The Miners' Strike 1984/85


Submitted by Matthew on 11 October, 2017 - 10:48

Colin Waugh’s review of The Russian Revolution: When Workers Took Power is right that Marxists must learn from the experience of workers’ struggles: revolutionary socialism certainly is dialogic. The Bolsheviks followed those principles and this helps explain their success in 1917. However I disagree with Colin’s critique of Kautsky and Lenin about the relationship between socialism and the working class.

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Orgreave: cops still getting away with it, 32 years on

Submitted by Matthew on 2 November, 2016 - 11:16

Worried that it could return an indictment of the police as over the Hillsborough disaster, the Tory government has refused an inquiry into the “Battle of Orgreave”, when cops attacked striking miners outside a coking plant near Sheffield.

Bernard Jackson was one of the miners arrested on 18 June 1984, charged with riot and put on trial. He described the day:

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The Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the British labour movement

Submitted by AWL on 27 October, 2016 - 1:48 Author: Sean Matgamna

Most of the Trotskyist organisations backed the Russians. Socialist Organiser was the only organisation in the entire “orthodox Trotskyist” political spectrum that condemned the Russian invasion and called for the troops to be withdrawn.

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Davey Hopper, 1943-2016

Submitted by Matthew on 27 July, 2016 - 11:19 Author: Gerry Bates

Davey Hopper, General Secretary of the Durham Miners Association, died suddenly on 16 July.

The defeat of the 1984-1985 miners’ strike destroyed communities, lives and set back the cause of working class struggle for a generation. No one knew that better then Hopper, and he with others devoted the next 30 years of his life to turning the Durham Miners’ Association into a force which fought back for the community and the wider movement.

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Democracy, direct action, and socialism

Submitted by Gemma_S on 24 June, 2016 - 10:53

There are decisive turning points in history that shape the future for many years ahead. The British labour movement was brought to such a turning point by the victory of the Thatcherite Tories in the 1979 general election and the events that came after it. The defeat of the labour movement then shaped the social, political, and ethical world we live in now. Was that defeat unavoidable? The revolutionary left argued then that it wasn’t: that if we mobilised our strength we could defeat Thatcher, as we had defeated her Tory predecessors in 1972-4.

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Ellen Meiskins Wood (1942-2016): a Marxist who put class centre

Submitted by Matthew on 20 January, 2016 - 11:59 Author: Andrew Coates

Ellen Meiksins Wood, who has died aged 73, was a noted intellectual figure on the international left who influenced several generations of thinkers and activists.

Born in New York as Ellen Meiksins one year after her parents, Latvian Jews active in the Bund, arrived as political refugees, Wood studied in California before establishing herself as an academic in Canada, based at York University in Toronto.

Her writings were thought-provoking and luminous.

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The demand for a radically different society

Submitted by AWL on 6 January, 2015 - 5:55

The second edition of Class against Class, the miners' strike 1984-5 is now available. New items include a review of “The Battle for Orgreave” by the late Rob Dawber, an account of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, and retrospective analysis of the importance of the strike.

From the introduction:

Between March 1984 and March 1985, British miners fought one of the great epics of working-class history. In scope, intensity and duration their strike is unique in the history of the British labour movement.

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We will not go down without a fight

Submitted by AWL on 11 November, 2014 - 5:36 Author: Karina Knight

I was born in 1974 and grew up in the north east of England in the 70s and 80s.

Part of a properly matriarchal family, my mother was one of six sisters, their deceased father and their mother had been solid Labour supporters. I was told stories by Lesley (my mother) of them stitching rosettes for the party when they were young “until their fingers bled” — there may have been some exaggeration, maybe not!

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