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With Babies and Banners: Story of the Women's Emergency Brigade
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10 from N/A votes
Release: 06 Feb 1979 /

With Babies and Banners: Story of the Women's Emergency Brigade

Genre: Documentary
Director: Lorraine Gray,
Stars:
Synopsis: From December 1936 to February 1937 members of the United Auto Workers organized a sit-down strike inside the General Motors Fisher Body 1 and 2 plants in Flint, Michigan. They ultimately ...

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Critic Reviews


"With Babies and Banners" pays tribute to the women -- some of them wives of strikers and some of them factory workers themselves -- who helped win one of the greatest victories of American labor unionism: the 1937 sit-down strike at the General Motors plants in Flint, Michigan. The film includes generous amounts of actual footage from 1937 as well as interviews with some of the leaders of the Women's Emergency Brigade 40 years later, and shows how issues of gender and racial equality still remain troublesome within the labor movement. "With Babies and Banners" was filmed in 1977 and released in 1979, but takes on even more poignancy now that the gains made by the labor movement in the 1930's -- relatively high wages, job security, social benefits like Social Security and unemployment compensation -- are being relentlessly attacked by Right-wingers in government and the media, and that many descendants of the white working-class people who were the greatest gainers from the 1930's union movements have joined the Right and are voting for the politicians and policies which are sending them back to the 1890's economically and socially.

Incidentally, the print I saw was in terrible shape -- there were scratches and black lines across the screen through much of the film -- and when the person who presented it announced that his copy was a VHS transfer of a print owned by one of the filmmakers it rather dashed my hopes that a better-quality version exists. This really underscores the importance of preserving not only silent and early-sound Hollywood classics but more recent so-called "orphan films" that have little commercial potential but are nonetheless invaluable historical documents and deserve to exist for the education of future generations.

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