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Authors: Napoleon Gomez

Collapse of Dignity

BOOK: Collapse of Dignity
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Praise for
Collapse of Dignity


Collapse of Dignity
is about one man's quest to restore dignity in the mines of Mexico and in the minds of his fellow mineworkers. Napoleón Gómez's story captures the struggle of the human spirit and the fight for freedom in today's global economy.”

—R. T
HOMAS
B
UFFENBARGER
,
International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

“A riveting story about standing up to big corporations,
Collapse of Dignity
delivers a message for us all: We the People must force the global corporatocracy to serve us, the workers and consumers. The contrast between Chile and Mexico is a striking call to action.”

—J
OHN
P
ERKINS
,
New York Times Bestselling Author
of
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
and
Hoodwinked


Collapse of Dignity
is an unblinking and unnerving look inside our world's labor struggle. Gómez's incredible account of the fight for justice in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity is a warning, a lesson, and—ultimately—an impassioned call for international change. Essential reading for any working person.”

—T
HOM
H
ARTMANN
,
Author of
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight

“Napoleón highlights the importance of continuing the fight against greed and corruption in the workplace, realizing that each worker deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, especially those in mining, as the sector is inherently dangerous. As a former mineworker and loyal member of the National Union of Mineworkers for close to thirty years, this book is a revelation in detailing the continued social injustices in this sector. This book encourages all union leaders and workers around the globe to stand up against exploitation, bad working conditions, and low wages given by the owners of capital.”

—F
RANS
B
ALENI
General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers
South Africa


Collapse of Dignity
is an extraordinary, personal, and essential dispatch from the brutal frontlines of workers' battle for rights in the face of corporate greed, government corruption, and the appalling neglect of the very lives and safety of Mexico's miners.”

—C
ARNE
R
OSS
,
Author of
The Leaderless Revolution: How Ordinary People
Will Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century

“Gómez writes with passion, intelligence, and vision from his own extraordinary personal experience. His story of the brutal and deadly conditions of work in Mexico's mines and his sharp analysis of the global system that produces such inhumanity make this book essential for anyone who wants to understand how the global economy really works.”

—J
EFF
F
AUX
,
Founder of the Economic Policy Institute
and Author of
The Servant Economy


Collapse of Dignity
is a powerful testimony to the attack by corrupt politicians and cynical businessmen to silence a union and its leader. Napoleón Gómez, leader of the mining and metalworkers' union Los Mineros, gives a compelling account of the events that followed the industrial homicide at the Pasta de Conchos mine where sixty-five workers tragically lost their lives in February 2006. Gómez became the target of a vicious anti-union campaign in response to his loud and vocal demands for workers' rights, decent wages, and safe working conditions.
Collapse of Dignity
is also a story about heroic workers, men and women, who refused to give up the fight for dignity and social justice. Mexico, with its vast natural and human resources, could easily provide prosperity for all its 115 million citizens. Instead the rich elite collude with political leaders to abuse, distort, and corrupt Mexican society at the expense of human rights and economic development that could benefit all. The global trade union movement continues to support this courageous fight for free and independent unionism in Mexico, and for a better life for all workers and their families. This is what we remain deeply committed to doing by mobilizing our forces all over the world.”

—J
YRKI
R
AINA
,
General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union
Geneva, Switzerland

“Injustice never stops until one person summons the courage to become a hero. Inhuman conditions never end until many join that hero and say ‘no more.' This is the story of such a hero and those who answered his call.”

—K
EN
N
EUMANN
,
National Director for Canada of the United Steel Workers

“Napoleón is a hero, because every day he fights for the lives and welfare of the Mexican workers and their families.”

“As a coal miner and a union leader, I found Napoleón's story of the Pasta de Conchos disaster both heartrending and infuriating. Everyone who cares about justice in the global economy should read this story about the heroic resistance of Mexican mineworkers.”

