coal strike

anonymous asked:

Hey, dumb American question here. Every UK person I have ever met hates Margaret Thatcher. Why? What terrible thing did she do to piss off that many people for so long?

Where do I fucking start?

So, Thatcher was the bane of the working classes, and much of what she did still has repercussions to this day. So, in no particular order, just in the order I remember them, here are some things she did that pissed us off - 

• In 1989 she introduced this thing called the “Community Charge” but which everyone calls the “Poll Tax” which replaced an older system in which your tax payment was based on the rental value of your home. This new tax meant that people living in one bedroom flats would pay the same as a billionaire living in a mansion. Obviously, the rich loved it, everyone else… not so much. So there were riots (video of news about the riots) - There were lots of riots in the Thatcher years, and they were all notable for the extreme levels of police brutality.

(photo, poll tax protest in Trafalgar Square, 1990)

• Then there was her war on industry. There was a lot of inflation when she came to power, so she instituted anti-inflationary measures. All well and good… except not the way she did it. She closed many government controlled industries, most famously steel and coal. The amount spent on public industries dropped by 38% under Thatcher. The coal miners went on strike, for almost a year, but in the end, the pits were still closed, and 64,000 people lost their jobs. Unemployment rates soared in industrial areas, and inequality between these (generally northern or welsh) areas and the rest of the UK is still there. During the strike there were numerous violent clashes with the police at picket lines which were widely televised. As a memoir from one miner attests: “ I saw a police officer with a fire extinguisher in his hand, bashing a lad in the back. I tried to get closer to note down the officer’s number but they were wearing black boilersuits with no numbers. The next thing I knew, a police officer struck me from behind. I was coming in and out of consciousness as I was dragged across the road into an alleyway. They blocked off the alley and beat another lad and me with sticks until I was unconscious.” (I can’t post the whole thing it’s too long, but read it in the Guardian) Images such as this swept the country, turning many people against Thatcher -

And after it was all over people felt Thatcher had lied, saying she wanted to close only 20 pits, when in the end, 75 were closed down.

• Inequality soared whilst she was prime minister. There is a thing called the gini coefficient, it is the most common method of measuring inequality. Under gini, a score of one would be a completely unequal society; zero would be completely equal. Britain’s gini score went up from 0.253 to 0.339 by the time Thatcher resigned.

• During her time as prime minister the notorious ‘Section 28′ was published. It stated: A local authority shall not (a) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality; (b) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship. - Section 28 wasn’t repealed until 2003.

• She introduced the Right To Buy scheme, which allowed people to buy their council houses for a very low price, which, at first glance, seems like a great idea, allowing people who normally wouldn’t be able to afford their own home to have one - however, loads of people have entered the scheme and now we have far too little social housing, meaning there has been a sharp rise in homelessness.

• The Battle of the Beanfield was a clash between hippies and police near Stonehenge in 1985. 1300 police officers converged on a convoy of 600 new age travellers who were heading to Stonehenge to set up a free festival in violation of a high court order. Again, there was an insane amount of police brutality, and 16 travellers were hospitalised, 573 people were arrested (one of the biggest mass arrests in UK history) - “Pregnant women were clubbed with truncheons, as were those holding babies. The journalist Nick Davies, then working for The Observer, saw the violence. ‘They were like flies around rotten meat,’ he wrote, ‘and there was no question of trying to make a lawful arrest. They crawled all over, truncheons flailing, hitting anybody they could reach. It was extremely violent and very sickening.’” (source) - Once everyone was arrested, the empty vehicles, which were in many cases the only homes the travellers had “were then systematically smashed to pieces and several were set on fire. Seven healthy dogs belonging to the Travellers were put down by officers from the RSPCA.” (source same as above)

Most of the charges were dismissed in court after Lord Cardigan, who had tagged along with them to see what would happen, testified on behalf of the travellers against the police. 

