, but one that explores the inherent contradictions of capitalism – written by the big man himself.

Without question, a must-read.  Prepare to get radicalized.

Writings of a Socialist, a Republican, and an Irish Nationalist.  A brief overview of Socialism.

Another excellent read by Michael Parenti, this time detailing the capitalist class’ victory lap in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s fall, as well as a writings on recent history, political life, empire, wealth, class power, technology, culture, ideology, media, environment, sex, and ethnicity.

A quick read, but one that deals with one of the initial hard concepts to get around when starting to explore Marxism – what is ‘dialectics’?

Not so much a single reading, but more a collection. The archive contains the greatest collection of knowledge regarding Marxist scholars currently online – with collections of works and speeches of almost every noted Marxist over the last hundred or so years – all entirely free.

Current Welsh Politics

A short read, but one examining the twenty-years of managed decline posed by the faux-socialists in Welsh Labour, and it’s worrying implications.

Another short read attacking Welsh Labour’s dismal record in Wales, and the limits of Welsh Labour’s ‘socialism’.

Another article from Leaman, covering the political limitations of Wales’ main parties in implementing a truly radical agenda in the run-up to the 2019 Snap Election.

Yet another short read attacking Welsh Labour, and the threat they pose to actual Welsh Devolution.

Welsh Nationalism

Dismantling the basic arguments against Welsh Independence, and how Independence could serve to achieve radical change in Wales.

Welsh Nationalism and Socialism

Published in the aftermath of the failed 1979 Welsh Devolution Referendum, the pamphlet covers the growing need for a Socialist Republican movement in Wales to address the country’s many problems – a significant amount of which still remain, forty years later.

A posthumous collection of writings by one of Wales’ greatest Socialist Republican’s, Dr. D. Ceri Evans.  From radical ideas for Welsh Devolution, to the Socialist case for learning Welsh, to the extreme limits of Welsh Labour’s policy – Evans’ work remains timeless.

A great Nation.Cymru article covering the case for Welsh Independence from a Marxist perspective – and challenging common critiques from within the Socialist movement about the ‘national question’.

And a similar great article from Undod, again approaching Welsh Nationalism from a Marxist perspective.

The autobiography-of-sorts of one of Plaid Cymru’s most prominent historical Socialists, Emrys Roberts, detailing the fight for Socialism within Plaid Cymru, and the ways in which the Party could offer real radical change.

Offering a sense of hope to those wishing the Labour Party would adopt both Socialism and Independence, this article is a great call-to-arms of those within the Labour Party supporting both.

Myth-busting the small Socialist states 

When you think of states such as Cuba, China, the Soviet Union etc…, especially growing up in the West, you think of ‘police-states’, and ‘dictatorships’.

And while there were many faults and failures within the various Socialist states of the 20th Century, that is not the whole picture, and the realities were a lot more complex.

When debating, it’s important we separate actual leftist criticisms from the Cold-War propaganda that these countries were ‘evil’ and ‘murderous’.

As Socialists these countries also provide an opportunity to learn and adapt, with their practical successes rarely discussed in contemporary debate. 

From East Germany’s radical employee and feminist policy, to Cuba’s trans-formative healthcare programme, to the mass vaccination of hundreds of thousands a few weeks in Burkina Faso, to the revolutionary education programme in Grenada,  there are also significant successes that can’t be ignored.

Cuba

A great introductory bit of reading on how democracy actually works in the small country of Cuba, as opposed to Western myths. Roman’s work also serves to provide examples of how grassroots democracy and community action plays a vital role in achieving Socialism.

Everyone knows of Che Guevara the Revolutionary, Che Guevara the Poet, and Che Guevara the t-shirt icon,  but do many know of his concrete economic policy in Cuba?  An excellent read of the actual strategies implemented by Guevara to further Cuba on its path to Socialism.

