How do we stop ourselves from feeling helpless in 2019? In the world we live in how can we fight against the rise of the far right and realise an independent Wales that can work of its people? Our co-chair Sioned Treharne outlines some resolutions everyone can make in 2019…
Plaid Ifanc’s vision (just like the vision held by our mother party, Plaid Cymru) is rooted in values. It is these values that form a basis for our activism, and inform the direction of our movement. Above all else, it is these values that motivate our members to take action and speak out. Turning values into action is Plaid Ifanc’s raison d’être, and the tireless work undertaken by our members is indisputable proof of this.
Although our main successes as a movement, in our opinion, come from our actions, this year we felt it was time to revisit our core values. In a period of such uncertainty and doubt, it is important that we state, openly and clearly, who we are and what motivates us.
Our values are:
- Represent our communities, at a local and national level, to tackle issues facing young people.
- Fostering positive international relations with our sister parties in Europe and across the globe.
- Promoting gender, racial and language equality; environmental awareness; LGBT rights; and social justice.
- Talking about why our generation should care about politics.
- Building a Wales that can stand on its own two feet as an independent country.
In a recent session of Plaid Ifanc’s National Council, members also agreed that the movement should…
…publicly [reiterate] our desire for an independent, feminist, socially just, environmentally sustainable and tolerant nation, where all citizens can reach their full potential, regardless of their background.
We’d also like to see all our citizens reaching their full potential through the medium of Welsh.
This is our vision and our goal for our nation.
However, living in the real world can unsettle and demoralise us at times, and create a widespread feeling of powerlessness.
With right-wing extremism gaining ground in Wales and across Europe, it is little wonder that people don’t know where to begin in tackling the rise of such hatred.
Perhaps young people (in age and in spirit) ought to heed these few nuggets of advice from day to day.
- Turn off your phone for a while. Make sure you disconnect from the bickering and non-stop clamour of social media every so often. Utilise every opportunity to discuss your thoughts and ideas with your friends, your family, and especially those who disagree with you. Don’t enter into online arguments; you will never convince your opponents in this arena. Go for a walk. Listen to music. Pick up a book or newspaper. Take the time to educate yourself and to form your own ideas.
- Offer your skills and services to a local volunteer project. This is the best example of values in action – feeling as though you’re making a real, tangible difference to your neighbours’ lives.
- If you have ideas, implement them. If you feel as though something ought to be available but isn’t, don’t wait for someone else to achieve this on your behalf – roll up your sleeves and do the hard graft yourself. Turn your frustration into positive action.
- Invest in people. Remember to put time aside to get to know your peers and colleagues, and find out what matters most to them. Listen to their concerns. Be supportive and support them when they need help. Share your passion with others.
- Be an embodiment of the values you hold. Treat your supporters and your opponents with respect. Speak up when you witness injustice – against yourself or against others. Have confidence in your ability to make a difference with your actions, large or small.
Perhaps the suggestions above don’t offer answers on how to improve Wales’s economy or infrastructure, nor do they offer solutions to our social issues. However, if we follow the five steps outlined above, there’s a chance we may be able to change things – one day at a time, one person at a time.
Wales relies on us to shoulder our responsibilities now more than ever – now is the time to do so.