web analytics


Written By: - Date published: 10:40 am, January 22nd, 2018 - 7 comments
Categories: activism, boycott, capitalism, child welfare, class war, democratic participation, film, International, Politics, Social issues, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, Unions, war - Tags: ,

On September the 11th 1973, the Chilean air-force attacked the presidential palace of Chile with Hawker Hunter fighter jets. As most people are no doubt aware, that presaged the beginning of General Augusto Pinochet’s almost two decades long dictatorship. Pinochet died in 2006. During his life, he enjoyed the support and protection of western leaders. Margaret Thatcher, probably genuinely, said she was “greatly saddened” by his passing.

But what did ordinary people think of Pinochet, his murder of Allende, and his destruction of Allende’s democratically elected Chilean government? Well, some people, even a majority, probably didn’t give any of it a second thought. But others, well…

In 1974, engines from the Chilean air-force’s same Hawker Hunter jets mentioned above, were sent to the Rolls Royce factory in East Kilbride, Scotland for maintenance. And by the simple act of one man initiating action by writing the word “black”on the engines, those engines sat in the Rolls Royce factory for four years until “sneaked out” and away in the dead of night under police escort. (Glasgow Herald)

When asked why they had initiated the blacklisting of the maintenance of those engines, Stuart Barr says that while he was acting from a political standpoint, his workmate Bob Fulton was coming at things from a Christian angle. And when the 4 500 workers on the shop floor endorsed the black-listing, I’d reasonably guess a “shopping list” of reasons could have been scribbled up by anyone who might have asked. Solidarity isn’t about “one voice” of understanding or perspective – solidarity is in the act itself.

Unsurprisingly, according to Robert Sommerville, who went on to be involved in the Chile Solidarity movement, both management and John Boyd the head of the Amalgamated Engineering Union* applied pressure to have the blacklisting lifted.

Some stuff isn’t just forgotten.

In 2015, John Keenan, Bob Fulton and Robert Somerville were awarded the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins medal for their act of solidarity with the Chilean people – the highest civilian honor awarded to non-Chilean citizens.

Meanwhile Felipe Bustos Sierra, the son of a Chilean refugee in Belgium, has completed a documentary of the story called Nae Pasaran. 

Here’s the short 14min 2013 version of the final “kickstarter” funded 2017 film that includes interviews with three of the protagonists. Enjoy.



*the linked ‘Glasgow Herald’ article incorrectly states the union at the time as being the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union. The AEEU wasn’t founded until 1991.

For anyone interested in further reading, this links to a 36 page pdf entitled “Pinochet’s Jets and Rolls Royce East Kilbride

7 comments on “Solidarity ”

  1. ropata 1

    Great story, and a reminder that oppressive regimes fear the power of the people. It’s important to separate the actions of criminal despots from the ordinary people who suffer under their yoke.

  2. adam 2

    Well that was great watching.

  3. gsays 3

    Hey cheers Bill for that wee synopsis.
    I was blissfully unaware of this story.
    Will be watching tonight after work.

    Reminds me of the 2(?) grandmothers who broke into the UK airbase and attacked planes with hammers to prevent the jets from being used.

    Solidarity seems to be an old fashioned notion in these ‘me first, gimme gimme’ times.

    • mac1 3.1

      gsays, the Plowshares movement. They attacked an installation near Blenheim, too.

      Bill, this story is so inspiring. Thanks.

      What effect can one person have? Especially when joined by others in solidarity. It is the story of human progress.

      • gsays 3.1.1

        That’s it mac.

        I think provocation was the defence the Blenheim crew used.
        No longer on the statutes after Simon Power finished his work.

  4. tracey 4

    Thanks Bill… we are more powerful than some want us to believe

  5. Ed 5

    We also had a counter- revolution which took control for the neoliberal elite.
    It was bloodless and its leader was Roger Douglas.
    He and his co-conspirators have not been tried yet.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago