Dustin Steele: This is my limit, I will suffer no more
My action is informed by the past. By understanding the history of resistance in Appalachia. I carry the scars, and the lessons of these Appalachian struggles as I try to advocate for a more equitable future for my family, my homies and myself.
As I write this statement, I think of the the first solidarity campaign between Appalachia and Connecticut. When the final battle between the UMWA and Pittston happened, when UMWA miners travelled to the headquarters of Pittston, flanked by people in the northeast standing in solidarity in the fight for a fair wage, and a functional union; they ran face to face with all the powerful forces that constitutes what we call Capitalism.
That battle is now over, the union lost that fight, Massey bought Pittston, and now Massey is owned by Alpha, Appalachia is still impoverished, our water still makes our internal organs rot. We have been fighting this battle for more then a century and there has been one constant. The financiers, institutions like UBS, has been the force in the shadows, they are the grease that keeps the wheels of industry turning. UBS, and others, are the force that facilitates the destruction of Appalachia. They supply the capital to Arch that allows Arch to attempt to destroy the site of the largest labor uprising in American history at Blair Mountain. They funded Patriot Coal, who was just successful in stealing pensions and health benefits from the very people who broke their back in their mines; they broke their backs for the capitalist system that UBS serves.
At least for a day that stops. I am going to bring the ugly truth directly in UBS’ face, All of the grief, pain, and disappointment; I am going to bring the disappointment of my grandfather’s broken Union, I am going to bring the grief that comes with my friends dying because a coal company has decided to poison their water. I am going to bring the determination of six generations of activists, Union workers, and troublemakers who have looked the ultra rich directly in the eye, and said “This is my limit, I will suffer no more.”