• Her removal of Irish dissidents right to be placed in a category that essentially made them political prisoners instead of merely criminals led to a hunger strike that ended in 10 deaths, including that of Bobby Sands, who was elected from his prison cell, reflecting the immense national, and international support for Irish nationalists. Thatchers lack of sympathy, or even empathy led to her becoming even more of a hate figure.

• She presided over a rapid deregulation of the banks, which ultimately led to much of the problems during britains 2007-2012 financial crash many years later.

• She took free milk from school children, which, though not as serious as anything else listed here, directly affected every child in the UK and was very unpopular, leading her to get the nickname “Maggie Thatcher, Milk Snatcher”, which is still used today.

• Oh… and she supported Apartheid and called Mandela a terrorist.

This is nowhere near everything she’s done that pisses people off, but I hope it goes some way to explaining why when she died “ding dong the witch is dead” became number one in the UK charts, people partied in the streets, and people protested her (State funded) funeral. She is a decisive figure, some people in the UK do actually love her. I do not. She decimated the UK’s industrial heartland, she caused mass unemployment and the destruction of much of working class culture, she was cavalier in her financial policies and increased inequality by staggering levels, she approved serious police brutality and attempted to destroy the culture of unions in this country.  I fundamentally disagree with all she stood for and it angers me that her mistakes are still affecting this country and the people who live in it. And I am VERY angry that the current government are spending £50 million on a museum about her.


The Battle of Blair Mountain

 Around the turn of the century in West Virginia, the coal companies controlled everything. They owned the towns, had their own private militias, and even paid local law enforcement officers and politicians.  However, the coal companies control over the state began to wane when the miners started to unionize. One of the last counties to unionize was Logan Country, located in the southwest of the state. In 1920, agents of the Baldwin Felts Detective Agency arrived in the independent town of Matewan to evict several miners families and arrest the local police chief, Sid Hatfield.  Hired by the coal companies, the men were essentially there to strong arm the town, which was staunchly pro-union. Days before, the coal companies had tried to bribe the local mayor into placing 5 machine guns on the roofs of the town buildings "in order to maintain order" among the coal miners.  The agents threw out several families from their homes at gunpoint.  They were met by Chief Hatfield and his deputies, who told them to get out of town.  A gunfight ensued, resulting in the deaths of ten men, 7 of which were Baldwin Felts agents, including two of the brothers of the company’s founder, Albert and Lee Felts. The town mayor, Cabell Testerman, was also killed.

Police Chief Sid Hatfield

Sid Hatfield was cleared of murder charges, which was seen as a great victory against the coal companies.  Bolstered by the victory, Sid Hatfield and a union organizer named Bill Blizzard organized the miners of Logan County into a union, which quickly went on strike.  The coal companies responded by hiring scabs and strike breakers.  On August 1st, 1921 Sid Hatfield was called to McDowell County to stand trial for sabotaging a mine. While walking up the courthouse steps with his friend Ed Chambers and their wives,  a group of Baldwin Felts agents opened fire, killing Hatfield and Chambers.  Chambers, who was only wounded, was executed by one of the agents with a gunshot to the back of the head.

 Enraged, the miners took up arms and organized to forcefully break the power of the coal companies. They were joined by thousands of miners from other counties who were sympathetic to their cause.  Altogether, the miners formed an army consisting of around 10,000 men.  Its is no exaggeration that they were an army, many of the miners were World War I veterans who had seen combat in Europe.  Armed with hunting rifles and shotguns, they organized battalions and regiments, assigned commanders, set up command posts, set up hospitals and mess tents, dug trenches, and did everything that a well organized army would do. Their opposition, a eclectic group of coal company militias, guards, state and local police, and Baldwin Felts agents, only numbered around 3,500, however they were well armed with machine guns and other military weapons.

On August 25th, the two sides met, and a battle raged in the West Virginia mountains for almost a week.  In the ensuing battle, 50-100 miners were killed, around 30 men on the side of the coal companies were killed.  Hundreds more were wounded on both sides.  The battle ended when Federal troops arrived on September 2nd.  985 miners were indicted for treason and murder, but in the end none were charged.  Overall the battle was a victory for the coal companies in the short term, who clamped down even harder on the miners.  In the long term, the battle was a victory for the miners, as the battle rose awareness of the coal miners plight.

