CaD Langues

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orgreaveSalt of the earth




1. Battle of Orgreave

The Battle of Orgreave was a violent confrontation on 18 June 1984 between police and pickets at a British Steel Corporation (BSC) coking plant at Orgreave, in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

It was a pivotal event in the 1984-85 UK miners' strike and one of the most violent clashes in British industrial history.

Historian Tristram Hunt has described the confrontation as ‘‘almost medieval in its choreography... at various stages a siege, a battle, a chase, a rout and, finally, a brutal example of legalised state violence’’.

2. Salt of the Earth strike

The Empire Zinc strike, also known as the Salt of the Earth strike, was a 15-month-long miners’ strike in New Mexico against the Empire Zinc Company for its discriminatory pay and housing practices.

The strike drew national attention, and after it was settled in 1952, a movie entitled Salt of the Earth (1954) was released that offered a fictionalized version of events.




Battle of Orgreave versus Salt of the Earth 1954


1. Battle of Orgreave (participative artwork)

In 2001, conceptual artist Jeremy Deller originated and set in motion the idea of a re-enactment of the event as an arts project, commissioned by British arts organisation Artangel, with the recreations scripted and staged by historical re-enactment events company EventPlan Limited.

The event took place on 17 June 2001 and was filmed by film director Mike Figgis for a Channel 4 documentary.

But with authentic 1980s clothing and techniques. Only the railway crossing was omitted from the re-enactment, on safety grounds.


2. Salt of the Earth (film)


Mexican workers at a Zinc mine call a general strike. It is only through the solidarity of the workers, and importantly the indomitable resolve of their wives, mothers and daughters, that they eventually triumph.

The film used non-actors, some of whom were involved in the real life strikes.


Activity 1

  Pick out some unfamiliar words in the text.

Activity 2

Watch some short clips from both examples of re-enactments of miner strikes.

Activity 3

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