Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Class Warfare

35 Comments

 

These are the words of a “white trash hillbilly from the holler.”

He and his compatriots are not looting.  They are not vandalizing.  They simply know the score.  Their coal jobs are gone.  They were unhealthy occupations when they had them.  They need a living wage and they know they aren’t going to get it from the incoming administration without a fight.

They are realists.  Pragmatists.  Even without an education Nic Smith is thinking critically about the promises made and the outlook for his future.

You don’t have to have a college or university degree to see what’s plain in front of your face.

The last time I bought a pair of blue jeans was about a year and half ago.  They came from…*gasp*…Target. They are made by a company that is a staple in the denim industry, Levi Strauss.  They used to be a symbol of Made In America.

When I look at the tag it says they were made in Bangladesh.  Or possibly Brazil.  I’m not sure which because both locations are on the label.  They were not made in America.

They might have even been made in a sweatshop by a seven year old who was paid ten cents.

I don’t know.

What I do know is the manufacturing of Levi’s jeans isn’t coming back to America.

Manufacturing and mining as we knew it fifty years ago isn’t coming back to America.

People need a living wage and everyone can’t be a white-collar worker.

We are going to have to be innovative and creative.

Clean energy would be a great avenue to explore but the incoming administration seems loathe to explore that.  They jettison climate change and EPA regulations in favor of “clean” coal, whatever that is, and fossil fuels.

Welcome to 1950.  Except it’s nearly 2017.

I would say that I feel discouraged.  Except I don’t.

I know that there are enough of us, the us that wants positive change – not just change at any cost – to come up with new and better ways to sustain ourselves.

The government is not the United States of America.  The people are.  People like Nic Smith give me hope.

We don’t need to cut and run.  We need to dig in and fight.

 

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35 thoughts on “Class Warfare

  1. I wish those small rural town tRump supporters — the ones that truly believe tRump is going to bring back their jobs — could hear what Nic has to say. It’s obvious he knows the score. He doesn’t necessarily like it, but he’s a realist.

    And I agree. Manufacturing and mining as we knew it fifty years ago isn’t coming back to America. Yet this is what so many are looking for in this upcoming administration. I wonder how long it will take before they realize what they did when they marked their ballot.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ll agree that jobs moving out of the country is a problem, but mechanization is another huge hurdle. See John Zande’s comment below if you haven’t already.

      Make America Great Again stood for exactly what I and many others thought it stood for: turn back time 50-100 years. Except you can’t really do that.

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  2. I think Nic should get more exposure. . . smart guy! He needs a You Tube audience. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I see the youtube account I posted this from has been deleted. I did a search for the video and it’s all but been erased everywhere except The Young Turks account. Perhaps it was a copyright thing? Anyway, I think he’s got some common sense which seems sorely lacking in a variety of sectors, both educated and uneducated.

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  3. Two sides to every story. Or more than two.

    I come from a coal mining area. As does my partner (Yorkshire and South Wales if you want to check with the Brit). Like Nic, my partner’s family were miners. His brother, his father, his uncle, grandfathers etc.

    Since Thatcher, ‘tpits were closed. But it isn’t that we aren’t still using coal. We are. Originally ‘tpits were closed so we could import cheaper coal from eastern europe. Never mind the knock-on costs of unemloyment and social deprivation by putting thousands of people out of jobs. Thatcher was on an anti-union crusade and the NUM was her biggest target. (Three most radical unions in the UK at the time were miners, teachers and journalsts.)

    Fast forward. Who does the US export the most coal to? Hah. Yes. The UK. We have perfectly workable pits of our own and we import it. So no, I don’t agree with Nic or anyone else who says the coal industry is dead. If it is, why are we buying it from you? Why are you also importing it from elsewhere? Totally fucking farcical.

    http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=25252

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    • I don’t think it’s so much that coal isn’t still being used, but rather that jobs in the U.S. coal industry are dying.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t say that the coal industry was dead. Underground mining is certainly being jettisoned in favor of easier to get to surface mining in other parts of the world. West Virginia coal mining is/was largely underground. Not only that, like everything else, coal mining has become increasingly mechanized. Not as many laborers are need to mine it. Back in the 30’s and 40’s we had men(and some women) underground with pickaxes going to town. That’s not so much the way it’s done anymore. Not to mention the havoc the mining has wreaked on the health of those who did/do the work and the environment. Thankfully, coal mining has become much more environmentally safe(but who knows for how long here as the EPA is going to make some major changes under new administration), and safe for the workers(according to the mining industry), but that has also come at a pricetag of unemployment.

      I just don’t think coal mining is ever coming back the way we might think of it from the 40’s to the 80’s.

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      • Nor did I say you did. Nic certainly implied it however. Deep pits in the UK are long gone, but as I said to Nan, I’ll write a post. I find it interesting coming from both old and new coal mining areas in Yorkshire.

        But I don’t see why the UK is importing coal, or why America is.

