Another year and another May Day in Blackball!

This year the pilgrimage to Blackball offers something extra special: the opening of the Blackball 08 Memorial Centre, a museum dedicated to the labour history of Blackball, and indeed, New Zealand/Aotearoa.

There are numerous Labour Museums throughout the world; museums which not only celebrate the role working people have played in creating the infrastructure and wealth of a nation, but also the part working people have played in creating society.

In New Zealand/Aotearoa, between the years 1875 and 1935, working people struggled for a better society free of capitalism. The struggle went through various phases, from open class war and the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies) union radicalism to parliamentary struggle. The small coal mining communities of the West Coast played a significant part in the early years of this struggle, and in the town of Blackball, a national union structure was forged. It is appropriate then that this should be the site of the Museum project.

Saturday will also feature an open forum titled ‘Establishing a progressive voice on the coast’, a May Day march, song, beer, and a number of speakers throughout the evening.

After the speakers Beyond Resistance is screening ‘Harlan County USA’, a pivotal documentary on the gruelling yet inspiring coal miners’ strike in a small Kentucky town in the 1970s.