Socialist Appeal interviewed Davey Hopper, General Secretary of the Durham Miners Association, about the significance of this years’ gala, taking place tomorrow on 12th July, marking the 30th Anniversary of the Great Strike, and about the need to carry the struggle forward so the lessons of that fight are not lost. We publish here his message to those attending the 2014 Miners’ Gala.
Socialist Appeal interviewed Davey Hopper, General Secretary of the Durham Miners Association, about the significance of this years’ gala, which marks the 30th Anniversary of the Great Strike, and about the need to carry the struggle forward so the lessons of that fight are not lost. We publish here his message to those attending the 2014 Miners’ Gala.
The 30th Anniversary of our strike has been made more significant by the release of some documentation, earlier this year, showing how every aspect of the capitalist society, the media, the police and the whole force of the state, was used against us in 1984/85.
If the truth had been told then we would still have some semblance of a coal industry alive today.
It is very poignant that on the 30th anniversary we now face the closure of two of the last three remaining mines in Britain. This comes at a time when we still import 50 million tonnes of coal per year, from places like Russia and Ukraine, now on the brink of a civil war. We are paying the price for the mad policy of vindictiveness and free market economics pursued against our industry and our communities.
We cannot let people forget that there would, undoubtedly, have been a better kind of society had we won, with work for our youngsters. What happened to us was an act of criminality and we must keep our campaign going and expose the truth.
We’ve got to push to get rid of this government but therein lies a problem, it’s difficult to put a cross against Labour when you have the likes of Progress inside, who are worse than Tories.
They and the inept displays by the leader, Miliband, who seems to turn everything into a PR disaster are making good, honest workers leave the Labour Party in dismay, and all this at a time when right wing groups like UKIP and the fascist groups are trying to scapegoat immigrants for the lack of jobs for our youth.
The theme of this years’ gala is therefore to change this government. I cannot understand how the corrupt bankers got away with it. It’s a rotten stinking system that must be changed. We need to coordinate trade union action and get behind all strikes and fight backs.
As a young trade unionist I was taught that we must always fight to make life better for the next generation. I am sad to say that we are the first generation not to do that.
In the past people went into politics to improve the lives of working people, now we have people going into politics for a career, just to improve their own lives. These people have never known the real world. They come in as researchers and have not got a clue as to what is really going on. They have no knowledge of the absolute indecency of people having to rely on food banks. This we have to change.
The late Bob Crow used to ask why governments don’t work as hard for peace as they do for war and I look forward to a world where we spend more on keeping people alive than making them dead.
It may be hard but it’s not all despair, as Marx said, ‘There is a world to win’, and that’s what we must do.
That is the real message of the Gala!