New pressure group Propel was launched officially in a meeting attended by over 150 people at the Great Hall in the Exchange Hotel in Cardiff on Monday evening.
Propel describes itself as a grassroots movement for members and supporters of Plaid Cymru, campaigning for individual, community and national sovereignty for Wales.
It pledges to work in communities across the country “to tackle corruption, re-industrialise Wales for the 21st Century and reach out to all those who have been let down and left behind by the Welsh political establishment, to deliver a united Wales and to elect a Plaid Cymru government”.
Those present heard speeches from Neath activist Bethan Phillips, the Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Heledd Gwyndaf, and AM Neil McEvoy.
McEvoy, the independent AM for South Wales Central, was expelled by Plaid Cymru in March after being removed from the assembly group in September last year for taking actions or making statements that were deemed damaging, or potentially damaging, to the public reputation of the party, and for being responsible for breaches of confidentiality.
His initial 18-month ban was reduced to 12 months after a successful appeal hearing earlier this month.
He describes the new group as “not left, not right. It’s a bottom-up, grassroots movement for Wales.”
In an impassioned speech Heledd Gwyndaf, Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith said: “If you’re anything like me, you’re probably very frustrated, and are looking for a vehicle that will carry us to a sovereign nation.
“The last few years have offered many opportunities – it’s been the perfect storm – but I fear that none of our leaders, in any political party, have seen fit to take them.
“I’d like to thank Neil McEvoy for recognising that need and trying to fix the vehicle that can take us there. “At the moment, we have almost been completely colonised.
“Our nation is symptomatic of a nation that has been colonised.
“We are in a situation where our nation and our language are figures of fun and abuse.
“Our nation and language are stupid. Our nation and language are pointless.
“Our language isn’t the language of business and our nation cannot and does not deserve to have a sustainable, thriving economy.
“Our language isn’t the language of law, and we do not have the aptitude or ability to create laws for our people.
“Our language is a cost and our nation costs.
“We are a dumping ground for England, to be used and plundered because we do not deserve better.
“Of course, I need not tell this audience that none of this is true.
“But out there in the country we need to because these things have become truths. They have become truths to institutions in England and so have become true to us as a people.
“Because that’s what colonising does. It makes us colonise ourselves. And we’re drowning.”
McEvoy, who is threatening legal action against Plaid following his expulsion, told the audience: “Politics is too important to be left to politicians.
“All politicians come and go. Some know their sell-by dates, others don’t. Ideas remain. Ideas endure. Ideas will propel us on a journey of optimism to create the Wales we know we can be.
“The reality is we have imported America’s culture war into Welsh politics and instead of uniting people we’re dividing people up.
“Some people are said to be oppressors simply because of their gender or their race. In 21st Century Wales there is almost a competition as to which group is the most oppressed.
“In Wales we should know who the real oppressor is because it’s been the same for almost 1000 years. It is the UK elite who have taken the wealth from our country to make themselves rich while keeping us poor.
“It is the new elite in the Bay bubble copying their London masters.
“I’m not interested in turning people against each other because of their gender, race, faith or sexual orientation. I know what our political purpose is. It’s addressing the injustice of a country being exploited for centuries.
“We have to defeat the elites and they are the political elites that don’t represent us: the UK media elites that don’t talk about us unless there is something condescending or negative to say.
“The financial elites, the 1% who keep their finances offshore so we can’t benefit from it.”
McEvoy also expressed fears for the future of the National Assembly and predicted the possibility that it could be abolished, adding he felt it’s crucial for Propel to change the direction of politics in Wales.
“Wales can stand on its own two feet and be successful but more than that we have a duty and responsibility to govern our own country,” he said.
“We will push for a referendum on Welsh national sovereignty with international recognition as soon as a majority in the Welsh Parliament is achieved.
“Propel will organise events, rallies and mobilisation of supporters. It will train you to go out and win elections.
“We are going to help people who support Propel’s aims to get active and get their voices heard. We’ll campaign and get the public interested in what we’re doing.”
The new group now plans to take its message across Wales with events planned across the country in the coming weeks.
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