The 1984/85 Miners’ Strike was a yr like no different. The legacy of its defeat will be seen right now in our workplaces and communities following an development of free-market capitalism that has resulted in low pay, precarious work and the in depth privatisation of our public providers. Nevertheless, a lot of these concerned within the strike do keep in mind that time and draw on its many positives.
In addition to the unified backing that got here from different teams who have been experiencing the identical oppression and hostility from the police, authorities and media of the day – similar to girls, LGBT+ folks and the BAME neighborhood – many artists and musicians have been proactive and vocal about their assist for the miners, their households and their communities.
Tonight on September 17th, the Orgreave Fact and Justice Marketing campaign will host an internet occasion, as a part of every week of occasions for Heritage Open Days, to mark and have fun the position of music and artwork in activism on the time of the strike and within the current, when activists, artists and musicians stand collectively now as sturdy as ever.
Through the strike, cash was raised by way of profit occasions and exhibitions to forestall miners from being starved again to work and to allow them to proceed the strike on the picket strains. However this went a lot additional than monetary assist, as supporters used their platforms to boost consciousness and attain individuals who weren’t essentially a part of the labour and commerce union motion. Simply because the legacy of the strike lives on as a pivotal second in our commerce union historical past and a turning level within the policing of protest, so does the solidarity of these musicians and artists who selected to face up and shout out in opposition to injustice.
Artwork, music and activism is a large space to cowl and we are going to inevitably miss out many contributions. This isn’t intentional. Some names are acquainted and their output and efforts nonetheless inextricably linked with protest, similar to Billy Bragg, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Somerville, George Michael, Tom Robinson, Paul Weller, Paul Heaton and Take a look at Dept, to call however just a few. Wham, Model Council and New Order have been concerned with many others within the miners’ profit on the Royal Competition Corridor in 1984. The live performance featured acts similar to Lindisfarne and the Flying Pickets. Bruce Springsteen famously performed St James’ Park shortly after the top of the strike in 1985 and quietly donated $20,000 to the Durham and Northumberland Miners Affiliation. Billy Bragg travelled up and down the nation enjoying quite a few miners’ welfares, in addition to publicly rallying assist all through the strike, and George Michael made massive donations.
One of the crucial well-known examples was the ‘Pits and Perverts’ profit gig that was organised by the London Lesbian and Gays Assist the Miners (LGSM) and headlined by Bronski Beat. The live performance was an enormous monetary success, elevating the equal of over £20,000 in right now’s cash for putting miners and their households in South Wales. It was additionally the scene of a very historic political breakthrough when Dai Donavan from the Nationwide Union of Mineworkers (NUM) received up on the stage to inform the 1500 sturdy viewers: “You may have worn our badge, ‘Coal not Dole’, and what harassment means, as we do. Now we are going to pin your badge on us; we are going to assist you. It received’t change in a single day, however now 140,000 miners know that there are different causes and different issues.” The miners have been true to their phrase. Not solely did they carry their commerce union banners to the 1985 Homosexual and Lesbian Pleasure parade in London, however the NUM helped push by way of homosexual rights insurance policies on the 1985 Labour convention.
The custom of brass bands in mining communities is a powerful and vital one and performs an important cultural position in working-class communities. That custom continues: though lots of the village and pit bands now not exist, many brass bands nonetheless do, and we’re frequently supported by the Unite brass band at our occasions and demonstrations. Actor, singer and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson shaped a powerful bond with the mining communities of Wales and Scotland and is legendary for his stunning rendition of Joe Hill filmed in 1949 as he sang to the Scottish miners. And final however not least all of us bear in mind the uplifting tune and anthem written for Ladies in opposition to Pit Closures throughout the strike by Mal Finch, We Are Ladies We Are Sturdy.
The paintings of miners’ banners was already a proud a part of mining heritage lengthy earlier than the strike, however many new and fantastic pit banners have been creatively designed throughout the strike and in its aftermath. Andrew Turner was one of many artists who produced some magnificent banners and his work has had a big affect nationally and internationally. Movie director Ken Loach is one in all many admirers of his work and Turner just lately produced one other stunning piece of paintings for the Nationwide Ladies Towards Pit Closures banner.
