Monday, June 01, 2009

Responses to the Screening of "Made in L.A." on May 20 in Detroit

Responses to the Screening of "Made in L.A." on May 20 in Detroit

URL for Made in L.A.:

by Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

On May 20 the film "Made in L.A. was shown in Detroit at the headquarters of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) located near Wayne State University. The event was the first in a series of film and discussion sessions in preparation for the upcoming People's Summit that will be held from June 14-17 in Grand Circus Park downtown.

These are some of the immediate responses to the film from the people in attendance:

Audience members felt that the film illustrated the necessity of taking an upcompromising position on sweatshop labor and the right to earn a decent wage. Despite the fact that there has been massive outsourcing of production from the United States to other countries, the current global economic crisis has affected this strategy.

Factories in China are closing because of the economic crisis facing workers in the U.S. who cannot afford to buy consumer goods. Migrant workers are also losing their jobs in China. The figure quoted was some 20 million migrant laborers in China who have been thrown out of work in recent months.

The basis of the current economic crisis derives from capitlist over-production. The underlying aim of all capitalists is to make maximum profit. The system of production is so inter-related that the producers must sell both domestically and globally. In the United States the results have brought about rising unemployment and the exhaustion of social benefits.

This is why we need a People's Summit to raise demands related to the need for a real jobs program in the U.S. It was felt that Detroit was far ahead of other regions of the country because of its manufacturing base which has been outsourced and eroded. People need to demand solutions to the crisis and in the first instance the government should bail out people, not banks, a major slogan for the People's Summit.

Why the Film Was Inspirational

The audience felt the film "Made in L.A." was inspirational because it focused on the self-organization of the workers who did not turn the struggle over to lawyers, but carried it through themselves.

We have to led the struggle on a mass level and must continue to fight until victory. As workers we create the wealth in society and it belongs to us. The oppressive system of racism and capitalism has created the conditions for the exploitation of black and brown labor.

This factor combined with the global character of production, requires that workers all around the world unite. We must all work to change the system.

It was significant in the film that Spanish-speaking workers were hired so they could speak directly to their communities. It was also significant that the El Salvadoran worker's plight was connected to the role of U.S. imperialism in Central America.

One major question which arose out of viewing the film was the role of organized labor. Did the unions have any real role in the struggle?

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