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Appalachia's problems are capitalism's problems: Towards hillbilly solidarity.


Class consciousness reveals the problems inherent in neoliberalism - and Appalachia really complicates that, it pushes back on the idea that there are market solutions that will work in universal ways. People on the left in Appalachia tend to be a lot more anti-capitalist than people on the left in coastal regions, we tend to be a little more militant about pushing back against liberalism as well. That's the divide I see amongst the left in terms of rural areas the liberal elites are writing about, and what happens on the ground in our actual politics.

Historian Elizabeth Catte explores the Appalachia-sized gap in the liberal worldview - as a site of "defective white people" to be punished for existing outside the liberal orthodoxy, ignoring the region's simultaneous exploitation and isolation by mainstream politics, and its history and future as a site of struggle and solidarity against capitalism.

Elizabeth wrote the piece Liberal shaming of Appalachia: Inside the media elite’s obsession with the “hillbilly problem” for Salon.

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Elizabeth Catte

Elizabeth Catte is a writer and historian. Her book What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia will be released in February 2018.


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