The issues taking place in Harlan County, although not exactly the same problems that plagued urban areas of New York City were similar in many regards. For each demographic, it was the lower to middle working class that suffered at the hands of institutions. In New York Cities case, the institution was the political system that felt urban areas did not warrant or deserve funding for infrastructure restoration and education. In Harland, the MWA employers were taking advantage of their workers. The management were in a sense were like the government. I state this because they were a monopoly with a stronghold on employment in their area and the workers were the their mercy. In both locations the local law enforcement- the people who are supposed to protect and serve seemed to be siding with the enemy. In Harlan County, the police simply stood by as weapons were brandished. They carted picketers off to jail and claimed they were simply doing their job, however it was unmistakable which side they favored. In urban New York City, police harassment was common occurrence. Again, there was no feeling of being helped or feeling safe from police. On the contrary, there was a sense of apprehension and anxiety.
Both groups felt the need to take matters in their own hands. The gangs in New York City had formed as a result of this but in Harlan County, the MWA had been established for a number of years. They both justifiably decided that if they did not help themselves, no one would and they would have continued being taken advantage of. They both stood up for themselves by banding together. Both groups showed the prevailing strength in numbers and what can be accomplished by sticking together.