Battle of Blair Mountain

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Battle of Blair Mountain

Post  CanadianLineman on Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:26 pm

I'm re-posting this from a Lineman friend of mine.

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Below I have pasted a brief history of something that happened in the 1920's at this time of year. This is the kind of world the Tea Party envisions. Read the history of the US from 1865 to 1929 to analyze how Corporations grew into the controlling "Trusts" that Republican Teddy Roosevelt attempt to "bust." Read how the government reacted when people tried to protect their interests and livelihood when the so-called "conservatives" were in control. That 70 plus years of history are an interesting and enlightening window on a world some would like to see us return. The book "The House of Morgan" provides a history of US Banking during that time frame and how the Morgan family was central to controlling trusts and commerce during the above time frame. All the best, yours, Xxxx


The Battle of Blair Mountain.

This weekend marks the anniversary of the most brutal confrontation in the history of the American labor movement, the Battle of Blair Mountain. For one week during 1921, armed, striking coal miners battled scabs, a private militia, police officers and the US Army. 100 people died, 1,000 were arrested, and one million shots were fired. It was the largest armed rebellion in America since the Civil War.

This is how it happened. In the Twenties, West Virginia coal miners lived in "company towns." The mining companies owned all the property. They literally ran union organizers out of town - or killed them.

In 1912, in a strike at Paint Creek, the mining company forced the striking miners and their families out of their homes, to live in tents. Then they sent armed goons into that tent city, and opened fire on men, women and children there with a machine gun.

By 1920, the United Mine Workers had organized the northern mines in West Virginia, but they were barred from the southern mines. When southern miners tried to join the union, they were fired and evicted. To show who was boss, one mining company tried to place machine guns on the roofs of buildings in town.

In Matewan, when the coal company goons came to town to take it upon themselves to enforce eviction notices, the mayor and the sheriff asked them to leave. The goons refused. Incredibly, the goons tried to arrest the sheriff, Sheriff Hatfield. Shots were fired, and the mayor and nine others were killed. But the company goons had to flee.

The government sided with the coal companies, and put Sheriff Hatfield on trial for murder. The jury acquitted him. Then they put the sheriff on trial for supposedly dynamiting a non-union mine. As the sheriff walked up the courthouse steps to stand trial again, unarmed, company goons shot him in cold blood. In front of his wife.

This led to open confrontations between miners on one hand, and police and company goons on the other. 13,000 armed miners assembled, and marched on the southern mines in Logan and Mingo Counties. They confronted a private militia of 2,000, hired by the coal companies.

President Harding was informed. He threatened to send in troops and even bombers to break the union. Many miners turned back, but then company goons started killing unarmed union men, and some armed miners pushed on. The militia attacked armed miners, and the coal companies hired airplanes to drop bombs on them. The US Army Air Force, as it was known then, observed the miners' positions from overhead, and passed that information on to the coal companies.

The miners actually broke through the militia's defensive perimeter, but after five days, the US Army intervened, and the miners stood down. By that time, 100 people were dead. Almost a thousand miners then were indicted for murder and treason. No one on the side of the coal companies was ever held accountable.

The Battle of Blair Mountain showed that the miners could not defeat the coal companies and the government in battle. But then something interesting happened: the miners defeated the coal companies and the government at the ballot box. In 1925, convicted miners were paroled. In 1932, Democrats won both the State House and the White House. In 1935, President Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act. Eleven years after the Battle of Blair Mountain, the United Mine Workers organized the southern coal fields in West Virginia.

The Battle of Blair Mountain did not have a happy ending for Sheriff Hatfield, or his wife, or the 100 men, women and children who died, or the hundreds who were injured, or the thousands who lost their jobs. But it did have a happy ending for the right to organize, and the middle class, and America.

Now let me ask you one thing: had you ever heard of this landmark event in American history, the Battle of Blair Mountain, before you read this? And if not, then why not? Think about that.
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CanadianLineman

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Re: Battle of Blair Mountain

Post  CanadianLineman on Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:46 pm

And if any Canadians reading this thin, "Yea, only in that gun crazy USA." think again. The same thing went on in British Columbia, all be it on a somewhat smaller scale, but companies. like the CM&S (Cominco) put "death warrants" on union men.

"On July 27 of 1918, United Mine Workers labour organizer Albert "Ginger" Goodwin was shot by a hired private policeman outside Cumberland, British Columbia. His murder sparked Canada's first General Strike."

Winnipeg General Strike 1919

Bloody Saturday in the Winnipeg General Strike
• On June 21, which came to be known as Bloody Saturday, strikers pushed over and set fire to a streetcar. The Royal North-West Mounted Police attacked the crowd of strike supporters gathered outside City Hall, killing two and injuring 30. The Specials followed the crowd as it dispersed through the streets, beating protesters with baseball bats and wagon spokes. The army also patrolled the streets with machine guns.

Results of Winnipeg General Strike
• The metal workers went back to work without a pay increase.
• Some workers were jailed, some were deported, and thousands lost their jobs.
• Seven strike leaders were convicted of a conspiracy to overthrow the government and jailed for up to two years.
• In the 1920 Manitoba provincial election, 11 labour candidates won seats. Four of them were strike leaders.
• It was another 20 years before collective bargaining was recognized in Canada.



There were many more incidents police attacking the Ottawa Trek, those "unemployed" traveling across Canada by rail, to protest the Depression era unfairness. They were funneled into Regina by the government on the lie that they should wait for many more that would meet up with them and then proceed on to Ottawa. The attack resulted in 1 police and 1 protestor killed and 120 protestors imprisoned. as Bolsheviks.

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Yes this can all happen again and with the "right wing" gaining strength it will be sooner than later.
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Re: Battle of Blair Mountain

Post  CanadianLineman on Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:40 pm

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