We are very aware that some Tory politicians and some sections of the media are using our commemorations of the Miners’ strike and our campaign for social justice, to incite hatred and divisions and whip up racism in our communities. We have had some Tory politicians who claim to represent working class communities, posing with commemorative images and statues of Miners. Some of these Tories are also trying to undermine the credibility of current anti racist and anti fascist protests against slavery, racism and fascism and the symbols of British Imperialism, by levelling accusations that the ‘left’ are hypocritical and trying to suppress free speech.
It was the Tories who decimated our mining industry, attacking, lying about and vilifying workers trying to protect jobs and communities. It was a Tory government who turned down our request for a public inquiry into the police riot at Orgreave, and it was a Tory Home Secretary who declared that there would “be very few lessons for the policing system today to be learned from any review of the events and practices of three decades ago”.
The Orgreave Annual Rally is an event to commemorate the day Striking Miners were brutalised by police at the Orgreave Coking plant on 18th June 1984. This gives us all an opportunity to meet and show solidarity with comrades and friends and gather together with our magnificent display of banners and placards. Durham is one of the largest annual gatherings in Europe and one that is organised to represent people and communities who have never forgotten the impact Tory economic and Policing policies have had on the Coalfield communities of Britain. The Gala is a celebration of our past and an opportunity to build our future free from oppression.
Formal invitations to these kinds of events should be to those who support us and the labour and trade union movement, not those who have supported destroying our communities and livelihoods, have made no contribution to the events, and who form part of a system, political party and government who continue to persecute and abuse working class people and our culture, stir up hatred and racism and facilitate the rise of fascism in this country.