Something to put in perspective any bitching about 'stress' at work - the stress of deadlines or the dangers of a stiff neck from an un-ergonomic chair: In West Virginia 25 miners are killed in an underground explosion and four more are still missing. And last week in Shanxi province, 39 miners are still missing after 100 more were rescued from an underground flood.
These days not so many of us get our hands dirty for a living but mining remains as perhaps one of the starkest reminders of what capitalism is still fundamentally about - profit extracted from blood, sweat and tears. And a reminder that in mining industries around the world whatever advances in safety may been made, have largely been the result, either directly or indirectly, of the actions of workers' organisations. Maybe this is why there were 2,630 largely unreported deaths last year in Chinese mines.
I heard Steve Earle make this point at a gig a few years ago in relation to an earlier disaster in Pennsylvania, and the role of the United Mineworkers of America - so it seems appropriate to include this as some sort of memorial: