1) Before him, the leader was Frank Hodges, who became Lord of the Admiralty in the first Labour government of 1924, a career path to the ruling class followed by many a Trade Union leader since then.
2) As against those sad long-term members of the Labour Party bemoaning the fact that their precious socialist Party has been hijacked by Thatcherites, it's clear that, even in its infancy, the Labour Party was always a capitalist party. Admittedly it was a capitalist party concerned, at least until the late 1940s, with reforms ameliorating the condition of the working class, but only in order to tame its moments of revolutionary fury, and to extend hierarchical social control.
3) Interestingly, Peregrine Worsthorne, a disgusting right-wing journalist who often called himself 'class conscious' - but on the side of the ruling class, said after the defeat of the miners in 1985, "If the coal mines had still been in private hands, Arthur Scargill might not now be facing defeat. As it is, his opponent has been the State rather than capital, the national interest rather than a "selfish" sectional interest. In theory, nationalisation was always bound to strengthen the side of management against labour, since a strike against a concern owned by all the people was plainly much less easy to excuse...than one against a concern owned by a few "rich" shareholders." Coming out of the mouth of a right-wing ideologue, this does show the holes in that aspect of socialism which argues that the nation State is above sectional interest, that nationalisation equals the general interest. This despite the fact that he probably wrote it just to wind up those Leftists who had supposedly supported the strike, turning their own arguments against them, showing up their contradictions in terms of their own ideology.
Of course, in its own terms, Worsthorne's arguments don't stand a second's reflection; for one thing, it's not a question of moral 'excuses', for another the miners won under nationalisation in '72, but lost under privatisation in '26... We're certainly not saying that nationalisation was as bad as privatisation – mainly because it brought in better safety conditions. But then in the Keynesian political atmosphere of post WWII Britain, safety conditions tended to be slowly improved even in private industries, whereas in the neo-liberal cut-throat competitive atmosphere today, even in the relatively few nationalised industries that exist worldwide safety conditions are worsening.
4) The Communist Party, since the 30s, had an influence in the miners, dockers and seamen's unions quite out of proportion to their national membership.
5) The contradiction between industrial and finance capital is far too often seen as the fundamental conflict. This support for industrial capital – and for some aspects of a peasant economy as well , defined within the present organisation of production – is the dominant ideology of the anti-globalisation movements.This conflict was the basis of socialism's ability to co-opt past revolutionary movements. It was the main idea behind the movie Wall Street. In rightly attacking finance capital as money producing money, as fictitious capital (though even finance capital needs some productive base), it tends to assert the notion that industrial capital, or at least capital that produces things, including cultural commodities like the film Wall Street, is rational, and isn't even 'capital' at all. It even tends to suport some idea of the Nation as against globalised finance. Such 'rationality' ignores history: National Socialism also based its ideology on this idea. The Jews were represented as the epitome of finance capital, even though the vast majority had nothing in common with the Rothchilds of this world. Hence the Jews had to be physically exterminated in order to believe that they were concretely eradicating what the Jews were made to represent - the irrationality of finance capital.
Whilst the vast majority of those in the anti-globalisation movement have nothing in common with Nazism, most of them share, in their simplistic reductionism and opportunism, this in common with Nazi demagogy: they both refuse to oppose commodity and hierarchical relations as such, conveniently reducing the enemy to a particular aspect of capital exclusively. And it wouldn't be surprising if, long term, quite a few anti-globalisation militants were to be so blinded by their hatred of specifically US capital as to support wars against this current dominant multinational power – some even by China.
6) Phoenix note: We've published this as it was written. The Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, which John refers to, was signed at the end of August 1939, just before the invasion of Poland, which the pact was intended to allow. Since we don't know the year John's dad left the C.P., we've kept the date as in the original text.
7) In Place of Strife was an attempt by the Labour government to suppress wildcat strikes, which accounted for almost 90% of all strikes during this epoch. It was published as a White Paper by the Minister of Employment and Productivity, Barbara Castle, ex-heroine of the Left. It proposed the imposition of a 28 day conciliation pause in the event of 'unconstitutional' strikes – basically, wildcats. If the strike went ahead then financial penalties could be imposed by an Industrial Board on the unions or on the individual striker, to be collected by 'attachment of earnings' orders. Secret ballots could also be ordered by the secretary of state where a major official strike was threatened.
