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Abstract

[Excerpt] Trade unionists and community residents determined to save the Monongahela Valley have succeeded in forging an effective instrument for waging their struggle. In January 1986 the Steel Valley Authority was officially incorporated by the State of Pennsylvania. Its board includes representatives of nine municipalities, including the city of Pittsburgh. In the months since the Authority was launched, its power, including the power of eminent domain, has been used to pressure corporations not to abandon manufacturing plants in the Mon Valley region. The fight to reindustrialize the Pittsburgh area is fairly joined, and victory is a real possibility.

It took nearly five years of education and patient organizing to establish the Steel Valley Authority (SVA). Other communities around the country, suffering similar problems of capital flight, have much to learn from the story of the campaign to establish the SVA. But the most important lessons are easy to tell: You can win community support for the idea that deindustrialization is not inevitable. You can mount a viable struggle to preserve your community's industrial base.

In this article, I will describe our five-year campaign to win public support for our approach to reindustrialization.

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