15000 Striking Miners March in South Africa
Continuing coverage of the Marikana Mine Strike in South Africa
As the spineless pragmatic wing of the Democratic Party supports Rahm Emmanuel over the striking Chicago Teachers Union, the labor movement in South Africa is showing the power of solidarity. 15000 gold miners walked off the job today demanding the removal of their union leadership, as well as pay of 12500 R, the same amount demanded by the striking miners at the Marikana platinum mine. The mining industry accounts for approximately 20% of South Africa’s GDP. However, the average miner in South Africa earns about 600 US dollars a month (4000 R).
The GINI coefficient (named after Italian sociologist Corrado Gini) is used to measure the inequality of wealth within a country. If a country has a near perfect distribution of wealth then the Gini coefficient will be near zero, while the greater the inequality within the country the closer the coefficient will be to 1. The country with the lowest Gini coefficient is Sweden (.25). South Africa’s score is .67, and only two 2 countries have a higher score (Namibia and Seychelles). The South African miners are asking for a living wage, one that allows them to live with a modicum of dignity in a country with massive inequality.