What if I told you one of the greatest organizing movies ever made was not a labor movie but a western. One where villagers having their hard work taken from them by bandits get help in the form of seven gunfighters who train them how to fight and stand up for themselves. Yup, the Magnificent Seven is a great tool for you and your organizing committee.
A few years ago I was part of a Steward training and we had the communications manager speak about what he did. He started out by describing how this movie mirrors organizing in almost every stage from the villagers being exploited by the bandits ( workers being exploited by the boss) to how victory was not won till everyone came together to fight. Until that day, I’d never thought about it that way. Heck, I really had not watched the movie in years. So that night I got a copy and sat down to watch it again, and look at it from the perspective of an organizing drive. Now I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who might not have seen it, or might not remember it the way I’m describing. But I want to describe one great scene.
I believe it was Steve McQueen who told this story. When some of the villagers wanted to give up, and let the bandits have the food. They figured it would not be so bad, they had always left enough to survive. McQueen told the story of a man who jumped from a 10 story building and on the way down people on each floor had heard him say “So far so good” In this day and age when we are loosing more and more everyday, this is a great story to show people what the truth of it all is. Sooner or latter, the ground is going to stop that fall, and it’s not going to be so good anymore.
So, next Labor Movie night, your next Steward meeting, or even organizing committee meeting . Show this film and discuss it as an organizing campaign. See how it will help some who just don’t get it, to understand.
As a side note, how is it in so many labor movies the Union Organizers (gun fighters) get killed. I’m getting a little tired of that.