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The miners' strike will not be forgotten

Filmmaker ALEX MORRIS asks for your help to ensure the legacy of the miners is remembered with pride

In 1984 Margaret Thatcher labelled 160,000 striking miners, their families and supporters "the enemy within."

As the strike began, a group of miners emerged who were prepared to fight on the front line of every battle.

They were demonised by the media and despised by the government.

Dubbed "Arthur's Army," they were to lead a fightback that would not just rock the government but would change British society forever.

A young group of filmmakers are now taking on the challenge of putting this epic struggle onto the big screen in the form of a new feature documentary.

The film is aimed to be released next year in line with the 30th anniversary of the strike.

Getting up at 6am for shoots, on location in South Yorkshire, the team almost felt like the miners getting ready to picket 30 years earlier.

Hearing from our miners, their stories of being on the front line were candid and visceral and filled with drama, sadness, humour and ultimately inspiration.

Director Owen Gower explains: "Interviewing the miners in our film was a real privilege. Many of them had not spoken before about their experiences in 30 years and it was incredible to see their memories come flooding back."

In one of the interviews Durham miner and expert storyteller Norman Strike remembers how he had to start carrying his birth certificate around with him because none of the police believed that his surname was Strike.

"Even to this day people ask me: 'Yeah, but what's your real name'?" he told us before asking: "Did I ever tell you about my mate called Will Picket?"

Even off camera he swears Will Picket was real.

Thirty years on, these miners are still the enemy within - they continue to fight against the austerity measures being imposed by our current government and against the privatisation of public institutions not even Thatcher would touch. Like the strike, this film has had support from grass-roots activists and large unions such as the NUT, the FBU and the CWU.

Dave Green, national officer of the FBU, explained his union's reasoning for supporting the film.

"The FBU were proud to support the miners during their long and bitter struggle in 1984-5.

"While this might seem a long time ago and some would say should be consigned to history only to be revisited as a matter of interest, the FBU are absolutely determined that the heroic struggle, the injustices inflicted on many communities across Britain and the political lessons to be learnt must never be forgotten."

Next year there will be a massive battle for interpretation of the strike.

We want to make sure that the current government is not allowed to rewrite history to glorify Thatcher and again demonise the miners.

We believe that it is important that the voices and experiences of the miners' are heard.

"Many who come to this subject for the first time will be shocked about what they went through in their fight for British industry but will also see how much it resonates with the fight against austerity in Britain today," adds Gower.

To complete the film for 2014 we need to raise £35,000 by December.

Thirty years ago, Thatcher went to war. With your help, we can tell the story of the miners who fought back.

 

Please help us by visiting our crowd-funding site Sponsume from November 12 or visiting www.the-enemy-within.org.uk. We will be launching the fundraising with an event at Somerset House on November 12, hosted by the CWU, FBU and Dartmouth Films.

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