“The Murder of the Mon Valley” by the editors over at Insurgent Notes. Found this article while researching some writing projects I’m putting together about the region. It’s written from a pro-union/pro-labor perspective (i.e., blog’s subhead reads: “Journal of Communist Theory and Practice”), and gives a detailed historical look at the rise of steel manufacturing in the Mon Valley, and the chew-them-up/spit-them-out treatment of mill workers:
Capital embedded itself along the virgin banks of the Monongahela. It carved up the land in search of coal to fuel its expansion, releasing acid drainage into the water and air. It crammed in factory after factory, filling the sky with so much smoke and soot that author James Parton described Pittsburgh as “hell with the lid off.” It brought in millions to make it all go. And when it was done, it moved on to greener pastures, leaving only industrial waste and fractured remnants behind. It reappears here and there, whenever it sees an opportunity; but never offers any solutions.
This is not a special case or isolated phenomenon. The only thing separating many of the Mon Valley’s young nomads setting out in search of work elsewhere from Japan’s growing number of “pension parasites” resorting to hikikomori—locking themselves in their rooms and refusing to talk to anyone, including their mothers, who deliver their every meal—is the ability of their parents to take care of them. One can imagine what will come of the so-called pension parasites themselves when their source of support no longer exists.