Up to 100 billion euros for bankers and nothing for the workers! Sounds familiar?
Yes it’s the turn of Spanish bankers to receive a massive handout from the Eurocrats in Brussels. It should come as a surprise to no-one that not a single euro will go towards helping the Spanish workers who now face the highest unemployment rates in Europe and vicious cuts in welfare and social spending.
Spanish miners, as of 9 July in their sixth week of indefinite strike against the withdrawal of substantial subsidies to their industry, will certainly not expecting even a tiny percentage of these staggering sums.
On Wednesday 11 July the Marcha Negra (the Black March) will arrive in Madrid. Some 160 miners from the main mining areas of Asturias and León and Castile (joined by comrades from the tiny Aragon coalfield) are marching on Madrid where they plan to camp out in front of the government offices till the end of dispute.
They have received overwhelming support along the way of their march. Many Spaniards now see them as fighting for everyone and this could, possibly, be a factor in tipping the balance of forces in their favour and against the conservative government of Mariano Rajoy, dancing to the tune of the IMF and the World Bank.
Meanwhile strikers in the mining regions continue their war of attrition against the forces of the state, using hit and run tactics such as barricading motorways. No coal is moving at all and it remains to be seen what the government will do as stocks are depleted.
In Pola Lena on 7 July miners supported by many local people fought running battles with the hated Civil Guard. On 8 July in the isolated mining town of Ceñera, in the mountainous border region between Asturias and León and Castile, the Civil Guard ran riot, breaking into people’s homes, trying to terrorise the population.
Talks between the government and the miners appear to have ended before they even began. Government representatives have put nothing on the table and appear to want only to talk about the future of the mining industry in a year’s time (by which time, if the government gets its way, the withdrawal of subsidies will probably mean there is no industry to talk about).
The miners and their families have received their last wages and are hunkering down for the long haul. Support from many quarters is now coming in, German miners have donated a large sum and money from the UK is starting to flow into the strike fund.
At the request of the Durham Miners’ Association, representatives from Spain will speak at this year’s Durham Miners’ Gala and it is hoped that an NUM contingent will visit Spain shortly. It is vital that the Spanish miners win.
A victory for them will be a victory for us all and will mark the beginning of the fight back against the austerity measures which are afflicting so many ordinary people throughout Europe.
How to help
Consider organising some kind of fund-raising activity. Set up local support groups and publicise their struggle as widely as possible.
The Spanish Miners’ Solidarity Committee has been specifically set-up in the UK to facilitate these ends. It is sponsored by the Durham Miners’ Association and is officially recognised by both the two main trade union federations in Spain, the Union of General Workers (UGT) and the Comisiones Obreras (CCOO).
Send donations, large or small, to: John Cunningham (SMSC), 136 Regent Court, Bradfield Road, Sheffield S6 2BW, South Yorkshire. Make cheques payable to: “Spanish Miners’ Solidarity Committee”. Also have a look at our blog.
Our e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and we now have a Facebook site under the name of the Committee.