From October 1950 to January 1952, the Mexican American miners at the Empire Zinc mine in Bayard, New Mexico were on strike, protesting the racial discrimination between them and their Anglo counterparts in pay, safety standards, and quality of life in company housing. Two events make this particular strike stand out from similar strikes at other mines are the involvement of the miners' wives in both requesting better living conditions and later in taking to the picket lines themselves, and after the strike was over, the feminist and pro-labor docudrama made by blacklisted Hollywood film makers, Salt of the Earth (YouTube; lower quality on Archive.org; Wikipedia). [more inside]
"Pride", a critically-acclaimed new film given a limited release in the US today, tells the true story of how a small group of LGBT activists became the biggest fundraiser for the year-long British coal miner's strike of 1984-85. The miners faced a pre-meditated, organized, thuggish, dishonest, deceptive, and illegal surveillance and smear campaign by the Thatcher government, which froze all mining union funds, cancelled their unemployment, and denied food and housing welfare to their wives and children, in an attempt to starve them out. For the first time, the British government trained Britain's police into a paramilitary force, bused in at great expense and in great numbers to overwhelm the protesters, using violent, repressive, and corrupt tactics against non-violent protesters, with prolonged police detentions and the indiscriminate arrest of over 11,000 British citizens. The government was supported by the rightwing tabloid media, who used sensationalist, crude headlines to shape public opinion. LGBT activists reclaimed one such headline as the name of their most successful benefit. Although the miner's strike was broken by the Thatcher government, the miners kept their promise to support the LGBT community, by marching alongside them at the front of London's 1985's Pride parade.. Later that year at the Labour Party conference, a motion was tabled that supported adding equal rights for gays and lesbians as part of the Party's platform. This motion was opposed by Labour's executive committee, but the motion went to a vote – and passed, thanks to the votes of the National Union of Mineworkers and their allies.
Coal industry's go-to law firm withheld evidence of black lung, at expense of sick miners. "Jackson Kelly, documents show, over the years has withheld unfavorable evidence and shaped the opinions of its reviewing doctors by providing only what it wanted them to see. Miners, often lacking equally savvy lawyers or even any representation, had virtually no way of knowing this evidence existed, let alone the wherewithal to obtain it."
In the United Kingdom, many brass bands were started by colliery owners, and funded in part by the coal miners themselves. Some of those bands live on, after the coal pits have been closed for years. These bands are facing hard times, with limited funding and waning interest in the music, but some youth join bands to continue family traditions, and the government provides some funding to numerous bands. If you'd like to know more about brass bands in the UK and around the world, Internet Bandsman's Everything Within (IBEW) has tons of material, links to bands in the UK and elsewhere as well as a list of extinct bands and vintage brass band pictures, local events and radio shows, recordings, and plenty more.
Two weeks ago 34 striking miners were shot dead by police at the Marikana platinum mine in South Africa. Now, using laws once used by the apartheid regime to prosecute black activists fighting for democracy, the remaining 270 miners from the protest have been charged with their fellow workers' murders.
Los 33: Chilean miners face up to a strange new world "The rescue of 33 miners from Chile's San José mine after 69 days trapped underground was a triumph shared with the whole world. But the transition back to normality is proving difficult for both the men and their families."
After 17 days, 33 Chilean miners have been found alive 2,300 vertical feet underground in a gold and copper mine. Now the only thing left to do is get them out safely -- in about four months.
Two Australian gold miners spent a 12th night trapped underground as rescuers struggling to cut the final stretch of an escape tunnel by hand on Sunday considered using explosives. Officials had hoped to free Brant Webb, 37, and Todd Russell, 34, before dawn but said progress chipping through the solid rock by jackhammer was slower than expected. Previously, when a narrow shaft had been bored to provide them with air and food: Trapped Australian Miners Get IPods. This promps Dave Grohl of the Foofighters to offer to buy them a beer. One of the miners also requested "a newspaper so he could check the classified ads for a new job". Hope they make it out OK.
"Tell all I see them on the other side JR; I love you; It wasn't bad just went to sleep"
Sad, powerful and touching scribble.
Sad, powerful and touching scribble.
http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=topnews&StoryID=1259595 Miners still alive!!!! Yahooooooo!!!!