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Category Archives: Labor History

The Great Strike 1917

Trailer
70 minutes.

Documentary about events which shaped Australian society and the labor movement for a century and beyond.

Synopsis
Thousands had stopped work, the government recruited volunteers to break the strike, allowing them to bear arms; unions were deregistered and union leaders charged with conspiracy. It was a time of violent emotions, state violence and individual acts of violence by and against strikers. A striker was shot and killed. A filmmaker had his film embargoed. It was Sydney, 1917.

The world was in the grip of “The Great War”. Rail and tram employees had been forced to work longer hours, with reduced wages and conditions. With the introduction of a new American ‘timecard’ system, tramway and railway workers in inner Sydney walked off the job in protest, triggering the strike.

The stoppage became the biggest industrial upheaval Australia has seen before or since. At its height the strike stopped coastal shipping, mining, stevedoring and transport, and involved tens of thousands of workers in Australia’s eastern states.

Despite being a crushing defeat at the time, it had lasting consequences for the Australian labor movement. It was 100 years ago, but personal stories rarely spoken about were to filter through, reflecting on both the trauma and the positive legacy of the event, which still strongly resonate today.

WEBSITE

Mandy King
cavadini@tpg.com.au
M: 0410 633 503

 

Labor Wars of the Northwest

2019; Directed by David Jepsen; djjepsen@comcast.net

Three decades of labor strife in the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the 20th century.events_general_laborwars_22_169_2400x1350-1280x720

This one-hour documentary reveals the plight of working class men and women who battled for better wages, reasonable hours, and workplace safety.

 

PETERLOO

Internationally acclaimed and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mike Leigh portrays one of the bloodiest episodes in British history, the infamous Peterloo Massacre of 1819, where government-backed cavalry charged into a peaceful crowd of 80,000 that gathered in Manchester, England to demand democratic reform.

The film Peterloo will mark the 200th anniversary of the notorious Peterloo Massacre.

On 16 August 1819, a crowd of some 60,000 people from Manchester and surrounding towns gathered in St Peter’s Fields to demand Parliamentary reform and an extension of voting rights. The meeting had been peaceful but in the attempt to arrest a leader of the meeting, the armed government militias panicked and charged upon the crowd. The toll of casualties has always been disputed, but as many as 15 people were killed and up to 700 wounded. The immediate effect of the massacre was a crackdown on reform, as the authorities feared the country was heading towards armed rebellion. However, the outcry led to the founding of the Manchester Guardian and played a significant role in the passage through Parliament of the Great Reform Act 13 years later.
The end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 had resulted in periods of famine and chronic unemployment, exacerbated by the introduction of the first of the Corn Laws. By the beginning of 1819, the pressure generated by poor economic conditions, coupled with the relative lack of suffrage in Northern England, had enhanced the appeal of political radicalism. In response, the Manchester Patriotic Union, a group agitating for parliamentary reform, organised a demonstration to be addressed by the well-known radical orator Henry Hunt.

 

Brothers under the skin (1989)

Based on the book: The Hilo Massacre by William Puette.
Originally aired on KHET, Channel 11 (Honolulu) on Aug. 24, 1989.
Credits: Senior producer, Chris Conybeare ; writer, Tremaine Tamayose ; directors, Joy Chong, Tremaine Tamayose.
Description: 1 videocassette (60 min.) : sound, color ; 1/2 in.
Details: VHS.

Dramatization of events surrounding the Aug. 1, 1938 “Hilo Massacre,” when a group of 51 longshoremen on strike against a steamship company were fired upon by police.

Stevedores — Labor unions — Hawaii — Hilo — History — 20th century — Drama.
Labor disputes — Hawaii — Drama.
Massacres — Hawaii — Hilo — History — 20th century — Drama.

 

163 DAYS (163 DÍAS. LA HUELGA DE BANDAS)

Larraitz Zuazo
Spain | 2017 | Documentary | 68 minutes
In 1966, 800 workers from the Biscayan company ‘Laminación de Bandas en Frio’ carried out the longest strike of Franco’s dictatorship. In a tumultuous historic moment within the framework of growing organisation of the working class and anti­Franco sentiments, hundreds of residents of Etxebarri, Basauri and Otxarkoaga launched a political struggle that would end up being an example for the entire labor movement that would follow. Through the main characters and their stories, anecdotes and experiences, we create an image of the 163 days of strike that made the dictatorship’s foundations shake.

 

Bisbee ’17

A self-reflexive restaging of a violent episode in Bisbee, Ariz., in 1917, when striking miners were rounded up and left for dead in the desert.

An old mining town on the Arizona-Mexico border finally reckons with its darkest day: the deportation of 1200 immigrant miners exactly 100 years ago. Locals collaborate to stage recreations of their controversial past.

Note: historical consultant is local (DC)

“BISBEE ’17 is a nonfiction feature film by Sundance award winning director Robert Greene set in Bisbee, Arizona, an eccentric old mining town just miles away from both Tombstone and the Mexican border.

Radically combining documentary and genre elements, the film follows several members of the close knit community as they collaborate with the filmmakers to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bisbee Deportation, where 1200 immigrant miners were violently taken from their homes by a deputized force, shipped to the desert on cattle cars and left to die.

When the last copper mines closed in 1975, the once-booming Bisbee nearly became another Arizona ghost town, but was saved by the arrival of a generation of hippies, artists and eccentrics that give the place its strange vibe today. Bisbee is considered a tiny “blue” dot in the “red” sea of Republican Arizona, but divisions between the lefties in town and the old mining families remain. Bisbee was once known as a White Man’s Camp, and that racist past lingers in the air.

As we meet the townspeople, they begin to confront the violent past of the Deportation, a long-buried secret in the old company town. As the 100th anniversary of Bisbee’s darkest day approaches, locals dress as characters on both sides of the still-polarizing event, staging dramatic recreations of scenes from the escalating miner’s strike that lead to the Deportation. Spaces in town double as past and present; reenactors become ghosts in the haunted streets of the old copper camp.

Richard plays the sheriff in a Western, Fernando portrays a Mexican miner in a Musical, a local politician is in her own telenovela. These and other enacted fantasies mingle with very real reckonings and it all builds towards a massive restaging of the Deportation itself on the exact day of its centennial anniversary.”
– David Mckeown

 

Green Book (2018)

dir Peter Farrelly