The catastrophic mining accident in the coal mine Komur IIsletmeleri in the city of Soma, northeast of Izmir has given rise to deep grief and anger in the entire world. Up till now 301 have died as victims of the mine disaster and 80 have been injured. Our sincerest condolences go to the relatives. At the same time, the anger about the inhumane capitalist profit economy grows.
The majority of the 787 miners who went down the mine at shift change had no chance at all. The explosion of a power distribution unit caused several fires in 150 meters depth. Lethal carbon monoxide gas spread quickly because the ventilators broke down, as well as the elevator as a rescue path. The chairman of the Turkish trade union league DISK, Kani Beko, called the mine disaster a “massacre“ of the miners.
While Turkish prime minister Erdogan cynically dismissed death as a “normal“ occupational hazard and the “fate“ of the miners, the real causes of the catastrophe are becoming more and more apparent. In the course of the neoliberal policies of the Turkish government, the mine had been privatized just a few years ago. With an output of 5.5 million tons, it is among the largest mines in Turkey, The new owner, Alp Gürtan, declared in 2012 that production costs were lowered from 130 dollars per ton to 24 dollars. For this goal, it was especially the safety precautions which were massively cut back.
In Turkey protests are spreading in the entire country (alone 20,000 on the first day in Istanbul), and street battles with the police are taking place. After the June uprising in 2013, more than three million people had gone into the streets against the Erdogan regime with demonstrations and blockades; now a general strike is being prepared for 15 June. The working class is appearing on the scene and the Turkish government is threatened with an open political crisis with the working class taking a clear position: They direct themselves against the mining company, as well as against the Erdogan government. Only two weeks ago they had rejected a motion of the opposition party CHP for an investigation of security in Soma, where a number of fires had already broken out within the past months.
The forum “Workers' safety and protection, health” of the 1st International Miners' Conference in Arequipa/Peru in 2013 dealt with the causes:
“The contradiction between the safety standards at the highest level, as they would be possible worldwide, and the partly shocking working conditions with thousands of fatalities and casualties per year must be solved. ... The main counterparts in this struggle are today the international supermonopolies. That is why today we cannot win the struggle in one factory or in one country alone, therefore we must join forces in trade unions, revolutionary parties and international organizations.“ (From a summary of the results of the forum – more on the 1st International Miners' Conference at www.minersconference.org)
The total of 120,000 miners in Turkey/North Kurdistan are a part of the worldwide industrial proletariat, which will become a superior power when it organizes lastingly.
Solidarity with the struggle of the miners and their families!
Full compensation of all affected people!
Prosecution and punishment of those responsible!
For the international unity of the workers and the revolutionaries!
Long live international solidarity!