Whose Strike?


There’s been a lot of nonsense talked by people who have refused to aid the Miners’ Strike this summer because it’s ‘political’. They won’t extend solidarity because they say they don’t want to be a pawn in Arthur Scargill’s war. 

The strike is ‘political’, we make no bones about that. But then workers have had to struggle for everything we have gained as a class over the years. In this sense every strike is political. Otherwise why are strikes necessary at all? Why doesn’t the system give the workers their rights without the need to struggle? The politics behind the strike certainly don’t embarrass Thatcher’s mob, that’s why they’re prepared to sink billions of pounds and thousands of boys in blue into defeating the strike. 

The myth that the Miners’ Strike is just wrecker Scargill’s personal war with the system has its source in the Establishment and their friends or Fleet Street. Unfortunately, many working people have swallowed hook line and sinker the lie that Scargill has pressured the Miners out on strike, and is keeping them out by denying them a National Ballot so beloved of those great democrats Thatcher and McGregor (or for that matter Kinnock). But the facts of the strike tell a different story. The strike was not the work of NUM Generals but was built by rank and file miners and has been sustained by ordinary miners and families up and down the country ever since. The vast majority of miners are behind the strike. Ordinary working people don’t suffer real hardship for over seven months unless they feel an issue is worth the sacrifice.

This isn’t Arthur Scargill’s war. This is a fight by the miners and their families to protect their livelihoods and communities. And its also a fight for all the working class. A victory for the miners against the Government will be a victory also for over four million unemployed, dockers, steelworkers, engineers, healthworkers, housewives – all of us. A defeat will make things for us all harder in 1985. A victory against the miners will give the Govt. the confidence to launch an offensive on jobs, workers and union rights that will make the last five years seem tame by comparison. That is why the Miners’ Strike is political That’s why we are all political. 

Direct Action No.19 October 1984 https://libcom.org/article/direct-action-19-october-1984