Did you know Paul sent a telegram to Margaret Thatcher in 1982? He did. It wasn’t friendly. He lost his temper over her treatment of health workers and fired off a long outraged message, comparing her to Ted Heath, the prime minister (tweaked in “Taxman”) felled by the 1974 coal strike. McCartney warned, “What the miners did to Ted Heath, the nurses will do to you.”

This controversy is a curiously obscure footnote to his life—it seldom gets mentioned in even the fattest biographies. He doesn’t discuss it in Many Years from Now. I only know about it because I read it as a Random Note in Rolling Stone, not exactly a hotbed of pro-Paul propaganda at the time. (The item began, “Reports that Paul McCartney is intellectually brain-dead appear to have been premature.”) But the telegram was a major U.K. scandal, with Tory politicians denouncing him. In October 1982, Thatcher was at the height of her power, in the wake of her Falkland Islands blitz. Many rock stars talked shit about Maggie—Elvis Costello, Morrissey, Paul Weller—but Paul was the one more famous than she was. He had something to lose by hitting send on this, and nothing to gain. What, you think he was trying for coolness points? This is Paul McCartney, remember? He was in the middle of making Give My Regards to Broad Street. He could have clawed Thatcher’s still-beating heart out of her rib cage, impaled it on his Hofner on live TV, and everybody would have said, “Yeah, but ‘Silly Love Songs’ though.”

Why did he feel so intensely about the nurses? He didn’t mention his mother in the telegram, but he must have been thinking of Mary McCartney’s life and death. So he snapped, even though it was off-message. (He was busy that week doing interviews for the twentieth anniversary of “Love Me Do”—the moment called for Cozy Lovable Paul, not Angry Paul.) He didn’t boast about it later, though fans today would be impressed that any English rock star of that generation—let alone Paul—had the gumption to send this. You can make a case that it was a braver, riskier, and more politically relevant move than John sending his MBE medal back to the Queen in 1970. Still, John’s gesture went down in history and Paul’s didn’t, though his fans would probably admire the move if they knew about it.

He couldn’t win. He was Paul. All he could do was piss people off.

—  Rob Sheffield, Dreaming the Beatles. (2017)
On This Day: June 22
  • 1859: Sheffield Trades Council forms with 17 branches & 3100 members.
  • 1861: Félix Fénéon born in Turin, Italy. He was an anarchist, art critic and coined the term “Neo-Impressionism”.
  • 1890: The United Mine Workers of America is founded in Columbus, Ohio.
  • 1899: Emma Goldman arrives in San Francisco, where she begins a seven-week series of lectures in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Stockton.
  • 1907: First appearance of the Chinese anarchist weekly, Hsin Shih-chi (or Xin Shiji; The New Century), in Paris.
  • 1908: Tokyo anarchists, after meeting a friend being released from jail, mount a demonstration and are attacked by police.
  • 1912: A group formed by the Colombian anarchist Juan Francisco Moncaleano, takes the name of “Grupo Luz” (Light) and creates a school based on the Modern School model of Francisco Ferrer, in Mexico City.
  • 1914: After numerous calls by some of the anarchist press for revenge on Standard Oil for the Ludlow massacre, a bomb intended for the Rockefeller mansion unintentionally detonates in the Ferrer Center, killing three anarchists.
  • 1922: During a coal miners strike in Herrin, Illinois, strikers kill 19 strikebreakers. It was the day after three union members were killed.
  • 1927: Anarchist author Stan Iverson born.
  • 1929: Bruce Kent born in London. He was a long standing peace activist and leading figure in Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).
  • 1939: Individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker dies in Monaco.
  • 1942: August Froehlich dies in Dachau. He was a priest who opposed Nazis & campaigned for Polish forced labourers.
  • 1971: The Boston Globe publishes Pentagon Papers excerpts; this is halted by injunction on the 23rd and the newspapers are impounded.
  • 1976: Canada abolishes the death penalty.
  • 1977: Grunwick Film Processing Lab strike committee & Brent Trades Council call successful mass picket to stop bussing in of scabs.
  • 1990: Checkpoint Charlie is dismantled in Berlin.

