ORGANIZER 21: MINING OUTFITS [HUNTER GRAY 9/15/02]

SAVE THE WORLD THINGS -- AND SOCIALIST ORGANIZING  FOR SOCIALISM  [HUNTER GRAY 8/26/02] 

A NOTE ON LABOR AND ORGANIZING [HUNTER GRAY 9/03/02]

 

MINING OUTFITS [HUNTER GRAY  9/15/02]
 

Note by Hunterbear:

Quick thoughts on an early Idaho morning with coyotes howling and cold wind
blowing.

I have to say that, if I'm deeply suspicious, highly cynical, and directly
opposed to capitalism generally, it's all -- personally for me, anyway --
magnified "a thousandfold" when it comes to mining companies.  That applies
to coal and "chemical" operations [of which I know very little personally]
and to uranium outfits [of which I know a good deal more] and to metal
mining corporations [of which I know considerable.]

I don't profess to be an expert on Africa in any sense or even on most of
the world beyond North America.  But the utterly nefarious nature and
character of the mining corporations obviously transcends any specific
geographical setting.

As does the inherent and increasingly functional solidarity of workers.

And what I do know is that, from the standpoint of  exploitation of people
and earth and resources, the metal mining bosses [and the mining honchos
generally], their corporate machinery, and their political allies make up a
complex of predatory and ruthless exploitation of  People and Earth that
epitomizes every poisonous component in the distilled essence of the avarice
of capitalism -- and all of its related wicked works and ways.

That applies to Phelps Dodge Copper  and to Falconbridge Nickel and to
AngloGold -- and to any small hard-rock mining operation in, say, the
Southwestern mountains of the 'States that employs only a couple of hundred
workers.

And to all the others.

I've never known a mining outfit to make any concession of any kind unless
it was doing so under the pressures of worker solidarity and/or for its own
self-serving reasons.  And if this applies to capitalism generally -- as it
definitely does -- it certainly epitomizes the mining bosses to their very
core.

It's obvious that, in addition to feeling the powerful effects of the
solidarity of workers and their allies and global exposure, AngloGold  with
this agreement is clearly taking a view that spots nationalization as a very
likely piece of the scenery -- eventuality -- in its future.  And it's
trying to head that off, or at least buy substantial time.

So this agreement can be viewed as an important short-term victory for the
workers and their environs -- but I'd be much surprised if many at all see
it as any shiny and ultimate Mountain Top. [And I'd also be surprised if
anyone reading this disagreed with me.]

And the River of Socialization and its emergent  nationalization/worker
democracy continues to flow and take shape -- and it always will.

 I certainly remain convinced that the Red Dawn will come over the Rockies.
[And, as I consistently have since the '50s, I'm still showing "Salt of the
Earth".]

Fraternally / In Solidarity -

Hunter [Hunterbear]

==================================

AngloGold signs Global Labour Agreement

Historic first for mining and Africa

13 September 2002 ]

No. 36/2002

http://www.icem.org/update/upd2002/upd02-36.html
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----


In a historic first for the global mining industry, the world's leading gold
producer, Anglogold and the 20-million strong international trade union
federation, ICEM signed an agreement on the promotion and implementation of
good human and industrial relations. The agreement, applicable to all
Anglogold mines worldwide organised by ICEM affiliates, was signed at the
company's Johannesburg headquarters today.

The key theme underlining the agreement is the "development and
sustainability of the gold mining industry worldwide" and in upholding and
implementing "good human resources and industrial relations practices". The
promotion and respect for human and trade union rights, health and safety,
environmental protection and the promotion of good relationships with local
mine communities are pivotal to the agreement.

The agreement will be signed by Anglogold CEO, Bobby Godsell, Fred Higgs,
General Secretary of the ICEM) and Senzeni Zokwana, President of the ICEM's
South African-based affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM),
which facilitated the negotiations leading to agreement.

Human and trade union rights, safety and training provisions of the new
global agreement are specifically linked to the international standards set
by the Conventions of the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO,
commonly referred to as the ILO core labour standards. The linkage to ILO
standards is an important yardstick. It also ensures that the agreement is
fully compatible with the UN's Global Compact initiative and will help to
give further substance to the agreement.

