Miners in Spain are at the Frontline of Resistance to Austerity
In a fearless act, eight miners started a sit-in deep inside their mine back in May to protest brutal austerity cuts to the mining sector in Spain. Since this act, thousands of miners have been galvanized into strike action, now continuing an indefinite strike in its third week. The same fearlessness shown by those eight miners underground is being repeated across the mining regions of Spain where barricades have been tirelessly defended from police attempting to disperse strikers:
But while the scale and ferocity of the resistance is worthy of attention, there’s a deeply moving aspect to the story. Take the march of lights in Leon on the 12th of June. The march brought thousands of uniformed miners and their families out. In a gripping spectacle, they sang Santa Barbara Bendita, a song speaking to the daily struggle of a miner and his wife, “Maruxina”, a song that became a metaphor for the resistance of the mining region of Asturias to a Franco led crackdown on a general strike in 1934:
“Blessed Santa Barbara, patron saint of the miners. look, look Maruxina, look, look how I come back. I bring the shirt red from the blood of a comrade. Look, look Maruxina, look, look how I come back.”
The life of a mining family is accustomed to risk and danger and yet the budget cuts of the Rajoy government threaten to wipe these communities off the map. As much as there is resistance, there is fear in these mining communities of losing everything. Thus far, they maintain the fight and will take it further with a general strike in the mining regions on Monday. They fight not only the policies of the government but the hand of the neo-liberal crisis that insists on finding ever more victims.