Monday, 22 June 2009

Battle of Orgreave: Norman Strike's frontline account

It's fascinating to read Norman Strike's account of the Orgreave events from 25 years ago. His blog, in which he uploads his diary entries from the Miners' Strike, is a developing treasure trove of primary source material from a dedicated rank-and-file participant. The long piece on Orgreave is especially significant, considering its fame and status as one of the landmarks in the year-long strike.

He captures the atmosphere magnificently and implicitly reveals some important political lessons - about the limitations of the union leadership, the role of the police, how socialists relate to mass pickets, etc. He makes a sobering and important point about their weaknesses compared to the great Battle of Saltley Gate in 1972 - in not only numbers but also the level of solidarity from the wider union movement.

But, whatever the lessons and the legacy, this is first and foremost an extraordinary frontline account of an important, dramatic episode in the history of class struggle. We should be grateful to its author for putting it in the public domain.

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