Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Spanish miners

This is an amazing report from the Spanish miners struggle by The Guardian's journalist: 


The Asturian miners have embarked on a new 'Marcha Negra', a repeat of a famous action twenty years ago in 1992, when miners marched across the country to Madrid in defiance of job losses and cuts. Last night, the miners arrived in Madrid, surrounded by approx 150,000 supporters, about ten times the size of the reception in 1992. The Spanish media blacked it out, but it feels more like ostrich behaviour than effective censorship. This is coming alongside a fresh wave of cuts and VAT increases. Unlike in 1992, the government is actively broadening the base of social and industrial rebellion. 

 Peter Thomas, in his Marxism talk about Gramsci and the 99%, made a defence of the concept of proletarian hegemony against certain misconceptions that might put people off it. Pointing out that the working class is numerically and proportionately larger than ever, he suggested that the 99% was potentially the name for hegemony as a principle of unity, rather than as simply a form of domination: what we all have in common, despite our immense differences in identity, social category, occupational culture and habitus, etc., is that we are all exploited. This is what working class hegemony means in practice today. Not, generally speaking, the unity of a national popular bloc of classes under working class leadership: this becomes less the case as capitalist mode of production has entrenched itself, and thus simplified the class system in one sense. Rather, it means the dominance of the working class as the axis of our common exploitation and thus as the strategically privileged basis for organisation. The arrival of the Asturian miners in Puerta del Sol, site of the Indignado rebellion, could be the the sign and sanction of this hegemony in motion. The question, then, is whether Spain's heteroclite social and industrial struggles can be stitched together under the banner of the 99%.