A Red States rebellion is breaking out. It’s been going on for some time. The stakes are high and the odds are long and the battles are waged over the essentials of life: water, food, wilderness, and human liberty.
Out here there are no fixed blueprints for resistance. No organizational flow charts for how to plot a rebellion. No focus groups or pulse polls or field-tested PR strategies or genteel formalities for grant applications. Marx would be confused. The human spirit is the best guide. When Peabody Coal announces its intention to evict your grandmother, dynamite her hogan and strip-mine the family sheep pasture, you don’t have time to consult Weiden and Kennedy for how to spin it to your advantage or wait around for a year on the infinitesimal chance that Pew Charitable Trusts might drop you a few bucks. You must act. As a group if you can, unilaterally if necessary—militantly if you must. The resistance in these places isn’t always about revolution; it’s about maintaining a semblance of dignity in a world where such a thing is in short supply.
This book offers just a few snapshots of grassroots resistance that is taking place in the forgotten heartland of America. These are tales of rebellion and courage. Out here activism isn’t for the faint of heart. Be thankful someone is willing to do the dirty work.
“Thank you to all who contributed to this absolutely necessary book that tells too-often ignored stories of resistance and rebellion from real people—working class people, indigenous people, people with dirt under their fingernails and rage and sorrow in their hearts, as well as a deep and profound love for the land where they live—who are fighting for their lives, for their communities, and for their landbases against the grinding of the creeping fascism of the corporate state.” —Derrick Jensen, author of Endgame.
“The stakes are high, in the so-called ‘Red States,’ as corporate America, the defense establishment, and an array of minions battle against the biodiversity of "the heartland." In this book, Joshua Frank and Jeffrey St. Clair skillfully present a diverse set of rebels who defy reckless policies and greedy profiteers. It's easy to feel enthusiastic gratitude for this collection of stories. Matching the principled stance of the narrators, however, presents a sharp challenge.” —Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence.
“Those of us who are tired of being laid claim to by right-wing politicians and tut-tutted over by coastal liberals can now brandish a copy of Red State Rebels and declare, ‘This is the real story out here!'” —Stan Cox author of Sick Planet: Corporate Food and Medicine.
“No myth is more urgently in need of debunking than the notion that the ‘enlightened’ residents of so-called Blue states are inexorably pitted against the ‘backward’ masses of so-called Red states. Joshua Frank and Jeffrey St. Clair have woven together a collection of gripping stories of these struggles, large and small, that are transforming the political landscape from the bottom up.” —Sharon Smith, author of Subterranean Fire: A History of Working-Class Radicalism in the United States.
Joshua Frank was born and raised in Montana. He is the author of Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush. His investigative reports and columns appear in CounterPunch, Chicago Sun-Times, CommonDreams.org, and the Anderson Valley Advertiser.
Jeffrey St. Clair was born and raised in Indiana. He is co-editor of CounterPunch, and his latest book is Born Under a Bad Sky.