"This is a major breakthrough for Africa and a giant step forward for the
global mining industry. It acknowledges the importance of social dimensions
of sustainable development, hot on the heels of the UN World Summit held
only a few days ago in Johannesburg", said ICEM General Secretary Fred
Higgs.

Anglogold has mining operations in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Mali,
Namibia, Tanzania, USA, Zimbabwe and off course South Africa. "It ensures
that ICEM-affiliated unions are fully recognised in the company's operations
worldwide, and gives them a proper say implementing industrial relations
best practice.

"I congratulate both our South African affiliate, the NUM and Anglogold
management for their far-sightedness and providing leadership by example for
the rest of the industry," Higgs added. "We already have global agreements
with the energy multinationals Statoil, Endesa, paper giant Norske Skog and
the materials multinational Freudenberg. Others are currently under
discussion. Globally mining is dominated by a few powerful multinationals.
In their own interests, as well as those of their workers, we urge them to
follow the example set by the South Africans."

Link to the Agreement:

http://www.icem.org/agreements/anglogold/angloagren.html


Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (strawberry socialism)
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´



A NOTE ON LABOR AND ORGANIZING [HUNTER GRAY 9/03/02]

Note by Hunterbear:

I've followed the Labor  situation in the 'States and Canada -- and to some
extent in Mexico -- ever since I was a kid.  I've consistently belonged to
at least one union at any given time and usually more  ever since 1955.
It's frequently been a frustrating and disappointing picture -- but I remain
fundamentally optimistic about the eventual, emergently visionary nature of
Labor and its feathering-out role in the inevitable arrival of global
socialist democracy.

Labor in Canada is showing new signs of vigour -- with CAW and others
stirring things  and shaking the pot hard. Labor in Mexico, dealing with
post-PRI and PAN and with some heavy corruption problems in some  union
quarters, is beginning to swim in new and promising rivers.

And the Labor situation in the United States, most of it sitting on the
shallow and oft-static lake waters of business unionism, is certainly, at
best, spotty from the standpoint of effective organizing and existent
militancy  and vision.  There are some positive signs in the organizing
arena -- and some basically dangerous ones such as the still-few strains of
mutual warmth between some union leaders and the Bush administration.  In
the end, though, given the blatantly anti-people attitude of Bush et al.,
that courtship,  falling 'far short of any torrid pinnacles, will hit a
dead-end box canyon.

A major problem for American labor, far more than even the "right to wreck"
scab laws, is the long-term tendency to "organize" primarily in the
political arenas -- Congress and the state legislatures -- rather than at
the Point of Production.  Top AFL-CIO honchos are earmarking about 33
million for the next two year election cycle.  That's virtually all going to
the Democrats -- whose record, with the usual handful of exceptions, has
over the past many decades hardly been one of deep and dependable support
for Labor. [Far from it.]  There are  some solid independent political
action [Left] drums beating  up in the [figurative] mountains -- but for
those it's still late winter.

One big piece of fueling and firing up American labor would be to cut 'way
back on the Demo money -- and shift those funds into really committed,
long-term grassroots organizing campaigns.  New union workers and new turf
and new fresh and demanding challenges could be among the meat and chili
that jumps Labor in the 'States into bona fide activism -- and ultimately
into the finest-old-traditions of radicalism with new contemporary and
futuristic feathers, fur and teeth.

Grassroots organizing is always Genesis.  Politics -- hopefully Left, are
necessary. Courts and lawyers --  sadly inevitable.  But Real Organizing
down at the Roots -- Getting and Keeping People Together for Action --
that's what raises Constructive Hell and carries a myriad of growing local
struggles into the great, transcendent wave of Real Movement.

Thinking about the Red Dawn over the Rockies.

Hunter [Hunterbear]



SAVE THE WORLD THINGS -- AND SOCIALIST ORGANIZING  FOR SOCIALISM  [HUNTER GRAY 8/26/02]

On the matter of  my comment about some ostensible socialists who are,
implicitly and explicitly, pleased with the political demise of Cynthia McKinney
[ a demise at least as her status now stands], I see little purpose in naming
names.  If one wants to saddle up Ole Paint and ride into various ranges,
looking into some thorny mesquite thickets, one might very well see a
revealing thing or two or three.  But I do think that, by going beyond what
I know to be my accurate generalization and into the matter of specific
individuals, one would be engaging in an essentially pointless exercise  -- and one
that is potentially diversionary.

