Daisy Payling
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The labour movement
Marching forward
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This chapter explores how the labour movement in Sheffield changed throughout the 1970s and 1980s. It details how the close relationship between the trade unions and Labour Party developed over decades within political partnerships, kinship networks and shared sites of adult education, before showing how mass unemployment in the early 1980s rocked that solid base. The rapid decline of the steel industry in Sheffield, followed by the threat of pit closures in the surrounding coalfields, produced new challenges for Sheffield’s labour movement, leading to new priorities and collaborations with religious groups, Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic organisations and unemployment centres. The chapter explores how the 1981 People’s March for Jobs and the 1984–85 miners’ strike successfully mobilised activists from all corners of the new urban left, but argues that the exclusion of some activists from these campaigns and from networks of reciprocal support demonstrated the early limits of new urban left politics in a city dominated by the labour movement.

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Socialist Republic

Remaking the British left in 1980s Sheffield

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