miners union

2013 - Residents of the former mining community of Goldthorpe in Yorkshire celebrated Margaret Thatcher’s death with the burning of an effigy adorned with a bouquet spelling out “SCAB”. One property in the town displayed a huge sign saying: “The Lady’s not for turning but tonight she’ll be for burning." [video]

so fandom’s reaction to hux as a whole annoys me but i just want to throw this out there: hux is an eighties yuppie. he snorts stims. he never sleeps. he gets precious about his uniform, and wants it to be made of the most expensive fabrics. he’d vote thatcher. he works himself to the bone and he expects everyone else to do the same. he’s a cokehead. he wears red braces. he schedules meetings for four in the morning to get everyone else off balance. he goes for powerplay, and stands too close when he’s talking to you and his breath reeks of caf. his emails are ninety per cent buzzwords. he hates miners. he believes unions are a sign of moral degeneracy. greed is good. the whole universe is his, or it will be. 


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.


Northern Pride - Newcastle Pride March, 22nd July 2017. (½) 

The second Northern Pride march and festival I’ve been to. There’s a lot of public sector, union, charity and other representation (which makes it a far less capitalist ridden event than some). The Durham Miners Association was marching near to the front, too! Despite the miserable weather it went well overall and there must have been at least as many people as last year. 

What the march needs is some Antifa. I noticed a couple of people in Antifascist t-shirts but that was about all. Unite was giving out LGBT antifascist stickers. 


2012 - Spanish miners in the northwestern Spanish provinces of Asturias and Leon, armed with homemade rockets and slingshots,battled police for months in protest against government cuts and austerity. The cuts threatened the main source of income for much of the region with no plans to replace the lost jobs, while destroying the social safety net.

From this short documentary on the Spanish Miners Revolt: [video]

also, related to cornfield gothic; appalacian gothic aesthetic, because son there is some shit in those hills

  • tall mountains and deep valleys, forests with thick dense green trees and quiet, sly shadows.  you see them on the trail sometimes and when you look, they’re gone.
  • the land is pockmarked with mineshafts.  some smell like fire and some like blood and all of them are guarded by the ghosts of union miners.  they ask you, aggressively, if you’re a fucking company strikebreaker every time you walk past. 
  • (if they don’t believe you when you say no, they’ll kill you.) 
  • mrs. cooper’s moonshine could knock an elephant on its ass.  you drink and you taste the stars, you taste the coal, you taste oil, you taste your own terror. 
  • your family has always lived in this holler.  your father was born here.  your grandfather.  your grandfather’s grandfather.  you knit new blankets every christmas and use them to cover their bones.  
  • there are some people who pray to jesus and some who pray to satan.  you are most afraid of the ones who pray to the small gods in the coal mines. the gods of black lung and cancer, the gods of mine collapses and company stores, bleeding every last dime from your pockets. they are greedy gods, and hungry ones.  
  • outsiders will ask you what bluegrass is.  you do not know if they are asking about the music or the grass; both are bloody, and both belong to some wordless thing you can only sing to.  
  • your neighbors leave their christmas lights on through july.  this is not because they are lazy; this is because they are afraid, and fifteen hours of darkness is a long time to be without protection.  
  • your brother works in a coal mine.  your brother has always worked in a coal mine.  he brings it home with him.  his eyes are black now.  your mother won’t let him in the house.
  • sometimes the mountains stir.  your father blames it on that newfangled fracking business.  your neighbors pretend it doesn’t happen.  your grandmother says the mountains are angry. you fill your pockets with coal and fall asleep listening to them sing to each other, and you try and think of a way out. 

2012 - Spanish miners in the northwestern Spanish provinces of Asturias and Leon, armed with homemade rockets and slingshots,battled police for months in protest against government cuts and austerity. The cuts threatened the main source of income for much of the region with no plans to replace the lost jobs, while destroying the social safety net.

