Not mentioned in any textbooks.
http://www.glendale.edu/chaparral/apr05/blair.htmin 1921, some 10,000 West Virginia coal workers, outraged over years of brutality and lawless exploitation, picked up their rifles and marched against their tormentors, the powerful mine owners who ruled their corrupt state. For ten days the miners fought a pitched battle against an opposing legion of deputies, state police, and makeshift militia.
Only the declaration of martial law and the intervention of a federal expeditionary force, spearheaded by a bomber squadron commanded by General Billy Mitchell, ended this undeclared civil war and forced the miners to throw down their arms.
Interesting piece of history.
...and I owe my soul to the company store. Great find. It humbles me to find these stories of struggle and strife, and makes me feel ignorant for not realizing how some of the history of our Nation was formed.
People generally don't appreciate it today, but around this time, national culture and democracy was very much near the breaking point.
There were plenty of political currents in the US that could have erupted into civil war as happened in other countries in the late 1910s-1930s era. For example, Jonah Goldberg makes the convincing case the first fascist, and popularly fascist country in the world was not Benito's Italy, but Wilson's wartime USA.
In this case here, it was an evolution of decades of unions and their members, long oppressed who were rightfully making themselves assertive. I know conservatives like to harp on trade unions now, but they really were fighting for their rights back then, long overdue. And they did indeed have to fight long and hard for them. What worried a lot of people was that the trade unions like the IWA, IWW and etc. Their tactics were changing, becoming ever more effective. Even mere threat of a general strike was terrifying. The socialist philosophy of Syndicalism nearly came into power here, more than anywhere else...basically, power in the hands of democratic universal trade unions. Democracy and economic empowerment at the lowest level was the idea. Various Syndicalist movements came about, including anarchic-Syndicalism (Emma Goldman was one popular one) which also made inroads into Spain, as well as lesser ideological movements. Interestingly, Syndicalism could have been our history's alternative to state socialism, and communism. There were of course various anti-currents to Syndicalism, like Huey Long's alliance with Charles Coughlin, who promoted a kind of dictatorial populism with totalist/fascist economic model.
If a socialist election/revolution had succeeded in the USA (as it might indeed have), it's ideology would have probably been Syndicalism
Im not saying this was entirely a bad thing, just some background on how the 'worker' and his 'work' has evolved over the time.
Just some food for thought. Stuff I remember from my communist days.
Icon, don't read too much in to this. Your worrying me.
Im not too much sherm, just a bit
It just reminded me of Syndicalism, which I used to be interested in, after I toned down from Stalinism
Labor went through a lot over the decades, is what Im saying. We dodged a bullet, using the military to quell strikes. If they had kept on doing so, I am damn sure at some point, an Army unit sent in would have rebelled. That would have been the beginning of a revolution/civil war.