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Mining Disasters

Editorial: More Miners Murdered

 Once again the murderous nature of capitalism finds glaring exemplification in a wholesale slaughter of workers, and 344 miners (including a child of 13) are deliberately sacrificed on the altar of Cheapness. Scarce had the tragedy of Whitehaven ceased to occupy men’s thoughts when, at Westhaughton, near Bolton, an even more dastardly outrage was perpetrated on the working class. As with Whitehaven, the first thing to be noted is the fact that several warnings had been published before the disaster, regarding the dangerous atmospheric conditions and the consequent likelihood of escapes of gas in the mines. In such circumstances a sane system of society would have suspended mining operations, but capitalist idlers must have their profits regardless of who perish. MONEY BEFORE MEN is their motto, and the workers must do and die or starve and die. That the gas was there the miners knew.

Aberfan: Disaster In The Hillsides

During the early winter of 1966 Hoover Limited sent a minor manager from their vacuum cleaner factory in West London to the massive plant in Merthyr Tydfil South Wales where they made washing machines. The manager took a train to Cardiff where he was picked up by one of the company cars and chauffer to take him to a hotel where he was to stay for a couple of nights. During the journey both men were silent, without the chatter which usually enlivened their journeys together. When they arrived at the hotel they got out of the car and looked across to some high land where floodlit earth machines were at work. Then the driver spoke. ‘Aberfan’ he said. It was November 1966 and they were looking at the site of the worst mining-related disaster in British history.   

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