  • Though not available as PDF’s at the moment, we highly recommend reading Helen Yaffe’s  ‘We are Cuba!  How a Revolutionary People survived in a Post-Soviet World‘ (2020). The book is an excellent account, from someone living in Cuba during this period, of how the Cuban people – and Cuban democracy, managed to survive the hostility of post-Cold War Capital.
  • Similarly, to understand the thought-process behind one of the most successful Socialist Revolutions, and how Cuban democracy was rebuilt, we recommend ‘Fidel Castro: A Spoken Autobiography’ (2006), by Fidel Castro and Ignacio Ramonet.

East Germany

Did you know the Stasi arrested less people in it’s entire existence than the USA arrests in a single week?

There’s a lot of misinformation about the relatively small German Democratic Republic in the West. This book offers a comprehensive account of East Germany’s many practical Socialist successes in terms of worker’s rights, healthcare, education, living-standards, and feminism – something we can learn from, and build on, in Wales’ struggle for Socialism.  

Indeed, the GDR was far from perfect. Alternatively, in order to encourage debate, we have been recommended this article on Chris Harman’s ‘Class Struggles in Eastern Europe‘, criticizing East Germany from a leftist perspective for it’s ‘buerocracy’ and ‘state-capitalism’.

We highly encourage you to read both, and to come up with your own conclusions.

Grenada

The Socialist Revolution in smaller-than-Wales Grenada ended way before its time.  Still, the lessons of Maurice Bishop remain powerful – especially for small nations like Wales.

We highly recommend this list of speeches by Bishop, on topics ranging from Education, to Sexism, to the Imperialism.

Or if you fancy something different, you could always watch this documentary on ‘Grenada’s Peaceful Revolution‘.

Burkina Faso

Dubbed ‘Africa’s Che Guevara’ – though we’re not subscribing to great man theory, Thomas Sankara was certainly a driving force behind Burkina Faso’s Socialist Revolution.

From an impoverished, former French colony with crippling poverty, to a country with one of the highest literacy rates in Africa, an exemplary Feminist record, an unparalleled programme of vaccination, and the fight against government corruption – the Socialist Government in the small nation of Burkina Faso is certainly one to draw inspiration from.

Read more about Thomas Sankara here

Alternatively, you could watch this speech on Sankara’s legacy on Youtube.

The Soviet Union

Whilst not a ‘small’ Socialist state,  the lessons from the Soviet Union’s collapse are extremely important.   Whether you support or detest the Soviet Union, we encourage you to read the book below – which details the variety of factors that caused the Soviet Union to fall (primarily, the acceptance of a black-market ‘secondary economy’, increasing corruption as a result of this economy, a failure of leadership and consistent undermining from the ‘West’).    The book deconstructs the arguments methodically that ‘Socialism was doomed to fail’, and ‘Liberal Capitalist Democracy’ is the highest-stage of political development.

Non-PDF reading:

Whilst we’re unable to get solid PDFs at the moment of these books, we also highly recommend reading:

  • The Fed, a history of the South Wales miners in the twentieth century‘ (1980), by Hywel Francis.

An amazing work on the history of the South Wales Miners, and the radical politics that often accompanied them.

  • Miners Against Fascism‘ (1984), by Hywel Francis, and ‘The Dragon’s Dearest Cause‘ (2004), by Robert Stradling.

Both excellent accounts – in fact, the definitive, of Welsh volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, and the sense of International Socialist Solidarity that propelled many in South Wales to go fight in Spain.

  • The Communist Party of Great Britain and the National Question in Wales (2017), by Douglas Jones.

An excellent account of how the Communist Party had a long and successful history of supporting Welsh home-rule, and how Communists have influenced Welsh politics over the course of the 20th Century.

  • ‘Labour Country: Political Radicalism and Social Democracy in South Wales 1831-1985’ (2018), by Daryl Leeworthy

A fantastic account of how radical politics has had such a significant historical impact on the politics of the South Wales Coalfield.

To be expanded…

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