Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

SALT OF THE EARTH




"Salt of the Earth" was produced, written and directed in 1954 by victims of the Hollywood blacklist - all had been blacklisted by the Hollywood establishment due to their alleged involvement in communist politics. Unable to make films in Hollywood, they looked for worthy social issues to put on screen independently. This film never would have been made in Hollywood at the time, so it is ironic that it was the anti-communist backlash that brought about the conditions for it to be made. In many ways it was a film ahead of its time. Mainstream culture did not pick up on its civil rights and feminist themes for at least a decade.

"Salt of the Earth" tells the tale of a real life strike by Mexican-American miners. The story is set in a remote New Mexico town where the workers live in a company town, in company-owned shacks without basic plumbing. Put at risk by cost cutting bosses, the miners strike for safe working conditions. As the strike progresses, the issues at stake grow, driven by the workers' wives. At first the wives are patronized by the traditional patriarchal culture. However, they assert themselves as equals and an integral part of the struggle, calling for improved sanitation and dignified treatment. Ultimately, when the bosses win a court order against the workers preventing them from demonstrating, gender roles reverse with the wives taking over the picket line and preventing scab workers from being brought in while the husbands stay at home and take care of house and children.

In neorealist style, the producers and director used actual miners and their families as actors in the film.

This film was selected for the National Film Registry in 1992 by the Library of Congress. It became public domain after its copyright was not renewed in 1982.

For more about "Salt of the Earth," visit its IMDB page @ http://imdb.com/title/tt0047443/

1 Comments:

Blogger erich said...

For some insight into the history of the attempt to suppress the movie, and the role of the village of San Cristobal,NM from the book on the movie's suppression, try:

http://bit.ly/nQ6QAc

A picture of Jenny Vincent singing "God Bless the Americas" (which one do you mean?) for Amy Goodman at recent benefit for Cultural Energy in Taos, NM is here:

http://www.culturalenergy.org/images/amy-jennyl.jpg

8/31/11, 1:37 PM  

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