Saturday, 22 March 2014

Invitation: Remember September 18th 1959. Remember Thatcher's Attacks. Vote Yes in #indyref

As we move rapidly towards September 18th 2014 and a hugely historical day for Scotland, SSP Campsie remember another hugely significant September 18, that of 1959.

It was a day carved into the collective memory of Scots, and in particular those of us who live in the Campsie mining villages. It was on a shift down the mine outside Moodiesburn that a fire claimed the lives of 47 miners. 41 women were widowed and 76 children lost their fathers. Just one miner survived.

The death toll from the underground fire in Auchengeich Colliery, was the worst in the history of mining in Scotland.

SSP members, Willie Telfer and Mark Callaghan paying tribute to the miners who lost their lives in 1959

Next Sunday, 30th March at 2pm in Milton of Campsie Village Hall, the SSP will be showing solidarity with hard working miners across Scotland and the UK who were attacked and sold down the river by successive Governments and of course, Thatcher's Westminster's Tories. An independent Scotland could have nurtured and transformed coal into a clean industry and fair and safe employment for thousands of people was smashed by successive neo-liberal Tory and New Labour Governments.

There will be a screening of the film Happy Lands, based on the highs and lows of a Fife mining community during the 1926 general strike. The strike was called by the TUC for one minute to midnight on 3 May, 1926.

For the previous two days, some one million coal miners had been locked out of their mines after a dispute with the owners who wanted them to work longer hours for less money.

In solidarity, huge numbers from other industries stayed off work, including bus, rail and dock workers, as well as people with printing, gas, electricity, building, iron, steel and chemical jobs.

The aim was to force the government to act to prevent mine owners reducing miners' wages by 13% and increasing their shifts from seven to eight hours.

The industrial action came against a backdrop of tough economic times following the First World War and a growing fear of socialism and communism.  The elites had to resort to open class war to stop working men and women being awarded fair pay for a hard graft.

The film will be followed by speakers relating their own experiences of the 1984 fight against Thatcher's Government, who it has been recently revealed, had plans from the off to close over 70 pits serving working class communities across the UK. 

Local man, Tommy Canavan, arrested during the strike, who helped organize local miners in '84 will speak.

Local SSP Strathkelvin organiser,Willie Telfer said, "Many truths about the strike have only recently come to light, these new facts show how many families in the Kirky area were used by a government hell bent on smashing the trades union movement. Although it is 30 years on, many miners are still campaigning for justice and the disclosure of the facts behind the government's actions at that time".

Although ultimately defeated the event will celebrate the Strathkelvin sense of community and the solidarity shown to miners families during the dispute.

The 18th of September, 1959, was one of the saddest days for Strathkelvin folk and indeed, for all miners and the people of Scotland.

Let's hope September 18th 2014 is a day we remember the men and their families and vote to ensure our communities are rebuilt by a democracy and economy centred in Scotland and no longer in the hands of the Westminster Tories and New Labourites who have betrayed Scottish working class people for the past 35, and more, years.

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