The Third International after Lenin

Thursday, October 10, 2013

History Of Socialists' Work In Coalfields

.... Mine workers' history of struggle

"We came to Morgantown in 1977 to become part of a showdown that was shaping up in the nation's coal mines," Mailhot said. In response to the 1974-75 worldwide recession, the rulers dealt blows to the rights and living conditions of working people.

In 1977 the coal bosses association provoked a fight with the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), counting on "the desperately weak position" of the union as one Wall Street magazine put it at that time. What resulted, however, was a 110-day strike in which the ranks of the mine workers voted down two concession contracts. The miners also stood up to President James Carter's aid to the coal bosses when he ordered them back to work using the Taft-Hartely Act, declaring a "national emergency." The miners' slogan was "Taft can mine it - Hartley can haul it," reminiscent of the militancy of the 1943 strike slogan, "You can't mine coal with bayonets."

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