Durham Miners' Gala in 2008. Photo: Wikimedia Durham Miners' Gala in 2008. Photo: Wikimedia

Jeremy Corbyn will be speaking at the historic Durham Miners’ Gala, off the back of a magnificent surge in support

Jeremy Corbyn is set to speak at the Durham Miners’ Gala on Saturday, 8 July, which will certainly be a huge affair. He got a fantastic reception last year, and following a superb performance in the recent election, we can expect he will draw in a significant number of people, continuing his tour of rallies across the country.

A permanent fixture (apart from during the wars and strike action) of the Labour movement since the late 19th century, this year it follows the most significant step forward for the Left in decades. A week after people take to the streets calling for the Tory government to give way, it is another moment for left-wing political expression amidst a social crisis

Renowned for being a lively, idiosyncratic event, this year in particular it will be a carnival of celebration and hope.

Marked by the huge banners representing lodges of the National Union of Mineworkers, the first ever Gala was organised by Durham Miners’ Association in 1871. Since then it has always been one of the biggest political gatherings in Europe.

There haven’t been any coal mines in Britain for many years now, which makes its continued success all the more remarkable. With socialism back on the agenda, it takes on a new significance and has strategic importance too. If we are going to seriously transform society, trade union and workplace activity must be at the forefront of everything we do as a movement.

The headline billing of Jeremy Corbyn will bring many with no links to the Labour movement right into the heart of its history. However, this is not a celebration of the past, but a coming together of working class people from across Britain, in the hope that a better world is possible.

Counterfire will be there. We hope to see you there. To find out more about the event, visit www.durhamminers.org/gala.

Cameron Panting

Cameron Panting was formerly National Organiser for Counterfire. He is active within the People's Assembly and Stop The War.