NationStates Jolt Archive

Red Star, Black Star [MWS]

07-01-2006, 03:42
It began with a bang. Not the abrupt percussion of an explosion or a shot. Just the noise of metal clanging on metal. Not a loud noise, a quiet one. The noise of a gate closing. No portents of doom, nothing to signify it was special. The gates had closed on Dongara North pit for the last time.
Alex Greene turned and walked away. The millionth miner to lose his job. The ten millionth. Who cared, who counted? Pan-Oceania was gone. The Perth State Mines were gone. Ranger was gone. A twenty-three-year-old man, jobless, lost, alone.
The news said eight million miners had lost their jobs. Eight million miners in one short, long month. Two-thirds of the mining workforce, gone nearly overnight. Even a booming economy couldn’t absorb that. And Australia was no boom, no Southern Tiger.
Eight million disaffected, angry, jobless miners. That’s what the papers said. Eight million pissed-off, furious, boiling miners. No union to unite them, no union to fight for them. No-one to lead them.
Not yet.
14-01-2006, 17:46
The room was dirty, dingy, packed. A small, crowded, ugly pub in the arse-end of nowhere. Morawa. A tiny little town, maybe one thousand people. Miners, farmers, labourers. Almost all out of work. Almost all packed into this dingy pub. Drunk. Angry. Listening.
A nervous twenty-three-year-old stood at the front of the room, on a makeshift podium where the bands usually played or the brawls usually broke out. He looked like he was ready to wet himself or run off screaming.
Unions had never been popular in Morawa. In Western Australia. They'd sold out to the managers and the capitalists decades before, and stole their extortionate fees from the workers while cosying up to the hierarchy. And so they had died out. Admittedly, the union pits were somewhat better than the other pits, but the difference was minimal.
And now this man was going to bring them back. He began to speak.
"Friends, we have all lost our jobs. A few of us are lucky enough to be able to scrape by on a bare minimum, but the rest of us are starving. Our houses have been repossessed, our families are hungry, we cannot find jobs.
"I am just like you. I have lost my job. I have been betrayed by the unions too, watched as they grew fat from our work. And now I come to you to ask you to join them? Why? Why should you even listen to me?
"There was a time when the unions were not our enemies. They were us! We fought together against exploitation and the capitalists. We formed unions. And we were strong! Everything we had was because of those unions.
"Yesterday I was in Dongara, and let me tell you, brothers and sisters, it is different. A month ago, it was dead. We had all lost our jobs. Now, it is OURS! We rose up and took it back from the capitalists. We formed into groups, into unions, so that we could fight the oppressors. And now, we have jobs again. We can rest assured that we will no longer be exploited, because WE own everything. Not the fat cats, but the workers! Come on my friends, join us! Take back your jobs! Take back your lives! Take back what is yours!"
The pub exploded into cheering and yelling. In the back, a quiet figure sat watching, mulling over a pint. Brow furrowed.