May Day is Coming…

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We hope that yall have taken our call to heart by joining in upcoming May Day events in your area. It’s still not too late to take initiative and volunteer to host one in your town (If you want help planning one, feel free to shoot us a message). This is a great opportunity to reach out in your community and build relationships with local workers and allies who want to get involved and start the hard task of building independent workers’ power on the local level.

Here’s a list of May Day events happening through-out or near Appalachia (if you want your event listed, please message us):

West Virginia

Georgia

Kentucky

North Carolina

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Tennessee

Virginia

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Rednecks and Revolution

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The commonly understood definition of “redneck” is a backwards, rural, white person. That is not the definition we are referring to when we advocate for the Redneck Spring. As we have stated in the piece “Why May Day and What is it?” we are fighting to reclaim our heritage of resistance and rebellion against the capitalist system itself, best exemplified by the Redneck Army as it fought in West Virginia to reclaim the region for poor, working class people of all identities. These worker militants of Appalachia identified themselves as rednecks, wearing red bandanas around their necks to show they were in the coal miner unions against the bosses and their hired gun thugs, like the Baldwin Felts agents. It was a collective identity for Appalachian workers defined by their acts of struggle against oppression and exploitation. It was not inherently a white identity, nor an anti-immigrant identity. When industry came to Appalachia waves of new workers came with it, immigrants from southern and eastern Europe and Black people in particular.

The racial system did affect the workers, oftentimes white workers were pitted against immigrant and Black workers, segregation was enforced by the coal companies through housing and at the worksite. These were and still remain effective ways to keep workers divided. But the workers eventually came to understand this tactic and rejected it, knowing that they all had more power united as workers than to remain divided by the bosses and thus more easily controlled. It was only when white workers rejected the system of white supremacy and upheld a multiracial, multinational working class politics that Appalachian workers became a real threat to the capitalist establishment. Thousands of armed workers in the redneck army marched across West Virginia engaging in guerrilla warfare against the coal barons’ private army and the US army. Every time Appalachian workers have risen up against the system the cops, courts and the military have always sided with the bosses against the workers.

These are important historical facts we, as Appalachian workers, have to remember as we reorganize ourselves for militant struggle against our class enemies. White workers must reject the racist, anti-immigrant, imperialist nationalism that politicians and bosses use to keep workers pitted against one another. Working men must reject misogynist and patriarchal politics that bosses and others use to subjugate women workers. Straight workers must reject politics that pits them against their queer fellow workers. Our unity as Appalachian workers can only be as strong as our collective commitment to building egalitarian, anti-oppressive organization. This is not about being “politically correct,” but about having respect for one another as workers. There can be no respect among the working class if one group is stepping on the necks of other workers in order to elevate themselves, and unfortunately this has been the norm for some time. Working men get higher positions and better pay over working women, working class white people are often in charge of over-seeing lower-level non white workers, queer workers are often living in fear of harassment and violence from their straight fellow workers. Until we have more privileged workers understand the divisions within the working class, working class power will remain elusive.

The system that exploits us all requires that we remain divided and oppressive towards one another. To overcome these divisions and build principled unity within the working class is to begin building a revolutionary movement itself. It is the politics of reformism, which supports the Democrats, the lesser-evilism of Hillary, the class collaboration between unions and corporations, that help perpetuate the division of the working class on the basis of race, gender, and skill-set. It is now becoming more evident than ever that our ability to win as workers hinges upon our willingness to reject the pragmatic reformism that is dominant among the left, our very survival requires us to be brave and fight for our power outside and against the state and the ruling class.

Register for a May Day event in your area!

 

 

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We are calling upon yall to be a part of the REDNECK SPRING and host a May Day event in your town. Have a cookout, a rally, a march, a community discussion, screen a documentary on Appalachian working class history, do workshops on labor rights, police encounters, workplace organizing. Just make sure you take action on May Day! Even if you are an Appalachian living outside the region link up with other workers and see if there are already events being planned, if not take initiative and organize one yourself! It is imperative we no longer remain passive as we face an even greater threat by the Trump administration. Register below and we’ll add you to the list of towns hosting their own May Day!

MAKE APPALACHIA RED AGAIN!

Why May Day and What is it?

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When we talk about May Day we don’t mean the spring festival that features a maypole. We are talking about International Workers Day. Ironically many people in the US don’t know May Day as this, even though Workers Day was first celebrated here in the US. It first was created after the US state framed eight labor organizers, which led to their execution. The US state did this on the basis of the Haymarket affair after an explosive was thrown into a crowd that resulted in the death of workers and Chicago police who were attacking the peaceful workers as they went on strike for the eight-hour work day.

Ever since this event in 1886 the workers of the world have been celebrating, marching, and striking across the globe in solidarity for working class power and in honor of working class peoples who’ve sacrificed for the final victory of abolishing the wage system.

Some people might be wondering that “if this version of May Day has been celebrated for so long around the world why am I just now hearing about it?” This is a complicated issue, the US state hasn’t exactly been friendly to the working class as we fight for power.  We all know that the US state is in service of the US ruling class, and because of this all the various institutions under the state carry out the interest of the ruling class, including public school administration. We do not learn about our history of working class struggle against oppression by those in power, such as the Coal Wars, which had and continue to have a strong impact on the Appalachian working class. Those in power want to detach us from our history of resistance, rebellion, and liberation.

They have been very effective for decades controlling and manipulating Appalachian workers, from the decline and corruption of the unions meant to fight for workers to the automation of the coal industry and depletion of local natural resources, have all had devastating effects on Appalachian communities that have left our region no living wage jobs, and which suffer some of the highest drug addiction and overdose levels in the country. This is a war of the rich waged upon us and we have been losing for some time.

These are the reasons we call for a REDNECK SPRING! By reclaiming May Day we begin reclaiming our heritage of resistance, rebellion, and liberation for the working class. We all come in many shapes and sizes, Black, Latino, Native, Melungeon, White, gay, straight, women, men, transgender, or two-spirit, we all have a place in our collective struggle for liberation in Appalachia and throughout the world. We are friends as workers first and foremost, our allegiance isn’t to the elites who rule over us, even if they are Americans. Our enemies are not those in foreign lands who face the same or even worse living conditions than us, we are united internationally as workers and must fight our common enemy, the international ruling class.

MAKE APPALACHIA RED AGAIN!