No struggle should stand alone anymore! Cross-border solidarity, coordination and cooperation are the order of the day!

Documented from website of International Miners Conference: 25 September 2023: The 3rd International Miners’ Conference (IMC), held from 31 August to 3 September 2023, was a great step forward in the international union of the world’s miners. 35 experienced delegates from 19 countries exchanged opinions and experiences and decided with great seriousness on even closer and more powerful cooperation in the future.

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The actual reach of the conference is much wider: 30 delegates from 18 countries were denied entry into the Schengen area due to visa harassment by the EU. The conference strongly protested against the rigorous bureaucratic measures, which clearly tries to undermine the self-organized association of miners in their grassroots unions and organizations. They did not succeed! All the suppressed delegations were with us in one form or another.

After the 1st IMC in Arequipa, Peru, in 2013 and the 2nd IMC in Ramagundam, India, in 2017, the 3rd IMC met this time in the potash mining area of Thuringia, Germany. Since the first conference, the number of miners in the world has grown to 50 million – a huge force and responsibility!

The background of this increased size is the greedy hunger and fierce capitalist competition for raw materials, cheap labor and markets of the international mining monopolies, like those from the USA, China, India and the EU. It means not only economic war, but intensified exploitation and oppression of the miners. That also includes militarizing of whole mining areas as well as criminalizing, abduction and killing of unionists. One third of the 50 million miners are women, mostly in the growing informal mining sector, which does not even stop at the exploitation of children. Wages are nowhere near enough, especially in view of the horrendous inflation. Work safety is being cut back, resulting in tens of thousands of work accidents and thousands of dead miners. In particular, the expansion of open pit mining is destroying nature and driving people out of their ancestral habitat. This capitalist and imperialist domination, supported by state policies, leads not least to armed conflicts with endless suffering and to a global environmental catastrophe which threatens to destroy the natural foundations of human life.

This was clearly shown in 27 country reports. But above all, they showed the power of the international mining community. Tough battles are being fought in numerous countries. For higher wages, health and safety at work, political rights at work and the right to strike. But these struggles often stand alone. This must change!

The 1st and 2nd Miners’ Conferences in 2013 and 2017 laid important foundations for the coordination of our struggles. They evaluated the rich experiences, but today we commit ourselves: in the future we will take even more responsibility for each other. We are developing the unique features of our international solidarity and cooperation:

  1. The real, practical solidarity, coordination and cooperation of our struggles are important. Already in the run-up of struggles, and even more in their course, we have to inform and learn from each other, also through mutual visits. This information, the international solidarity, and the organization of cooperation, from solidarity resolutions to money collections, solidarity visits, and even solidarity strikes, must go around the world. Coordination has also been strengthened at the continental level for this purpose.

  2. We miners and our families at the grassroots of the trade unions and movements know the harsh reality in the mines and factories and in our lives. We are expanding our competence and deepening our knowledge of the international mining monopolies and the raw material policies of the imperialist countries. To this end, we have exchanged opinions and experiences in nine forums2 and designed future cooperation based on specific topics.

  3. The 3rd International Miners' Conference reaffirmed the agreed international days of struggle (May Day, Anti-War Day, Environmental Day of Struggle, and International Women's Day). The idea of an international miners’ day of struggle was born!

  4. The proven team of the International Coordinating Group (ICG) was confirmed (miners from Peru, Colombia, Philippines, India, Morocco, Congo, Kazakhstan and Germany) and supplemented by a miner from Ukraine who could not be there personally because of the war. A new achievement is the election of deputies. Four preparatory groups for continental conferences were founded.

  5. We miners know that we must be able to rely on each other at work and in the struggle! The rousing culture of the conference, with enthusiastic cultural evenings, was pure fraternization and strengthened the firm friendship and trust among each other.

  6. We cannot win alone, we need many and strong alliance partners. We experienced this here with the impressive participation of delegations from the steel, dock and automotive workers, the militant environmental, women’s and youth movements. Their contributions and solidarity enriched the conference.

  7. The newly decided formation of an anti-imperialist platform of the miners within the international miners’ coordination gives each individual or the individual organizations the possibility to bring the strong power of the workers into an anti-imperialist and antifascist “United Front” and to fight together with all oppressed against the imperialist perpetrators of the crises of the world, without this being obligatory for all.

  8. The conference was self-organized and went smoothly! We thank 250 helpers who fed us, cared for us and nurtured us!

  9. Fundraising, volunteer work, partnership support – all this ensured the financial independence of the conference. It even attained a surplus of at least 10,000, a first reserve for future work.

  10. One thing is certain: in five years’ time the 4th International Miners’ Conference will take place.

Let us take responsibility for each other and social progress for ourselves, for our children, for the workers of all countries, and for all humankind!

1Belarus, Germany, Dominican Republic, Georgia, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Cameroon, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Congo, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda

2 Titles of the forums:
1.) Miners against war and fascism,
2.) For the unity of the struggle for the environment and jobs,
3.) Miners’ wages, pensions and the struggle for higher wages and pensions
4.) The struggle against the scorched earth policy of RAG (former Ruhrkohle AG)
5.) Situation, conditions and exploitation of under-age youth
6.) Struggle for health protection, for social security of the miners
7.) Living conditions, women and families
8.) Miners and socialism
9.) Higher development of coordination and cooperation of miners worldwide


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