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National Coal Board

Rise and Fall of a Pitboy

  A great future was once forecast for Michael Eaton, not least by himself. He might have made it to the top, to become a recognisable man of power and influence. Instead he is someone dominated by a feeling of “gloom and failure", of no longer being in charge of his life. Once he was a firm supporter of the professed free market principles of the Thatcher governments. a disciple of the creed that hard work, ingenuity and experience were enough to build a fortune. Now he complains bitterly about the government which undermined him. with policies which brought the recession and his own failure and which, he says, could and should have been changed a long time ago.

The Miners’ Strike Remembered

One socialist recalls what made him class conscious

Robens Admits it Again

Lord Robens, the chairman of the National Coal Board, has again stated that the nationalised coal industry is run on state capitalist lines. He told the annual conference of the National Union of Mineworkers in Douglas on 9 July:

“In 1961 the Tory Government produced the White Paper called "Financial and Economic Obligations of Nationalised Industries". With this, the old Morrisonian concept of the socialist philosophy of public ownership gave way to State Capitalism; which even the return of a Socialist Government did not change.”

The Grimethorpe Miners

For those who have eyes to see there are lots of valuable lessons to be learned from the strike of the Grimethorpe miners against the efforts of the National Coal Board and the Union to make them do more work. The mines were nationalised only on January 1st, 1947, but within a few months the determined resistance of a few hundred men backed by thousands of other Yorkshire miners who struck in sympathy, showed the hollowness of the claim that Nationalisation and Labour Government can solve the problems of the workers. When Nationalisation took place Labour Party supporters welcomed it as a new era of industrial peace and the death of private profit, but socialists warned the workers not to be deceived into thinking that wage-slavery in the mines would be altered in any way. It has not taken long to reveal in the clearest fashion that the difference between private and state capitalism is not worth the workers' votes.

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