After a couple of unofficial one-day strikes, with possibly as many as 200,000 coming out on the second one on May 1st 1969, the Unions were scared of creating too much conflict between them and their members and so pressurised the Wilson government to back down, and In Place of Strife was dropped on 18th June 1969, when the TUC entered into a 'Solemn and Binding Undertaking' to try to control strikes. It was this failure to control the working class that cost Labour the election exactly a year later. Barbara Castle, the architect of In Place of Strife had been born in 1912 in Yorkshire, her father being an Independent Labour Party member who never tired of criticising the concliatory attitude of the Labour Party towards the bosses. As a child, she listened to the talk of the corruption of the bosses in the manner of English puritans chastising evil. As a young girl she had gravitated towards the left of the traditional workers movement, and this made her well-prepared for playing the ordinary worker all the better to crush real 'ordinary' workers, a bit like Prescott today.
8) One particularly embarassing TV moment about 6 years ago was him on some crass reality TV type show, where he goes to live with some toff for a week armed with a bunch of various editions of Class War and performs martial arts to the camera whilst ending up admitting that he quite liked the old super-rich pratt – he was a "nice guy". Now almost everyone looks silly on telly, which is why you should avoid it like the plague, but this should have won an Oscar for Silliness.
9) A mostly excellent text available in English on the internet at the revolt against an age of plenty site or in French as part of a book from Insomniaque ("Un peu de l'âme des mineurs du Yorkshire": 63, rue de Saint-Mandé, 93100 Montreuil). It is clear that this text was not exclusively written by Jenny but by someone else as well, even though both English and French versions say that the text was written by her alone.
10) Amongst this aloof lot, we can find a so-called autonomist marxist mag Radical Chins - anxious to win a place for itself amongst the ultra-left of academia. In an article devoted to praising Class War (the paper) for its humour and criticising it for its lack of 'theory', the author shows us what he means by 'theory' by dismissing, in virtually one sentence, one of the most important proletarian assaults on class society in the past 25 years – the miners strike. I don't have the quote in front of me but it says it was almost inevitable that it would be lost because the Tories carefully prepared the battle beforehand, with its massive coal stocks etc. But, it adds, "even if they had won – so what? It would merely have affirmed the power of nationalist social democracy" (rough quote). Doubtless, after the Paris Commune, we would have heard such arrogant ignorance in the form of "even if they had won – so what? It would merely have affirmed the power of French nationalism" or after the Hungarian uprising, "even if they had won – so what? It would merely have affirmed the power of Hungarian nationalism". For intellectual spectators of revolt, who somehow think movements are only as good as their apparent ideology, rubbishing such movements becomes a substitute pretension for a critique of their contradictions and limitations. It's also a symptom of a certain type of 'revolutionary' intellectual who fears participating in situations where their insights and apparently radical sentiments would be judged according to their practical-historical consequences, the best possible attack on the normal spectator. It is also a particular example of the general pretension of all intellectuals: they think they are different from the ordinary spectator because they can't bear to simply stand and watch the world with their hands in their pockets – they just have to write something down.
11) David Jones' death was particularly taken up by the WRP and its newspaper Newsline, which opportunisticly used his death to publicise their particularly hack organisation and its crass vanguardism ("TUC – get off your knees" or "Get the TUC to call a General Strike!"). Nevertheless, despite some ridiculous Leftisms (e.g."the miners have got to win to save the TUC and to save trade unions in this country..."), and despite the fact that it's used to advertise the WRP, the slim volume by David Jones' dad published by them is very moving in a straight-forward sort of way. Moreover, it shows up the political manoueverings around his death. Despite the pathologist saying he'd died from an injury over the hour before his death (he died at 11 past midnight) the cops insisted on looking only at what had happened during the hour before he'd been hit by the brick (which had occurred at 11.30 p.m.), quite clearly to avoid looking at the fact that it had been a scab who'd killed him, pretending he'd died from something that had happened before he was hit by a brick. A police enquiry refused to call any witnesses who'd been with David Jones after 11 p.m., despite the pathologist having said the injury that killed him had occurred between 11.11 p.m. and 12.11 a.m.
