Anger Over Mine Massacre in South Africa

South African Mine Strike Turns Into MassacreThe police chief says that cops were forced to shoot the 34 striking miners after a series of violent protests at one of the world’s largest platinum-producing mines.

South African Mine Strike turns into a massacre
A series of violent protests, at one of the world’s largest platinum-producing mines, led to several deaths and injuries after a shoot-out involving the police and striking mine workers.The strike by Lonmin’s Marikana mine, in the North Western province of South Africa, gained support of the young and old.
—————————-
South African Miners Fired on by Police

Al Jazeera English |  16 August 2012
At least 12 people have been killed when police opened fire on miners staging a protest at a platinum mine in South Africa, according to the Reuters news agency.
South African police opened fire and dispersed a crowd of striking miners at the Lonmin mine in the North West province on Thursday after issuing an order to the protesters to lay down their machetes and sticks.

South African police slaughter striking miners after stand-off

18 dead at British-owned platinum mine as authorities lose patience with rival factions in industrial dispute

Cape Town, Friday 17 August 2012

A South African platinum mine turned into something akin to a war zone yesterday when an attempt by riot police to break up a week-old dispute by workers resulted in the deaths of up to 18 people.

Fighting between miners from rival unions had already claimed 10 lives over the past week near the Marikana mine near Rustenburg, about 100 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg. Two of those killed were police officers who were hacked to death on Monday.

The leaders of two trade unions at Marikana – the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which has been dominant at the mine for 30 years, and the Association of Mining and Construction Union (Amcu) – blamed the London-listed mine owner Lonmin for the trouble.

Lesiba Seshoka, an NUM spokesman, said that the company had attempted to break the NUM’s dominance by granting a pay rise to a small group of rock drillers. “The company undermined the bargaining process by unilaterally offering an allowance to rock-drill operators outside the bargaining process,” he said. Continue reading

Behind the Masks: Spanish Miners Battle Police Over Austerity


July 09, 2012 via Associated Press
Spanish miners in the northwestern provinces of Asturias and Leon, armed with homemade rockets and slingshots, have been battling police in protest against government cuts, including a slashing of subsidies in their industry.


Striking Spanish Miners Fire Homemade Rockets at Police
June 15, 2012 via Telegraph.co.uk
Striking Spanish coal workers continued to block roads and clashed  with police inside a mine in the northern region of Asturias on Friday.

China: Shaoguan City dispatched riot police to suppress the workers on strike

[Workers strikes in China continue to grow in numbers and intensity.The following news report is an first draft of a translation. Later translations will be posted on Frontlines as they become available.– Frontlines ed.]

Shaoguan City dispatched riot police to suppress the workers on strike

Shaoguan City dispatched riot police to suppress the workers on strike

Shaoguan City, Guangdong Province, Zhenjiang District plow town, 2012-6-24
Rio Tinto Explosive Materials Factory, the entire factory staff from early May went on strike to protest against the company executives corruption, bribery, embezzlement of public funds. Employees at the plant entrance hang a large banner: “Give me my hard-earned money”, “anti-corruption grasping corruption” and so on.The company refused to respond positively to the demands of employees, instead only delayed, resulting in deterioration of relations and intensifying the strike.On June 22, workers clogged the road, causing traffic gridlock; blocked the factory gates, but let the leadership enter; and car blocked the door of the depots. The authorities dispatched hundreds of police in a confrontation with the workers.

Nighttime, the riot squad got orders to disperse the workers, the two sides clashed, police fired tear gas to suppress the workers, and a number of people were arrested.

Police broke into the factory, trapped the leadership away, taking away the blockage of cars, transported them away, and evacuated the explosives factory. Continue reading

Oppression, Resistance, Unity, Power: A Statement in Support of the Virginia Hunger Strike

June 21, 2012

self-portrait by Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson

by Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson

In protest against the ongoing foul and inhumane conditions at Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison – one of Amerika’s most notoriously abusive and racist prisons – dozens of men at the prison went on a hunger strike. The strike began on May 22, 2012 and lasted several weeks.
I had spent over a decade imprisoned at Red Onion. Much of that time was spent in political growth, and my writing and circulating reports and articles to publicly expose abuses there, and trying to help build us a support structure on the outside.

I also struggled to to my peers the truism that while oppression does breed resistance, resistance without unity and public support is futile. Which is why our captors promote division and individualism among prisoners – a “mind your own business” and “don’t concern yourself with others” mentality – and manipulate us to misdirect our frustrations and ‘resistance’ against and between ourselves. It is also why they maneuver at every turn to alienate the general public against us with fear and hatred. The old Willie Lynch game.

