“The Perfect Storm of Inequality.”
July 12, 2019 8:42 AM   Subscribe

"The West Virginia teachers’ strike emerged as one of the clearest visions of the new labor movement. It inspired education strikes in other states, including Kentucky and North Carolina. But understanding the strike requires knowing a century of southern West Virginia history, notably its infamous labor uprisings, from the Mine Wars of the 1920s to big coal’s union-busting campaigns of the 1980s. When momentum to strike built in early 2018, teachers in West Virginia’s coal country were among the first to mobilize and put action to a vote. In a Facebook group, they used coal country’s labor history to portray the strike as not only urgent and just, but also natural—something that people like them had been doing for generations. " Finding the Future in Radical Rural America by Elizabeth Catte author of "What You're Getting Wrong About Appalachia" with responses from Ash-Lee Woodward Henderson (The work is happening , how do we support it?), Hugh Ryan (Radical Rural Queer Spaces), Jessica Wilkerson (Appalachia's Women Activists), Bob Moser (Genuine Change is happening in the South) and more. Catte's concluding essay.
posted by The Whelk (4 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Great post! Excited to dig into this. Elizabeth Catte is a terrific writer and historian.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 9:37 AM on July 12, 2019

These are great. I never came to fully understand why and how the south and midwest shifted so hard from socialist/unionist populism to nationalistic populism over that the last so many years. It's great to hear that the tradition is still there and is subject to revival. What is that feeling I'm having, it's so unfamiliar...is it...hopeful?
posted by pilot pirx at 11:31 AM on July 12, 2019

Catte's interview in a recent issue of ISR was great and really helped me understand organizing in that region. I can't wait to read these essays. Thanks for posting!
posted by kendrak at 4:49 PM on July 12, 2019

Elizabeth Catte is such a welcome and needed voice in our current political context, and I adore her work and everything I've ever read by and from her. Got to meet her once and she's great.

My favorite recent Appalachian left-wing story is last year I was at the Appalachian Studies Association conference in Cincinnati. I was in a pretty quiet meeting of librarians and archivists across the hall from a room where Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance was speaking on an opioid panel. There was a lot of controversy over why he was on the program in the first place, and a group of folks showed up at the panel, and began singing "Which Side Are You On?" in protest.
posted by mostly vowels at 1:42 PM on July 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

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