Video abstract – Diarmaid Kelliher’s “Constructing a Culture of Solidarity: London and the British Coalfields in the Long 1970s”

Last week on we featured all the papers forthcoming in January 2017 in Antipode 49(1). Here we delve a bit deeper, looking at Diarmaid Kelliher’s contribution, “Constructing a Culture of Solidarity: London and the British Coalfields in the Long 1970s”.

When we spoke with him about his essay, Diarmaid explained:

This article is centrally concerned with the development of relationships of solidarity between different localities over an extended period of time. While the 1984-85 miners’ strike was in many ways a spectacular event, I try to show that the significant level of support it received in part relied on the development of relationships in the previous 15 years. It is of course necessary to respond to specific political events, but this is itself easier if more longstanding relationships have been constructed. In particular, if solidarity is to be a mutual relationship this is far more likely to develop over an extended timeframe. I also wanted to highlight two specific things politically: that relationships of solidarity can help develop a class politics that takes seriously race, gender, and sexuality; and, specifically for the UK, the need and possibility of productive political relations between the London Left and the old industrial heartlands.

Here you can see him talking about the paper, and saying more about its implications for praxis as he sees them:

Diarmaid is a PhD candidate in the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences at the University of Glasgow.

Working with Antipode authors David Featherstone and Andrew Cumbers, his research, “The Miners’ Strike and the Metropolis, 1984-5: Mapping Networks of Solidarity”, looks at support groups in London for the British miners during the 1984-5 strike. Alongside what many saw as an “old fashioned” industrial dispute, a broad social movement developed to support the miners. Using a wide range of archival material, his research explores the range of groups in London–including lesbian and gay, black and feminist organisations, Labour Party branches, trade unions and others. It will look at the links that they developed with people in mining areas and the effect that this practical solidarity had on the individuals involved. It will also look at how this reflected and influenced the changing nature of the British Left in the 1980s.

As well as Antipode, Diarmaid’s work has been published in Soundings and History Workshop Journal.

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For more on the problems and promise of solidarity in Antipode, see:

Carrie Mott’s “The Activist Polis: Topologies of Conflict in Indigenous Solidarity Activism”;

Cristina Flesher Fominaya’s “Cultural Barriers to Activist Networking: Habitus (In)action in Three European Transnational Encounters”;

Leif Johnson’s “Material Interventions on the US–Mexico Border: Investigating a Sited Politics of Migrant Solidarity”; and

Gavin Brown and Helen Yaffe’s “Practices of Solidarity: Opposing Apartheid in the Centre of London”.