The 1984-5 miners' strike and the spirit of solidarity

Soundings - ISSN 1362-6620
Volume 2015 Number 60

The 1984-5 miners' strike and the spirit of solidarity
Diarmaid Kelliner pages -


The thirtieth anniversary of the 1984-5 British miners’ strike has seen a number of attempts to engage with the legacy of the dispute. This article discusses three examples: Pride, a dramatised account of Lesbians and Gay Men Support the Miners; Still the Enemy Within, a documentary that presents an overview of the strike from the perspective of rank-and-file activists; and Pits and Perverts, a play focusing on a gay couple in London who gave accommodation to Welsh pickets. Particular attention is given to the ways in which the support movement is represented, which is taken as the starting point for a wider discussion about the nature of solidarity. I argue that focusing only on 1984-5 risks positioning the coalfields as only recipients of solidarity, whereas the support of the miners for the Grunwick dispute in the late 1970s and other struggles suggests a more reciprocal relationship. This mutual solidarity was often rooted in a conception of the ‘labour movement’, but one whose boundaries where frequently contested. I conclude by arguing that representing this spirit of solidarity is not an exercise in nostalgia, but an attempt to keep alive the memory and possibility of alternatives to neoliberalism. 

SORRY - you are not registered as being permitted online access to the full text of this article

You have the following options:

  1. If you are viewing this via an institution or academic library you can ask that your institution takes out a Subscription to this journal.
  2. If you already have a Personal Subscription please login below

    Forgotten your username / password? Click here to locate

  3. Purchase an annual Personal Subscription
    PRINT + DIGITAL personal subscription (£40 / year)
    DIGITAL personal subscription (£30 / year)
    A Personal Subscription provides immediate access not only to the single article you are seeking, but also to all past and future articles in this journal up to the expiry of your annual (calendar year) subscription.
  4. Purchase immediate access to this single article (UK£7.00) - Buy article Coming Soon

To cite this article
Diarmaid Kelliner (2015) The 1984-5 miners' strike and the spirit of solidarity, Soundings, 2015(60), -

Share this