Art, History and progress

Trade union banners are heroic examples of popular art, giant swaying sails of colour, a tribute to the cause of labour. Starting from the emergent craft trade unions of the early nineteenth century they present a telling visual history of working class struggle and progress. Nowhere does this history burn brighter than at the Durham Miners’ Gala, which is fast re-emerging as the biggest annual trade union event in Britain.

Which is why, following the successful start-up of the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) and Unite Community support centre at Redhills, Durham UNITE Community is proud to be, with the backing of the DMA, launching its own banner. The unveiling takes place on 10 July 2014 at the Premier of the RedLadder Theatre Company Play: “We’re not going back.”

Incredible generosity from many Unite branches and members has made the banner possible. The eye catching design, which results from collaborative work between older and younger activists, recognises the new methods of campaigning by groups like UK Uncut, Occupy and the People’s Assembly.

Davy Hopper, DMA general secretary, said: “This banner will mark the 30th anniversary of our national strike – a strike where Thatcher sought to destroy our communities. Unfortunately for the Tories we are still here and still fighting – this banner will reflect that.”

Mark Metcalf

Ps Anyone wanting to find out more about Trade Union Banners should get hold a copy of BANNER BRIGHT
by John Gorman.

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