Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Saturday, February 24, 2018 08:18:21 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Wild, wonderful and free!

By
22nd-Nov-2014       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Gran Mincy :
Don Blankenship, longtime Chief Executive Officer of coal giant Massey Energy, was indicted November 13 on charges that he consistently violated federal mine safety rules at the company's Upper Big Branch Mine until an April 2010 explosion that killed 29 of 31 miners.
The Charleston, West Virginia Gazette reports that a federal grand jury charges Blankenship with "conspiring to cause willful violations of ventilation requirements and coal-dust control rules - meant to prevent deadly mine blasts - during a 15-month period prior to the worst coal-mining disaster in a generation." The allegations come with a maximum prison sentence of 31 years.
I take no joy in the prospect of another dehumanizing incarceration, but regret that a coal baron held so much power in the first place.
Before industry came to the mountains a unique form of common governance existed. Communities obtained subsistence from the surrounding old growth forest. Everyone understood not to claim more than necessary from the commons. This governance naturally produced the maximum sustainable yield of resources. Locals labored, bartered and brought goods to market together.
As European expansion claimed the new world, land became the ultimate commodity and all eyes were fixed on the pristine forests of Appalachia. Enclosure movements commenced as a cash economy developed in the region for the first time. By the early 19th century violent confrontations ruined native populations. The mass slaughter of indigenous people culminated in the Trail of Tears, eradicating tribes from Appalachian governance.
Decades later, in post-Civil War America, mountain settlers were coaxed into selling mineral rights to would-be industry barons. Broad form deeds were developed to acquire local lands. Mineral rights were obtained for less than a dollar an acre as mountaineers maintained surface rights. Clauses in these deeds, however, allowed industrialists to take over the land at the company's discretion for resource extraction - even if such acquisition would surprise grandchildren decades later. Locals were forced off of their property to line the pockets of absentee capitalists, often by rights that had been sold generations before. By the end of the Industrial Revolution coal reigned as king.
Industry came to own a vast amount of property in the Central and Southern Appalachians, affording barons incredible power over mountain communities. Company towns popped up near mining operations. Workers lived in company barracks, were paid in company scrip and were required to purchase goods at the company store. Mono-economies developed across the coalfields that still persist today.
Working conditions were incredibly hazardous for miners. Explosions, shaft collapse, Black Lung and Silicosis ran rampant in coal communities, as did poverty. Company scrip kept workers incredibly poor as billions of dollars were  extracted from the region. Worker organization was rather difficult in these company-owned communities, but rebellion and unionization did take place. Unionization failed to liberate labor, however, as class struggle fell to capital. The coal towns acted as an exploitative system of power, impacting every aspect of the lives of miners and their families. Powerlessness produced quiescence.
With the news of Blankenship's indictment, we are reminded of this historical context and confronted with the realization that not much has changed to this day. Appalachian communities experience some of the worst poverty in the United States. Miner safety is set aside for the sake of capital. Vast ecosystems are destroyed as mountaintop removal blasts its way across the landscape. Broad form deeds, after the boom of strip mining in the 1970s, claimed family hollers throughout the 1980s and 90s. The regulatory state, charged with oversight, continually turns a blind eye to industry violations and worker injuries so coal mines can stay in operation, as recently reported by NPR.
But, for what it is worth, I am an optimist. Restorative justice and regeneration is coming to the coalfields. A beautiful anarchism awaits Appalachia.
Coal has established deep cultural roots in the region and will no doubt remain a market mainstay for some time to come. But coal will no longer reign. Deserved competition will significantly reduce its role. Pristine mountain ecosystems will reclaim prominence in emerging economic orders. Beneficial ecosystem services, far too important for the cash nexus, will reclaim their rightful place in the market. Holistic medicine, decentralized food production, eco-tourism, alternative energy markets and trade cooperatives are just a few examples of market forces that will empower mountain people to reclaim the commons. As opposed to capital, individuals will own the means of production, hold agency over their labor and signal the market.
There are no words to describe the complexity that will follow. Such a liberty can only be imagined by the people of this incredibly diverse, ancient terrain. Appalachia will be wild, wonderful and free.

