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Collapse of Dignity: The Story of a Mining Tragedy and the Fight Against Greed and Corruption in Mexico

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In the early morning hours of February 19, 2006, a sudden blast shook a coal mine in northern Mexico, trapping sixty-five workers in a subterranean tunnel. Napoleón Gómez, head of the fiercely independent union that represented the workers, was appalled by what he found at the scene: labor department inspectors and the company operating the mine had ignored the egregiously In the early morning hours of February 19, 2006, a sudden blast shook a coal mine in northern Mexico, trapping sixty-five workers in a subterranean tunnel. Napoleón Gómez, head of the fiercely independent union that represented the workers, was appalled by what he found at the scene: labor department inspectors and the company operating the mine had ignored the egregiously hazardous state of the work site and were failing miserably at a rescue effort. Rather than focusing on saving lives, they were busy downplaying the company’s role in the collapse and selling false hope to the families camped out at the mouth of the mine. Less than a week after the explosion, Mexico’s labor secretary called off the rescue, leaving the lost men to their fates. The senseless tragedy—stemming directly from an insatiable hunger for profits—set off a massive confrontation between the National Miners’ Union and the transnational corporations that wield great power in the country’s government. Over seven tumultuous years, Gómez waged a battle against Mexico’s corrupt politicians and voraciously greedy businessmen, insisting that the mine blast was an "industrial homicide” and that those responsible must be held accountable for it. Told with candor and passion, Collapse of Dignity is Gómez’s account of the union’s fight, mounted in the face of traitors, armed aggression, death threats, and a political alliance extending all the way up to the presidential residence at Los Pinos. As he fends off absurdly complex legal charges, organizes the resistance from exile in Canada, and uncovers an anti-union conspiracy stretching back to years before the explosion, he only becomes more committed to fighting for the rights of Los Mineros—and by extension the workers of every country. Gómez’s story is one of outrage, but also one of hope. Though Collapse of Dignity lays bare sickening injustice and inexcusable aggression against the Mexican working class, it is at its core a fervent call for a global workers’ movement that will represent the fundamental rights of every person who works for a living.


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In the early morning hours of February 19, 2006, a sudden blast shook a coal mine in northern Mexico, trapping sixty-five workers in a subterranean tunnel. Napoleón Gómez, head of the fiercely independent union that represented the workers, was appalled by what he found at the scene: labor department inspectors and the company operating the mine had ignored the egregiously In the early morning hours of February 19, 2006, a sudden blast shook a coal mine in northern Mexico, trapping sixty-five workers in a subterranean tunnel. Napoleón Gómez, head of the fiercely independent union that represented the workers, was appalled by what he found at the scene: labor department inspectors and the company operating the mine had ignored the egregiously hazardous state of the work site and were failing miserably at a rescue effort. Rather than focusing on saving lives, they were busy downplaying the company’s role in the collapse and selling false hope to the families camped out at the mouth of the mine. Less than a week after the explosion, Mexico’s labor secretary called off the rescue, leaving the lost men to their fates. The senseless tragedy—stemming directly from an insatiable hunger for profits—set off a massive confrontation between the National Miners’ Union and the transnational corporations that wield great power in the country’s government. Over seven tumultuous years, Gómez waged a battle against Mexico’s corrupt politicians and voraciously greedy businessmen, insisting that the mine blast was an "industrial homicide” and that those responsible must be held accountable for it. Told with candor and passion, Collapse of Dignity is Gómez’s account of the union’s fight, mounted in the face of traitors, armed aggression, death threats, and a political alliance extending all the way up to the presidential residence at Los Pinos. As he fends off absurdly complex legal charges, organizes the resistance from exile in Canada, and uncovers an anti-union conspiracy stretching back to years before the explosion, he only becomes more committed to fighting for the rights of Los Mineros—and by extension the workers of every country. Gómez’s story is one of outrage, but also one of hope. Though Collapse of Dignity lays bare sickening injustice and inexcusable aggression against the Mexican working class, it is at its core a fervent call for a global workers’ movement that will represent the fundamental rights of every person who works for a living.