The origins of the conflict between John Lewis and Julian Bond are not only
complex but quite old.  I'm aware of some of these roots, but not all. For a
very long time, I much liked and respected each.  But as the years and
decades  passed, I watched John Lewis ossify into "just another politician"
and finally one who followed every twist-and-turn of the tangled
Clinton/Gore party-line right down that self-serving River of No Return
which functionally did in progressive Demos and progressive Dimensions.  I
was not surprised that John Lewis publicly did not support McKinney.

 

I haven't always agreed with Julian Bond on everything
[e.g., his support for Gore 2000.]  But I do know that every
position he's taken has been carefully and reflectively thought
out in an essentially independent -- and altruistic -- fashion. I
understand that his "distance" from Ms. McKinney involved the
fact that, as an officer of the non-partisan NAACP, he is prohibited
from participating in partisan politics.  I'm sure that his distance was
a very thoughtful decision and one that was not publicly explicit.
Obviously, he did not in any fashion tilt toward Ms. McKinney's
opponent.

And on the matter of the "few visionaries" labouring in the vineyards of
massively populated Human Society:  If one believes that bona fide
socialism -- the relatively full and democratic public ownership of the
means of production and distribution -- is the best shot by far for long
suffering Humanity, then, in my opinion, one should stand publicly and
openly and candidly with that and should work vigorously and explicitly
toward achievement of that Vision.  From the very beginning of 1955, at
least, I've consistently advocated socialist democracy on a global basis.  I
very firmly believe that there are far, far more of us in the 'States who do
so -- despite the nay-sayer presumptions tendered in this context by, say,
"kept" and pallid mainline media and others.

But, in any case, if one believes -- as a socialist -- that History moves
and is moving always along a basic and at least broadly predictable Course,
one should then do everything that he/she can --
organize/speak/write/labor-in-general with every ethical resource at one's
disposal -- to prepare the Turf for the figurative Day.

None of this precludes honorable pragmatism. In fact it certainly mandates
such.  But that pragmatism must stand always on a moral foundation and
within a moral context -- and that pragmatism must never replace the Vision
of Socialism.

History itself is, of course, replete with situations where long smouldering
forces suddenly emerge above ground and major movements for basic systemic
change openly begin and successfully burst out and far beyond .  The
situations are not precisely analogous but in 1962 few people [only a tiny
handful of us] actually thought our then small [but soon to be huge] Jackson
Mississippi NAACP Youth Council could launch a major, extremely extensive
and inclusive, and very effective economic boycott of Jackson metro:  in the
very heart of the Closed Society.  We did just that.  And only a very few of
us felt that that campaign would emerge into the truly massive and historic
Jackson Movement that shook the Magnolia capital to its foundations, sent
deep cracks and tremors across Mississippi and the rest of the hard-core
South, and had far ranging national and international implications.  But
that's just what happened in the Spring of '63.

In early January, 1964, only a few of us felt that a far-ranging and
effective Movement could be developed in the Northeastern North Carolina
Blackbelt:  isolated, geographically extensive, poverty-stricken,
pervasively racist and intractably segregated, and Klan-infested and
violent.  We started in the hate-filled little town of Enfield in Halifax
County and moved fast and effectively from there all the way across the
whole vast multi-county region.  By the end of the Summer of 1965, we'd
broken every hard-line of resistance in the Blackbelt, driven the Klan out
forever, won many significant victories indeed, and developed widespread and
vigorous  on-going local leadership.

I can cite additional very tough organizing examples drawn from personal
experience -- e.g., bloody South/Southwest Side Chicago. And others far
beyond and through the many years.

I'm certain that, as History moves, all of this can happen and will on a
much vaster and deeper scale -- globally.  And that success will indeed be
ours in the long run.

The social pine needles heat slowly, steadily.  And then, in some often
mysteriously sociological fashion, they commence to smoke -- initially, ever
so slightly and then a bit more, and more.  And then, suddenly, sparks --
and the [figurative] Fires of Social Change!

And that's precisely where many of us want to be.  And indeed we shall.

Fraternally, amigo -- and In Solidarity -

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (strawberry socialism)
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´

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