In the best traditions of international solidarity, ex-miners and trade
supporters, organised around the Miners’ Info informal e-mail list, have
formed a support committee – the Spanish Miners’ Support Committee –
for the Spanish miners who are on strike against savage austerity cuts
that could spell the end for their jobs and are now bearing the brunt of
brutal police attacks.
In the best traditions of international solidarity, ex-miners and trade supporters, organised around the Miners’ Info informal e-mail list, have formed a support committee – the Spanish Miners’ Support Committee – for the Spanish miners who are on strike against savage austerity cuts that could spell the end for their jobs and are now bearing the brunt of brutal police attacks.
At short notice, two members of the committee were elected at a meeting in Sheffield and within days of its founding two comrades were sent to the Spanish coalfield regions of Asturias and León to offer support and solidarity.
They witnessed evidence of the brutality of the hated military Civil Guard who, clad in “Robocop”-type body armour opened fire on strikers with high velocity plastic bullets, hardened rubber balls and tear gas.
The strikers have responded magnificently with homemade rocket launchers and catapults driving the Civil Guard back stopping the assaults on their villages, many located in remote mountain areas.
The main Asturias–Madrid motorway is constantly being blocked and brought to a standstill with burning barricades. On one occasion, the striking pitworkerrs threw heavy steel coal tubs from a bridge on the road to block the motorway. At the same time, their wives, girlfriends, sisters and mothers invaded the Spanish Senate in Madrid, dramatically bringing proceedings to a halt.
Our comrades were well received by the miners’ trade unions, the CCOO and UGT, with miners’ wanting to know what had happened to our mining communities since the Great Strike. They were told in vivid terms that the destruction of those communities now poses a stark warning to all our Spanish comrades of what to expect if their own struggle is not successful.
The whole struggle has taken on the form of localised insurrection. A general strike in the mining areas on 18 June bought the coalfields to a standstill and now a hundred miners are taking part in an 18-day march on Madrid.
The links between Spain and British miners are well established, the highest levels of death in the Spanish Civil War was of miners who had volunteered to fight Franco’s fascism.
During our strike, the Spanish miners and their families were steadfast generous in their support of the NUM, its members and their families.
Fund raising is vital. This is a fight to the finish. And your help is urgently needed.
A solidarity fund – the Spanish Miners’ Solidarity Fund – the only fund officially recognised by the striking Spanish miners and their unions – is open for donations that should be sent to:
136 Regent Court
Sheffield S6 2BW
Please send cheques made payable to SMSC.
The Durham Area National Union of Mineworkers has responded magnificently, offering a platform at their Miners’ Gala and offering to host a delegation of strikers to march alongside 100,000-plus trade unionists on Gala Day in Durham on 14 July. Already, the TUC and the RMT have expressed their support for the strike.