30 review for Collapse of Dignity: The Story of a Mining Tragedy and the Fight Against Greed and Corruption in Mexico

  1. 4 out of 5

    Moon

    I do have to say that at times this book reads more like a text book then a novel... but .... please trudge through the information, that sometimes comes off as a bit dry, and get to the meat of the book, because it is so worth it. I wasn't aware of the miners and their situation, other then what I've seen in the media... just goes to show that you should NEVER resort to JUST the main stream media for your information... the whole world needs to wake up to the fact that the media shows you what t I do have to say that at times this book reads more like a text book then a novel... but .... please trudge through the information, that sometimes comes off as a bit dry, and get to the meat of the book, because it is so worth it. I wasn't aware of the miners and their situation, other then what I've seen in the media... just goes to show that you should NEVER resort to JUST the main stream media for your information... the whole world needs to wake up to the fact that the media shows you what the government wants you to see.... period. What these miners have been through will break your heart, and what Mr. Gomez has been through to make their lives better will make you cry with hope for a better life for all those people. I can't believe the deplorable conditions these people were forced to work with!!! Good job Mr. Gomez! You are welcome in my home for dinner and conversation anytime sir!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    Collapse of Dignity: The Story of a Mining Tragedy and the Fight Against Greed and Corruption in Mexico is a powerful book about the importance of having unions and the way that power can turn greed and corruption into an international business model. The book recounts the mining disaster at the Pasta De Conchos mine in Mexico. Workers were trapped and died in that mine, though if the proper efforts were put forth by the owners of the mine, the tragedy may have been avoided. The author of the boo Collapse of Dignity: The Story of a Mining Tragedy and the Fight Against Greed and Corruption in Mexico is a powerful book about the importance of having unions and the way that power can turn greed and corruption into an international business model. The book recounts the mining disaster at the Pasta De Conchos mine in Mexico. Workers were trapped and died in that mine, though if the proper efforts were put forth by the owners of the mine, the tragedy may have been avoided. The author of the book is not an impartial observer of the situation, but instead is an inside man, holding a critical role within the organizations that help to keep unions fair and active throughout Mexico and throughout the world. His struggle, which ultimately leads to having to uproot his family to survive, is an excellent look into the ways that even when greed and corruption are prevalent, the use of fairness and justice within the legal system can triumph.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joood Hooligan

    I was give a copy of this book for review This book was hard for me to read. Not because I disliked it, quite the opposite, but because the entire time I was reading it I wished I was more than just a reader. It was great to see a story of such an important topic being told that would help people with no previous knowledge of the corruption going on in a way they could easily understand. I do feel it was a bit too drawn out in some parts, which I found myself skimming through and having to go back I was give a copy of this book for review This book was hard for me to read. Not because I disliked it, quite the opposite, but because the entire time I was reading it I wished I was more than just a reader. It was great to see a story of such an important topic being told that would help people with no previous knowledge of the corruption going on in a way they could easily understand. I do feel it was a bit too drawn out in some parts, which I found myself skimming through and having to go back more than a couple times to make sure I didn't miss anything. There were many parts of it that could have been cut, as they were nothing but filler. All and all, it is a book I recommend to anyone who is currently wanting to introduce themselves to this topic.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Debra Lowman

    If you're a non-fiction reader, this book was really interesting. I hadn't read much on this topic nor about Gomez himself. If you are NOT generally a non-fiction reader you might have to make an effort with this book as it can be a bit dense at times and a little too full of information. But, it is worth the read and speaks about a very important topic- at what point and for what dollar amount do we compromise human decency? If you're a non-fiction reader, this book was really interesting. I hadn't read much on this topic nor about Gomez himself. If you are NOT generally a non-fiction reader you might have to make an effort with this book as it can be a bit dense at times and a little too full of information. But, it is worth the read and speaks about a very important topic- at what point and for what dollar amount do we compromise human decency?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dr.Ray Winter

    Wake up Mexico!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    An important book detailing the a history of labour struggles in Mexico and the collusion and corruption of the government and some major industry players.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sergio

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ami

  9. 4 out of 5

    Napoleon Gomez

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mabs Ramírez

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alejandro Saenz

  12. 4 out of 5

    Oscar Zendejas

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pacifico Decorina

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joe Poggi

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nathanael

  16. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

  17. 4 out of 5

    Frankie

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Martin

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ian

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eduardo Placencio

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michael Connolly

  22. 5 out of 5

    Napoleon Gomez

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hoyadaisy

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Liane

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gerardo Gonzalez

  26. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jyoti Tripathi

  28. 5 out of 5

    Fabiola Ma

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stéphanie Amesse

  30. 5 out of 5

    Solen

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