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        • Many of the mines in Virginia coal country were deep, while not necessarily pits. They’ve hollowed out mountains to mine the coal, leaving the environment in a lot of places fairly unstable, not to mention undermining dwellings up those mountains.

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  4. Have you looked at the numbers? Coal mining represents approx. 75k (total) US jobs. Renewable energy jobs in California alone are +500k. The stupidity with the Roughseas argument is the presumption that fossil fuels and the pollution that ensues is the way forward. Major cities like Paris, Lyon, Madrid and London are having traffic shut down- as it is. Paris is up by a whopping 30% in lung disease. Coal? Seriously? Jobs in which the workers themselves died by the time they were 45 having had appallingly awful lives?

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    • Let’s start with what I agree with you on. Coal’s impact on the environment and people’s health is appalling. The industry, itself, even in thriving mines, doesn’t generate nearly as many jobs as it once did or as many as other energy sources do. Which is probably a good thing since black lung isn’t really conducive to long lives.

      I’m not sure we’ll ever completely do away with fossil fuels or coal as energy sources, but the way forward is definitely environmentally friendly, green, renewable energy. Having said that, even the energy it takes to make solar panels relies on fossil fuels.

      Now, for what I disagree with you on: did you eat razor blade soup before posting your comment? I know you’re blunt but I think we can disagree here without getting personal.

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      • I didn’t say she was stupid, I said the argument was stupid 😀
        That’s because we have two primordial choices, one is to seek no alternatives and continue as we were. The other is to try to find ways to be less reliant on fossil fuels. So even if it takes fossil fuels to produce equipment, we break the dependency cycle 😉

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  5. I hope there are a lot more Nics out there

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There was a 15 second announcement on Bloomberg this week that was, arguably, the most important piece of news no one paid attention to. The FAA approved teathered drones for commercial use. Tens of millions of delivery drivers are about to be put out of work permanently. And that’s before we start to talk about the driverless cars Uber is testing, and the fleets of driverless trucks already being rolled out.

    It’s frightening.

    And what’s more frightening… HP launched the first commercial/industrial 3D printer earlier this year. Something like 70% of the machine’s parts are made, wait for it, by the HP 3D printer.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. And PLEASE vote Nic into office!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to do some thinking about that, and some research. Work isn’t just about having an income, though no one in their right mind would do it without. Work is also about self-esteem and dignity. I know a few countries and some companies in Silicon Valley are piloting a universal basic income program. I think I’ll have to reserve judgment for now. It’s an interesting concept, I just wonder how sustainable it is.

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  8. You don’t have to have a college or university degree to see what’s plain in front of your face.

    But it damn sure helps in order to understand the shrewd upper 10% – 1% and better COUNTER their self-serving policies, legislation, and how they manipulate campaigns, voter-elections, voter registration, and their highly complex media propaganda machines. If you do not understand your opponent’s (enemy) tactics, then you do not know how to best defeat them, let alone win.

    We are going to have to be innovative and creative.

    And typically that requires a shrewd cunning higher education than a high school diploma or GED. So HOW can we make that level of education available to MORE middle-lower classs U.S. citizens? 😉

    We don’t need to cut and run. We need to dig in and fight.

    And fight brilliantly, with a high state of acute cunning intellect, ingenious ideas, and the superb ability to know how to unite the very diverse U.S. “Commoners”!

    A good battle cry Ruth. Thank you. ❤

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    • Geezz, your blog doesn’t do ANY necessary HTML formating for proper effect… blockquotes being the glaringly bad one. 😦

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    • “But it damn sure helps in order to understand the shrewd upper 10% – 1% and better COUNTER their self-serving policies, legislation, and how they manipulate campaigns, voter-elections, voter registration, and their highly complex media propaganda machines. If you do not understand your opponent’s (enemy) tactics, then you do not know how to best defeat them, let alone win.”

      I think the Nic Smiths of this world might say that it takes common sense, something that is sorely lacking in a great deal of both educated and uneducated people. Some things aren’t taught. For a great many years most people didn’t receive a higher education and we had inventors, innovators, creators, and military prowess. There are people who don’t go to university who play a mean game of chess.

      Not everyone is cut out for university and there are a great many reasons why very intelligent and cunning people don’t get to attend. Would I like to see it available to them? Sure. But what I’d also like to see is re-training programs for skilled workers. I’d like to see access to internships and apprenticeships.

      Liked by 1 person

      • But what I’d also like to see is re-training programs for skilled workers. I’d like to see access to internships and apprenticeships.

        Abso-freakin-lutely Ruth! And NOT apprenticeships on reality-TV shows like the bogus one in 2004 and hosted by such an UNinspiring arse-of-an-entrepreneur. I have a good friend in Sweden who has told me on many occasions to move there and become a citizen, or into Finland. Why? She said over there they pay their teachers like we pay our medical doctors here. Furthermore, their higher-education, i.e. University, is free because (as she stated) “It’s a no-brainer to INVEST into your nation’s future by (high) quality education from kindergarten to under-grad.

