Daniel Draper’s documentary The Big Meeting follows the experiences of local people attending last year’s Durham Miners’ Gala.
Despite the death of the coal industry, the Big Meeting captures a spirit of class struggle that is alive and relevant today—a tradition that inspires future generations.
The documentary touches on the role that women played during the Miners’ Strike, and the internationalism of the Big Meeting.
It describes the Durham Miners’ Association’s support of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, to the Freedom for Ocalan campaign that campaigns for Kurdish liberation.
The film also references the physical and symbolic power of the Gala.
It likens the procession of hundreds of thousands of people marching through the streets to “a living organism,” capturing the collective force of our movement.
The banners themselves are described as the “illustrated history of class struggle”, including one from Chopwell Village featuring portraits of Marx, Lenin and the Irish revolutionary James Connolly.
As one commentator remarks, the banners are artwork with “soul”. It’s artwork that does not belong in galleries or museums—but artwork that belongs to our streets.