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In Aberystwyth, on 14 June, activist choir Côr Gobaith joined Billy Bragg on stage in the protest singer’s own version of The Internationale. Bragg’s tour of Wales is to mark the 25th anniversary of the miners’ strike.
The Thatcher government of the 1980s enforced colliery closures that decimated mining communities throughout Britain, not least in Wales. At the time, songs sung by Bragg such as “Which Side Are You On?” and “There is Power in a Union” were rallying calls for support for the miners.
The current tour commemorates the miners’ struggle but is not an expression of nostalgia: “Against a backdrop of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the tour is rooted in the here and now,” said Billy Bragg, “to remind people that we have not always meekly accepted cutbacks and redundancies. There is a culture of progressive resistance in Wales.”
“It’s a proud moment for us,” said Lotte Reimer from Côr Gobaith, “when we sang the lines ‘We have but one Earth on which to live’ and ‘The struggle carries on’ with Billy, it gave me goose-bumps. “We asked if he would sing at Climate Camp Cymru to add his voice to the call for green jobs for Wales. I hope he can make it because we must not give up on this struggle.”