Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/25817

Posted on 10 July 2017 at 17:54 GMT

Durham MIners Gala July 2017, photos Paul Mattsson

Click for gallery. Durham MIners Gala July 2017, photos Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Lots of discussions at the Durham Miners Gala on the way forward

Dave Jones

Crowds of up to 250,000 flocked to a sun-soaked Durham for the 133rd Durham Miners Gala on Saturday 8th July. This is the largest attendance at the Big Meeting (as it is known locally) for at least 50 years, and the mood was both celebratory and optimistic as people basked in the new found popularity of Jeremy Corbyn's left-wing policies.

Jeremy Corbyn himself attended the Gala, and speaking from the platform, received loud roars of approval when he called on the Tories to resign and called for a new election.

The Gala is undoubtedly the biggest gathering and celebration of trade unionism in Europe, with trade unionists gathering from across the country. The hundreds of colourful banners and the music of the accompanying colliery bands are a poignant reminder of the hundreds of pits that were lost in the 1980s and 90s. But there was no mourning on Saturday, only numerous discussions on how we must now organise.

Durham Miners Gala 8.7.17

Durham Miners Gala 8.7.17   (Click to enlarge)

In the showground, on the streets and in the pubs there were many discussions on how the struggle must advance in the Labour Party and in the trade unions. The talk was of how to defeat the Blairites, with real support for de-selection of those undermining Corbyn and his programme, not just amongst some MPs but crucially councillors as well. The Durham Miners Association (DMA) for the second year running refused to invite local MPs who have been vocal in opposition to Corbyn.

A number of leading trade unionists spoke at the rally, with radical calls for action accompanying tributes to Davey Hopper, the secretary of the DMA, who died a week after last year's Gala. The key themes from the platform were health and safety, and the need to smash the public sector pay cap. However it was left to filmmaker Ken Loach to make the call for reselection of MPs, and to remind the other speakers that it is one thing to speak of taking action, but what is needed is to take action.

The 350 copies of the Socialist sold by Socialist Party members and 350 raised for our party's Fighting Fund reinforced the message that socialism is back.


Iain Dalton also comments on the Gala:

Sun shining high in the sky blessed those attending what was probably one of the largest attendances at the Durham Miners Gala ever. As well as the traditional brass bands and banners of miners' lodges, there were some huge trade union contingents. Unison seemed to have a bigger presence than the previous year, but the Unite presence was massive.

Given this, and the fantastic response to the headline of the Socialist demanding an end to the public sector pay cap, then it was disappointing that none of the leading public sector trade unionists on the platform at the Gala's rally raised the question of coordinated industrial action to force the government to end it.

Durham Miners Gala 8.7.17, photo David Beale

Durham Miners Gala 8.7.17, photo David Beale   (Click to enlarge)

Yet the upbeat mood was undoubtedly a reflection of the renewed support for Jeremy Corbyn on the basis of the radical policies he included in the Labour manifesto. The field to hear him speak was absolutely rammed, with people happily waiting in beating hot sunshine for an hour or so of speeches before hearing him.

This mood even influenced the contingent of the usually 'moderate' union Usdaw on the parade, who were passing the County hotel when Corbyn appeared on the balcony, leading them to stop marching and start the crowd off on a round of "Oh Jeremy Corbyn". The 'Progress' supporting general secretary of Usdaw won't be happy about that!

Undoubtedly there is an increased interest, not just about opposing austerity and the evils of capitalism, but in what we replace it with and how we can achieve that. Like many Socialist Party members at the Gala, I seemed to be engaged in non-stop conversations all day from the journey there to when I stopped to rest my feet and escape the sun for a few minutes.

Durham Miners Gala 8.7.17, photo David Beale

Durham Miners Gala 8.7.17, photo David Beale   (Click to enlarge)

.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 10 July 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Durham:

triangleDurham TAs reject council's pay offer

triangleNewcastle: fresh faces and the fight in Labour

triangleSocialists tell free marketeers "the pitchforks are coming" in Durham debate

triangleExcellent Socialist Party trade union meeting

triangleSchool cuts can be beaten

Miners:

triangleOrgreave campaigners' Halloween 'Death of Justice' march

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

triangleWarts-and-all account of class war and the struggle for LGBT+ rights

triangleMutinies and strikes: when Bolshevism threatened British bosses

Socialist:

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: Perspectives for struggle around the world

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: Campaigning workshop

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleCorbyn must challenge pro-gentrification council leader or others will

triangleIs cuts-making Preston 'beating Tory austerity'?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/11/17

Sheffield

Sheffield Eastern Ave Job Centre strike ends

16/11/17

Virgin

Virgin train workers vote for strike action over pay

15/11/17

Students

March for free education! We demand a future!

15/11/17

Plymouth

Plymouth PCS members fight relocation threat

15/11/17

Virgin

Virgin train workers ballot for strike action

15/11/17

Carlisle

Carlisle socialists campaign against Universal Credit

15/11/17

Haringey

Corbyn must challenge pro-gentrification council leader or others will

15/11/17

Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party: "I started to question whether there was a better way"

13/11/17

Manchester

Strike wave continues with 49 walkout days by housing workers

10/11/17

RMT

Strikers picket the South Western Railway network

10/11/17

Merseyside

Huge support for strikes of bus drivers and train guards

10/11/17

Socialist Party

Highest ever ticket sales for Socialism event

9/11/17

Pay

Serco - not fit for purpose

9/11/17

Rail

Fight to keep guards on trains continues despite setback Aslef deal

8/11/17

Birmingham

Brum meeting celebrates centenary of 1917

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle21 Nov Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

triangle15 Nov March for free education! We demand a future!

triangle15 Nov Tories on the brink - kick them out!

Socialism 2017

triangle14 Nov Socialism 2017: Organising to fight back

triangle13 Nov Strike wave continues with 49 walkout days by housing workers

triangle10 Nov US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

triangle10 Nov Strikers picket the South Western Railway network

More ...

triangle21 Nov Bristol North Socialist Party: Venezuela - the battle to be faced by a Corbyn government?

triangle21 Nov Cardiff Socialist Students: Socialism and the struggle for LGBT rights

triangle21 Nov Birmingham South East Socialist Party: NHS in Meltdown - What can be done?

triangle21 Nov Sheffield North Socialist Party: The causes of capitalist crisis

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2