Coal workers in Colorado arm themselves as the strike turns bloody, eventually culminating into the Colorado Coal/Labor Wars, in which many armed striking workers retaliated and defended themselves & their families from violent scabs, corporate gun-thugs and even the Colorado National Guard, while also seizing mines and destroying company property in retribution for the massacre at Ludlow. 1914.

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Görsel : Birol Üzmez From a strike by Coal Miners. It was one of the most crowded protests by 70,000 protesters, January 1991, Zonguldak, Turkey.

OK I was reading about Teddy Roosevelt’s “Big Stick ideology” and it talks about how he resolved the Anthracite Coal Strike: the peaceful talks went badly, so the mining companies asked the government to send in the military. Roosevelt sent in the military … to do the mining work, which meant that the mining companies weren’t actually profiting, so they caved to the unions.

God damn is that a passive-aggressive application of “speak softly and carry a big stick.”

On This Day: May 4
  • 1886: Haymarket riot in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1895: Premier of French anarchist Jean Grave’s journal Les Temps Nouveaux.
  • 1916: Joseph Plunkett, William Pearse, Edward Daly, Michael O'Hanrahan are executed by the British for his role in the Irish Easter Uprising.
  • 1919: Kinmel Park Riots by Canadian soldiers in Wales due to delays in repatriation. Up to 15,000 troops involved.
  • 1919: Peking students’ protest; start of May 4th Movement.
  • 1919: Battle of the Barricades on Fremantle, Australia waterfront. Wharf laborers, strikebreakers & police clash. One is killed and 33 injured.
  • 1926: The first day of the British General Strike.
  • 1931: Start of the Harlan County coal miners’ strike in Kentucky. The song “Which Side Are You On?” written about events .
  • 1937: General strike in Barcelona.
  • 1961: Freedom Riders: Civil Rights activists travel on public buses and trains across the American South to personally confront and challenge segregation.
  • 1970: The Angry Brigade bombed the US Embassy in London.
  • 1970: Kent State shootings. The fatal shooting of 4 unarmed college students by the Ohio National Guard.
  • 1986: The Australian Anarchist Centenary Celebrations ends.
  • 1998: Ukraine strike by coal miners over unpaid wages.
Apparently I like announcing every good movie I watch.

I watched Pride (2014), a movie that’s based on a true story in a 1984 Thatcher government where a group of lesbian and gay Londoners decided to fundraise money to support coal miners on strike in Wales. It was a pretty damn good movie. Plus it has Andrew Scott (Moriarty), Imelda Staunton (Umbridge), Bill Nighy (Rufus Scrimgeour), etc. Great cast. Good-looking people. Solid story. 

R/S Games 2016: Week One Roundup

Day 1:

Team: Place
Title: The Fall
Rating: T
Word Count: 4600
Summary: They’ve told you that dying is like falling asleep, but to you it just feels like falling. But before you fall, you remember.
Prompt: #7 - "The Bed Song", Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra

Team: Time
Title: Parlor Trick Magic and Other Trivialities
Rating: T
Word Count: 17,000
Summary: Magic glimmers in each of their eyes as for the first time they truly meet and suddenly realize maybe, perhaps, one day, possibly… they could fall in love. Or the one where Remus is a blind atheist throughout history and Sirius needs more saving than he’s supposedly dishing out.
Prompt: #63 - “We do not remember days, we remember moments.” - Cesare Pavese

Day 2:

Team: Time
Title: Recto Verso
Rating: M
Word Count: 7800
Summary: Love in the time of the 1984-5 coal miners’ strike. Remus is a geologist working for an independent assessment of a disputed coal mine in his hometown in south Yorkshire during the strike. He meets a communist agitator. Non-magical AU.
Prompt: #21 - Picture of a darkened landscape with lightning striking in the distance.

