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Labour and the Left in the 1980s$
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Jonathan Davis and Rohan McWilliam

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526106438

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526106438.001.0001

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‘Fill a bag and feed a family’: the miners’ strike and its supporters

‘Fill a bag and feed a family’: the miners’ strike and its supporters

(p.172) 8 ‘Fill a bag and feed a family’: the miners’ strike and its supporters
Labour and the Left in the 1980s

Maroula Joannou

Manchester University Press

The 1984-5 Miners’ Strike drew upon an exceedingly broad basis of support from representatives of the churches and trade unions to environmentalists, feminists, students, anti-nuclear campaigners, peace activists and inner city radicals. The strike was sustained by an extensive network of miners’ support groups working closely with the mining communities. This chapter analysis the composition, methods and effectiveness of the groups which raised prodigious amounts of money. By emphasising their gender and sexuality, Women Against Pit Closures and Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners presented a substantive challenge to the chauvinistic attitudes of the coalfields. Working-class women’s activism drew upon equal rights traditions established in the mining areas between the wars. The support demonstrated by some trade unions and individual trade unionists is contrasted to the equivocation of the TUC and the support offered by the Communist Party (despite its internal divisions) and by many Labour authorities, councillors and constituency Labour Parties which contrasted with the position taken by Neil Kinnock as Labour Party leader.

Keywords:   1984-5 Miners’ Strike, Support groups, Women Against Pit Closures, Solidarity

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