Video: ‘With Babies and Banners’

Women of the Emergency Brigade in the 1937 sit down strike

This video traces the role of the Women’s emergency brigade in the Labour movement and the formation of the United Auto Workers. it contains interviews and archival footage.

Necessarily ‘With Babies & Banners’ deals with a different era of capitalism when workers were employed en mass in factories, where now much of that work is done by robots.

‘With Babies and Banners’ has some great accounts and film footage of the General Motors strike at Flint Michigan strike in 1937.

The role of the women’s auxiliary was pivotal in winning that dispute and in the formation of the United Auto Workers union.

The Women’s Emergency Brigade who wore distinctive red berets and arm bands were on the picket lines, they stood between the armed police and the striking workers and demanded a greater role for working women and housewives in the union. They provided blankets and food for the men during the 1937 sit in strike at the General Motors plant in Michigan. 40 years later the same group of women who set up the auxiliary got together to tell the story and reminisce.

Today 2010 General Motors is no more, or at least a shadow of what was, capitalism has moved on to a different era of exploitation using workers in offices, on computers and running huge financial institutions (i.e. super funds) to shore up the capital to dominate and exploit workers.

Running Time is 46 minutes.

Ian Curr
March 2010


Producers: Lyn Goldfarb, Lorraine Gray, Anne Bohlen
Director: Lorraine Gray
Editors: Mary Lampson, Melanie Maholick
Director of Photographer: Max Reid
Broadcast in 1978 on American PBS.

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