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SPEAKERS at the Big Meeting held at Durham Miners’ Gala over the weekend rallied for a socialist-led Labour government and attacked the Tories over austerity and the party’s affiliation to the far right.
Around 200,000 people were packed into the Old Elvet racecourse to hear the passionate speeches at the 134th Gala, organised by the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) with the support of Northern region of the Trade Union Congress.
DMA general secretary Alan Cummings said that, despite the destruction of the deep coal mining industry, Durham miners have continued to unite to “celebrate values” of the labour movement.
He quoted US Democrat socialist politician Bernie Sanders, who had said: “In these times, workers in America and Britain must unite together to fight for progressive values.
“We must fight for the needs of working families. We need to build a movement which takes on the economic greed of the billionaire class.
“We must end austerity for working families and bring a little austerity to the most wealthy corporations in the world.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady pulled no punches in talking about US President Donald Trump, who was in Britain over the weekend to meet PM Theresa May and the Queen.
“Trump is a sexist scumbag, an alt right nationalist,” Ms O’Grady stormed.
Veteran MP Dennis Skinner made a rousing speech in support of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, in which he praised him for being “on the right side of history every single time.”
Mr Corbyn told the cheering crowd: “This meeting is a message about power. The power of people. The power of hope. And the power of the unity of our movement, across all borders, to achieve justice.”
He called for children to learn about trade unions and their achievements at school.
Recently elected Labour Party general secretary Jennie Formby told the gathering that she had one objective — to see Mr Corbyn elected as Prime Minister.
And Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack gave a moving speech about the union’s members who were involved in the Grenfell Tower fire in London that killed 72 people.
“We heard remarkable stories of the firefighters … it is heartbreaking to hear these stories, and seeing firefighter after firefighter having to relive that night.
“We all need to focus our attention on what really caused that fire — decades of deregulation, decades of cuts to our public services, criminal complacency about public safety that goes straight to the heart of government.”
Morning Star supporters distributed 3,000 copies of the paper’s weekend special issue, which focused on the Gala and included a pullout edition of Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign newspaper At the Coal Face.
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