mining

Salt of the Earth

This drama film is one of the first pictures to advance the feminist social and political point of view. Its plot centres on a long and difficult strike, based on the 1951 strike against the Empire Zinc Company in Grant County, New Mexico. In the film, the company is identified as "Delaware Zinc," and the setting is "Zinctown, New Mexico." The film shows how the miners, the company, and the police react during the strike. In neorealist style, the producers and director used actual miners and their families as actors in the film.

The film was called subversive and blacklisted because the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers sponsored it and many blacklisted Hollywood professionals helped produce it. The union had been expelled from the CIO in 1950 for its alleged communist-dominated leadership.

Poster for benefit for Phelps-Dodge and British miners - Libertarian Workers Group

A poster from a joint LWG (WSA) - RSL benefit for British and Phelps-Dodge miner strikes in NYC. Donated by NY WSA Library.

The autobiography of Mother Jones

Portrait of Mother Jones

The autobiography of Mary Harris Jones, more commonly known as Mother Jones. The "most dangerous woman in America" and a committed organizer for several unions including the Knights of Labor and the IWW. She was also active in the fight to end child labour and organise every mine.

Direct Action Journal: Batch 09

Covers events from July to September 1916. Also includes a special edition about mining (No.88).

Images from the 1917 Bisbee Deportation

Images from the 1917 Bisbee deportation, where an armed, anti-union 'Citizen's Protective League', in alliance with law enforcement, forced striking IWW miners out of state,

Security guards murder locals scavenging for gold in Papua New Guinea

Private security guards employed by ‘Barrick Gold’, aided by local police have killed at least five miners at the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea. The shootings came after mine security confronted a group of 300 locals who they deemed to be ‘illegal miners’ and ‘trespassers’. Barrick Gold – the world’s largest producer of gold - has a long history of using violence, gang rape, and murder against their workers, and local people in Papua New Guinea. Barrick founder and owner, Peter Munk, claimed that ‘gang rape’ is just a ‘cultural habit’.

The mine bosses are denying any responsibility for the trouble, claiming that their staff was attacked by trespassers, and they called for police assistance.

Violence has spread to nearby villages. The following is a description of events via an eye-witness at the Protest-Barrick campaign:

Kameradschaft (Comradeship)

Based on a real disaster in 1906, Kameradschaft is a plea against war and for friendship between peoples, set at a mine that's been split in two following the border changes after WW1. Its the story of French miners rescued by German colleagues after a firedamp explosion.

Indian workers shut down seven mines and destroy bosses' offices

Following violent clashes over the decision to dismiss hundreds of unionised workers and replace them with unaffiliated workers, locals in the Odisha region of India have forced the closure of seven large open cast coal mines, and two railway stations. 1,000 local workers ransacked the management offices and fought running battles with workers who remain loyal to the bosses.

Over forty mining vehicles have been set on fire and destroyed, and railway tracks have been damaged to prevent the transportation of coal. Several hundred police officers have been drafted into the village to try and regain control.

300 Turkish miners barricade themselves underground

300 miners across two shifts at a mine in the Black Sea area of Zonguldak have barricaded themselves underground in protest at atrocious health and safety. Turkey has the worst mine safety record across all of Europe, with 2,554 miners losing their lives since 1991. They have vowed to continue their protest until the demands have been met.

The protest was initiated by workers on the night shift , and then gained widespread support from those who were due to work the day shift. Around 2000 workers who did not wish to go underground have been conducting a protest outside the mine in solidarity with their colleagues.

Beyond Thatcher : militant testimonies on miners’ struggles and British syndicalism from yesterday and today

This year, Margaret Thatcher’s death reminded us of the economic policies she initiated in Britain and her anti-social and anti-union fights. In the last months, Autre Futur [French syndicalist website and association] wished to go further and to conduct a series of interviews with different British unionists and syndicalists, about these past struggles but also about the present, in order to get a better grasp of issues which have emerged in recent decades.

The relevance of these testimonies and thoughts have been shown to go beyond the British context and remind us the importance of a greater international cooperation and solidarity in the face of life and working conditions’ deterioration.