Team: Place
Title: They don’t love you like I love you
Rating: G
Word Count: 5800
Summary: Hospital receptionist Remus Lupin usually invites superheroes as guests for the kids. That is, until he gets the unusual request of inviting villain The Canis.
Prompt: #54 - “Life isn’t about waiting for the right time to come. It’s all about doing all the right things in the time that is given to you.” - Unknown

Day 3:

Team: Place
Title: Intergalactic Hitchhiking, and Other Such Earthbound Adventures
Rating: M
Word Count: 14,000
Summary: After many years of wars over resources, humans were sent a message by the Galactic Commission of Quadrant 4713 and offered a new home on the Space Port on the other edge of the Milky Way. 98% of the human race left Earth behind to begin a new life, but the 3% that stayed lived out their lives amongst chaos and ruin.
Sirius lived on the Port, but was drawn to Earth by the promise of adventure and mystery. He gets more than he bargained for when he encounters Captain Lupin and the village of Hogwarts.
Prompt: Prompt: #24 - Picture of a destroyed bedroom.

Team: Time
Title: Exposed
Rating: T
Word Count: 2900
Summary: At eleven, Remus boarded the Hogwarts Express ready to keep secrets. In the end, there are none he can keep from Sirius.
Prompt: #66 - “Hide nothing, for time, which sees all and hears all, exposes all.” - Sophocles

Day 4:

Team: Time
Title: There Isn’t a Word for What We’ve Got
Rating: T
Word Count: 7300
Summary: Five people who misunderstood Sirius’ relationship with Remus and one two who didn’t.
Prompt: #46 - “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” - T.S. Eliot

Team: Place
Title: Dusk - ART
Rating: G
Summary: A few moments in Hogwarts, in evening colours.
Prompt: #56 - “I am homesick for a place I am not sure even exists. One where my heart is full. My body loved. And my soul understood.” - Melissa Cox

Day 5:

Team: Place
Title: Our House is a Very Very Very Fine House
Rating: T
Word Count: 16,000
Summary: “Life used to be so hard / Now everything is easy ‘cause of you and our – house…” Basically an OotP fix-it fic, with an (almost) everybody lives ending!
Prompt: #5 - “Our House” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash

Team: Time
Title: Parchment
Rating: T
Word Count: 4400
Summary: Remus Lupin finds the Marauder’s Map again and does his best not to let a certain ghost from his past haunt him.
Prompt: #51 - “Mathematics has beauty and romance. It’s not a boring place to be, the mathematical world. It’s an extraordinary place; it’s worth spending time there.” - Marcus de Sautoy

Whew! What a great first week! We’re taking our first break over the weekend to give our readers a chance to catch up and catch their breath. With just over 80,000 words posted this week, there’s plenty to enjoy!

Remember, we count on our readers’ votes to determine the winning team! You don’t need to be a LiveJournal user to vote; you can use your Facebook, Google+, or Twitter ID to login.

Posting resumes on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Columbine Mine massacre

The Columbine Mine massacre, sometimes called the Columbine massacre, occurred in 1927, in the town of Serene, Colorado. A fight broke out between Colorado state police and a group of striking coal miners, during which the unarmed miners were attacked with firearms. The miners testified that machine guns were fired at them, but the state police disputed that. Six strikers were killed, and dozens were injured. (X)