The LGSM banner produced by Mark Ashton throughout the strike was additionally an emblem of solidarity, and the current banner made by Alice Kilroy primarily based on the design of the LGSM badges brings color and positivity to many occasions and demonstrations. The Durham Ladies’s Banner Group was initially set as much as assist and have fun girls of their roles inside commerce unions, politics and communities and to have interaction, educate, empower and recognise the contribution of ladies regionally, nationally and internationally. Their first venture was to design and produce a neighborhood patchwork banner, drawing energy from the ladies who ran free cafes all through the miners’ strikes and their willpower to construct and assist communities. The banner, which was designed and produced by greater than 50 girls from the County Durham coalfield space, marched in its first Durham Miners’ Gala in 2018. Extra tasks have been deliberate together with the creation of a Ladies’s Banner Group silk banner.
Many plates have been produced all through the nation throughout the strike to assist elevate desperately wanted cash and the profile of the communities concerned. Many had a restricted run of round 250 and have been a bit of artwork and literature, portraying color and keenness on the entrance with a potted historical past and interesting info concerning the mines and the employees in them on the again. In Derbyshire, Orgreave veteran and energetic NUM member Brian Martin was concerned within the manufacturing of plates. His phrases are on the again of a lot of them and he initiated many public shows of them. Each badge, sticker, T-shirt, mug, keyring, lamp, decoration, leaflet and poster was creatively designed to advance the trigger, a lot of which at the moment are collectors’ objects. Lots of the designs for these and the plates and banners additionally adorn the partitions of activists, historians, miners and their households within the type of playing cards, images and posters.
The Pitmen Painters have been based in Northumberland within the early 1930s as a Staff’ Instructional Affiliation class, giving mining households entry to the humanities. Their fantastic work have been impressed by the artists’ personal lives within the areas the place they lived, the pits they labored in and the pit ponies they labored with. The group held its first exhibition in 1936 in Newcastle, and lots of the work are on everlasting show. Impressed by former Derbyshire miner and OTJC activist John Dunn, Darren Coffield created paintings utilizing coal obtained from the Nationwide Union of Mineworkers department at Maltby Colliery. A picture commemorates the police riot at Orgreave and portraits embrace NUM leaders Arthur Scargill, Peter Heathfield and Mick McGahey and miner David Jones, who died aged 24 on the picket line. A portrait of Margaret Thatcher can also be represented with rust on iron.
Just lately a mural was commissioned in Seaham, referred to as ‘Above, Past, Under‘, painted onto the aspect of the Volunteer Arms, the pub and cafe in St John’s Sq.. It was created by artist Jamie Holman who designed the work, with Cosmo Sarson portray it. In addition to the murals, there are an enormous variety of memorials devoted to the strike, mining trade and pit disasters within the type of statues and different types of public artwork to honour the proud mining heritage. Physique artwork and tattoos have develop into one other lasting tribute and type of artwork depicting the mining trade and the strike.
The custom of progressive resistance continues right now, with musicians like Grace Petrie, Public Service Broadcasting, The Fates, The Hurriers from Barnsley, Lily Gaskell, Joe Solo, O’Hooley and Tidow, Roy Bailey, Girl Maisery, Dick Gaughan and Robb Johnson all main from the entrance. There may be additionally the fantastic custom of choirs starting from the miners’ male voice choirs and the novel community-based choirs melding political singing with political activism. The Sheffield Socialist Choir, The Commoners and Out Aloud are amongst many nice examples.
Stalwarts of the folk-punk style Ferocious Canine drew one of many largest ever crowds on the Leftfield stage at Glastonbury with a set that includes songs concerning the strike, reaching a complete new technology. Ken Bonsall, their lead singer, was himself a miner for 30 years and had relations who have been ’12 monthers’ and dependable to the NUM in Nottinghamshire. Ken says: “Utilizing music to protest in opposition to injustice and unfairness by the hands of the state is what drives the band.”
