Home > Uncategorized > One Man Theater – Harry Bridges

One Man Theater – Harry Bridges

Bridges was of course the most influential Longshoreman’s Union organizer of the 20th century – certainly on the west coast.  He was also a socialist fellow traveler, and a Woody Guthrie type folk intellectual.  Ian Ruskin is the actor.   Hopefully someone at HSU will invite the project for a local performance of From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks.

You can view all five videos of a performance through this link.  Below is a sampling, although it’s really not the best sampling imo. Watch the videos.  There are CDs and DVDs available too, through the website.

  1. What Now
    June 26, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    My father worked closely with Mr Bridges in the Bay Area during the 1940’s.He was tapped to act at times as one of bridge’s body guards.
    He was a fine and noble man.
    Few people have EVER had a fraction of the integrity of Bridges.
    Thanks for this link, Hearldo.
    I certainly hope that this presentation makes it up here.

  2. Jack Sherman
    June 27, 2012 at 11:47 am

    “If there were only two dock workers left…”

    Looks like that one’s coming true too.

    It’s amazing how much information is available now, how many citizens have college degrees, a television in every room, kids with computers on their mobile telephones…and how little we know about those who sacrificed everything for the freedoms we enjoy today.

  3. June 27, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Fight for Harry Bridges and Build the CIO

  4. Eric Kirk
    June 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    By all accounts, that seemed like such a pipedream early on. And then by the 1950s they merged with the AFL (and subsequently purged the Teamsters).

    Someday I’ll have to do a post on Dow Wilson, and my father’s involvement in the Painter Union “Brush Fires” which got him (Wilson, not my Dad) killed.

  5. steve lo
    June 27, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Most of y’all wont be into this, but here’s a link to the song Harry Bridges, by Rancid. It’s a classic punk song celebrating the working class struggle. If you’re interested, the lyrics are available on line.

  6. What Now
    June 28, 2012 at 1:15 am

    “It’s amazing how much information is available now, how many citizens have college degrees, a television in every room, kids with computers on their mobile telephones…and how little we know about those who sacrificed everything for the freedoms we enjoy today.”

    So very true, Jack.
    I know a married couple, both teachers, who never joined a union because they couldn’t see any purpose in it.
    When one got their pink slip a short while back after 12+ years she showed up at the next union meeting wanting to ask how “they” “could let THIS happen.”
    The attendees were too polite to ask her what she had for done job security, fair pay, working conditions and fighting agaisnt bloated administrations with her time energy and focus the last many years
    while “THEY” were lobbying and organizing.

  7. Jack Sherman
    June 28, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Imagine that!

    A “teacher” that missed the prerequisite in labor history?

    No public university I know of offer a unit in labor history!

    It takes a broadly irrelevant education to ensure the kind of ignorance that causes 90% of college students NOT to register to vote.

    The Ca. Associated Students should immediately file a malpractice suit.

  8. Eric Kirk
    June 28, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Teachers are very hard to organize. My mother, as a teacher active in her union, was always frustrated at the willingness of teachers to cave. She thought that many of them became teachers out of some sort of martyr complex – that they were meant to suffer for the greater good. Many teachers have a calling. Others become teachers because they reach the end of their undergraduate English lit major studies and have to figure out what they’re going to do with it if they aren’t going to grad school.

  9. What Now
    June 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Eric Kirk:
    “Others become teachers because they reach the end of their undergraduate English lit major studies and have to figure out what they’re going to do with it if they aren’t going to grad school.”

    Eric, thank you for posting that.I actually laughed out loud at that as I know more than a couple of people that came to mind for having voiced almost EXACTLY that same scenario to explain their “chosen” profession as teachers.

  10. High Finance
    June 29, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    “Teachers are very hard to organize” ???

    What country do YOU live in ? The overwheming majority of teachers in California belong to the union.

  11. High Finance
    June 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    A quick Google search finds that between 76% to 100% of the teachers are unionized in California. In fact the entire Northwestern and Northeastern states, Hawaiia, Alaska and Florida are unionized. The entire North Central United States has between 66% to 75%.

    Only in the South are there some states with less than 50%.

    http://teachersunionexposed.com/state.cfm

  12. Eric Kirk
    June 29, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    They’re members of unions because many districts have contracts which mandate it, particularly in the urban areas. So in that sense they are “organized,” and since it’s a thread about labor I should be clear. Basically, the statement comes from experiences my mother had actually trying to get teachers to do anything, such as participate in a strike. And later, she tried to get teachers to refuse to purchase school supplies for the classrooms, supplies the district really should have been providing. There is kind of an unwritten expectation that teachers purchase some of their own supplies, especially outside of the urban areas – amounting to, in effect, a reduction in pay (without the reduction in income tax).

    Although her school voted for the union to strike, only one other teacher and she actually marched. The rest just weren’t “political” or “militant.” Carpenters, paramedics, nurses, secretaries, none of them seem to have the same problem.

    Again, this is what my mother says of her experience from the strike of the early 70s to her retirement in the 90s. She was in San Francisco, but teachers in Oakland and Berkeley may have been different, I don’t know.

  13. High Finance
    June 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    It is a different world today Eric.

  14. Eric Kirk
    June 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Maybe. But I don’t know if they’re more militant, more complacent, or more afraid.

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