FilmWorks United International Working Class Film & Video Festival
The Conditions of the Working Class In England
(82 min.) 2012 British
Directed by Mike Wayne and Deirdre O’Neill
Frederick Engels wrote about the working class in 1844, The Condition of The Working Class in England, and his classic book still resonates today. This film is inspired by this Engels’ book and asks how much has life for working people really changed since then.
Working people not only in the UK but also throughout the world are being pauperized with temporary part time jobs at companies like WalMart and McDonalds, and young workers cannot even afford to leave home and start families. Many young people as well cannot afford to go to college in the new slave labor economy, and if they do, they become debtors to the banks for the rest of their lives with loans of tens of thousands of dollars. In 2012, actors, community activists, workers and filmmakers from Manchester and Salford in the United Kingdom decided that they would update this work to the 21st century. Through interviews, performances and the production of a play, the film shows the daily struggle of working people and connects their struggles today with the very same struggles Engels was writing about in his life. It shows the creativity, determination and camaraderie of working people, and at the same time, challenges the corporate media stereotype of working people.
This film explores their struggles to create a theatrical show from scratch based on their own experiences and links it to Engels’ book. They have eight weeks before their first performance. The Condition of the Working Class follows them from the first rehearsal to the first night performance and situates their struggle to get the show on stage in the context of the daily struggles of ordinary people facing economic crisis and austerity politics. The people who came together to do the show turned from a group of strangers, many of whom had never acted before into The Ragged Collective, in little more than two months.
This film, full of political passion and anger, is a wonderful testament to the creativity, determination and camaraderie of working people that blows the media stereotypes of the working class out of the water. http://www.conditionoftheworkingclass.info/about-2
Memory of Past Struggles Unions and labor militancy in the 70s
(107min.) Argentina. Made by Violeta Bruck, Gabi Jaime and Javier Gabino
The film shows how workers from 1969 were organizing independently of the Peronist labor movement including in the powerful 1975 General Strike. It also shows the role of not only the bosses but also the government, which helped usher in mass repression eventually leading to a military dictatorship in 1976.
With footage from the period and reminisces of the past struggles, it shows the strengths and weaknesses of the labor movement. Thousands of workers and labor activists were kidnapped and murdered as part of this US supported military coup in 1976.
This year, Argentina has again been rocked by mass general strikes against the economic assault on working people, and this documentary provides an up-close view of the militant trade unionists who are part of the working class history of Argentina. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5mbc36n1DQ
See also: http://www.laborfest.net/2014/2014Films.htm#f27 http://www.laborfest.net/2014/2014schedule.htm