Socialist Worker

Home Movie Roadshow's snapshot of miners’ militancy

by Yuri Prasad
Issue No. 2215

Tucked away in the first episode of the BBC’s new series on the history of home movies is some surprising footage of the 1974 miners’ strike.

Shot by a radical film makers’ group called Camera Action, the five minute sequence is a snapshot of the militancy of the British working class at the time.

Miners are shown leaving dangerous and dirty seams to be greeted by graffiti chalked at the pit head urging them to “vote yes” to strike action—which they did, by 82 percent.

They talk about how poor pay means they are forced to live on a pittance, despite spending more than a half a century in a job that has robbed them of their health.

But it’s when the strike starts that the excerpt really comes into its own.

Rank and file miners talk enthusiastically about the need to take action, and how their battle is part of a wider class war.

Yorkshire miners’ leader Arthur Scargill tells a rally that he has just won the support of Birmingham engineers for their action.

The story then shifts to the solidarity that striking miners receive.

Workers at the Ford Dagenham car plant in east London give their backing, while activists in the dockers’ union working on the Thames talk about their traditions of solidarity.

Tory prime minister Edward Heath calls a state of emergency and a snap general election—only to be beaten by Labour, and the power of workers.

Home Movie Roadshow Uncut: episode one
Available on BBC iPlayer. Go to http://bbc.co.uk/i/tfv3k/?t=20m51s


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Tue 17 Aug 2010, 18:05 BST
Issue No. 2215
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