From this short documentary on the Spanish Miners Revolt: [video]


We’re not sure exactly where she was born, or when she was born, but we know that Mary Harris was from somewhere in Cork County, Ireland, and immigrated to North America with her family as a child to escape the Irish famine. In her early twenties, she moved to Chicago, where she worked as a dressmaker, and then to Memphis, Tennessee, where she met and married George Jones, a skilled iron molder and staunch unionist. The couple had four children.  Then tragedy struck: a yellow fever epidemic in 1867 took the lives of Mary’s husband and all four children. Mary Harris Jones returned to Chicago where she continued to sew, becoming a dressmaker for the wealthy. “I would look out of the plate glass windows and see the poor, shivering wretches, jobless and hungry, walking alongside the frozen lake front,” she said. “The tropical contrast of their condition with that of the tropical comfort of the people for whom I sewed was painful to me. My employers seemed neither to notice nor to care.” Then came the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Mary once again lost everything.

After the fire, Mary began to travel across the country. The nation was undergoing dramatic change, and industrialization was changing the nature of work. She worked with the Knights of Labor, often giving speeches to inspire the workers during strikes. She organized assistance for workers’ strikes, and prepared for workers’ marches. In June 1897, after Mary addressed the railway union convention, she began to be referred to as “Mother” by the men of the union. The name stuck. That summer, when the 9,000-member Mine Workers called a nationwide strike of bituminous (soft coal) miners and tens of thousands of miners laid down their tools, Mary arrived in Pittsburgh to assist them. She became “Mother Jones” to millions of working men and women across the country for her efforts on behalf of the miners. Mother Jones was so effective the union would send her into mines, to help miners to join unions. In addition to miners, Mother Jones also was very concerned about child workers. To attract attention to the cause of abolishing child labor, in 1903, she led a children’s march of 100 children from the textile mills of Philadelphia to New York City “to show the New York millionaires our grievances.” She led the children all the way to President Theodore Roosevelt’s Long Island home.

A political progressive, she was a founder of the Social Democratic Party in 1898. Mother Jones also helped establish the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905. For all of her social reform and labor activities, she was considered by the authorities to be one of the most dangerous women in America. In 1912, Mother Jones was even charged with a capital offense by a military tribunal in West Virginia and held under house arrest for weeks until popular outrage and national attention forced the governor to release her. In her eighties, Mother Jones settled down near Washington, D.C., in 1921 but continued to travel across the country. She died, possibly aged 100, in 1930.  Her final request was to be buried in the Miners Cemetery in Mt. Olive, Illinois, where you can visit her grave today.

Today in labor history, November 23, 1903: Determined to the crush the Western Federation of Miners union, Colorado Governor James Peabody sends the state militia to Cripple Creek to provide protection for scabs during a strike by mine and smelter workers. Soldiers rounded up union members and their sympathizers, imprisoned them without any charges, and deported the majority of the union’s leaders. By mid-1904, the strike was over.

Today in labor history, June 11, 1925: Cape Breton coal miner William Davis is killed by armed company police when he and other residents of New Waterford march to demand that utilities be restored after the mining company cut off the water and electric supply during a long and bitter strike. June 11 is commemorated throughout Nova Scotia as Miners’ Memorial Day.

No union mines left in Kentucky, where labor wars once raged
Retired union leaders worry the history of deadly gun battles will be forgotten and conditions will deteriorate.
By Dylan Lovan, Associated Press

HARLAN, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky coal miners bled and died to unionize.

Their workplaces became war zones, and gun battles once punctuated union protests. In past decades, organizers have been beaten, stabbed and shot while seeking better pay and safer conditions deep underground.

But more recently the United Mine Workers in Kentucky have been in retreat, dwindling like the black seams of coal in the Appalachian mountains.

And now the last union mine in Kentucky has been shut down.

“A lot of people right now who don’t know what the (union) stands for is getting good wages and benefits because of the sacrifice that we made,” said Kenny Johnson, a retired union miner who was arrested during the Brookside strike in Harlan County in the 1970s. “Because when we went on those long strikes, it wasn’t because we wanted to be out of work.”

Hard-fought gains are taken for granted by younger workers who earn high wages now, leading the coal industry to argue that the union ultimately rendered itself obsolete. But union leaders and retirees counter that anti-union operators, tightening environmental regulations and a turbulent coal market hastened the union’s demise in Kentucky.

The union era’s death knell sounded in Kentucky on New Year’s Eve, when Patriot Coal announced the closing of its Highland Mine. The underground mine in western Kentucky employed about 400 hourly workers represented by the United Mine Workers of America.

