Economics/Class Relations

The great “bootleg” coal industry

These coal bootleggers sound awesome. This is the kind of thing that needs to be going on today. “Coal bootlegging” sounds like one of those ultimate middle finger activities. Ripping off energy companies while flipping off eco-totalitarians.

By Louis Adamic, LibCom.Org

A fascinating look at an alternative ‘economic strategy’ in US mining communities during the 1930s Depression.

1. EIGHT nights ago, on driving into Pennsylvania’s hard-coal country, I put up at a roadside hotel in the southern part of the region and, although tired, slept hardly a wink all night. My windows were on the crossing of two state highways, and every three or four minutes a truck roared by. A coal truck. Now and then four, five trucks thundered or sputtered past in a row, shaking the ground under the hotel and me in my bed. I could not help rising every once in a while and going to the window to watch the procession. Through the night there passed that spot hundreds of trucks, large and small, new and old-some loaded with coal to the rim, others empty. The loaded ones, as I learned in the ensuing days, were headed for New York City, Brooklyn, various New Jersey towns, Philadelphia, Chester, Wilmington, Baltimore. The “empties” were returning from these places. The two-way streams of heavy traffic moved all night and continued, a bit thinned out, in the daytime. But this was nothing new. It has been going on now at this rate for over a year, practically without interruption. And similar streams of coal trucks have been moving all this time on other highways connecting the southern section of the anthracite region with the great population centers on the Atlantic seaboard and in upstate New York.


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