tommy.jensen@sbs.su.se johan.sandstrom@ltu.se

Tag Archives: history


Storyteller #37 – view of the mine growing up


This storyteller, born and raised in Kiruna, working as “Summerbird”, reflects on the image of the mine when growing up (the image heading the post is by artist Magnus Fredriksson). It has been a very romanticized picture of the mine. The pride of working there. It was quite … It was awesome when you were a child, I remember going outside the gate, waiting for Dad to finish [work], and […]

Not all about mining…


Did you know, it’s not all about mining? It’s also about mushrooms, gardening and art. * Since the 1980s, in an abandoned part of the mine on level 540, the mushroom shiitake is cultivated. The temperature is very even, no insects, basically a sterlie environment, which make the conditions perfect for the mushrooms. * There used to be a garden inside the gates where “they grew tomatoes, grapes, melons and […]

New music video!


When we first arrived in Kiruna, early 2015, the downturn of the market was making its impact, inside and outside the gates. The mood in general seemed rather low. This song, “Stänger alla kranar” (in Swedish, roughly translated into “Closing all taps”), came out of how different people talked about the on-going and planned cost reductions in the company, but ended in a bricolage of more than just this. So, […]

Storyteller #28 – mining and community


Next storyteller is a man from Saskatchewan, Canada, living in a small town up north called La Ronge. He works at MCA. When reflecting over the challenges for northern communities where a large portion work for the mining industry, he praises Cameco, the company, for its efforts, but also emphasises the many challenges still to deal with. This quote about La Ronge comes to mind as we’re daily seeing pictures […]

The Pilbara: from the deserts profits come


Academic life is especially good when leading to new and inspiring collaborations. Early June, we got a visit to Luleå by professor Bradon Ellem from Sydney University. Bradon has vast experiences from the mining industry in the Pilbara (North Western Australia). He also happened to be a great thinker and theoriser of space-time aspects relevant to mining, aspects we’re bending our minds around at the moment. Together with Bradon we’ve […]

The Swedish National Treasure


Below is a musicvideo by us (in Swedish) about “The book of LKAB : the national treasure of Sweden”, published by LKAB, the mining company running the Kiruna mine. The book celebrates the first 125 years of mining in Malmfälten and it is available in both English and Swedish. It’s a very informative read, revealing how rich and international the history of mining in the north is. We highly recommend […]

Storyteller #14 – on unions and strikes


Storyteller #14 is a man working above ground for over twenty years at LKAB in Kiruna. Below is an extract from our conversation where we talk about the worker collective and the role of the union. – That time, around 1969/70 (the time of the big strike, spontaneously started by a worker in Svappavaara, not a strike organised by the union), when they began getting power over the workers, and when […]

Meeting Sami people


What is so obvious in the labor process in the uranium mine in Saskatchewan – the integration of indigenous people – is less so in the Kiruna case. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Sami people in and around Kiruna aren’t drawn into and affected by the labour process in the Kiruna mine. We think of the picture heading this post, the LKAB moose and the reindeer, and the […]

Mining capitalism


We’re reflecting on the book Mining capitalism (University of California Press, 2014) by Stuart Kirsch, professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan. We’ve mentioned this book before, but thought we’d dedicate a post on why we see it as relevant and useful to Organizing rocks. First of all, it’s a very encompassing book, targeting the relationship between corporations and their critics, between capitalist modes of production and critics of it, a dialectical […]

Blast (gotta move)


“Blast (gotta move)” is a song about the anxiety of knowing what you have but not what you get, of trying to act collectively but faced with separate negotiations, with not knowing whether or not to afford what the market-conditions dictate, with up-rooting children if leaving Kiruna town is the only viable solution, about having to leave the beautiful scenery appearing outside the kitchen window, about the state withdrawing, leaving movement of […]

What local people? Us local people!


The two sisters Maxida och Mimie Märak were the source of inspiration for this song by Tommy. Their energy in the (as shown in a four episodes documentary broadcasted by the Swedish state television, SVT) made it necessary to grab the pen and the guitar. Please find a proper stereo to play it; if you use a telephone, then at least use headphones. In the documentary (episode 2), The Sápmi […]

Well-known but unspoken


LKAB dominates Kiruna. Does it sound too simple? Is LKAB with its Kirunavaara mine dictating the terms of conditions in Kiruna? The complex relation between LKAB and the community of Kiruna, with its different civil society associations, small and medium-sized firms, politicians, citizens, nature and the mine with its massive infrastructure, can be understood through storytelling and metaphors. So far the stories and metaphors we have come across suggest an […]