Bores under the floor [a view of Anarchists in the Miners' Strike]

A scathing – but reasonably accurate, though biased – attack, called Bores Under The Floor (‘a guide to the wave of “left” groups currently invading the pit villages’) was written by David Douglass, coordinator of the Doncaster NUM Strike Committee.

Dealing with the anarchists, Douglass says:

Numerous papers, etc. It will come as a surprise to many but the Anarchists have in fact been far more helpful than many of the self-proclaimed saviours of the working class. Since they are against people telling other people what to do, they have in fact spent what time and energy they have actually helping us in the ways we asked to be helped. Printing is often their strong point and they have often done this for free; they have also helped in food collections, etc and when WE have asked they have shown up on picket lines, without the newspapers the others on the left usually carry.

You will have no problems with Anarchists moving in to try and take things over, or sell you a line; the only problem will be that many of them look funny. You might find that quite acceptable if the choice is the company of some of the groups mentioned above (eg Socialist Workers Party, RCP, CPGB, Militant, etc – Ed); when push comes to ‘shove’ in dangerous situations on the picket line, the ‘left’ are way back with an arm full of papers, whilst the Anarchist is stood with you.”

The Daily Telegraph got hold of David’s report. It gave hack journalist Maurice Weaver the chance to ‘re-write’ it as they thought. He altered the reference to Anarchists – a deliberate act of misrepresentation – for fear of giving credence to political opponents, even though he referred to the report as ‘true’. The Anarchists, said Mr Douglas (rewoven by Weaver) ‘looked funny and did not live up to their fiery image’!

[Update: The report itself is now online at The Sparrows’ Nest Library and Archive ]

From: Black Flag no 117 (v.7, n.6F) 20/8/1984.