131st Durham Miners Gala:
— Call of the Northern Region of RCPB(ML), July 11, 2015 —
The Working Class and People Must Build the Workers’ Opposition and Set their Sights on Becoming the Decision-Makers!
This year’s Durham Miners Gala and Big Meeting comes just after the Conservatives have constituted themselves as the government through what can only be described as an electoral coup against the people. Now the struggle against the government’s austerity agenda is building. In taking this struggle forward, the working class has a crucial and leading role to play. It is this role, which involves the fight for a new direction for society and the necessity for the working class to imprint society with its character, that is celebrated at the Gala.
We congratulate the Durham Miners Association (DMA) that it has kept the Durham Miners Gala and Big Meeting going for 21 years since the closure of all the deep mines in the north east, and we salute the determination of the Gala’s organisers and the support of all the organised workers who still recognise the significance of the miners and their being at the forefront. All recognise that part of the neo-liberal strategy brought in by Thatcher in the 1980s was to smash the vision and independent politics of the class, and she chose the miners, along with print workers and others, as a target – so that the closure of the mines was a landmark in the wrecking of the economy and the manufacturing base, which neo-liberalism has now developed into “austerity” and is aiming its attack at wrecking the public sector and destroying the welfare system safety net. The working people, the vulnerable and public services are the target, while the rich are made the beneficiaries.
So then, the main issue for workers to take up and remind ourselves of as we participate in the Gala and Big Meeting is that of the independent politics of the working class. Through the actual struggles against the austerity agenda, the class will build the Workers’ Opposition. The anti-austerity marches, with a 250,000 strong demonstration against austerity on June 20 in London and large demonstrations in Glasgow, Bristol, Newcastle, Manchester and other cities over the recent period, have already had an effect in building the collective consciousness of this struggle. This collective consciousness is that there must be and there is an alternative, and that the workers with their independent politics, their dignity of labour, their position as the creators of social wealth and leaders of society, represent this alternative, with their emphasis on upholding the public good and restricting the dictate of monopoly capital. This must guide our struggle against austerity and characterises our role as the Workers’ Opposition.
At the same time, the internationalism of the working class, which the Gala has always represented, also represents an integral part of its traditions which can be built on. Upholding these traditions and carrying them forward is itself part of the working class everywhere striving to be in control of its own destiny and putting its stamp on the nation. The spirit of the miners lives on in the Gala, which is the spirit of what is best and most forward-looking in the outlook of the working class, proud of their identity and striving to bring into being a new society against the old. This outlook is of uniting people regardless of national origin, race, religion, or any other consideration to fight against this austerity agenda and the attempt of the ruling elite to divide people by singling out people of Islamic faith, immigrants and so on and blaming them for terrorism and other problems facing society. The watchword and the antidote is this outlook of the working people to defend the rights of all in the face of this unprecedented nazi-style propaganda of the ruling elite and much of their media. Also, the Anglo-US wars and their ongoing arming and support for terrorists to their liking have made the world a very dangerous place for the people. Today, a result of all this war and interference in the Middle East can be seen in Tunisia where British holiday-makers have also been killed. Yet the the ambition of the Anglo-US imperialists to dominate the world continues and now sees them trying to militarily encircle Russia and China whilst continuing to threaten Iran, the DPRK (North Korea) and other countries.
As we celebrate and take part in this the 131st Durham Miners Gala and Big Meeting it is important to reflect on the vital challenges in building the Workers’ Opposition. Now is a time that the struggle is also building against the government’s attempts to negate the collectives of the people fighting to uphold their rights. The government’s plans for further attacks on trade union organising must be defeated. On behalf of the monopoly elite, Cameron is planning to send society further backwards so as to wipe out any issue of organised workers having a say in anything at work or in society. For the workers’ movement, not only are the workers saying no to this austerity agenda but they are calling for a new direction for society where the working class and people are empowered to make the decisions.
In summary, the need is to build the Workers’ Opposition in the fight to end austerity, bring about a new direction for society that stands up for public right over monopoly right and takes up the challenge to effect democratic renewal and empower the people to make the decisions. The Gala embodies accepting this challenge that the working class must get further organised and build the Workers’ Opposition around which all forces can rally to defeat austerity, defend the rights of all and at the same time fight for an anti-war government. Truly the role of the working class is that of “the hewer of society”!
Defeat Austerity! Defend the Rights of All! Build the Workers Opposition! For a New Direction for Society! Long May the Durham Miners Gala Continue and Flourish!