My pal Josh passed on this black history event. An interesting contrast to the city/county economics talks, no? You’ll probably see me there, since I of course am a former Detroiter.

I.W.W. Black History Event: DETROIT’S REVOLUTIONARY UNIONS OF THE 60’S & 70’S

A talk by Dr. Luke Tripp – a former leader of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers and a screening of the rare 1970 documentary film “FINALLY GOT THE NEWS”

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008 * 1 PM * Free

Sabathani Community Center

310 East 38th Street Minneapolis MN 55409

Sponsored by the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.) Local Union

(612) 339-1266 * twincities@iww.org

The League of Revolutionary Black Workers united radical Black
organizing projects in Detroit’s factories, neighborhoods, high school
and college campuses against the racist and exploitative conditions that
dominated life for African-American workers in the 1960’s and ’70’s.

At the heart of the League were Revolutionary Union Movements (RUMs)
built by rank & file Black workers, mainly in Detroit’s auto factory
“plantations”. The RUMs sought to organize Black workers to resist the
racist and exploitive conditions in these factories – and within the
white-dominated business unions that officially represented the workers.

While not as well known as Martin Luther King, the Black Panther Party,
or the Nation of Islam, thousands of workers in Detroit participated in
the League and it’s RUMs. The League distributed mass circulation
newspapers & plant bulletins, organized pickets and rallies, formed
community and student groups, ran opposition union candidates, and led
wildcat strikes that successfully shut down production.

Despite repression from the joined forces of Chrysler, Ford, GM, the
United Auto Workers, and Detroit and suburban police departments, the
League built the last sustained mass revolutionary unions in this
country. The history of the League – and its lessons – should be known
by all concerned with the struggle for freedom and equality.

***

Dr. Luke Tripp is Professor and Chair of Community Studies at St. Cloud
State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota. He received his Ph. D. from the
University of Michigan. He is an activist and author of several articles
on Black college students and Black Workers. He was a leader in the
League of Revolutionary Black Workers and the Detroit chapter of the
Black Panther Party in the 1960s.

***

FINALLY GOT THE NEWS is a forceful, unique documentary that reveals the
activities of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers inside and
outside the auto factories of Detroit. Through interviews with the
members of the movement, footage shot in the auto plants, and footage of
leafleting and picketing actions, the film documents their efforts to
build an independent black labor organization that, unlike the UAW, will
respond to worker’s problems, such as the assembly line speed-up and
inadequate wages faced by both black and white workers in the industry.

55 minutes/b&w

Original Release Date: 1970