Volume 46 Number 1&2 (2013)
The focus of this issue is on changing forms of mining organization, union solidarity and communities in the mining sector and steelworks. We have accompanied these articles with several examples of memorials to mineworker’s efforts and to those killed on the job from mining accidents, explosions and even disease. Present in most regions where there is an active mining history, these memorials are usually robust and often interesting art pieces in their own right but they also become focal points for families and communities who lived through the experiences. They often increase in symbolic importance to become departure points of worker resistance.
We are also commemorating the passing of a dear friend, a mentor to many and a significant contributor to the journal, as well as a teacher, researcher and author Sam Noumoff. James Putzel reflects on his extensive scholarship on China and other developing countries, as well as his role as teacher.
We are pleased to welcome a new member of the Editorial Committee Mélanie Dufour-Poirier of the Université de Montréal whose case study of two mineworkers unions in Peru inform the debate on the complex but crucial issue of international trade union solidarity. It is followed by Daniel Schein`s article that puts forward a new interpretation of the impact of social and environmental conflicts emerging from transnational mining activity in Argentina.
These are followed by 3 articles on South African mineworkers and steelworkers. Luke Sinwell analyses the origins of the much debated Marikana strike to which police responded by gunning down 34 workers and demonstrates the independent nature of worker resistance which was at the core of the strike.
Paul Stewart demonstrates the complexity of increasing levels of mechanization in South African mines not only because of their complex geologies and the need to keep production costs down but by the ongoing presence of mineworker resistance, a constant in South Africa’s underground mines.
Finally Mondli Hlatshwayo explores the ongoing resistance of workers retrenched from a steel plant outside of Johannesburg which they have been able to maintain more than a decade and a half later. This exploration addresses the difficult questions in the labour movement, the most important of which is the need, and the great difficulty of, maintaining worker solidarity between employed and unemployed workers, the key to which is maintaining worker resistance outside the workplace. Such an alliance is the key to developing linkages between the workplace and the community thereby broadening the labour movement alliances and engaging in struggles over more fundamental social change.
Final note: we apologize for the tardiness in this publication. It is dated 2013 but the articles were received on September 1, 2015 and we are going to print a full year later.
Editor’s Introduction / Introduction
de la rédactrice
Cover photograph: Mural by Kenneth & Oliver Budd remembering Mines Rescue Service, based in Crumlin, Wales, U.K.