The whole thing stinks of a crude cover-up. Moreover, his funeral, after it had all been arranged, was delayed just 3 days before it was due because the coroner's office refused to release the body, insisting, without giving any reason, on a 2-3 week delay, undoubtedly an additional trauma for the family. This, despite the fact that neither the pathologist, the police nor the NUM solicitor had any objection to his body being released for burial. In the light of the fact that the Notts miners had come out on strike for a day in respect, this delay was very clearly a political decision to repress immediate passions. In 1982 the funeral of an 18 year old in Teddington who'd thrown a couple of molotovs into a police station during the Falklands War, been arrested and committed suicide after a few weeks in custody (through "lack of care", according to the inquest jury) was the occasion for a riot against the cops. Did the State fear something similar? When one considers how much the ruling world has toyed with trying to punish the still unpunished murders of Stephen Lawrence and yet how little has ever gone into the murder of a young miner who, well before the strike, had said hopefully, "there'll be a revolution!" we see the difference in two epochs. In both cases nothing happens – nobody is punished and the cops continue to be (in the Stephen Lawrence case, racist) bastards. But in the second, the Stephen Lawrence case, the State holds out the hope of future punishment so as to change the law on double jeopardy – it serves a political purpose absent in the David Jones murder, which in this "We're all (supposedly) Thatcherites nowadays" epoch can be confined to a permanent silence.
12) Maybe some of the attitudes expressed in the following sequel to this little story contributed a bit to the defeat (undoubtedly, many will find the following a bit petty and pointless – to most people it will read like some politico squabble dramatised as something more important; a lot of people would say ‘the history of the strike is important – a history of these squabbles isn’t’. However I've included it here as a footnote because it concretely shows up some of the absurdities of populism and of pacifism):
"After what happened at Grays Inn Rd., I headed for the South Bank and went into the cafe of the National Film Theatre, where various miners had gathered and started to hand out the mini-leaflets. There I bumped into Ian Bone, who'd started his group "Class War" the previous year. He immediately sneered at the leaflet - " 'Striking miners do it with telegraph poles' - that's sexist!", a humourless politically correct comment he presumably said to impress his girlfriend who was with him. A Welsh miner came up and said, in relation to the leaflet, "We don't want no violence - we'll not win that way." Bone immediately, and in complicity with this miner, denounced me to the rest of the cafe - "The guy's a rich bastard." I had no property but I did have £7,000 in savings which I'd inherited, a fair amount of money for someone in their mid-30s and a hell of a lot more than any of my friends at that time; still, this demagogic put-down had no point in it but to try to make himself popular with this miner...My weakness was not to immediately confront Bone with this crappy attitude, but I just scurried away in the face of general opposition from him, the Welsh miner and others, a sad let-down after the uplifting experience of what had happened less than an hour previously.
Later that day, Bone was in Parliament Square and chucked something at the cops. An NUM official grabbed him in order to hand him over to the cops, but a cop thought the official was picking a fight for no reason and rushed in to arrest him, dragging him away violently, and Bone got away. A kind of poetic justice, though it would have been nice if the cop too had got his comeuppance. In a sense this shows some of the ridiculous contradictions of Class War and of its leader in particular - at one moment supporting a pacifist miner, because he was so into his role of being popular, then later being a victim of this same pacifism, though, happily, the 'pacifist' NUM official was the final victim of his own ideology. At this stage of the strike there was a lot of opposition to class violence, but as the cops' brutality at Orgreave intensified, and especially as soon as the cops invaded the pit villages a bit later on, this ideology receded - but there were always a fair amount of pretty passive miners who continued to condemn the pickets' violence, though their voices got more and more muted.
Obviously all this is, in a sense, far too personal, but then history is always partly made up of personal nuances which effect overall events. All pretension to a history which is not personal inevitably lies. There are always personal reasons for all critique, if only the personal reason to incite some practical confrontation with this world which would be personally satisfying. The claim to objectivity is just a hierarchical role to say "I'm right – I've got the dialectic – I've read the right books", a claim to not being an individual but a carrier of historical necessity. "Nothing personal" is the ideology of business; in the 80s a Chelsea gang beat up, even cut up, opposing fans and left them with a business card saying "Nothing personal..." The 'personal' in this case was my own failure to get angry with these manipulative attitudes when it would've meant something."
13) To a certain extent attitudes have changed since the strike towards shops and the petty bourgeoisie At this time, who could really give a toss about the small shops whose main fear for the defeat of the strike was that there'd be a big increase in shoplifters. With distance we might see them a bit more sympatetically – they seriously didn't want to lose even the good side of community. And historically, the non-employing petit-bourgeoisie has not always been on the side of the ruling class by any means. But at the time – well, the last few pages on the looting of the riots of 1981 - "Summer Sales"- in "Miner Conflicts..." is expressive of the disgust for the safe shop keepers at this time. And we were contemptuouis of Black Flag criticising people for smashing shops that were giving credit to the miners. But anti-moralism is no answer to moralism. And times change – more and more people are forced into petit-bourgeois work by the system – many ex-miners included. But at the same time, it's inevitable that they became a target for the poor – they always have been and always will until the abolition of poverty and of shops.