On This Day: June 10
  • 1819: Gustave Courbet born in Ornans, France. He was a painter, revolutionary anarchist and leader of the realist school of art.
  • 1838: Myall Creek massacre: 28 Aboriginals killed at Myall Creek near Inverell, New South Wales.
  • 1865: Anarchist militant Pierre Desgranges, aka Granges, born in Lyon, France.
  • 1881: Anarcho-pacifist Leo Tolstoy, sets out on pilgrimage to the Optina Monastery, disguised as a peasant.
  • 1892: Strikers at a coal miners’ strike in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, seized the mines so scabs couldn’t work them.
  • 1917: Strike at Rudolfi Crespi textile mill in Sao Paulo.
  • 1917: Glasgow based Women’s Peace Crusade starts 3-week campaign to build support for peace during the first World War.
  • 1924: Italian socialist MP Giacomo Matteotti kidnapped & murdered by Fascists after denouncing them in parliament for electoral fraud.
  • 1927: Anarchist Gino Lucetti is sentenced to 30 years in prison for the attempted assassination of Italian dictoatr Benito Mussolini.
  • 1935: Hundreds of protesters participating in the On-to-Ottawa Trek took hostages at the Calgary Relief Office for several hours before continuing out of the city.
  • 1937: Mayor of Monroe, Michigan organizes a posse of 1,400 vigilantes to beat up the Newton Steel union organizing drive by 120 striking steelworkers.
  • 1940: Marcus Garvey dies in London. He was a Jamaican political leader and influential figure in Black Nationalist Pan-Africanism movement.
  • 1960: Several thousand council workers and revolutionary students surround the entourage of White House Press Secretary James Hagerty at Tokyo International Airport, Japan, forcing the press secretary to be rescued by a United States Marine Corps helicopter.
  • 1963: Congress signs into law the Equal Pay Act. Mandates equal pay for equal work done by women.
  • 1971: Police and death squads kill 43 students on a demonstration against the government in Mexico City.
  • 1980: Nelson Mandela’s writings, along with those of other anti-apartheid leaders, are smuggled out of prison and made public.
  • 2015: Syrian Civil War: The International Freedom Battalion founded.

The UK coal miners strike of 1984-5 has been called “the most bitter industrial dispute in British history”. It was ugly (and violent) and people suffered. When a miner went on strike, the whole family was punished. Welfare benefits to his wife and children were reduced, and “urgent needs” payments were simply banned. I love how it was Bruce who asked to meet the wives, not the other way around. Also 20K was worth a lot more 30 years ago..

DID YOU KNOW: several other White Star ships’ passage was delayed to ensure Titanic would sail on time? A coal miners’ strike had been gripping England for the months proceeding the maiden voyage of the Titanic, leading to a coal shortage. A large number of English vessels were tied up at the docks in Southampton waiting for the strike to break (visible in the background behind Titanic are some of the laid up ships). White Star, invested heavily in ensuring that their new vessel debuted on schedule, cancelled several crossings by smaller vessels, funneling their coal (and their passengers) to Titanic instead. Passengers who had booked crossings on these smaller vessels were given similar berths aboard Titanic for the same price.


It’s April 10th, which means in 1912 at around noon, the call of “Let’s go!” rang out aboard Titanic as the maiden voyage got underway. Tugs pulled the Titanic away from the dock wall so she could start her engines, while officers on the bow and stern supervised the taking aboard of the mooring lines(I believe it was Wilde on the forecastle and Murdoch near the aft docking bridge). The Titanic then began to make her way down the channel and around the corner of her berth…..and then something happened. Something that never makes it way into media depictions of the Titanic for whatever reason is her dramatic close encounter with the SS New York.

As the Titanic left her dock and began making her way down Southampton harbor, she began passing by White Star Line’s Oceanic and the American Line’s New York which was moored outboard of the Oceanic. Both ships were among many laid up in Southampton due to the lingering effects of a coal strike. The strike had ended several days previously but coal supplies had yet to recover, White Star actually had to scavenge the bunkers of ships in the International Mercantile Marine to ensure enough coal for the Titanic’s maiden voyage. As the Titanic passed by the Oceanic/New York, the suction created by her large propellers began to strain the mooring lines of the New York. The lines then began snapping, witnesses in the crowd said the breaking lines sounded like gunshots going off(mooring lines are very thick). The stern of the New York began swinging towards the port side of the Titanic with near everyone on deck holding their breath in anticipation of collision(seriously look at all those heads popping out of the A deck promenade in the first picture). The day was saved though with literally only feet to spare between the stern of the New York and the hull of the Titanic. A tow line managed to be successfully thrown from a tug onto the New York and attached to her, while on the Titanic the port engine was thrown astern to try to reverse the suction. The New York was towed back to where she belonged at dock and the Titanic continued her maiden voyage down to Cherbourg, albeit delayed by almost an hour. In retrospect it would’ve been better for the New York to hit the Titanic.

