Bonds of Memory and the Fight for Economic Justice

Portside, February 12, 2018, by Michael Honey

"On Feb. 1, 1968, Echol Cole and Robert Walker were crushed to death while riding out a cold, driving rainstorm in the back of an outmoded “packer” garbage truck in Memphis. Unsafe working conditions, racism and abuse had long been intolerable for the city’s 1,300 sanitation workers. On Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, Monday, February 12, they refused to go to work. Later attacked by the police, the news media, and the city government, their fight under the banner “I Am A Man” for union rights and a living wage marked a turning point for the movements of the 1960s from civil rights to economic justice.

In a remarkable speech at Bishop Mason Temple on March 18, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., told the workers, “You are reminding, not only Memphis, but you are reminding the nation that it is a crime for people to live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages. And I need not remind you that this is our plight as a people all over America.” King made Memphis the first stop in his projected Poor People’s Campaign to shift America’s priorities from funding war and the accumulation of private wealth to providing housing, health care, education, and jobs or sustainable income for all. ...

The bonds of memory and today’s vast disparities in wealth and well-being tell us that we must continue the struggle launched by workers and by King in the spring of 1968. Today, more people live in poverty in America than in 1968. Now as then, the majority of the poor are “white” but poverty’s heaviest concentration is among people of color, especially young people and women. Poverty exists in part because most of the new jobs in Memphis, as in America, do not pay a living wage. ..."


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New Film "Love and Solidarity", Non-violence for Systemic Change

Portside, August 12, 2016, Will Jones and Mike Honey

Love and Solidarity, a new film directed by Mike Honey and co-produced with film maker Errol Webber. Non-violence is NOT passive, but is militant and effective theory and practice. Portside Moderator Will Jones interviews Honey about the film and highly respected, long time RELIGIOUS LEADER, organizer, and educator James Lawson.

"Will Jones:  Why this film now?

Mike Honey:  James Lawson’s theory and practice, ranging from the early civil rights and anti-war movements until now, offers us on the left, in the streets, a long term view based on his experience of teaching and organizing since the 1950s.  He never claims to have all of the answers but provides a framework that challenges us to not just protest but to transform situations and systems, to build coalitions, to win people over to sanity.  The Black Lives Matter movement’s evolution from impressive protests in Ferguson and elsewhere to a platform and call for continued action is an example of both the power and challenges faced by us here in USA and globally.

We deliberately made the film relatively short, 38 minutes long.  It is effective for classroom use, union meetings, on campus, in community meetings.  The intent is to start a conversation.  Different strands of the left –  Latino/a rights, immigrant rights, labor rights, civil rights organizing, social justice speak to just about any audience.  Most people who see the film will never have heard about Jim Lawson.  This is not an in-depth biography, but rather an introduction to Lawson and the theory and practice of non-violence.  We hope it opens up questions of effective theory and practice for all activists. ..."


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Introducing Bullfrog Communities

Welcome to Bullfrog Communities

We aim to energize change, and to help local activists broaden their reach.

  • We provide powerful films and all the support materials you need to create an effective community event.
  •  We will send out strategic petitions, asking you to sign and send them on to your network, using the power of this medium on behalf of the people and the earth. These will be either national in scope — asking you to join an uproar of opinion, or very local — asking you to add your voice to attain a specific victory, which may provide a watershed — changing the mindset of the people empowered in a community, of multinational corporations' assumptions as to what they can get away with, and of politicians who notice the change in the wind.

  • We will provide a forum for sharing ideas that work and news that can inform action on an issue. We ask for your discussion, suggestions, feedback, and reports of successes in your community.

Please join. Let's see what we can accomplish together.

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James Lawson & Nonviolence In The Search For Workers' Rights
"A must see for students, teachers, and activists."
Premilla Nadasen, Assoc. Prof. History, Barnard College