14) Dave Douglass refers to this quote as part of his criticism of this text in ‘Pit Sense versus the State’ published almost 10 years after this text was written (in November 1993, by Phoenix Press, P.O.Box 824, London N1 9DL). DD slags off in particular this quote, which he attributes to Socialist Worker, though in fact it's a quote from a striking miner in Socialist Worker. He gives no date for this quote but then goes on to say how much bollocks it is to say officials weren't on picket lines because officials were arrested at Orgreave – some two months after the period this striker is talking about (moreover, the miner is talking about his own precise experiences at his pit, not about NUM officials in general). The impression given of "Miner conflicts..." is that it's so out of touch that it's not worth reading. In this typical Leftist deceitful 'amalgam technique' he connects things that have no connection in order to make them seem the same – in this case the SWP and me. Worse, sandwiched between different attacks on this text, he attacks the crudely anti-strike propaganda of Ian MacGregor and two obnoxious journalists (Martin Adeney and John Lloyd), which subliminally puts my text and the reactionary texts in the same boat. The distortion of the point of view of opponents is sadly typical of those who have an ideology and a role to defend, those, regardless of their ostensible desires, who are incapable of advancing the struggle one milimetre, at least in terms of their stated views (in practical terms, workers often participate in class struggle and yet at the same time have stupid ideologies and roles that undermine their practice).
15) (16/7/09: this footnote has been altered a bit - by the author - from the original, and the original footnote 16, in many ways a repetition of this footnote, has been cut out). If it seems excessive to talk of Jack Taylor as a Stalinist, it might seem utterly dishonest to talk of DD as one. But it's only stylistically stretching the truth a tiny bit. Taylor agreed with Scargill's support for the Polish State's crackdown on the class struggle in Poland at the end of 1981 in the name of opposition to 'Solidarity' and the Catholic Church, as if 'Solidarity' was in total control of the movement (to name just one example, at a prison riot in Bydgoszcz in Poland, before the crackdown, Communist Party hacks, State Police, and Solidarity union officials joined together in defence of the walls of the prison against the townspeople who were helping prisoners escape).In 'Pit Sense versus the State' DD virtually does the same as Taylor and Scargill; though he rightly attacks Solidarity for not blacking the export of coal to Britain, he conveniently fails to mention that it was Jaruzelski's government, which Scargill supported, that was doing the exporting, and attacks "Miner conflicts - major contradictions" for attacking Scargill's support for the Polish State. In the crackdown on the movement in Poland in 1981 – which was not merely a crackdown on Solidarity but on the whole of the class struggle, 6 miners were killed by the State when they occupied their pit - but we have heard nothing about this from DD - all we have heard is support for Scargill's support for Jaruzelski. Of course, strictly speaking Jaruzelski too was not a Stalinist, since the whole of the East European Stalinist bureacuracy were officially not Stalinist from 1956 onwards, since Stalin had been denounced by Krushchev. But let's not get over-semantic. DD, whilst still a supporter of the old Class War group, still writes ( or wrote) for such papers as The Leninist or The Weekly Worker, the official organ of the Communist Party of Great Britain - and criticised nothing of their politics in either paper. An anarcho-Stalinist chameleon might be a better definition of him, more concerned with trying to be 'popular' than consistent.
In 'Pit Sense versus the State' DD, in his attacks on "Miner conflicts..." plays the classic political manipulation game of quoting out of context by implying, in a text that very clearly attacks scabs, that I support the Notts scabs on the basis of their resentment of Scargill's support for the crackdown in Poland. Now Scargill's (and effectively, DD's) support for East European Stalinism was probably merely a pretext for certain Polish miners scabbing, and there's no justification for it offered in "Miner conflicts..." – merely a bit of an explanation (after all, it requires a greater degree of integrity than Scargill or DD to support a strike apparently led by a man who had nothing but praise for the murderers of Polish miners, possibly people known to you or your family personally). At this time I had no knowledge of Polish miners in Britain – but it seems most of them (though with some definite exceptions) were a very insular and servile lot, uncommunicative outside of their Polish circle, and were only interested in making as much money as possible in as short a time as possible. Clearly no integrity there.
