As we enter the arms of 2014, we can say this will be a year of remembrance, we will be called upon to remember amongst and above all other things the start of what came to be known as the Great War of 1914/1918 and already in Britain, £50 million has been committed despite government austerity, to support centuary events around the country.
Under plans revealed thus far by the Cameron government, is the idea to send a delegation from every secondary state school of children, who will visit the blood drenched battlefields, that have become a byword for the senseless but conscious sacrifice of the millions who perished; this is the description as paraded by the press, the establishment and as we will see and have seen by osalistation of David Cameron recently and more in the weeks and months that unfold before our very eyes, he and others will tell us that their sacrifice made all of a hundred years ago now, has meant that we can enjoy the so-called freedom we have and hold today.
Of course, you may start to scratch your head as I do, wondering what on earth is he going on about, what poppycock, nonsense and utter rubbish. It was nothing more than a bloody bloodbath perpetuated and prolonged by the ruling class on both sides of the horrific, horrible war and, had nothing to do with freedom and more to do with greed, markets, capitalism and imperialism.
Now it is not my intention to go off on one about this terrible war, and when you think about it, not as far off in the distance past as one may think it is; but this anniversary will be played to its full potential by our rulers and as always to serve their own interests and advantage. I have every intention to write and blog about the Great War or rather the great murder of millions in the weeks to come and as Cameron and the ruling class up the jingoism, and of course being very careful not to upset the Germans.
However, there is one other very important anniversary that falls upon us this very year. I of course, refer to the Great Miners Strike of 1984/85. This year will mark the 30th anniversary of what can only be described as a defining moment in the history of our movement. For those of us, that’s both miners and supports who took part in it, we may well remember with mixed feelings, the bravery, the courage and determination of thousands of miners to draw that line and stand-up for what was right in the defence of their jobs, community and a far better future for their children.
As in war, workers are nothing more than cannon fodder in reality, time, and time again, the ruling class are only to happy to send them to the slater house if it is expedient and convenient to do so, and especially if they have no other uses and employ for them when their work is done or the industry begins to fall into decline; new methods of production, a cheaper alternative product and, workers are fired, just like launching a rocket into outer space.
All that matters to the capitalist and the boss is production for profit, if the profit begins to slide then more than likely the worker will end-up taking the bullet, and many times in the back.
In the case of the British Miners they were taken out and shoot at dawn, and ever since that day of defeat and execution, we have indeed all been paying a very high price.
Thinking about this post has brought back some very moving memories, something that I will take to my own grave, the deliberate and planned destruction of not just an industry, but of whole communities, of families and of hard working people.
At some point during the course of this coming year, many will look back on the 84/85 miners strike, they will no doubt dissect it and methodically cut it up, they will come up with all sorts of theories and interpretations of what was good, bad and ugly about it. However, for my money the miners never really lost, if we look at it this way. The Labour Party was exposed for what it really has become and especially today, nothing more that the second party of capitalism, but not its first choice; a Trade Union Movement with some sections of it neither use nor ornament; a Conservative Party, very much distrusted with suspicion that it can not win a majority on its own and has even become extinct in Scotland and may become so in Northern England after the next general election.
It could be that in defeat comes victories that happen to be unimaginable 30 years ago. The times have changed, the movement has changed, and it may be just, that we may have to do things differently too, that we adapt to these new times, that the bath water may need changing and the chain needs a good flush and a pull as never before. Nothing has been lost from the miners strike, if we learn from its lesions, and if we can do that then the miners strike was indeed a great victory that has taken us onto the road of real revolutionary change.