The Militant urges working people to step up efforts to mobilize solidarity with coal miners battling the drive of Patriot Coal to gut the union contracts of active miners and slash health care for thousands of retirees. The United Mine Workers union has set the next protest action for June 17 in St. Louis.
The federal bankruptcy court in St. Louis came down decisively on the side of the coal bosses May 29. Under the capitalists’ bankruptcy laws — written by them to serve their interests — payments to bondholders come first, then company bosses, followed by stockholders and corporate vendors. Workers, who produce all the wealth, are dead last. While debts to the bondholders are sacred, the union contract means nothing.
All the weapons of the bosses’ state apparatus — their courts, their cops, their prisons — are used to reinforce their rule and defend their profits. When any working-class battle gets too hot, the bosses’ political power is brought to bear.
That’s why many workers’ battles in recent years — from the fight against the lockout at American Crystal Sugar to school bus workers in New York to the Patriot miners — not only require determination, militancy and solidarity, but pose the need for an independent working-class political course.
We can’t rely on “friends of labor” in the Democratic or Republican parties, and we can’t rely on the courts — that’s the bosses’ turf where they tie up our struggles in red tape. The only way we can register victories on their turf is when we win them through struggles.
The outcome of our struggles depends on the ever-expanding union of the workers, how well we organize and win solidarity. As we fight and our numbers, confidence, competence and strength grow, the relationship of class forces shifts in our favor. The bosses laws, cops and courts become less effective tools against the struggles of working people.
Through our struggles against capitalist exploitation and oppression, working people in the millions can begin to recognize their worth and capacity, becoming the kind of men and women capable of waging a struggle to wrest political power from the bosses and begin reorganizing society in the interests of the vast majority worldwide.
Solidarity with the miners! Join the next rally on June 17!
Miners, supporters protest Patriot assault on UMWA
Bankruptcy judge backs bosses’ union busting
On the Picket Line
Profit drive kills 119 poultry workers in China
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