16) See footnote 15.
17) For example, Class War openly declared itself 'opportunist', re-writing the definition of the word to mean "We use every opportunity to communicate our ideas", which even in its own terms is bullshit.
18) Whilst conspiracy theories are often just a way for some journalist-cum-writer to produce a kind of real-life whodunnit mystery as part of their career, and full of endless facts leading to something that demands even more endless facts to be revealed on a final page not yet written, there is some evidence that the shot that killed Yvonne Fletcher, the cop killed, was not fired from the Libyan embassy at all, but from a window in a building next door...Funnily enough, a recent leader in The Guardian on the 20th anniversary of the end of the Great Strike (March 5th 2005) was followed, on the internet, by a list of links to relevant articles on the strike. Top of the list – no.1 - was a link to the report in April 1984 of the killing of Yvonne Fletcher. The report doesn't mention the strike. Was the webmaster trying to tell us something? – was this a subliminal message? Or maybe MI5 want to be thought of as invicible and have connived with the Guardian to create this conspiratorial myth. See next week's thrilling episode. Conspiracy revelations are anyway, almost always five years or more too late. Whereas unveiling what's going on now – particularly at work/in your street/neighbourhood/ region/ bedroom may be a dangerous risk, conspiracy theories are almost always very safe...
19) Scabs sometimes cited the acceptance of money from Libya as a pretext for breaking the strike – "Taking money from someone like that was really scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as I'm concerned" (Mel Hunt, Newsweek, November 26, 1984), about as silly as attacking someone starving in the Third World for taking money from the United Nations, because it was responsible for genocide in Iraq. Scabs, like everyone who makes unnecessary compromises with this sick world, will use anything and everything to justify their sickness.
20) Kinnock must have been a little annoyed by this bit of graffiti because he mentioned it during his speech at the meeting-cum-opening of an Islington Housing Advice Centre, opposite which the graffiti had been painted – "This council are doing something practical, unlike some theory on a wall". Someone else said that the only "practical" building that Islington Council had done was to build 6 Housing Advice Centres.
21) The first thing Thatcher did when she came to power was to increase the wages of cops. Like Stalin's, her withering away of the State began with its intensification.
22) By the end of 1984, Geldof was desperate for his pop group career to lift off – "It was coming to the end of 1984 and I could see no prospect for the release of the album 'In the Long Grass'...I went home in a state of blank resignation and switched on the television", he wrote in his autobiography 'Is that it?', adding that, watching the news of the Ethiopian famine, he almost immediately saw the opportunity of the charity-business bringing big publicity. Later he did a major UK tour whose success he openly admits was entirely due to Band Aid and its dire song "Don't they know it's Christmas?". Having become an honorary knight (charity begins at home, after all) he obviously had nothing but praise for the biggest mob family in the UK – the Windsors, saying how vital it was to uphold the monarchy, one of the essential ways a fundamentally brutal system gives itself an image of harmlessness .
23) An anarchist journal "Insurrection" had a charmingly original take on the collections - they condemned them as pure charity. "Today even anarchist groups are quite happily busying themselves collecting funds to help the starving workers...If the workers don't eat there will be two positive results: the clash will quickly come to a head, and it will immediately become obvious which side the trade union leaders are on". Strangely , this delirious idea was not something they applied to themselves – they didn't need the threat of starvation to, apparently, fight the system and understand which side the trade union leaders were on (rumour has it that whilst they had this crap distributed in the UK they themselves were languishing on an Italian beach feeding their cocaine habit). Ideology is, above all, for others. In this case, the ideology comes from the idea that the masses are not individuals capable of determining the conditions of their existence by conscious choice, but have to be supplied by the enlightened 'radicals' with an external motivation – in this case, starvation - they can't resist. By "Insurrection'' 's logic, the starving throughout the world were constantly threatening the class system.
24) The 'Armthorpe Tannoy', a local rank and file newsletter for the Hatfield/Armthorpe area, attacked Walker's announcement that there would be no power cuts without mentioning a single thing about Scargill and Heathfield saying the same thing. The submission to the collectivity, in this case the NUM, invariably produces contradictions like this: in this case the ideology is 'unity' against an external enemy, but such false 'unity ' is the real enemy within.
25) Some, supposedly radical, people thought they were being ever so clever and provocative to say "I'm bored with the miners strike".
