[Marxism] Blog Post. Class: A Personal Story

michael yates mikedjyates at msn.com
Thu Apr 10 09:06:54 MDT 2014

Full at http://cheapmotelsandahotplate.org/2014/04/09/class-personal-story/

"I was born in 1946 in a small mining village in western Pennsylvania, about forty miles north of Pittsburgh, along a big bend in the Allegheny River. The house in which I lived during my first year of life had neither hot water nor indoor plumbing. It was a company house, and my grandmother had purchased it for $1,000 from the mining corporation after the town had ceased to be a company town, thanks to the United Mine Workers. A small coal stove in the living room heated the entire house.

My grandmother came to this town in the mid-1930s to be close to relatives after her husband died. She and her two children—my mother and my uncle—lived in the small, tarpaper-shingled house, and she eked out a living in a place with few job opportunities for women. Most of the miners were Italian; Italian was more or less the town’s lingua franca. Miners everywhere show unusual cohesion and solidarity and have often been among the shock troops of labour movements. The common ethnicity of these miners deepened their fraternity. However, mining is men’s work, and Italians were typical Latin male chauvinists. Women were to raise children and take care of the household. My ’grandma’s parents had taken in boarders, and grandma had learned women’s work, including helping to stir the enormous batches of polenta made every day to feed the men. Now she had a hard time finding work. She cleaned the town doctor’s house, took in laundry, and mended clothes. She and her children got jobs unloading dynamite at the mine site." 		 	   		  

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