—R
ICHARD
T
RUMKA
,
President of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Relations
AFL-CIO

“Written with passion and honesty, Napoleón Gómez's memoir reveals a deeply personal story about the struggle of the Mexican National Union of Mine Workers. Theirs has been an epic battle for the safety and wellbeing of miners and their families, for their dignity, and for justice against callous mining corporations and corrupt politicians. This drama, filled with tragedy and inspiring resilience, is a poignant allegory of globalization and power that should be read by union leaders and activists around the world.”

—D
ANIEL
K
ATZ
,
Dean of Labor Studies at the National Labor College
Washington, DC


Collapse of Dignity
is a story that had to be told. It's a story of corruption, greed, intimidation, death, and abuse of power, but it's also a story of courage, solidarity, and defying the odds. Napoleón Gómez is a patriot and his story is an inspiration to those fighting for a better, fairer world. Napoleón's leadership is a case study in what global solidarity can achieve through intelligence, honesty and integrity. In the global labour movement there have been heroes that we celebrate for their leadership. Napoleón Gómez is a hero and my friend and brother.”

—S
TEPHEN
H
UNT
,
Director of United Steelworkers District 3

“One of the most important tools in order to create a sustainable Democracy is the organization of trade unions and the respect for mankind, in every open society. In order to create a difference, we need to have the courage to stand up for what is right and wrong. Reasonable working conditions are a prerequisite to any development of a global world and a necessary pillar in Democracy and welfare state.”

—C
AROLINE
E
DELSTAM
,
Co-Founder and Vice President of The Harald Edelstam Foundation Stockholm, Sweden

COLLAPSE
OF
DIGNITY
The Story of a Mining Tragedy and the
Fight Against Greed and Corruption in Mexico

NAPOLEÓN GÓMEZ

BENBELLA BOOKS, INC.

Copyright © 2013 by Napoleón Gómez Urrutia

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available for this title.

ISBN 978-1-9395-2926-8

BenBella Books, Inc., 10300 N. Central Expy, Ste 530, Dallas, TX 75231

Printed by Bang Printing

Distributed by Perseus Distribution

perseusdistribution.com

Jacket author's photograph by: Tom Hawkings

To the memory of Napoleón Gómez Sada, my father and inspiration; to my wife, Oralia, my partner and friend who stood with me unconditionally during this period of struggle; to my sons, for believing in me; to my brothers and sisters from labor unions around the world; to the brave and loyal members of our Union “Los Mineros;” to those who risk their lives working in unsafe conditions to provide for their families; and to all of those who stand for their beliefs.

C
ONTENTS

F
OREWORD

P
ROLOGUE

A
CKNOWLEDGMENTS

ONE
•
T
HE
S
UCCESSION

TWO
•
A N
EW
L
EADER

THREE
•
T
OMA DE
N
OTA

FOUR
•
T
HE
E
XPLOSION

FIVE
•
I
N THE
M
INE

SIX
•
D
EPARTURE

SEVEN
•
T
HE
R
ESISTANCE

EIGHT
•
A L
EGAL
F
ARCE

NINE
•
A G
LOBAL
W
AR

TEN
•
D
ASHED
H
OPE

ELEVEN
•
P
ROOF OF
C
ONSPIRACY

TWELVE
•
S
LANDER AND
R
EDEMPTION

THIRTEEN
•
T
HREE
S
TRIKES

FOURTEEN
•
T
HE
O
FFER

FIFTEEN
•
A F
AULTY
B
RIDGE

SIXTEEN
•
T
HE
L
ARREA
B
ROTHERS
G
O
M
ISSING

SEVENTEEN
•
A N
EW
C
ASUALTY

EIGHTEEN
•
T
HE
T
RICK

NINETEEN
•
T
HE
E
XILE

E
PILOGUE

I
NDEX

A
BOUT THE
A
UTHOR

F
OREWORD

This is an extraordinary book by an extraordinary man.

—
LEO W. GERARD

This is an extraordinary book by an extraordinary man. In its pages—
part memoir, part history, part political critique—Napoleón Gómez Urrutia tells the story of the Mexican government's war against the National Union of Mine, Metal, and Steelworkers of the Mexican Republic (Los Mineros) and of the union's eight-year battle of resistance.

BOOK: Collapse of Dignity
12.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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