Teachers Strike!

By Eian

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Panel 1: Protesters hold placards that say “My second job bought this sign,” “Right to work is wrong,” and “People power is stronger than people in power.” The text reads “Teachers Strike! The success of the teachers’ strike in West Virginia has inspired similar strikes in Oklahoma and Kentucky… The strike in West Virginia follows a long, local tradition of labor activism, a tradition linked to the birth of the labor movement, to mother Jones and striking coal miners…” and below reads “Art by Eian! http://www.dhruva.vesana.com”

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Panel 2: A drawing of Mother Jones. The text reads:

“‘Some day the workers will take possession of your city hall, and when we do, no child will be sacrificed on the altar of profit!’ – Mother Jones.

“Mother Jones, formerly a school teacher, became a labor organizer after the death of her husband and children in a yellow fever epidemic. She was labeled ‘the most dangerous woman in America’ by the District Attorney of West Virginia for her work as a union organizer for the United Mine Workers Union in 1905.

“At the time, coal companies practically ran the state of W.V., suppressing attempts at unionization. Often coal miners were paid in company script only redeemable at company stores and forced to live in company housing.”

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Panel 3: Donald Trump and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice shake hands as they are conjoined at the waist. The text reads:

“West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, the richest man in the state, is a political ally of Donald Trump. Justice has deep ties to the coal industry, and owes millions of dollars in back taxes across multiple states, as well as being subject of numerous EPA lawsuits.

“Corporate tax cuts have starved W.V. schools of funds. The wages of W.V. teachers rank 48th in the nation.

“The first schools to strike were in the southern coalfields, where striking teachers wore red bandanas, as a nod to the ‘red-neck’ union miners that once struck fear in the hearts of the coal bosses.”

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Panel 4: Miners depicted in greyscale wear red bandanas. The text reads:

“The historical culmination of the labor conflicts in West Virginia was the battle of Blair Mountain, the largest armed conflict in the U.S. since the Civil War.

“In 1921, 10,000 armed miners fought against private funds hired by the mine bosses in Logan County, West Virginia. The battle was largely a loss for the union, whose membership declined afterwards.

“However, the labor movement that was forged partly in those mountains would struggle onwards, to win the legal right to form a union. Their struggle continues today, with those rights under attack by corporations and legislators.”

. . .

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