This would factually be the closest the Titanic ever came to something called New York.

On This Day: April 21

World Fish Migration Day

  • 1792: Tiradentes, a Brazilian revolutionary influenced by Rousseau and American Revolution, executed for leading independence movement.
  • 1834: 30,000 march protesting imprisonment of Tolpuddle Martyrs, who unionized to protect their wages.
  • 1841: Anselmo Lorenzo is born in Toledo, Spain. He was a defining figure in the early Spanish Anarchist movement, earning the often quoted sobriquet “the grandfather of Spanish anarchism,” in the words of Murray Bookchin; “his contribution to the spread of Anarchist ideas in Barcelona and Andalusia over the decades was enormous”.
  • 1856: Stonemasons and building workers in Melbourne achieve an eight-hour day, the first organized workers in the world to achieve an 8-hour day, with no loss of pay.
  • 1879: Birth of Raden Ayu Kartini a prominent pioneer in the area of women’s rights for Indonesians.
  • 1894: Start of the US national eight-week Bituminous Coal Miners’ strike.
  • 1898: Errico Malatesta and others stood trial for criminal conspiracy in Italy.
  • 1908: Anarchist poet Carlos Pezoa Véliz dies in Santiago, Chile.
  • 1913: André Soudy, a member of the Bonnot Gang, was executed.
  • 1921: Police fire on IWW-organised striking miners at Neversweat mine in Butte, Montana. Two are killed and thirteen are wounded.
  • 1939: Birth of Helen Prejean. She was an activist against the Death Penalty.
  • 1972: During the Quebec general strike, the Quebec government passed Bill 19 into law, forcing the unionised workers back to work, and banned fundamental trade union rights for a period of two years.
  • 1989: In Beijing about 100,000 students gather in Tiananmen Square to commemorate reform leader Hu Yaobang leading to democracy protests.
  • 1997: 2,500 Goodyear Tire United Steelworkers union workers start three week strike in plants across US for job security, wages and benefits
  • 2003: Death of Nina Simone, singer, songwriter, musician and civil rights activist.
  • 2011: Shanghai truck drivers enter second day of protest against inflation.
  • 2013: Death of Leopold Engleitner an Austrian conscientious objector, Jehovah’s Witness and Holocaust survivor.

anonymous asked:

Would you explain to me how you meditate please ?

My Typical Meditation Session:

  1. Clear my meditation space of clutter.
  2. Cleanse hands, face and feet.
  3. Light candle.
  4. Light incense coal and sandalwood powder.
  5. Strike singing bowl for a long energy cleansing tone.
  6. Perform the salute to the sun (surya namaskar) postures.
  7. Perform “cobra” (bhujangasana) to stretch back muscles.
  8. Sit in half lotus (ardha padmasana) with prayer beads (mala).
  9. Strike singing bowl for long mindfulness tone..
  10. Do Pranayama exercises starting with “breath of fire” (agni prasanna) for clarity, “alternate nose breathing” (anuloma viloma) for calmness.
  11. Strike singing bowl to begin concentration practice using the mantra of compassion “Om Mani Padme Hum” counting on the mala for 108 repetitions or more depending on time. Holding the mala in one hand and the mudra of compassion with the other and practicing three part yogic breathing.
  12. Strike singing bowl for short tone and begin contemplation practice. Using my focused mind I focus on an idea or question. Sometimes I use an object like a tarot card, a flower, a crystal or a stone and focus on it in mindful contemplation.
  13. Meditate on gratitude for my many blessings.
  14. Strike singing bowl again to conclude session. Chant the “Om” 27 times.
  15. Perform “cobra” (bhujangasana) to stretch back muscles.
  16. Lay in “corpse” (savasana) position to relax and cool down.

Finished!  Total time: 30 to 45 minutes.

