petej + coal   20

Nostalgia Mining | Amber A’Lee Frost
The real commonality among these films, though, is their affection for miners but not so much for workers. To put it another way, the films seem to like miners best when they’re playing a flugelhorn, marching in gay pride parades, or driving their creative children far away from the coalfields so they can dance ballet. Miners were always more than just miners, but it’s a lot harder to talk about the actual jobs they were fighting for. I don’t blame the filmmakers too much for falling short here; it’s hard to explain why preserving such difficult, dangerous, and unhealthy work was so politically strategic, but those jobs gave working-class Brits a hand on the lever of both the welfare state and the industrial policy of the United Kingdom. It’s not that there’s some overlooked romance in pickaxes and pit ponies; workers controlling mining meant that the workers who built the country might be able to run it too, and not in some symbolic, protesty, “whose streets? our streets!” kind of way. I mean really run the country. And they came so damn close.

My fixer says he worries that a recently invigorated love for the miners might have something to do with the fact that they’re no longer a threat to power, and I can’t say I don’t share his concerns. It’s true that there was plenty of vocal support for the miners during the strike, but the difference between mercy and solidarity has become ever-blurrier amid the disastrous global decline of the labor movement. Mercy is for Christians, and solidarity is for socialists. It’s not that the two categories are mutually exclusive (and a little mercy certainly makes the world more bearable), but one is hardly a substitute for the other. Mercy dictates support for the miners because they were wickedly and ruthlessly felled; solidarity dictates support for the miners because the union makes us strong.
UK  mining  miners  coal  MinersStrike  NUM  tradeUnions  history  RedHills  Durham  nostalgia  preservation  ScargillArthur  Stalin  class  film  solidarity 
october 2018 by petej
Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change - The New York Times
These theories share a common principle: that human beings, whether in global organizations, democracies, industries, political parties or as individuals, are incapable of sacrificing present convenience to forestall a penalty imposed on future generations.
climateChange  globalWarming  politics  environment  1980s  carbonEmissions  consensus  fossilFuels  coal  gas  USA  science  PomeranceRafe  ReaganRonald  GoreAl  NASA  EPA  economics  renewables  taxation  regulation  fear  NYT  history 
august 2018 by petej
New Statesman | How the miners’ strike of 1984-85 changed Britain for ever
"Much of Margaret Thatcher’s new neoliberal settlement, replacing the old social-democratic one, survived and indeed helped to shape New Labour. As she saw it, the defeat of the miners’ strike of 1984-85 cut the brake on the application of largely unrestrained market forces, not only in energy but in the wider ordering of society. At a time, post-2008 crash, when it is no longer so taboo to question the efficacy of unregula­ted markets, that is something to mourn."
UK  history  politics  miners  strike  tradeUnions  NUM  NCB  coal  Thatcher  ScargillArthur  socialDemocracy  neoliberalism 
june 2014 by petej

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