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National Union of Mineworkers

The Miners’ Strike Remembered

One socialist recalls what made him class conscious

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.

Old King Coal in His Labour Robes

January 1st, 1947, saw the opening of one of the funniest political farces for a long time, the inauguration of State coal mines under the National Coal Board: time must pass before the miners discover its tragic aspects. M.P.s who had sung the Red Flag when the law was voted presided over the unfurling of flags bearing the mystic emblem "N.C.B." - an emblem the irreverent have already happily refashioned. Notice boards were erected at the pitheads informing the coal wage-slaves that the mines are now operated by the State "on behalf of the people." Leaflets were handed out telling the men of the stupendous transformation.

By Strike or By Ballot? - A Critical Examination

While at the moment of writing final decisions have not been reached in the disputes in the Mining, Railway, and Transport industry, important facts have been revealed from which the working class can draw lessons.

The capitalist Press and the trade union leaders concerned have agreed that a strike of the workers engaged in these industries would be "a disaster," "an extremely serious matter," etc. These "labour leaders" have openly done all they could to prevent the men striking, not on the ground that the masters could win if they decided to fight in earnest, but on the shadowy pretext of "injury to the community" or "danger to the industry." When the master class took millions of wage-workers from production and sent them to slaughter their fellow-workers, these leaders were silent as to the "injury to the community" inflicted.

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