This is a typical Tibetan style Raja Yoga meditation session. You will note that this session is active and paced. At no time is the mind left unattended to wander and be bored.  There is always a point of focus. As you become familiar and grounded in your routine the routine itself is a comfort and prepares you mentally for mindful meditation.

☯ Samsaran ☯ 


What Cheer, Iowa
Population: 646

“Robert Forsyth, born in Kilmarnock, Scotland, came to America in 1857, and made his way to Rock Island, Illinois, where he arrived penniless. He worked for most of a decade as a coal miner before coming to Petersburg, the future What Cheer. In the 1870s, he began buying coal lands around town, mostly on credit. When the railroad came to town, he leased his land to the coal companies and bought into a local drug store, eventually operating stores in What Cheer, Mystic and Jerome, Iowa. Other Scots from the Kilmarnock region (Ayrshire) also settled in the area. Robert Orr came in 1875 after working in the coal mines of Colchester, Illinois. His son Alexander went on a successful career as a mine owner in Mystic.

The Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railway (BCR&N) built a 66-mile (106 km) branch to What Cheer in 1879. With the arrival of the railroad, the What Cheer coalfield quickly became one of the most important coal mining centers in Iowa. The Starr Coal Company had over 200 employees and could produce 1,000 tons of coal per day. By 1883, they were operating three mines and took over several others. When, in 1884, the Chicago and North Western Railway built its line through What Cheer to Muchakinock, there was a further expansion of mining in the area.

Local Assembly 1474 of the Knights of Labor was based in What Cheer and had a membership of 65 in 1884. On Oct. 15, 1884, 500 miners in What Cheer went on strike, demanding higher wages. The established wage was 3 cents per bushel, and the miners demanded an additional half cent. The state militia was put on alert, but after 6 weeks, the miners accepted a quarter-cent raise. This strike cut coal production in the What Cheer significantly.

In 1886, the What Cheer Coal Company began to consolidate the local mines, buying up the Starr Coal Company and the Granger Coal Company. In 1887, they employed 1,100 miners, and they continued to operate until 1899. From 1885 to 1901, the Crescent Coal Company was an important local producer.

In 1891, the BCR&N Railroad’s Iowa City Division, serving What Cheer, carried 38,080 tons of coal, by far the most important commodity carried by that line. In 1892, mines along the BCR&N (all of which were in the What Cheer region) loaded 129,316 tons of coal.

On May 1, 1891, the miners of What Cheer and many other mining towns went on strike for the eight-hour day. 1000 men walked off the job in What Cheer, but returned to work defeated on June 16. On August 15, 1896, the miners struck again over several small grievances. The strike lasted 10 to 12 weeks. Local 841 of the United Mine Workers union was organized in What Cheer in 1897, and in 1902, it had 200 members.

The first industrial development in What Cheer was driven by the needs of the coal mines. In 1890, What Cheer was home to three firms making mining drills, Walker & Thompson, Enterprise Manufacturing and the newly formed What Cheer Drill Company. Within the decade, the What Cheer Drill and Miners’ Tool Company was selling equipment in mining districts around the nation. Alexander Walker, originally with Walker & Thompson filed numerous patents on mining equipment, most of which were assigned to the What Cheer Drill and Miners’ Tool Company, later named the What Cheer Tool Company. In 1903, the Starr Manufacturing Company, American Mining Tool Company and the What Cheer Tool Company agreed to a union wage scale with the International Brotherhood of Blacksmiths. At the time, the blacksmiths local 259 had just 17 members.

In 1907, the Volunteer Brick and Tile company was operating its own coal mine to fuel its kilns. The mine had a steam hoist to lift coal 40 feet from a coal seam from 4 to 5 feet thick. The Lea Brothers’ mine in north-central What Cheer also had a steam hoist and still shipped some coal by rail. The remaining mines in the area were all small, using horse-gins to operate their hoists.

By 1909, there were only a few mines left in the county, all producing coal for local consumption in What Cheer. The decline of What Cheer’s mines in the 20th century was reflected in declining union membership. In 1912, Local 841 of the United Mine Workers, based in What Cheer, had only 18 members.”