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The following article written by one of our group first appeared on Waleshome.org last week, where it has already the 2nd highest number of comments. We reproduce it here in it’s unedited original form.

Welsh history has often failed to integrate an international perspective, and as such the role of Welsh people in the British Empire is too often ignored. People like Henry Bruce (1st Baron Aberdare) whose statue overlooks Cardiff University. He was the first governor of the Royal Niger Company which institutionalised the systematic plundering of wealth from the region that was to become Nigeria. Many of the current problems faced by people in Nigeria are a direct result of domination by Britain. Despite having abundant natural resources and being a major oil producer, poverty is a fact of life for the majority of people in the most populous country in Africa.

MIGRATION is one of the most contentious issues of modern times. Add the “im-” prefix and it’s practically a swear word in some circles. If public debate around the issue is ever given any lip service, it generally has a whiff of racism, or more increasingly the stench of fascism about it. The right-wing gutter press have managed to file ‘bogus asylum seekers’ and ‘illegal immigrants’ into the same category as child killers and sex offenders. There is so much that can be said to counter tabloid lies on immigration, it would be easy to fill a whole article with facts refuting them. But these can be easily found elsewhere, here I will sketch a rarely-articulated history of Wales which undercuts the dominant right-wing discourse on migration.

Opponents of immigration often fix upon the notion of an indigenous culture that requires defending from outside influence, a ‘way of life’ that is under attack from foreigners. The ‘shared identity’ of the nation-state is appealed to, promoting the idea that the interests of all indigenous people are separate to those of ‘foreigners’. This imagined community of a country is a construct, even in a small nation like Wales most people never know, meet, or even hear of most of their fellow countrymen. Any concept of national identity is not innate and unchanging, but fragile, contested, and constructed over time. The hegemonic concept of national identity serves as Read the rest of this entry »

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