Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.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 Miners' Gala

triangleSolid strike by Arriva bus drivers

triangleDurham Miners' Gala 2018

triangleDurham TAs reject council's pay offer

triangleNewcastle: fresh faces and the fight in Labour

Miners:

triangle35th anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave

triangleOrgreave injustice - 35th anniversary march and rally

triangleLessons of the heroic 1984-85 Miners' strike

triangleObituary Joan Beale - Labour women's activist and Militant supporter

Socialist:

triangleBirmingham South West Socialist Party: Black History Month

triangleUprising in Ecuador forces government climbdown

triangleBook: The Making of a Liverpool Militant by Tony Mulhearn

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleCorbyn promises 'power in the hands of workers' - how can Labour do it?

triangleLabour's mass social housing pledge

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/10/19

Postal workers

Massive vote for strike action: - "We're out to win!"

16/10/19

PCS

General secretary election: Marion Lloyd - standing for action on members' pay, jobs, pensions and more

16/10/19

Socialist Party

Be part of the future: join the Socialist Party

16/10/19

Waltham Forest

Mass union mobilisation needed to counter anti-choice group

16/10/19

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance

Pressure needed to force secret police disclosure

16/10/19

Climate change

Trade unionists discuss climate change

16/10/19

Strikes

Workplace news in brief

16/10/19

National Education Union

NEU support staff dismiss Tory 'extra funding' hype

16/10/19

Hackney

Hackney SEND transport workers achieve victory

16/10/19

RMT

RMT: Jared Wood - Fighting cuts, defending jobs, pay and conditions

16/10/19

Wales

Wales: Hundreds march to save the Orb works

15/10/19

Derbyshire

Flooring workers strike, Derbyshire

9/10/19

Caerphilly

Attacks on Caerphilly waste management workers

9/10/19

PCS

BEIS: Outsourced caterers' indefinite strike victory

9/10/19

York

York freshers success

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999