History on our side
Wales and the 1984-85 Miners' Strike
In this very personal history, Hywel Francis has a unique insight into both individual experiences and the national politics of the strike. A new chapter in this re-issued book shows that the Welsh miners were in a unique position to forge an alliance with the Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners Group, as represented in the film Pride.
The film Pride has reignited interest in the struggles of the miners in the South Wales valleys in the strike of 1984-5. In his new chapter Hywel explores the links between the Welsh miners associations and the Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners Group, and how this alliance came out of the left-wing politics of the 1980s.
Hywel Francis, formerly MP for Aberavon, as a historian and active participant in the strike, had a unique insight into the way in which the struggles for jobs and communities broadened out to become a powerful national movement in Wales, involving trade unions, political parties, churches, the Welsh Language Society, and community, peace and women’s support groups, as well as their lesbian and gay supporters.
This very personal history, which explains why the South Wales valleys were the strongest and most loyal of all the British coalfields, is based on the author’s personal diaries, and his articles and essays in a number of Welsh and British journals.
It tells the story of the individual and collective courage and pain of Welsh miners, their families and their communities – and is an important contribution to our understanding of a defining moment in modern Welsh history.
Learning from our past: forewords by Mike Jackson and Sian James MP
Introduction: A Personal Testimony
1. History Invades the Valleys
2. How It All Began: 1947-84
3. The Strike as a New Kind of Politics? March-October 1984
4. The Coalfield Under Siege: November 1984 - March 1985
5. The NUM Fights for Wales: The Birth of the Wales Congress
6. The Experience of Defeat: 1985-92
7. Resources of Hope and Pride, 1992-2015 - FREE CHAPTER
Note on Sources
About the Author
‘The book provides a very personal history of the strikes, based on the author’s personal diaries, and his articles and essays in a number of Welsh and British journals. It tells the story of the individual and collective courage and pain of Welsh miners, their families and their communities.’
‘The MP behind a newly reissued book about the miners’ strike has picked Mark Ashton for its front cover – in protest at his communist politics being airbrushed from the film Pride.’
‘The strongest aspect of the work lies in the detailed observations of the author and his skill in turning much which was personal into a detailed, layered history of the Strike in South Wales.’
‘The quality of the writing of Hywel Francis contributes to the sense of tragedy that one has by the end of this work. The writing is vivid and respectful of the South Wales miners, their sense of solidarity and what was gained through building alliances with those, like Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners, black activists and the peace movement, who could make common cause through differing experiences of oppression.’