For the first time in about a century, in the state that was home to the gun battles of “Bloody Harlan,” not a single working miner belongs to a union. That has left a bad taste in the mouths of retirees: men like Charles Dixon, who heard the sputter of machine gun fire and bullets piercing his trailer in Pike County during a long strike with the A.T. Massey Coal Company in 1984 and 1985.

“I had my house shot up during that strike,” said Dixon, the United Mine Workers local president at the time. “I was just laying in bed and next thing you know you hear a big AR-15 unloading on it. Coal miners had it tough buddy, they sure have.”

There's an extra degree of irony in the whole "White male gamer terrorism" debacle

It’s who they’re choosing to target.

Wyrd Miniatures is arguably the most progressive gaming company that’s never felt like it’s pandered to anyone. they are a key example of actual, natural diversity that exists properly in setting.

Setting wise, things rarely if ever feel forced, while still managing diversity most companies would have to break out the shoehorn to include. this is on top of the fact that the setting is based on a heavy spaghetti western aesthetic, which includes a time in american history that most supposed progressives would want erased, and replaced with a one word entry reading BADONG (thank you kung pow)

To give a short history, magic used to be a thing on earth, but started to drain after a while. then, this thing called the breach opened up, letting humans into an alternate dimension called Malifaux, with a curiously huge abandoned city. this place had a mineral called Soulstone, which could capture and power magic. after a good long while, it closed up. this sparked an event called the powder wars (Imagine if the US civil war got blindsided by WW1 and 2 at the same time and both sides got forced together to not get utterly destroyed) which caused a consortium of war profiteers called The Guild to rise to power, and a good portion of east asia to shut it’s doors and turtle up for defense in a conglomerate “nation” called the Three Kingdoms. 100 years after the closing, the breach flew open again, with absolutely no sign of anyone who was there when it shut. the guild took power over the plane and after ~20 years (IIRC) of shenanigans later, the setting is at it’s current point, where everyone’s stopped caring about what’s happening on earth because great googly moogly everything’s going to shit. 

outside of a puppet and an eight year old, there’s an even split for male and female Masters, the biggest and baddest names in the setting, along with plenty of diversity. This is including but not limited to:

Three of the guild’s biggest, most independent enforcers being women. these three are the “good guys” of the guild.

-Lady Justice is quite literally Lady Justice. she’s blind and is still one of the best melee combatants in the setting. she had an entire observatory dropped on top of her and was still alive when she got dragged out of it, and to this day leads an sizable cabal of zombie hunters.

-Sonia Criid pursues illegal magic, which while that sounds kind of shitty when the guild has such restrictive laws on the stuff, She hasn’t given a fuck about who she’s arrested since she basically nailed a fire god to her soul to gain more power. she’s canonically arrested several officials that rank higher than her, all of whom thought they were safe due to that fact.

-Perdita Ortega is the leader of the Ortega family, a group of Mexican ranchers who are apparently badass enough to raise cattle in hell. she also hunts Neverborn, the Natives of malifaux, especially the Nephelim, who are pretty much Vampire demons.

The rest of the guild is under the thumb of Lucius Mattheson, a shapeshifter, and essentially the second highest ranking person in all of the Guild, and by extension, all of malifaux

outside of the Guild, we have

-Molly Squidpidge, one of malifaux’s best journalists in life, and one of the first fully sentient undead (after getting killed by malifaux’s equivalent of jack the ripper), she’s arguably one of the most powerful necromancers in the whole setting

-Tara, yet another sentient undead, only she has an entire sword made of soulstone and wields the power of entropic C'thulhu. 

-Rasputina, batshit powerful cannibalistic Ice witch who single-handedly reformed the Cult of December into a matriarchal structure, and yet is still accepting if you’re the correct kind of insane cannibalistic screwball to roll with her cult

-Marcus, biology professor turned king of beasts. his race has never been brought up to my knowledge, despite having the kind of complexion that comes naturally with not having seen the inside of a building in several years.

-Toni Ironsides, Troubleshooter for the Miners & Steamfitters Union. She’s the Daughter of escaped slaves, born without a single fuck to give. she’s a card shark, extremely literate, and actually has character traits beyond the fact that she’s diverse. Gameplay wise, she’s also one of the hardest models in the game to kill.