Sheffield band Reverend and the Makers burst on the music scene in 2007 with their single Heavyweight Champion of the World, the title being taken from Barry Hines’ basic movie Kes. Their music rings out with the tales of working-class Sheffield and lead singer Jon McClure retains up the custom of music and protest in his work with Love Music, Hate Racism and as one of many founders of ‘Instigate Debate’. “Music wants a political voice now greater than ever, to care concerning the world we stay in and to query the federal government”, says Jon. “We want political artwork and music to advertise working-class tradition and expertise as a power for social change.”
In 2014, to mark the 30th anniversary of the strike, with the assistance of The Hurriers’ Tony Wright and Philosophy Soccer, the Orgreave Marketing campaign produced its personal sellout CD Orgreave Justice. Musicians and bands all donated songs to assist the marketing campaign. With songs from The Motion, New Mannequin Military, Grace Petrie, Quiet Loner, Thee Faction, Blaggers ITA, Joe Solo, Steve White and the Protest Household, Billy Bragg and Louise Distrass in addition to different comradely bands and musicians, the album itemizing is in itself a listing of activists who state loud and clear “which aspect” they’re on.
The Orgreave Fact and Justice Marketing campaign has all the time utilized a artistic method to the literature, leaflets and banners it produces. Using ‘a critical crime occurred right here’ graphic, conceptualised and designed by Joe Rollin and Jamie Walman, dramatically makes paradoxical use of police incident posters. Yearly, the marketing campaign’s model is displayed on the route of the annual rally march in June. The PCS samba band usually be part of us to make our actions and demonstration vibrant and energetic similar to our ‘Make Some Noise’ demonstration exterior the Residence Workplace in 2017. Our marketing campaign is definitely recognised by our Coal Not Dole emblem taken from the NUM badges and stickers of the strike. We put a variety of emphasis on designing our banners, badges, publicity and fundraising merchandise with the assistance of designers similar to Craig Oldham, Andrew Fox and Jamie Walman.
Artwork, after all, is just not essentially static. We have now additionally had the privilege of working with artists who’ve organised creative movies, walks, clothes and occasions to spotlight the mining trade and political protest. Sam Vardy and Paula McCloskey of the unbiased artwork and spatial analysis apply ‘A Place of Their Personal’ just lately organised a profitable stroll and efficiency and political artwork occasion over the political and geographical panorama of Orgreave and Treeton involving LGBT+, anti-fracking, OTJC and different justice activists. Yuen Fong Ling is an artist who organised a current touring exhibition, ‘In direction of Memorial’, involving LGSM, the Orgreave Fact and Justice Marketing campaign and the Mates of Edward Carpenter, utilizing movie, images and the making of footwear to discover the legacy of sophistication, clothes, LGBT+ rights, social justice and political campaigning.
Thursday’s on-line occasion, ‘Music, Artwork and Activism: Cultural Creativity and the Miners’ Strike’, will function particular performances from people musician and activist Sam Browse, Ferocious Canine lead singer Ken Bonsall, and Yorkshire people duo O’Hooley and Tidow. There may also be panel discussions on music and artwork with Mike Jackson (LGSM), Melissa Maddison (Unite brass band), Paula McCloskey and Sam Vardy (A Place of Their Personal), artist Yuen Fong Ling, graphic designer Craig Oldham (Workplace of Craig) and Jon McClure of Reverend and the Makers.
Given the financial scenario we’re in now, the concept that folks don’t passively settle for what the market dictates to them nonetheless conjures up many artists and musicians to attach with that custom. We have to be reminded of these beliefs of resistance because of the forces that have been unleashed within the wake of the miners’ strike in an effort to assist us cope with the good difficulties we face. Music and artwork play an important position in our battle now greater than ever.
Watch the occasion on Thursday 17th September at 7pm stay on the Orgreave Fact and Justice Marketing campaign Fb Web page.