Work Force Screenings presents

An Injury to One

2002, 53 minutes

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or "Wobblies") embodied their slogan "An Injury to One is an Injury to All" by mass-organizing people of color as well as whites, skilled and unskilled workers, immigrants and native-born, women and men. IWW first formed in Chicago by a group of militant unionists who were increasingly in opposition with the American Federation of Labor (preceding the AFL-CIO), instead in support of "One Big Union". They developed creative resistance tactics such as "strike at work" (sit down strikes), "sabotage", and "work to rule" while calling for a general strike towards industrial freedom.

Travis Wilkerson's "An Injury to One" investigates the 1917 death (lynching) of IWW labor organizer Frank Little in Butte, Montana. This tiny mining town experienced a boom in this early part of the 20th century with the discovery of copper. The (aptly-named) Anaconda Copper Company had it out for Little after he successfully led a string of wildcat strikes in the area. This experimental documentary looks at the story of Little and the town of Butte, Montana in light of the broader struggle of the IWW at large.

Marc Moscato, founder and director of Know Your City, offered a brief introduction on the history of the IWW in Portland, OR. He lead the group in singing songs from the IWW songbook.


Further reading:

Work Force Screenings (WFS) is a series of documentary films focusing on labor struggles of the past that will inform organizing of today. WFS hopes to use film to connect all those who fight for safer workplaces, humane working conditions, and a more lively and cohesive political organ.

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