Sunday, January 20, 2008

Machine Guns, Bombs dropped from Airplanes- Corporate America warring on the working man in America

"Redneck" was first coined in West Virginia for the red bandannas Unionized minors wore to recognize other Union miners in scuffles. The first "Rednecks", Union coal miners marched on a non-union town. The corporate style coal mine owners hired "detectives" of a private army, along with army and National Guard regulars, to take machine guns, use airplanes to drop bombs, to kill, maim, and detain miners armed with hunting rifles and small caliber handguns.

The corporations, their government cronies, and operatives are slicker with their modern tactics. [more of how corporations are buying America out of the hands of citizens bribing elected officials]

Excepts from webpage on the West Virginia Miners Wars:

As the intimidation by mine guards increased, national labor leaders, including Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, began arriving on the scene. Jones, a native of Ireland, was already a major force in the American labor movement before first coming to West Virginia during the 1897 strikes. Although she reported the year of her birth as 1830, recent research indicates she was probably born in 1845. As a leader of the UMWA's efforts to organize the state, Jones became known for her fiery (and often obscene) verbal attacks on coal operators and politicians.

Not only did the UMWA send speechmakers, it also contributed large amounts of weapons and ammunition. On September 2, Governor William E. Glasscock imposed martial law, dispatching 1,200 state militia to disarm both the miners and mine guards. Over the course of the strike, Glasscock sent in troops on three different occasions.

Both sides committed violent acts, the most notorious of which occurred on the night of February 7, 1913. An armored train, nicknamed the "Bull Moose Special," led by coal operator Quin Morton and Kanawha County Sheriff Bonner Hill, rolled through a miners' tent colony at Holly Grove on Paint Creek. Mine guards opened fire from the train, killing striker Cesco Estep. After the incident, Morton supposedly wanted to "go back and give them another round." Hill and others talked him out of it. In retaliation, miners attacked a mine guard encampment at Mucklow, present Gallagher. In a battle which lasted several hours, at least sixteen people died, mostly mine guards.

On February 13, Mother Jones was placed under house arrest at Pratt for inciting to riot. Despite the fact she was at least sixty-eight years old and suffering from pneumonia, Governor Glasscock refused to release her. On March 4, Henry D. Hatfield was sworn in as governor. Hatfield, a physician, personally examined Jones, but kept her under house arrest for over two months. During this same period, he released over thirty other individuals who had been arrested under martial law.

On April 14, Hatfield issued a series of terms for settlement of the strike, including a nine-hour work day (already in effect elsewhere in the state), the right to shop in stores other than those owned by the company, the right to elect union checkweighmen, and the elimination of discrimination against union miners. On April 25, he ordered striking miners to accept his terms or face deportation from the state. Paint Creek miners accepted the contract while those on Cabin Creek remained on strike. The settlement failed to answer the two primary grievances: the right to organize and the removal of mine guards. After additional violence on Cabin Creek, that strike was settled toward the end of July. The only gain was the removal of Baldwin- Felts detectives as mine guards from both Paint and Cabin creeks. [click here for more]


In late summer 1921, a series of events destroyed the UMWA's tenuous hold in southern West Virginia. On August 1, Sid Hatfield, who had been acquitted of his actions in the "Matewan Massacre," was to stand trial for a shooting at the Mohawk coal camp in McDowell County. As he and a fellow defendant, Ed Chambers, walked up the steps of the McDowell County Courthouse in Welch, shots rang out. Hatfield and Chambers were murdered by Baldwin-Felts detectives.

As a result of the Matewan Massacre, Hatfield had become a hero to many of the miners. On August 7, a crowd varyingly estimated from 700 to 5,000 gathered on the capitol grounds in Charleston to protest the killing. Among others, UMWA's leaders Frank Keeney and Bill Blizzard urged the miners to fight. Over the next two weeks, Keeney travelled around the state, calling for a march on Logan. On August 20, miners began assembling at Marmet. Mother Jones, sensing the inevitable failure of the mission, tried to discourage the miners. At one point, she held up a telegram, supposedly from President Warren G. Harding, in which he offered to end the mine guard system and help the miners if they did not march. Keeney told the miners he had checked with the White House and the telegram was a fake. To this day, it is uncertain who was lying.

On August 24, the march began as approximately 5,000 men crossed Lens Creek Mountain. The miners wore red bandanas, which earned them the nickname, "red necks." In Logan County, Don Chafin mobilized an army of deputies, mine guards, store clerks, and state police.

Meanwhile, after a request by Governor Morgan for federal troops, President Harding dispatched World War I hero Henry Bandholtz to Charleston to survey the situation. On the 26th, Bandholtz and the governor met with Keeney and Mooney and explained that if the march continued, the miners and UMWA leaders could be charged with treason. That afternoon, Keeney met a majority of the miners at a ballfield in Madison and instructed them to turn back. As a result, some of the miners ended their march. However, two factors led many to continue. First, special trains promised by Keeney to transport the miners back to Kanawha County were late in arriving. Second, the state police raided a group of miners at Sharples on the night of the 27th, killing two. In response, many miners began marching toward Sharples, just across the Logan County line. [click here for more]

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How do modern corrupt government officials take care of internal whistle blowers? [click here for video]


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