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Indian Army Chief`s allegation means complicity of government of Bangladesh


REMARKS by Indian Army Chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat on Thursday that a 'planned influx' of people from Bangladesh into India's north-east is underway as part of a proxy war by Pakistan with support from China, so to keep the area disturbed. Moreover, he also said migration from Bangladesh are happening ...

Sports »

Bronze medalist in the women`s Big Air snowboard Synnott Zoi Sadowski of New Zealand, poses during the medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Thursday.


.

Entertainment »

Priyanka Chopra terminates contract with Nirav Modi, not suing him yet


Priyanka Chopra has decided to cut ties with billionaire diamond trader Nirav Modi's brand following the news about the alleged banking fraud carried out by him. "In the light of recent allegations, Priyanka Chopra has chosen to terminate her contract with the Nirav Modi brand," a spokesperson of Priyanka, who ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Barrister Moudud Ahmed speaking at a protest rally organised by Khaleda Zia Mukti Parishad at the Jatiya Press Club on Friday demanding release of BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia.


.

International »

Ex-Trump campaign associates face more charges


AP, Washington  :Dramatically escalating the pressure and stakes, special counsel Robert Mueller filed additional criminal charges Thursday against President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman and his business associate.The filing adds allegations of tax evasion and bank fraud and significantly increases the legal jeopardy facing Paul Manafort, who managed Trump's campaign ...

Front Page »

Amnesty accuses President Trump of HR violations


Human rights group Amnesty International has accused Donald Trump of "hateful" politics and of being a threat to human rights. "President Trump takes actions that violate human rights at home and abroad," the group said. Amnesty put Mr Trump in the same group as the leaders of Egypt, Russia, China, ...

Editorial »

Serving people not making money must be the motto


PHYSICIANS must provide treatment, President Abdul Hamid said to common people at affordable cost so that no one remained deprived of receiving treatment for lack of money. He made the call while addressing the third convocation of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in the city on Monday. He has also ...

Sports »

Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic celebrates after she beats Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.


Entertainment »

Alicia Vikander loves `big adventure films`


Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander said she loves "independent and arthouse" cinema, but is also attracted towards the big adventure films.The actress, who will be soon seen as Lara Croft in the forthcoming film 'Tomb Raider', also shared that she found training and muscle-building exercise for the role, empowering. "My mother, ...

International »

Merkel calls for Europe to step up to global challenges


Reuters, Berlin  :The European Union must develop a response to growing global political and economic pressures and this will be the spirit of an EU summit this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.Merkel pointed to the crisis in Syria and the growing importance of Asian economies as needing ...

City »

SNAPSHOTS ON AMAR EKUSHEY OBSERVANCE


Editorial »

Ekushey tells us to be free and fearless against injustice


THE Nation celebrates 'Amar Ekushey' today with due solemnity and colourful festivities to remember the Martyrs of the 1952 Language Movement. It is a landmark occasion and a day of awakening in the history of Bengali people that gave us the clear realization that we have our own language and ...

Cricket »

Captain of Bangladesh National Cricket (ODI) team Mashrafe Bin Mortaza handing over a crest of honour to Hafiz Yasin Arafat at the Bashundhara International Convention Centre in the city recently. Yasin Arafat became Hafiz-e-Quran in 86 days. He was a student of Tanjimul Ummah Hifz Madrasah of Cox's Bazar. Ahlul Huffaz Foundation Bangladesh arranged the reception programme.


Sports »

Medalists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating (from left) : Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, of France (silver), Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada (gold) and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States (bronze) pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Tuesday.


International »

Trump backs improved background checks on gun buys


US President Donald Trump signaled support Monday for improving background gun checks amid mounting pressure for reform in the wake of the Florida school shooting, as the accused gunman appeared in court.Nikolas Cruz, charged with killing 17 people, sat silently with his head bowed during a procedural hearing in Fort ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news