Tale of Two Cities

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The Walrus (April SR) draws attention to one key difference between the 1972 and 1984-85 miners' strike - namely that in 1972 Birmingham workers came to the aid of the miners and closed the key Saltley Gates depot.

In 1984-85 there was no such mobilisation of Sheffield workers to help shut Orgreave. This can be seen as a failure of working class solidarity, but it would be more accurate to suggest that in large part it reflected the decline of the Communist Party's industrial organisation between the two strikes.

For all its faults, the Communist Party did play a major role at Saltley. It certainly did not and was not able to at Orgreave. It is a job of socialists now to make sure that industrial organisation is rebuilt, but this time with better politics.

Keith Flett
London