I don’t usually bring a turd to the picnic. After all, I’m not immune to the enthusiasm surrounding the rescue of 33 Chilean miners from their entombment for 69 days. In fact, while the politicians and corporate titans take their bows and accept kudos, I’m struck by the human ingenuity and workers’ solidarity displayed for all the world.
What extraordinary feats we humans are capable of when no expense is spared. Locating trapped men thousands of feet beneath the earth, attending to their psychological, medical and emotional needs and those of their families. International solidarity extended by people who previously knew nothing of Chile, but who were touched by the drama of these 33 men who went to work one morning and found themselves buried alive. Wow!
But… I’m still not exactly clear why no expense was spared for these working men who should never have been down in that heavily fined, unsafe mine in the first place. I’m thrilled it was, I’m just not sure why in a country and a world where workers are routinely left to perish it was different this time.
I suspect that a Chilean president’s flagging reputation amidst a miserable economy and the characteristic of all rulers to save their asses and rally the country to national unity when class divisions are stark may be at play here.
As usual, award-winning filmmaker and journalist John Pilger has already sussed out some of the background politics and economics being ignored in all the media frenzy. So, let’s go ahead and celebrate the potential society is capable of, but let’s also feed our brains with the not-so-pretty reality behind the myth of the rescue of the Chilean 33.
My next public talk is on Fighting the Right, Friday, Oct. 15th, Rochester Inst. of Technology, Library’s “Idea Factory,” 7PM. I’ll also be speaking the following day, Saturday, Oct. 16, on Can the Working Class Unite? at 3PM, details are here.