        The proof of what she says can be found in the global rankings of education standards. :/

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        • “It’s a no-brainer to INVEST into your nation’s future by (high) quality education from kindergarten to under-grad.”

          It’s not that I disagree with this. I’d love to see all of our citizens have access to higher education.

          What I don’t want to see, and what has happened quite frequently, is this heir of superiority that some who have attained a higher education seem to feel toward those who haven’t.

          For instance, I have no higher education. The best I did was a grade 12 high school education. I don’t think that makes me stupid. But people who have a higher education can certainly make me feel less-than because I don’t.

          The thing is, they don’t know that unless for some reason I’m compelled to tell them.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Ruth, I used to be a Literacy Support teacher. I always told my students, “You know what? There’s different kinds of smart”. Which I believe. We need them all to be successful as a society. If I could wish for WHAT kind of smart, I’d wish for the kind you’ve got. . . your keen powers of observation, your ability to stick to an argument and present your side cogently and intelligently, your ability to concisely evaluate — those are the things (I believe) people need to navigate through life and be successful. Definitely, if a person wants to have any kind of impact in their sphere of relationships, that’s the kind of smarts to have. I consider myself very fortunate to interact with smart people like you on a daily basis; I can’t begin to tell you how much I have learned – about all kinds of things – since I’ve discovered the blog world. This old bird has learned lots! 😉

            Liked by 2 people

          • Very valid points Ruth. I should elaborate more on what my full intention/meaning is when I (eagerly?) advocate necessary higher-education. I’ll use my sister and my last girlfriend as an example. 🙂

            One of the benefits of acquiring a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree — from a quality university — are the wider more varied occupational opportunities they provide for graduates. Most all collegiate curriculums require their students to spend the first 4-5 semesters learning expanded subjects such as English Lit, Biology, Physical Science, Histories, Social Sciences, higher levels of Mathematics, Languages, and some Fine Arts. All of these courses are INVALUABLE in today’s domestic & global societies — at the very least they equip a graduate with a set of tools/skills to work-with, help, or lead others! Another benefit — which I find to be massively important! — is to put (higher levels of) knowledge into MORE people’s hands and brains so that FEWER plutarchists cease too much power and create a growing divide between citizens/classes!

            My sister and ex-girlfriend both have only high school diplomas, and unfortunately that puts them at a disadvantage against college-degreed job applicants and with occupational mobility, as well as pay-grades. Is this the ideal form of growing and investing in your nation’s future? It certainly isn’t perfect, as the U.S. is more than adequately proving. Quality higher education should be (is required?) for a nation’s ENTIRE citizenry to stay not only competive in global markets, economies, and standards… but to best protect itself from the aforementioned plutarchists. My sister and former girlfriend have struggled tremendously all their adult life JUST TO MAKE ENDS MEET in a highly economically socially driven state and nation. 😦

            So in a round about sense Ruth, I’m giving a passionate speech for potential graduates like yourself, NEED free or near-free higher collegiate educations if for no other reason than for us to protect ourselves against those certain legal(?) plutarchists who exploit their personal agendas from a lower-educated legal populace. A subsequent problem of a plutarchy is increased crime, or illegal plutarchists (crime lords) if you will.

            I hope I made myself a little more clear there. ❤ 🙂

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  9. Coal use per capita is way down, and has been decreasing since natural gas has increased use, and coal plants for electricity have been replaced. I think part of the reason why the UK or any country that already has coal might import over get it from their own country, is that the cost on maintaining and running coal mines is expensive. It’s like why buys something if you can make it yourself? If someone is making enough of that item, it’s usually cheaper to buy it than to make it yourself. If a country like the UK became the last few country to use coal, then likely they would start mining it again. Because now nobody else has the infrastructure in place. Quite simply unless I am using a lot of coal, it’s cheaper to buy what little coal I need elsewhere, especially since those profiting off of using that coal, know that coal will be used less and less with time. And as Pink says, the fossil use fuel must decrease as well.

    Great post Ruth. I appreciate you being hopeful, because I could use it. Right now I’m trying to focus on being courageous, but with every cabinet pick I find no reason to have momentum for hope. And the memo sent to the DOE indicates that there is a big purge coming on all people who work for the DOE in protection of the environment. It’s some scary stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Right now I’m trying to focus on being courageous, but with every cabinet pick I find no reason to have momentum for hope.”

      I think I might be wishful thinking. This administration could do some serious and lasting damage. I hope there’s enough of us to fight against that machine.

      “And the memo sent to the DOE indicates that there is a big purge coming on all people who work for the DOE in protection of the environment. It’s some scary stuff.”

      His pick for EPA is disconcerting to say the least. His people are trying to frame it as if man-made climate change has been exaggerated by the left and all his admin will do is bring it back to center. Yeah, right.

      Like

  10. Amen..

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