Thursday, November 10, 2011

Redneck Party and Beer Party Protest Republican Party Debate

GOP's 'Cheap-Labor Conservatives'
Can No Longer Take the South for Granted


Jeana Brown of Redneck Party: "Whose side are you on?"
SPARTANBURG, S.C.---"The South shall rise again!" will be the rallying cry of the Southern-based workers' rights Redneck Party and the Beer Party when they picket the Republican presidential debate beginning at 5 p.m. ET Saturday Nov. 12 at Wofford College.
Though whimsically named, the Redneck Party and the Beer Party are dead serious about waking up Southerners to who is behind their loss of jobs, homes, income and quality of life.


"We want to run these cheap-labor conservatives back home," said Jeana Brown, co-founder of the Redneck Party, a pro-labor coalition. "We want folks across the nation to know that we in the South might be so-called 'right-to-work’ states, but we know right from wrong. Taking away collective bargaining rights of teachers and fire fighters all over America is wrong.

"The GOP needs to know that they cannot take the South for granted any longer," Brown said. 

"These candidates are like carpetbaggers, coming to raise money in the South, before scurrying home and declaring the debate 'winner' was whichever of them took the hardest line against working families," said Charlie Waters, of Greenville-Spartanburg and chair of the Beer Party's South Carolina chapter. "They casually sacrifice those who can least afford it---including seniors, disabled citizens, veterans and poor Americans." The Beer Party has chapters in 17 states and is expanding.

With chapters in South Carolina and 13 other states, the like-minded Redneck Party is so named to commemorate unionizing coal miners who tied red bandannas around their necks to identify each other during the battle of Blair Mountain (West Virginia) in 1921. Founded by Brown and Rev. Zack Lyde, a Gullah Geechee pastor, the Redneck Party PAC is a "grassroots coalition of black, white and immigrant workers founded to be a Southern labor movement to remember our nation's labor struggles and to honor all those who contribute by the toil of their hands," Brown said.


The debate at Wofford will be the first nationally broadcast (CBS-TV) Republican primary debate and thus the most widely viewed debate yet. The debate will begin at 8 p.m. ET.

"My concern for South Carolina is that many people have been voting against their own best interests," said Waters. “We are empowering people in the South to stand up for social and economic justice."


Wearing their signature red bandannas and ringing cow bells, the Redneck Party led a protest demonstration on Oct. 25 in Franklin, TN, when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker appeared at a Republican fund-raiser. Walker is raising money for his upcoming recall election.

"We want to get the message to Southern working folk that we will stand in unity with teachers and fire fighters in Wisconsin, South Carolina, Ohio, Florida and everywhere," said Brown, from Screven, Ga. “Now is the time! In Wisconsin, Walker is trying to crush working families to appease his corporate sponsors, such as billionaire oil man David Koch. The Redneck Party and Beer Party both have chapters in Wisconsin, and we in the South stand up for Wisconsinites."


On the web site, the founders explain:

"We are reclaiming the word 'Redneck' after the miners in the 1921 West Virginia Coal Mine Wars, also known as the Battle of Blair Mountain. Striking miners tied red bandannas around their necks to identify supporters; the other side tied white bandannas as arm bands to identify themselves."

Brown grew up hearing stories from her grandfather, whose father organized West Virginia miners in the 1921 Redneck War. Coal miners who tried to organize unions encountered violence from company-hired thugs with guns.


"We need to recall labor history so that we do not repeat it," Brown said. "European Immigrants, slaves and indentured servants recently freed by the 13th Amendment were enticed to the coal fields by advertisements of homes and jobs; they quickly found themselves and their families entrapped in servitude under very brutal conditions.

"The story of Blair Mountain and the Redneck War is a reminder that we must not give away our rights so easily, and it reminds us to stop blaming immigrants for what’s wrong," Brown said. "I am only too happy to come to Spartanburg to see that Republicans leave knowing they no longer have a refuge in the South.

"Our motto is, 'Which side are you on?' We are done with 'right-to-work' slave legislation," Brown said. "We have held the whole nation back in wages. That era of the Old South will end with our labor movement. Miners didn’t back down in 1921, and neither will we. We are rising up for labor in the South."

For further information, or to schedule a phone or personal interview, call Charlie Waters at 864-706-6146 or Jeana Brown  at 912-294-3167

Website of the Redneck Party:

Website of the Beer Party:

Rallying Song of Redneck Party: 

Coverage samples of Redneck Party protest of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Oct. 25 in Franklin, TN:

Republican presidential primary debate story:                                                                     ###


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