Yesterday NE4EU and others joined in the Durham Miners’ Gala, marching (well more like a stately stop-start) with the miners associations, brass bands and other groups like WASPIs and No To Racism all through the city. It took about two hours to cover a little over two miles, but the streets were thronged with onlookers watching the parade, and we gave out thousands and thousands of Bollocks to Brexit/Bollocks to Boris stickers and Hearts Not Hate stickers. Those that didn’t want, about half, were polite about it. D said she tried to give some to solid Brexiters who as solidly said ‘no’, but was more taken aback by the death stare she got off UNISON members.
Our EU flag was the only EU flag there, and even then we’d been advised not to bring it in case it incited the far-right. We saw the far-right, the EDL, bunch of oafs with black baseball caps, short back and sides, hoodies, black bomber jackets, sitting around the statue in Market Square with a small visible barrier of police between them and us, although they were drinking among themselves and the police presence was loose rein, keeping a distance. We pointed out the EDL to the law and they said they had many plain clothes throughout the crowd to keep things under control. This was a relief as we’d expected them to turn up en masse, angry as they’d been in London just on Thursday when they did over SODEM. G flew the flag high and proud anyway, more fuck’em than SODEM, as DH said, ‘I thought we’d go to fight fascists, not appease them’.
Was it them we were there to fear? As we neared the end of the march, this great field opened up with fairground rides and all these mighty red-blazoned banners making a wall around the field, and the main stage with Union and Labour party luminaries, including Chakraparti and Corbyn, and the drizzle started just as the speeches did, the speeches commencing with a homage to the comrades who’d died as the year had passed and those so great they were brought back to mind though they’d died years before.
The EU was mentioned but scathingly, as Brussels, that place where globalists dictated our economic policy, while Washington was where our foreign policy is dictated. They stood in solidarity not with the Europeans in the UK being targetted and stripped of their rights as well as us here but the Palestinians and Kurds, rightly so, but what of us? Of the battle of the Working Class against them wall was still very, very on, revived. We didn’t stay for long, realising our sole EU flag, our little group, for all it stood for, simply didn’t matter. Internationalists with Britons first and foremost, but Britons kept in Britain.
Like as the RCP had given out leaflets at Farage’s meeting in Bolton, like the RCP in fact as Spiked has taken one step further to join the far-right, the far-left is pro-Brexit. For all the talk of a referendum with a 100 caveats, they want, as Corbyn alluded in Liverpool, Brexit because it’ll enable a Socialist revolution, they’ll be free to nationalise all they want when free of Brussels’ state aid rules (but not the WTO’s?) … only a revolution would only come when a No Deal has made things so bad people will rise up.
FFS. Where is this? British workers demand what? Deluded cunts … as my mate said.
We were in a field of ex miners and others with an incredible unity of mind and soul, but also so astoundingly ossified. There were ‘coal not dole’ balloons, a stall selling badges and tat the kind you’d only otherwise find in East Berlin flea markets with a sign saying ‘workers want No Deal!’ How? Why? No Deal means No Work! Kein Arbeit macht uns frei! And it’s as much about war for them as it is for their erstwhile allies, the Brexit Party, who are out to inflict the greatest blows upon their lives seen in years. Disaster capitalists allied with disaster Socialists.
And yet, and yet for all the warmth of the reception for the Bollocks to Brexit/Boris stickers et al, our little platoon was left feeling like the enemy among thousands of victims for whom the wipe out of industry in the 1980s and early 1990s was the last thing to affect them. Profoundly devastating, and on a scale and by a party that one must think yes it was a war, and has that war ever ended? Not for these people, and it includes Blair, as ‘part of the last 40 years’. Blair the neo-liberal who, as MP for Sedgefield, saw the devastation of the closure of the factories and mines – but who got state investment involved, initiatives to set up businesses and the service economy, who would have done a lot to get EU funds into the region, who saw the potential of the universities to draw in spending students, foreign students, foreign investment and expertise.
All of which is ephemeral and elitist. It’s not coal, it’s not steel, it’s not what we lost, and what we want back.
Meanwhile this is becoming truer.