Socialist Worker

Events in London and Sheffield mark 30 years on from the Miners’ Strike

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2394

Hundreds of people attended events in London and Sheffield to mark the 30th anniversary of the Great Miners’ strike.

Over 300 people packed into the Rich Mix centre in east London for the Still the Enemy Within event last Saturday. 

And some 250 attended a rally by South Yorkshire NUJ held in Sheffield Library Theatre on Friday of last week. 

Former Silverwood miner Steve Hammill spoke at the event in London.

He told those gathered, “We’re not here to reminisce—this is about the lessons for today.”

Another ex-Silverwood miner, Arthur Critchlow, spoke in Sheffield. 

He described the horror of being imprisoned in Armley prison, Leeds, after the Battle of Orgreave.

Arguments were put forward about not placing faith in even the most left wing trade union leaders.

Steve said, “We floated on a sea of solidarity from working class people but it was a lack of solidarity from the rest of the trade union movement that lost us the strike. They watched us wither on the vine and took no action.”   

Both events also focused on the importance of women during the strike. In London there were sessions on the role of women in fighting on the frontline. 

Tribute

And in Sheffield actor and writer Maxine Peake paid tribute to the fighting sprit of the women involved in the Women Against Pit Closures. 

She told how she wrote her radio drama Queens of the Coal Age based on their experiences.

Kirstine Carbutt, a nurse and Unison steward from the recent Care UK strikes in Doncaster (see page 19), outlined the importance of women in struggle today. 

She described how privatisation has led to the threat of pay cuts. 

Kirstine received a standing ovation when she described how the care workers are fighting back.They have held a seven-day strike and are now threatening a further seven days.

Big cheers went up in Sheffield Library Theatre as film of a burning effigy of Margaret Thatcher’s coffin was shown.

Ex-Goldthorpe miners organised the anti-funeral when Thatcher died last year, setting fire to a wreath that spelt “Scab”.

A devastating new film—Miners Shot Down—based on the massacre of the Marikana miners in South Africa was shown in London. 

And those who attended the Rich Mix event also got a taste of the upcoming documentary film (Still) The Enemy Within. 

Thanks to Dave Gibson and Gareth Lane

Memorial meeting for David Jones and Joe Green, miners who died while picketing—Saturday 15 March 10.45am, Yorkshire Miners Hall, Barnsley

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