81 Years of the Miners’ Struggle

The following article was written by Napoleón Gómez Urrutia and published on Thursday July 16th, 2015 in La Jornada, Mexico City’s leading daily newspaper considered by many scholars as one of the last remaining independent newspapers in the Americas.

81 Years of the Miners’ Struggle

On 11 July 1934, the 27 regional unions in attendance, gathered together from the mining, metalwork and steelwork sector in Mexico, decided to join forces to form a single large national organization and constitute the glorious and historic Industrial Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic, today the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic, better known the world over as the miners.

81 years have passed since its foundation and there have been strong periods of crisis, effervescence, challenges and important steps forward, not only for the miners, but for the working class in general. The leaders who made up this representative and strong union organization were visionary men who decided through hard work and over the years to come together and give identity to a  fundamentally important sector of industry and the National economy through a single association.

In 1960 the national union chose as its leader a man who through his experience, intelligence and knowledge of the sector led the miners to a new stage of modernization and consolidation in the social fight to defend the rights of workers and their human rights. This man was Napoleón Gómez Sada, a wise, upstanding, fair and strong man who guided the of destiny of mine workers towards new goals and objectives of wellbeing and justice that it was necessary to protect.

Gómez Sada was a leader who defended the country’s working class in body and soul, as well as the union organization that he founded. There is not a single worker in this fundamental industrial sector who has not received the support, encouragement or advice of this person who has enabled them to satisfy their needs or overcome the problems they suffered. Leaders such as Napoleón Gómez Sada always said, if only they could reproduce themselves in lots of association in Mexico, then surely our country would find itself in a very different situation.

Mining and metalwork, like other industries, are of a cyclical nature. That is to say, they function with prolonged periods of growth often followed by recession and stagnation. Leaders like Gómez Sada, and those who came before him in union life, have contributed with their sensitivity and brilliance to forge ahead and overcome the enormous challenges that frequently create serious problems for this important industrial sector, as well as guaranteeing labour tranquillity and social peace.

However, the violent and cowardly attack that the national miners union has suffered during the last nine years has no precedent in the history of this incredible association of country’s mineworkers. Never before in the 81 years of union activity has it suffered a Mafia of Mexico’s most corrupt politicians and businesspeople, allied in a brotherhood of wrongdoing, vested interests and unchecked ambition, against an entire profession and its union leaders. The sinister presidents, shareholders and directors of a group of four companies decided out of ignorance, stupidity, bad faith and irresponsibility to attack the miners in an attempt to destroy the national union organization and its leaders. The arrogance of these individuals and the impunity with which they have acted can be put down to the complicity or weakness of the different governments that Mexico has suffered, which have not been able to stop them, and have sunk the country into arbitrariness, the abuse of power, influence trafficking and boundless corruption.

Today Mexico appears as a nation out of control, the country’s image has been destroyed globally, thanks to the criminal actions of the Larrea, Bailleres, Ancira and Villareal Guajardo families, among many others. Mexicans should never forget who has robbed the country, shamelessly exploiting the workforce and natural resources, unchecked and unbounded. These same individuals have accumulated huge fortunes that harm and offend more than half of the population who live in poverty and marginalisation.

These are the same individuals who over these nine years have gone to great efforts to corrupt the media, a small group of people called “leaders”, who are submissive, dependent and controlled like puppets in their service to betray the great national miners organization, because in lacking scruples  and principles they allow themselves to serve those same businessmen in their attacks, slander and lies which is all they can do or know how to do. Of course together with these union charros, who represent the rubbish and dregs of the union movement, and the journalists and presenters who are in the hands of the same corrupt businessmen, many lawyers, judges, magistrates, politicians and even ministers of their Court have been co-opted and have perverted the impartation of justice and the application of the state of law.

Given the above, we must not be surprised at what is going on in Mexico currently, nor the growing deterioration of the country’s reputation on an international level. The irresponsibility and lack of sensitivity when it comes to realizing the serious crisis we are going through are incredible. We must demand that the cynicism is halted and that the system of corruption and the lack of dignity is corrected or eliminated. Those responsible, business people, politicians, media and traitors, have names and surnames and history will surely catch up with them and judge them as corresponds to true national traitors.

Fortunately there is still a great strength and ongoing fight for justice, equality and greater well-being, national organizations of unions like the miners, who were at the forefront of efforts to overcome the serious problems of the lack of freedom and democracy, but also to constitute an example and inspiration for human dignity. Long live the national miners union as it turns 81, and may it continue for at least another eight decades.