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The Wobblies (1979)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 11 October 1979 (USA)
THE WOBBLIES boldly investigates a nation torn by naked corporate greed and the red-hot rift between the industrial masters and the rabble-rousing workers in the field and factory.
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THE WOBBLIES boldly investigates a nation torn by naked corporate greed and the red-hot rift between the industrial masters and the rabble-rousing workers in the field and factory.

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Not Rated
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11 October 1979 (USA)  »

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The union was so powerful that it scared the U.S. government
4 November 2015 | by See all my reviews

The Wobblies (1979) is a documentary directed by Stewart Bird and Deborah Shaffer. It chronicles the rise and fall of a unique union--Industrial Workers of the Word. The IWW was open to all, was worldwide, and opposed World War I while trying to bring down capitalism.

I think this movie is a must for anyone interested in the U.S. and Canadian labor movements, as well as the extent to which our government was willing to go to destroy the union. (These actions included the infamous Palmer Raids. Government officials broke into IWW offices, took all the documents, and destroyed typewriters, radios, etc.)

By now, all of the original Wobblies are gone. However, in 1979, the directors were able to find Wobblies who still believed in their cause, and who could relate powerful stories of IWW activity.

By filming these interviews, and by showing us original footage from the early 20th Century, we get a strong sense of what the Wobblies were striving for. They went down in the end, but definitely not without a struggle.

We saw this film on the large screen in the excellent Dryden Theatre in the George Eastman Museum. It was shown as part of the outstanding Rochester Labor Film Series. It will work very well on the small screen.


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