Mike Simons

Reform, Revolution and Direct Action amongst British Miners

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This is a very long overdue book. It reveals a period of the most extraordinary militancy by the largest group of organised workers in Britain, a phenomenon which has largely been ignored. In 1919, as a revolutionary wave swept Europe, mass strikes gripped British coalfields waged against the coal owners, the government and the miners’ own national and regional union officials.

Thatcher's Secret War

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Margaret Thatcher declared war on those she deemed “The Enemy Within”. She used the phrase most notably about the miners during the 1984-85 Great Strike, but they were far from her only target.

The Labour Party, the trade unions, the far left, nuclear disarmament activists, the Irish Republican Army, new age travellers, municipal socialists, feminists, gays and lesbians, Scottish nationalists and others were all targets in Thatcher’s secret war.

Marching to the Fault Line

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Francis Beckett and David Henke, Constable; £20

Marching to the Fault Line is a fascinating, if flawed, account of the great miners' strike of 1984-85. Francis Beckett and David Henke have unearthed important government material from the strike, and had access to the diaries and memories of a range of senior Labour Party and trade union figures for the book.

However, they have grafted their new material onto an old analysis that insists that the miners, if not doomed from the start, were condemned to ignominious defeat by the blundering of their union president Arthur Scargill.

Sleaze, Lies and Lobbygate

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Review of 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy', Greg Palast, Pluto £18.99

This is a fascinating collection of essays from the 'Observer' and 'Newsnight' journalist who in recent years has done an impressive job of exposing the lies and hypocrisy of the rich and powerful. It is a tragedy therefore that Palast has attacked those who have criticised the war in Afghanistan.

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