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Daily News, McKeesport, PA - Reviewer: David Sallinger
"...The reality is worse than the fiction, and prompts the reader to want to know more..."

Written by R. S. Sukle

 

DUMB COALMINERS?

I enjoyed the article, "What’s the matter with West Virginia?" by Serge Halimi. The popular image portrayed by America media is that coal miners are "dumb", which is a great misnomer.  Miners remember the history of the fight for the union even if the history books do not. 

During my research for a sequel to BUCKET OF BLOOD THE RAGMAN’S WAR, a novel about oppression of the working class and the resulting 1927-1928 Miners Strike in the western Pennsylvania coalfields, I came across interesting facts while looking through hundreds of archived newspaper articles. 

The 1927-1928 strike lasted almost sixteen months and involved 150,000 miners and their families who where put out of their homes, denied civil rights, and subjected to extreme brutality at the hands of Coal and Iron Police. Thousands died!  As a result of a federal investigation the National Industrial Recovery Act was drafted.  Defeated in 1928, it passed in 1933. Yet the strike was poorly documented and censored into obscurity.  Why? 

I discovered that the prosperity of the Roaring Twenties was a myth encouraged by the government and controlled through censorship of the existing media -- newspapers, magazines, cinema, and newsreels.  In reality only a small percentage of the US population enjoyed prosperity; the majority lived in poverty. 

Calvin Coolidge known as “Silent Cal” was President during most of the Twenties after the death of Warren Harding.  Silent Cal was also known as a do nothing President and encouraged by the Industrialists in control of the government to maintain the status quo inherited from his predecessor.  Profits were made at the expense of the working class who labored long days in the textile factories, steel mills, and coal mines for less then sustenance wages.  Since the world ran on coal much like it does on oil today, the status quo was maintained by the exploitation of immigrant miners who were enslaved in the same system of servitude they had hoped to escape.  

The Miner’s Strike was declared over in October of 1928.  Herbert Hoover was elected President in November and took office in January.  The stock market began to fluctuate around the same time.  The miners refused to work and a year later the stock market crashed!  Hoover had been president less then a year, yet the blame was put on him.  Millions of unemployed workers roamed the rails all during the decade looking for jobs. Millions more lived on starvation wages under an oppressive system while the government and the upper classes looked the other way.  Hoover is remembered as the worst president in history, yet his predecessor Silent Cal is barely remembered at all.   

The 1990’s were also a time of prosperity.  Under President Bill Clinton the stock market soared, a lot of money was made, and times were good.  Also under Clinton the Free Trade Agreement was signed, jobs went overseas where US companies could exploit workers in their native land , terrorist attacks against the USS Cole and other US interests overseas were ignored, corporate scandals emerged, and the stock market faltered.  George W. Bush took the oath of office in January 2001.  Eight months later was 911, and the world changed.  Will history remember Bush as a Hoover?  Is it a fair comparison?  What interests control the media?  Who controls what we think?  I pray that it would be us, each being our own person.

 

NORTHERN SLAVERY

 

I would like to comment on W. B. Spillman’s November 16th letter to the Roanoke Times; The South has risen again; so should slavery.  Spillman points out that the map of blue and red states reflects that the south won the Civil War. With that victory Spillman proposes the ludicrous, sardonic idea that since slavery is one of the core values in the South that the concept should return.

 

I would like to ask W. B. Spillman to review history.  Slavery wasn’t exclusive to the South.  Pennsylvania, a blue northern state, retained a form of slavery well into the Twentieth Century during the Coolidge prosperity of the Roaring Twenties was controlled by rich industrialists. 

 

The world ran on coal much like it does on oil today, the price per tonnage had to remain low so profits could be made by the mine owners, steel mills, and railroads.  This was done by the exploitation of immigrant miners who were enslaved in a system of servitude—isolated and totally dependant on the company. Often, after a week of back-breaking, wet, dirty, and dangerous labor in a dark, dusty workplace under the earth, the miner would end up owing money to his boss.

 

In 1927, 150,000 Pennsylvania coal miners refused to work. An army of Coal and Iron Police seized their property, evicted them from their homes, and imposed unconstitutional restrictions.  Solidarity was survival, since there was no where else to turn but each other. The events of the strike were censored from history.  BUCKET OF BLOOD THE RAGMAN’S WAR, tells the story.  I suggest he read the it, especially the actual news articles that introduce each chapter. 

IS BUSH A HOOVER?

 

The Kerry/Edwards campaign keeps comparing President Bush to Herbert Hoover.  What an interesting comparison!  During my research for BUCKET OF BLOOD THE RAGMAN’S WAR, a novel about oppression of the working class and the resulting 1927-1928 Miners Strike in the western Pennsylvania coalfields, I came across some interesting facts after looking through hundreds of archived newspaper articles.

 

The 1927-1928 strike lasted almost sixteen months and involved over 150,000 miners and their families who where put out of their homes, denied civil rights, and subjected to extreme brutality at the hands of Coal and Iron Police. Thousands died!  After a Federal investigation the National Industrial Recovery Act was drafted.  Defeated in 1928, it passed in 1933. Yet the strike was poorly documented and censored into obscurity.  Why?

 

I discovered that the prosperity of the Roaring Twenties was a myth encouraged by the government and controlled through censorship of the existing media -- newspapers, magazines, cinema, and newsreels.  In reality only a small percentage of the US population enjoyed prosperity; the majority lived in poverty.

 

“Silent Cal”, Calvin Coolege, was President during most of the Twenties.  Silent Cal, known as a do nothing President, was encouraged by the Industrialists in control of the government to maintain the status quo inherited from his predecessor.  Profits were made at the expense of the working class who labored long days in the textile factories, steel mills, and coal mines for less then sustenance wages.  Since the world ran on coal much like it does on oil today, the cost of coal had to remain low.  Status quo was maintained by the exploitation of immigrant miners who were enslaved in the same system of servitude they had hoped to escape.

 

The Miner’s Strike was declared over in October of 1928.  The stock market began to fluctuate around the same time. Herbert Hoover was elected President. He took office in January.    The miners refused to work and a year later the stock market crashed!  Hoover had been president less then a year, yet the blame was put on him.  Millions of unemployed workers rode the rails looking for jobs all during the Roaring Twenties . Millions more lived on starvation wages under an oppressive system while the government and the upper classes looked the other way.  Hoover is remembered as the worst president in history, yet his predecessor Silent Cal is barely remembered at all. 

 

The 1990’s were also a time of prosperity.  Under President Bill Clinton the stock market soared, a lot of money was made, and times were good.  Also under Clinton the Free Trade Agreement was signed, jobs went overseas where US companies could exploit workers in their native land , terrorist attacks against the USS Cole and other US interests abroad were ignored, corporate scandals emerged, and the stock market faltered.  George W. Bush took the oath of office in January 2001.  Eight months later was 911, and the world changed.  Will history remember Bush as a Hoover?  Is it a fair comparison?  What interests control the media?  Who controls what we think?  I pray that it would be us, each being our own person.

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