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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 July 2019

Durham Miners' Gala: Strength and history of unions on show

Part of the crowd listening to speeches at the Durham Miners' Gala, 13.7.19, photo by Paul Mattsson

Part of the crowd listening to speeches at the Durham Miners' Gala, 13.7.19, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Emma Dawson, Newcastle Socialist Party

An estimated 200,000 people attended the 135th Durham Miners' Gala on 13 July, one of Europe's biggest celebrations of trade unionism and the labour movement.

Dozens of bands and banners flooded the streets, with the first marching band starting just after 8.30am. The procession continued well into the afternoon as it made its way towards the racecourse.

Speakers included Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey and Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn's speech focused on the effects of austerity and the failures of the current Tory government, as well as his commitment to an inquiry into Orgreave (see the Socialist, issue 1048) on day one of a Labour government. He also touched on support for the nationalisation of rail, mail and water services, which was well received.

Numerous stalls lined the racecourse including those from major trade unions, as well as from a variety of groups including Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners.

The Socialist Party stall offered a variety of political literature which proved popular with people. Socialist Party members were armed with petitions and newspapers, with around 200 copies of the Socialist being sold and 100 raised for the fighting fund.

Although I had been aware of the gala for a long time, the 2019 gala was in fact my first. The scale and sheer size of the event is hard to appreciate until you are among the crowds. It's a testament to the strength and history of the trade union and labour movement and its future. The stalls provided a good opportunity to stock up on books and badges and meet people behind various campaigns.

Despite the occasional heavy rain, it was a really good day and one which will leave many, including myself, looking forward to next year's gala.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

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In The Socialist 17 July 2019:


What we think

Stop Boris - general election now


News

Fraudsters thrive and claimants suffer in despicable Universal Credit scam

Wales: chronic NHS underfunding exposed

Them & Us


Imperial typewriters dispute

The 45th anniversary of the strike


Workplace news

NSSN conference 2019: at the heart of trade union struggle

Health visitors strike for the first time ever

Bradford NHS workers strike against privatisation

Victory for Stagecoach bus strikers!

Newham housing repairs workers announce strike dates

Council seeks to take budget deficit out on school staff and pupils


Moon landing 50 years on

50 years since Apollo 11 - 'One giant leap': how political conflict launched the moon landing


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Socialist change to end climate change

Residents mobilise to stop eviction

Stop the fire service cuts

Durham Miners' Gala

Campaigners force U-turn over NHS privatisation

Leicestershire - No more austerity!

Excellent response to building fund appeal

Socialist Party Fighting Fund


International socialist news and analysis

Greece elections: Syriza ousted amid voter disillusionment

Sudan masses mobilise against state repression

Interview: protests over killing in Israel


Opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Durham:

triangleSolid strike by Arriva bus drivers

triangleDurham Miners' Gala 2018

triangleDurham TAs reject council's pay offer

triangleLots of discussions at the Miners Gala on the way forward

triangleNewcastle: fresh faces and the fight in Labour

Unions:

triangleIf unions give a lead, workers are fully prepared to fight and win victories

triangleSave our NHS from the Tories

triangleOrganise for 3 July pay protests

triangleStudents and unions must resist misnamed 'free speech' bill

Miners:

triangleTV review: Mrs Thatcher vs the miners

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Road to Wigan Pier

triangleBooks that inspired me: Germinal

Socialist:

triangleResponse to Observer article on China

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Eleanor Marx and new unionism

Labour:

triangleReaders' Opinion

Socialist Party:

triangleBrighton Socialist Party: Disability, neurodivergency, and the left

Newcastle:

trianglePolice attempt to intimidate Newcastle protesters

Orgreave:

triangle35th anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleGoodlord strikers fight fire and rehire as part of day of action

Len McCluskey:

triangleLeft candidate needed for Unite general secretary election

Fighting Fund:

trianglePalestine protesters donate to fund socialist material

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