Socialist Worker

Durham Miners’ Gala 2009

by John Gilmore
Issue No. 2160

More than 60,000 people attended the 125th Durham Miners’ Gala on Saturday.

The Gala marked the 100th anniversary of the West Stanley Colliery disaster, when 168 men and boys died in the mine owners’ pursuit of profit.

Speakers included Ian Lavery, president of the National Union of Mineworkers, Matt Wrack of the Fire Brigades Union and Bob Crow of RMT transport union.

There was particularly loud applause when the platform condemned the disgrace of the MPs’ expenses scandal.

Matt Wrack pointed out how the workers at the Lindsey Oil Refinery won because they had broken the anti-trade union laws.

Bob Crow made a particularly powerful speech calling for socialist unity.

Anti-racist organisations, including Unite Against Fascism were well received, with thousands of people wearing stickers and badges against the Nazis.

This was particularly pleasing after the fascist BNP got almost 10 percent of the vote in the ex-mining villages in the European elections.

Overall, the size of the gala and in particular the numbers listening to the speakers showed the potential for a left alternative to the crooks, warmongers and traitors from New Labour.

Over 700 copies of Socialist Worker were sold on the day.

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Article information

Tue 14 Jul 2009, 18:56 BST
Issue No. 2160
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