To repress my efforts, officials kept me in solitary, often isolated from other prisoners. They routinely censored, destroyed and ‘lost’ my correspondences; imposed increased repression and abuses on me; and finally, on February 11, 2012, transferred me cross-country without notice or explanation to the Oregon prison system.

But I’d like to believe that despite their attempts to undermine and frustrate this work, my efforts, in collaboration with others of like mind, took root and bore fruit.
Many of the hunger strikers are men whom I had the honor of serving as both student and teacher. Many are members of street tribes (so-called gangs) whose traditional rivalries kept them divided against and at odds with each other – divisions and conflicts which Red Onion officials acted at every turn to fuel and perpetuate. However, as one of the representatives of the hunger strike stated:

“We’re tired of being treated like animals. There are only two classes in this prison: the oppressor and the oppressed. We, the oppressed, despite divisions of sexual preference, gang affiliation, race and religion, are coming together. We are rival gang members, but now are united as revolutionaries.” Continue reading

India: Maoists support Bharat Bandh (Strike) against gas price hike

TNN | May 27, 2012

BHOPAL: Outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) has extended their support to ‘Bharat Bandh’ on May 31 in protest against the unprecedented hike in petrol prices asking the people to be on the forefront of the agitation against the wrong policies of UPA-IIgovernment at the centre.”Petrol prices went up 10 times in 14 months, triggering inflation. People have to stand up against exploitation,” CPI (Maoist) central committee spokesman Abhay said in an e-mail statement sent to TOI.Slamming the UPA-II government for repeatedly making claims poverty was declining, the rebels said increase in petrol prices within few days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made such a claim indicated that the government was not concerned about the common masses.

Abhay said the UPA-II and its economists were blaming subsidies for the present economic crisis and were trying to somehow phase out them. “This will only put the already overburdened common man in more trouble”, he added.

Maoists appealed to the people in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, parts of Maharashtra (Gadchiroli, Gondia, Chandrapur and Bhandara), Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar to actively participate in the Bharat Bandh on May 31.

China: Striking workers use social media to publicize grievances and build solidarity and support

How Weibo helped Dongguan factory workers get their voices heard

China Labour Bulletin, May 10, 2012

When the boss refuses to listen to workers’ grievances, those workers often have no option but to go on strike. But whether or not this tactic works sometimes depends on workers’ media advocacy skills.

On 7 May, workers at a Taiwanese-owned Crocs shoe factory in Dongguan heard that their monthly performance bonus would fall from 500 yuan to 100 yuan. Given that the bonus usually accounted for one fifth of their income, this was a big deal. They complained to the management who as usual didn’t bother to listen. In the afternoon of 8 May, around 1,000 workers, one third of the workforce, decided not to go to work.

But given the relatively isolated location of the factory, well hidden within a gigantic industrial park, the workers’ action didn’t get much attention, not to mention government intervention. When CLB called the factory office, the factory denied the bonus dispute by saying that workers wouldn’t know their bonus until the middle of this month.

One young worker, in anticipation of this official response, started posting strike information on his Weibo page in order to generate public support and media attention. To validate his account, he posted a photo showing the empty workshop during working hours.

CLB then posted a story about the strike on our Weibo page with the worker’s photographic evidence. The story immediately got the attention of labour rights activists and news reporters in Guangdong. Within one hour or so, the post had been retweeted more than 50 times.

In the late afternoon, the young worker told CLB that around five reporters had gathered at the factory gate but their attempts to get in had been foiled by security. The local labour bureau showed up as well.

In the morning of 9 May, CLB learnt that after government mediation, factory management had agreed to raise the bonus from the initial 100 yuan to at least 300 yuan. As a result the factory’s operations have basically returned to normal.

The young worker could not hide his exuberance when his effort to seek media attention during the strike paid off and reaped a substantial bonus increase for over one thousand of his coworkers.

In contrast, late last month, hundreds of employees stopped working at a Chongqing auto factory in protest against increasing workloads and stagnant pay levels over the last few years. The three-day strike got no traditional media coverage and only limited social media exposure and was eventually subdued by management’s threat of dismissal.

It is hard to imagine how the one thousand Dongguan workers’ voices could have been heard without one young worker’s persistent and successful media liaison, especially the use of Weibo. Microblogs have become a relatively free platform for workers, labour scholars, rights advocates, journalists and even trade union officials to interact and exchange information. But to get your particular cause noticed on this overloaded platform definitely requires skill and persistence. And it’s comforting to see China’s tightening control over this new social platform hasn’t balked workers’ attempts to get their voices heard.