Around the world this year we have seen police violence whenever the people don’t submit themselves to the elite. Whether it is against Occupy Wall Street, students in Pennsylvania or against rioters in Greece, the story always has the same ring to it – the people must submit or face violence.
Today the news out of South Africa’s third-largest platinum producer, Lonmin‘s Marikana mine, is the most chilling of all. Thirty striking miners were shot dead by police.
Al Jazeera has horrifying footage of the slaughter:
This is on top of the 8 workers who were killed last week at the same mine.
As of the time of posting, there is no mention of the latest round of violence on the (British owned) Lonmin website.
According to Al Jazeera, the miners were getting paid about $500 a month and wanted a pay rise to $1500. They wanted Lonmin management to come down to negotiate with them but the management refused. Possibly because their CEO, Ian Farmer, has recently been diagnosed with a serious illness. Lonmin has a market cap of $16 billion.
There had been a stand-off between the protestors and the police for a week and today it came to a bloody end.
The footage only starts with the protestors, who were wielding machetes, running towards the police when the shooting starts, but we can see what looks like tear gas behind them. Is it possible that the police shot tear gas into the crowd, who then panicked, and were mown down?
The AMCU (Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) claims that Lonmin management might have been behind the initial violence via their indirect support of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), a rival union. Management setting up rival fake unions to create tension and conflict in the workforce isn’t a new tactic. See here and here.
I wonder how this incident maps to Lonmin’s stated corporate mission and values?