26) The miners strike of 1972 managed to get 40,000 strikers picketting for every day of the 6 week strike. In part it was because this strike almost completely ignored the NUM leadership, whereas the Left that had won its spurs during the '72 strike was now in power and did everything it could to keep control, which meant, amongst other things, completely ignoring the passive majority of strikers.
Sure, we don't complain that they didn't act like good leaders – it should have been up to the more active miners and their supporters to get these passive spectators of the strike off their couches stuck in front of the telly – but it is a significant difference which can't simply be explained by the enormity of arrests on the picket lines compared with '72. Wildcat Jan/Feb 1985 quotes an interesting passage in Socialist Worker, 15th September '84:
"In our pit, we pulled a few of the lads who'd been arrested together. I managed to pull 3 lads round me and we started to go round knocking on doors and had some success with hgetting people out. Then we put a resolution to the branch. It said that we should get a list of everyone's name and address who has been arrested and can't go out picketing and form them into recruiting teams. We should also get a list of everyone who's been passive and decorating or doing the gardening, and then the recruiting teams could visit them. Unfortunately, this was not passed by a branch committee – you have to put a resolution through the branch committtee and this had got knocked back – but it still had to go through the correspondance. So the week before it was due to come up we went round the soup kitchen asking lads to come to the meeting. We got !%) to the branch meeting where we usually get 35. The branch president refused to admit the correspondance so I got up and asked what had happened to it. He siad he didn't know anything about a letter and threatened to put me through a window. But the lads who had come along to the meeting spoke up for me, so the branch president asked them if they wanted to hear the letter. Much to his surprise they all shouted yes. It just showed what an advantage we have got over the officials. We work with the rank and file day in and day out, while our branch president is up there at the area office in Barnsley and is so out of touch it's unbelievable. So I explained the case, how we must step up picketing if we are to win the strike and moved a resolution condemning the branch committee for not supporting such a necessary step. I got a big cheer for this, but they had a fall-back and ruled it out of order. I think that shows you we've go to know the rule book and how we've got to intervene."
Wildcat rightly added: "What is actually shown is that militant workers need to tear up the union rule book. Instead of waiting weeks for proposed actions to be passed through union branches, these miners should have organised the recruiting teams themselves and ignored whatever the NUM tried to do to stop them." Although no-one like to be told what they 'should' have done, how else do you learn from the past – doesn't progress always come down to doing what you didn't do in the past?
27) As we say elsewhere, in our text Now is the Winter Of Our Discontent, the history of the seventies
“shows many of the historical reasons why Trade Unionism is so embedded in what remains of the rebellious sections of the British working class. In fact, the very success of the strike wave [of the winter of discontent '78-'79], and of the whole decade of discontent before it, a success which never broke with Trade Unionist ideology (even though it very often subverted the capitalist function of Trade Unions as a tool for integrating workers into the structures of exploitation) is one of the most important reasons for the subsequent failure of the struggles of the employed working class in the Thatcher epoch. What, at that time, was a sufficient - if limited - framework for workers to express themselves autonomously, rapidly became an obstacle to autonomy."
28) For those who really want to be bored by my petty pedantic compulsion to reveal all, read on.
In July 1984 I sent DD the text he wrote which we've published here in Chapter 4 – saying "This was written by someone you once knew." A provocation like that incited his hatred of anything connected with 'situationists'. I 'met' Ian Bone in a pub after a miners strike meeting during July and he said DD had sent a 13 page reply to my "Miners Conflicts..." text. I never got this letter, and I said so to Bone, adding "Maybe it's been taken by Special Branch". He turned to his mates and said, "That's what everybody says when they don't want to reply to something." But if his text on "Miner Conflicts..." 8 years after it was written is anything to go by, the letter was full of deceitful out-of-context quoting. In Pit Sense versus the State he virtually says I supported scabs!! -, which is part of the typical bullshit politicking which this guy needs to do to defend his deeply entrenched petrified role. The deliberate dishonesty of the creep. See footnotes to Miner Conflicts for comments on his comments.
Anyway, I'm just mentioning all this petty stuff as a tedious way of "declaring an interest". It's up to you to decide if this has clouded my judgement or led to me over-emphasising the guy. But it's clear that DD received an the inordinate respect during the strike from the national anarchist milieu in the UK - probably because of their common taste for demagogic rhetoric - which made a small but significant contribution for the failure to confront the NUM which was part of the failure of the strike. It should be pointed out that more local anarchist groups, such as Sheffield Anarchist, which were well aware of how the NUM acted, were generally far more critical of the union, as were many individual miners.