By Ian Mitchell
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Strike by Name

This article is over 13 years, 1 months old
Norman Strike, Bookmarks Publications; £8
Issue 338

Former miner Norman Strike decided to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1984-5 miners’ strike by blogging his diary from the strike on the internet. This proved so popular that it has been put together for this book.

From chapters with headlines such as “Whoopee”, “Police and thieves” and “1980 Fuckin’ 5”, we get a real taste of what is was like as a rank and file miner during the strike. As Norman becomes “committed” his life becomes hectic and filled with meetings, picket lines, and befriending rock groups like the Redskins whose lead singer interviews him for the NME. He also finds time to read and review Emile Zola’s novel Germinal for Socialist Worker, a paper he sold to other pickets during the strike.

His story is sometimes funny and often brutal but is always honest. Norman gives us many clues to why the strike went down to defeat but also how it could have been won. Alongside accounts of police brutality and media bias are many wonderful tales of comradeship and solidarity displayed by other strikers and their families and supporters.

I loved rattling through this, as it brought back many memories for me as a former miner and will do for others. But this is more than a trip down memory lane; it gives a voice to those of us who, despite being defeated, will always believe that by making a stand we did the right thing – something sorely missing in the present debates about the 1984-5 miners’ strike.

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