It has been over a year since Whither Appalachia? set out to answer questions concerning our beloved region. At that time, thousands of teachers launched a wildcat rank-and-file strike which paralyzed union bureaucracy and polarized political leadership throughout West Virginia. The continuum of conflicting narratives and their respective responses, spurred by the 2016 election, still clouded the minds of the region’s political left. Left-populist political hopefuls, adamant in their prescriptions for political reaction, attempted to rise to the challenge by their own volition. Militant anti-fascists, working by other means, acted steadfast to root out reactionary organizing efforts from Pittsburgh to Murfreesboro. To this day, ecological partisans target geographically strategic positions to halt continued pipeline based exploitation of the land.
These struggles nonetheless diverged, only coming to meet each other at very specific points of crossover. Despite significant fracture and loss of momentum, the movements exist in a subaltern state of national relevance. A shorter but likewise powerful statewide rank-and-file strike broke out amongst WV Teachers. Ecological battles are still being waged on the WV/VA border. Appalachian fascism has, for the time being, been pushed underground. Regardless, a generalized rupture never truly manifested. As the ebb and flow took its turn the network that created Whither Appalachia? dissipated and scattered to different states and even countries.
Slowly pushed into hiatus, the network was never permanently disbanded. Since March of this year those of us within the network have reconvened to assess the kaleidoscopic world of problems and struggles in our regions past and present. With the same goal of reorienting the Appalachian radical left towards a clear trajectory for intensified means of discussion and struggle, we hope to release the first of what will be four issues of the main journal in the Summer/Fall of 2019. This will accompany the release of other announcements, plugs, blog posts, and long-form essays published throughout the same time frame. Given the extent of our network, we hope to gather contributions from other communists and anarchists throughout the region. A call for submissions is expected to be released within the next month.
Though the struggles of the past three years carry on, a counter-offensive is being waged on both the Appalachian proletariat and the land that houses it. The pipeline continues its timeless, slithering crawl. Legislation is being passed to criminalize teachers strikes. Appalachian Social Democrats, once confident in their strategy, all met almost unanimous defeat. The future is only growing more nebulous and uncertain, and relentless attack on our conditions, in any way and by any means, grows more necessary by the day.
We look forward to future correspondence.