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Sunday, January 24, 2010


Left I at the Movies: Salt of the Earth

Some of you will be saying "where have you been?", but I only just recently learned about a movie called Salt of the Earth, and just watched it last night. I'll start with the bottom line - if you haven't seen this movie, you must (Netflix is your friend).

What is it? It's a movie made in 1953, the only movie ever blacklisted in the United States. It's about the struggle, and eventual strike (not much a spoiler; I'm sure you'll see that coming) of some (mostly) Mexican-American miners in New Mexico. Much more than a pro-labor movie, it's also very much about racism and sexism, coming down very hard on both. It's powerful, it's riveting, and, when you learn (link above) about the conditions under which it was made, a remarkably good film as well. Many of the actors, including the leading man, are miners, not professional actors, but they do a remarkable job.

Naturally, this movie which is anti-racist, anti-sexist, and pro-labor, was condemned as "Communist propaganda" at the time (and blacklisted, shown, according to Wikipedia, in only 12 theaters in the entire country). Isn't it interesting that fighting against racism and sexism, and for the right of working people to decent pay and safe working conditions, is considered "Communist"? Of course it's no accident, because Communists (and communists) have been leading fighters in the struggles against such social ills in the United States for decades.

Two thumbs up.

And, for today's relevance, in a not entirely unrelated story, half of Evo Morales' newly-installed Cabinet in Bolivia are women.

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