THERE’S no doubt in my mind that Merthyr Tydfil is the most important town in the history of Wales. It was here that the modern Wales was forged in the fires of industry.

Its great ironworks alone, where the art of puddling was perfected, and the first recorded steam-hauled railway journey began, are enough to secure its place in Welsh, if not world, history.

But it is also of course known as a town of radical rebellion. It was here in 1831, during the Merthyr Rising, that the red flag of revolution was flown for the first time. The town was also a centre of Chartists activity at the time of the Newport Rising in 1839.

Merthyr’s history of rebellion and radicalism is also representative of the history of Wales as a whole. From Llywelyn the Last’s attempts to hold out the invading Norman army of Edward I in the 13th century, to Owain Glyndwr’s war of rebellion.

From the Rebecca Riots by farmers in response to unfair taxation 1839-43, to the three-year Penrhyn slate quarry strike of 1900-3, the longest dispute in British industrial history. From the Tonypandy riots of 1910 and 1911, which prompted Churchill to send troops to south Wales, to the miners’ strike of 1984-5.

What all these events had in common was that they were a fight for justice, and rebellion against injustice. A fundamental belief that the weakest and the poorest should not be dominated by a neglectful or domineering elite.

Wherever we are from in Wales, whatever our language or cultural identity, these rebellions bind our national story as powerfully as the iron chains forged at Cyfarthfa ironworks.

Welsh national identity was necessary, and still is necessary, primarily as a call to arms against domination and exploitation.

The campaign being waged by Yes Cymru, of which today’s march is such an important part, is part of the same historical tapestry.

It is not a battle against any other part of Britain. We are not at war with our brothers and sisters in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Wales will always be part of the British isles, geographically, linguistically, culturally and economically.

The fight for Welsh independence is one against the centralising of political, economic and cultural power in the hands of an unrepresentative elite.

We have seen just this week how unfit for purpose Westminster is. It is both decaying as a building and an institution, its anachronistic and obscure conventions completely incomprehensible to most.

In an independent Wales, the future of our nation wouldn’t be decided by politicians completely removed from our concerns, like gods playing dice with our fate on the summit of Mount Olympus.

Welsh independence aims to do what those currently in charge of Brexit are pretending to do – which is to return political, economic and cultural power to everyone in Wales.

In fighting for Welsh independence, YesCymru is fighting to bring that power back to towns such as Merthyr Tydfil, who have had control over their own destinies taken away from them.

Whether you are for Brexit or against Brexit, or for Labour, Plaid Cymru or whoever else, we can be united in believing that Wales should be run by its own people and parliament – who understand and care for Wales; that we can do things differently, and better, ourselves.

Wales has throughout its history benefitted from its radical and rebellious spirit. And today we channel that spirit to say that we can do better than Westminster, as an independent nation.

Ifan Morgan Jones is a lecturer in journalism at Bangor University and the editor of the Nation.Cymru news site. His latest novel, Babel, costs £9.99 and is available to buy now