From the Communist Party's Unity! Bulletin. Go to https://issuu.com/communist_party/docs/unity__july_gala__2018 for full publication.
The Communist Party of Britain sends solidarity greetings to the Durham Miners’ Association and all participants in the 134th Durham Miners’ Gala.
The Big Meeting has always been a great day out, and a celebration of the best of working class culture, values and traditions - solidarity, community, support in adversity and the fight for justice, a decent life and social progress.
25 years after the last pit in Durham closed, the Gala has also become a massive message of defiance to our ruling class, a statement to our masters that, no matter how much they try to beat us down, we shall rise again. The massive numbers of participants every year are a testament to that.
There may no longer be any working miners in Durham, but the labour movement’s resilience and class consciousness has been strengthened by the influx into other industries of former miners and their daughters and sons who understand what class struggle is really about.
And, 33 years after the end of the great Miners’ Strike, that titanic struggle continues to inspire working people throughout Britain and even overseas, as demonstrated by the breadth of participation in the Gala.
The survival of the Big Meeting could not have happened, of course, without the determination of the DMA - and particularly its sadly departed leaders Dave Guy and Davy Hopper - to keep the Gala going as a festival for the whole labour movement. And the whole movement can identify with, and be inspired by, the very many lodge banners and their brass bands marching now, as their forebears did in the past.
This year, given the coincidence of the Gala with the US president’s visit to Britain, there will be a special ‘Together Against Trump’ bloc, with the message ‘No to racism - No to sexism - No to war’ - particularly important given the fact that Trump’s policies have emboldened the far right in Britain.
The Big Meeting has always been about solidarity. But it has also become a beacon for change in the labour movement. Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at the 2015 Gala, and the DMA’s support for him, gave a big boost to his Labour leadership campaign, and ever since then he has been able to use the Big Meeting as a platform to project his vision of Britain ‘for the many, not the few’.
The Miners remember their friends. Corbyn was among them. But the Morning Star newspaper also: it gave the Miners stalwart support during the 1984-5 Strike, and in subsequent battles against pit closures, and continues to this day to support struggles domestically and internationally for social progress and peace. The DMA provides 3,000 copies of the newspaper for each annual Gala, though an army of Morning Star supporters is needed for the distribution.
Communists are proud to be working with many other Morning Star supporters to undertake that distribution. The Morning Star is a vital weapon for challenging ruling class ideas and building working class confidence and solidarity. It is essential reading for all on the Left.
We support the election of a left-led Labour government as the first step towards challenging the power of the ruling monopoly capitalist class and opening the road to socialism. As our programme, Britain’s Road to Socialism, makes clear, we consider that socialism can be achieved in Britain through mass struggle, involving building a popular democratic alliance to fight for a comprehensive left-wing programme, and the election of a Labour, socialist and communist majority committed to carrying out that programme and relying on the organised strength of the labour movement.
That will be a process in which the questions of state power, the reactionary NATO alliance and Britain’s imperialist role in the world will have to be raised.