-Lilith, Queen of the Nephilim, and a combat monster capable of locking swords with Lady J

-Pandora, living manifestation of sorrow and insanity, and a master who’s mere presence on the board basically warps how you need to think about the game

-Zorida: Fate. she is the millenia old living agent of fate, and one of two of the most powerful masters in lore. capable of bending those of lesser will to her own, and de-facto leader of the bayous, and the gremlins that live there. with the two above her, she’s also a reference to Hecate, AKA the triune Goddess

-The Viks, A woman who teamed up with her doppelganger (after overpowering her, something established as nearly impossible to do in lore) to become some of the most feared mercenaries in Malifaux.

-Misaki Katanaka, Daughter of the Oyabun, who is the current de-facto ruler of the three kingdoms (and lord of the Ten Thunders, a crime syndicate that began exerting power through fear in the Three Kingdoms), and the woman who’s basically single-handedly responsible for all their operations in Malifaux. arguably an extreme lesbian for Mei Feng.

-Mei Feng, a character so awesome i almost want to make people read about her. an extreme populist who performs a three ball juggling act between the Ten Thunders and their desire to execute their plans in malifaux, The Miners and Steamfitters Union, who she performs tasks for in order to secure both loyalty and funds, and those who are loyal to her, who she wants to secure a free existence for in Malifaux. 

This barely even scratches the surface for all the diversity in setting. seriously, I left out even a few masters, not even including Henchmen, the other named characters in setting (which includes basically human twilight sparkle in a giant robot suit, and Alex Louis Armstrong with his classical element inverted)

unfortunately, I also think while this is a major oversight in their targeting of Wyrd specifically, there’s also a reason for that targeting.

Wyrd is a smaller company, but it’s also plagued by problems. while it’s been experiencing growth in the last few years, it’s also been plagued by problems (including it’s proverbial curse, seriously, the production hiccups at the company have reached near supernatural levels) and a lot of people have viewed the company’s structure as weak. combine that with the fact that the game has a more diverse cast than the setting would usually allow, and I think Latining and her crew want to try and strong-arm Wyrd into making “diversity” positions, because she’d believe they might be open to the idea after some mafia style “persuasion”. if they pull it off with a smaller company, they might try for Fantasy Flight or Sodapop next.

these people want a gaming trust and safety council so they can shut down anything they don’t understand, especially in the game that’s the absolute epitome of “Portrayal does not mean endorsement.”

to tell the truth, this is absolutely anathema to anything my friends and I have ever seen from the gaming community. I have found nothing but acceptance, and I’ve never heard any XYZphobic statement. (well, okay, I’ve heard plenty of racism, but when the Elf and Kender rights councils come into existence, they can take it up with us)

The head of the company released a pretty form-standard “We do not endorse harassment” message on the forum. I’m praying that’s the end of this chapter of stupid.

Today in labor history, April 29, 1899: Angry over low wages, the firing of any miner who held a union card, and the planting of company spies, miners seize a train, load it with 3,000 pounds of dynamite, and blow up a mill at the Bunker Hill mine in Wardner, Idaho. On May 3, the Governor declared martial law and 700 miners were arrested, hundreds kept imprisoned in a hastily constructed military prison for over a year.

Miners Go Home, 8/31/1921

Series: Berryman Political Cartoon Collection, 1896 - 1949Record Group 46: Records of the U.S. Senate, 1789 - 2015

In August of 1921 the Battle of Blair Mountain raged for 5 days in Logan County, West Virginia, between striking pro-union coal miners and coal company backed-strikebreakers, and local law enforcement. Federal troops had been called in to quell disturbances caused by strikes by West Virginia coal miners. Worried about the spread of violence, the U.S. Government ordered the miners to return to their homes. Cartoonist Clifford Berryman shows a stern Uncle Sam pointing the way home to a miner carrying a shotgun, telling him “I’ll give you until noon Thursday to go back to your homes.”  The miners relented in the face of Federal intervention, and over 900 were indicted on murder, treason, and other charges.  The burgeoning union movement suffered a drastic setback but ultimately the disturbances resulted in greatly increased awareness about the plight of miners and their communities.