Political Film Series Spring 2015

DePaul University, Schmitt Academic Center, Room 280

2320 N. Kenmore (2 blocks west of Fullerton Red Line stop)

Sundays at 2pm

March 1                        Made in Dagenham (2010)                                                                                      

A film about British women auto workers’ strike for equal pay for equal work, during the early phase of the second women’s liberation movement in the West.
Rita O’Grady (a fictional character) leads the 1968 Ford sewing machinists strike at the Ford Dagenham plant, where female workers walk out in protest against sexual discrimination, demanding equal pay. The strike is successful and leads to the Equal Pay Act 1970.
The strike began on 7 June 1968, when women sewing machinists at Ford Motor Company Limited’s Dagenham plant in London walked out, followed later by the machinists at Ford’s Halewood Body & Assembly plant. The Dagenham sewing machinists walked out when, as part of a regrading exercise, they were informed that their jobs were graded in Category B (less skilled production jobs), instead of Category C (more skilled production jobs), and that they would be paid 15% less than the full B rate received by men. At the time it was common practice for companies to pay women less than men, irrespective of the skills involved.
Inspired by their example, women trades unionists founded the National Joint Action Campaign Committee for Women’s Equal Rights (NJACCWER), which held an ‘equal pay demonstration‘ attended by 1,000 people in Trafalgar Square on 18 May 1969.[7]
The ultimate result was the passing of the Equal Pay Act 1970, which came into force in 1975 and which did, for the first time, aim to prohibit inequality of treatment between men and women in terms of pay and conditions of employment

March 8             The Red Detachment of Women (1961)

The liberation of women in China after the 1949 socialist revolution was one of the greatest steps forward for women in the 20the century. We are showing the film (not a film of the ballet, one of the Eight Model Operas in the 1960s) adapted from the novel by Liang Xin. it depicts the liberation of a peasant girl in Hainan Island and her rise in the Chinese Communist Party. The novel was based on the true stories of the 100-plus member strong all-female Special Company of the 2nd Independent Division of Chinese Red Army, first formed in May 1931. As the communist base in Hainan was destroyed by the nationalists, most of the members of the female detachment survived, partially because they were women and easier to hide among the local populace who were sympathetic to their cause. After the communist victory in China, the representatives of the surviving members were taken to Beijing and personally inspected and praised by Mao Zedong. Most of these surviving members currently reside in the city of Qionghai (84 survivors in 1994, 23 in 2001, 14 in 2008).

March 15            Harlan County USA (1976)

One of the finest US documentaries made and one of the best on understanding the problems of labor.  This film documents the coal miners’ strike against the Brookside Mine of the Eastover Mining Company and its corporate parent Duke Power, in Harlan County, Kentucky in 1974. Eastover refusal to sign a contract (when the miners joined with the United Mine Workers of America) led to the strike, which lasted more than a year and included violent battles between gun-toting company thugs/scabs and the picketing miners and their supportive women-folk. The film shows the back breaking burdens of the miners lives in the best of times, and the looming fear of destitution in the worst. Director Barbara Kopple puts the strike into perspective by giving us some background on the historical plight of the miners and some history of the UMWA.

March 22           Cuba: An African Odyssey (2007)  Part 1  

From Che Guevara’s military in the Congo up to the fall of apartheid in South Africa, 300,000 Cubans fought alongside African revolutionaries. CUBA, AN AFRICAN ODYSSEY is the previously untold story of Cuba’s support for African revolutions, one of the Cold War’s most vigorous contests over resources and ideology.At the very height of the Cold War, Cuba risked the enmity of both superpowers by its unwavering commitment to the principle that Africa should be governed by the genuine representatives of its peoples. To that end they provided invaluable support to liberation struggles throughout the continent. The film focuses on Cuban efforts in Congo, Guinea-Bissau and during the war in Angola. It reveals incredible events that span thirty years, from Che Guevara’s covert mission to avenge the death of Patrice Lumumba, to Fidel Castro’s command of the decisive battle in Angola and the negotiations with Apartheid South Africa that finally ended the war.

March 29              Cuba: An African Odyssey (2007)  Part 2  

From Che Guevara’s military in the Congo up to the fall of apartheid in South Africa, 300,000 Cubans fought alongside African revolutionaries. CUBA, AN AFRICAN ODYSSEY is the previously untold story of Cuba’s support for African revolutions, one of the Cold War’s most vigorous contests over resources and ideology. At the very height of the Cold War, Cuba risked the enmity of both superpowers by its unwavering commitment to the principle that Africa should be governed by the genuine representatives of its peoples. To that end they provided invaluable support to liberation struggles throughout the continent. The film focuses on Cuban efforts in Congo, Guinea-Bissau and during the war in Angola. It reveals incredible events that span thirty years, from Che Guevara’s covert mission to avenge the death of Patrice Lumumba, to Fidel Castro’s command of the decisive battle in Angola and the negotiations with Apartheid South Africa that finally ended the war.

April 5                   After the Battle     (1991)    58 min                                                                                     

In 1975, the first Cuban soldiers went to Angola to help defend that newly independent government from invasion by South African troops. After nearly fourteen years of bitter conflict, the Angolan War ended, Namibia was established as an independent state, and Cuban and South African troops have returned home. Filmed in Angola, South Africa and Cuba, this Estela Bravo documentary examines the politics of the war from both sides and features remarkable combat footage, archival material and interviews with Cuban and South African soldiers as well as grieving families of those who died in the war. Particularly interesting is the apartheid era views of South African vets and families concerning the war.

April 12              Winter Soldier                                                                                                                 

In February 1971, one month after the revelations of the My Lai massacre, an astonishing public inquiry into war crimes committed by American forces in Vietnam was held at a Howard Johnson motel in Detroit. The Vietnam Veterans Against the War organized this event called the Winter Soldier Investigation. More than 125 veterans spoke of atrocities they had witnessed and committed. Though the event was attended by press and television news crews, almost nothing was reported to the American public. Yet, this unprecedented forum marked a turning point in the anti-war movement. It was a pivotal moment in the lives of young vets from around the country who participated. Their courage in testifying, their desire to prevent further atrocities and to regain their own humanity, provide a dramatic intensity that makes seeing Winter Soldier an unforgettable experience.

 

Sponsored by DePaul University Department of History, Chicago ALBA Solidarity Committee

Chicago ALBA Solidarity Committee

ChicagoALBASolidarity@gmail.com, 773-322-3168

 

 

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