A BUMPER CROWD of thousands packed out the annual Burston strike school commemoration yesterday, with many first-timers flocking to the celebration of working-class solidarity.
The mass rally in the Norfolk village heard from Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn, who praised the memory of strike teachers Kitty and Tom Higdon.
Mr Corbyn said their actions in defence of workers and working-class children’s education against an alliance of reactionary clergy and Tory landowners showed the deep labour movement values of solidarity and education.
The pair were dismissed following a dispute with the school in 1914 and, with the support of the schoolchildren, parents and the labour movement set up a new school on the village green.
Mr Corbyn said marking their struggle and solidarity helped us understand our own history and that the greatest achievements in society were always made through popular demands in popular struggle.
Mr Corbyn said that was what the Tories really feared and their controversial anti-Trade Union Bill was a wider attack on the working class as a whole.
That message was backed up by other speakers, including firefighters’ union FBU leader Matt Wrack. He said that a mass movement across the entire class was needed. He praised Mr Corbyn, adding: “We cannot sit on our hands until 2020 — action is needed now.”
A glimmer of the movement needed is shown by the mass support for Mr Corbyn, which the Islington North MP said has been fuelled by small donations averaging £23.50 and a 15,000-strong volunteer army.