Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Kiev Conscripts 800 Protesting Coal Miners


Translated from Russian by J. Hawk 

The coal miners of Western Ukraine who threatened a large-scale rebellion due to the three- month delay of salaries are being inducted into the army.

800 rebellious miners received notices directly from military commissars who delivered them to the coal mines. 

According to the deputy mayor of Novovolynsk, Eduard Savik, the notices were delivered to coal mines no. 1 and no. 9 in Novovolynsk, which the state is planning to close. That’s where the majority of rebellious miners is employed.

The miners blocked highways several times this winter to protest government policies which does not finance the mines, but instead wants to close them and is not even paying coal miners’ salaries.

Several hundred miners are planning to stage a protest in Kiev on March 3 to force the government to pay them. 

“They are taking revenge for strikes—they decided to simply draft the rebels. Many of my comrades who were blocking highways and were preparing to picket the Ministry of Energy and the Cabinet of Ministers, received draft notices,” says Aleksey, a miner from Novovolynsk. “This is even worse than the 1990s. There was hunger, but there was no war. Now it’s total chaos.”

J. Hawk’s Comment: The post-"Dignity Revolution" Ukraine is, for all intents and purposes, under martial law. The mobilization is a wonderful tool of political repression under a different name. This tactic can be applied to literally anyone in the country. I suppose the irony here is that Volhynia is Western Ukraine. Political repression: not just for Novorossia "vatniks" anymore. That’s the real usefulness of the war—if the war goes away, you couldn’t get away with this. It doesn’t necessarily mean there has to be any actual fighting. An Orwellian “1984”-style fake war, intended to keep the proles in line, will suffice. It seems to be sufficing for the junta. So that part makes perfect sense. 

This one, however, does not. Somebody try to find sense in all of this: Ukraine’s coal powerplants are shutting down due to a shortage of coal, so the government is…closing coal mines in order to reduce government expenditures to meet IMF requirements, which in turn is forcing it to…buy imported coal which is now insanely expensive due to the drop in the value of hryvnya which...will force the government to actually spend more money than if it simply kept the mines open. Somebody nominate these people for a Nobel. 

As an aside, the weak hryvnya makes Ukrainian coal very competitive internationally. There is every reason to keep these mines operating. But no. So the junta knows perfectly well how to employ political repression and start wars. When it comes to running an economy, however, it's a different story. As the old saying goes…


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