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The Enemy Within: The Secret War Against the Miners

“The definitive account of the strike—the best book on the Thatcher era.” – Naomi Klein
Margaret Thatcher branded the leaders of the 1984–85 miners' strike “the enemy within.”

In this classic account, Seumas Milne reveals the astonishing lengths to which her government and its intelligence machine were prepared to go to destroy the power of Britain’s miners’ union. In this 30th anniversary edition new material brings the story up to date with further revelations about the secret war against organized labour and political dissent, and the devastating price paid for the Thatcher administration's onslaught by communities across Britain.

Reviews

  • “The definitive account of the strike—the best book on the Thatcher era.”
  • “The most important exposé of contemporary political Britain I have read.”
  • “Riveting. It knocks spots off the usual ‘whodunnit.’”
  • “An astonishing book.”
  • “A tribute to detailed journalistic investigation ... strips away the myths and lies.”
  • “A terrifying, frightening indictment of the British establishment.”
  • “One of the most remarkable demolition jobs ever.”

Blog

  • Thoughts On the Sociology of Brexit

    Will Davies, author of The Happiness Industry, provides an analysis of the demographics of Brexit. This article originally appeared at the Political Economy Research Centre blog and is reproduced here with the permission of the author.  



    The Geography Reflects the Economic Crisis of the 1970s, Not the 2010s


    It became clear early on in the night that Leave had extraordinary levels of support in the North East, taking 70% of the votes in Hartlepool and 61% in Sunderland. It subsequently emerged that Wales had voted for Leave overall, especially strongly in the South around areas such as Newport. It is easy to focus on the recent history of Tory-led austerity when analysing this, as if anger towards elites and immigrants was simply an effect of public spending cuts of the past 6 years or (more structurally) the collapse of Britain's pre-2007 debt-driven model of growth.

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  • “We Are Those Lions”: 5 Strikes and Riots that Shook Modern Britain

    “We have encountered already the drive-train, which, turned by agrarian advances, will spin the wheels of the Industrial Revolution. The race for productivity, the very basis of capitalist development, means the replacement of labor power with means of production, living labor with dead, variable capital with constant.

    Amid this arise General Ludd and Captain Swing, one leading sallies against the textile industries, the other in the agrarian theater of combat. Both movements described themselves in military terms, never better than in a letter “Signed by the General of the Army of Redressers Ned Ludd Clerk.” They took oaths, stocked arms.” Joshua CloverRiot. Strike. Riot

    ***

    Since the very first machines were destroyed during the Luddite uprisings of 1811-1813 culminating in a region-wide rebellion in Northwestern England, militant direct action has been a weapon of the working class and a form of resistance against their rulers. 

    ('Preston attack on the Military: two rioters shot’, Illustrated London News, 13th August, 1842)

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  • The Dignity of Chartism Reviewed



    This is a major collection of essays on Chartism by leading social historian Dorothy Thompson, whose work radically transformed the way in which Chartism is understood. Reclaiming Chartism as a fully-blown working-class movement, Thompson intertwines her penetrating analyses of class with ground-breaking research uncovering the role played by women in the movement.


    Throughout her essays, Thompson strikes a delicate balance between down-to-the-ground accounts of local uprisings, snappy portraits of high-profile Chartist figures as well as rank-and-file men and women, and more theoretical, polemical interventions.

    Of particular historical and political significance is the previously unpublished substantial essay co-authored by Dorothy and Edward Thompson, a superb piece of local historical research by two social historians then on the brink of notable careers.

    Since its publication, the book has received a number of favourable reviews:

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Other books by Seumas Milne