Portland Rising

Portland Rising presents our second Night-in At The Movies

We will watch “The Killing Floor” online and then discuss this provocative movie, made by African-American director Bill Duke, about union organizing from the point of view of African American workers in Chicago’s meat packing industry at the time of WWI. This movie, made in 1984, is receiving renewed critical acclaim in the context of the current uprising against racism and for Black lives.

Friday, August 28, 6:30-9:30 pm

This docudrama by Bill Duke was based on the true story of Frank Custer, a sharecropper who was part of the great African American migration from the South to Chicago at the time of World War I. Frank, like many other southern migrants got a job in Chicago’s slaughterhouses. There he faced brutal exploitation by the meat packers. What is compelling in this movie is the exploration of a burgeoning industrial union movement, its intersections with the further exploitation faced by black workers in the slaughterhouses and communities, and the role of the “packers” in dividing workers by race.  Bill Duke’s hard-hitting docudrama, produced for PBS’s American Playhouse, mixes documentary footage with a dramatization of the events leading up to the Chicago riots, to powerful effect. (118 minutes)

To join us for some serious movie-night fun request a movie night zoom link by emailing: portlandrisingprograms@gmail.com.

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Current Portland Rising projects

—  Why Unions Matter campaign and Why Unions Matter on-line library (which has short, thoughtful articles that illustrate why unions matter to working people, discuss and evaluate past and present organizing strategies, and highlight current threats to unions.)

—  Labor Movies Library  Portland Rising maintains a library of labor movies which are online and can be watched for free.

— Working: A Photo Series.  Portland Rising is collecting working people’s photos of their work. Everyone who works has a workplace and work “tools.” Your own workplace is a familiar site, but often hidden to anyone but your coworkers or yourself.  We want to turn what might be a solitary experience – what it’s like at your workplace – into a collective one.  Photos will be curated and those chosen for viewing will be posted on the Portland Jobs with Justice’s website. Please submit your photos!

—  Labor History For Labor Activists Class

—  Public programs (which aim to encourage collective reflection and strategic thinking); past events include:

  • Building Worker Power in Portland: Old Challenges and New Paths
  • Understanding the US Economy to Transform it
  • The New Deal: Politics, Programs, and Lessons for Today
  • After The Elections: What Next?
  • Iconic Portland Labor Struggles: Organizing at Powell’s Books and Burgerville
  • Inside the West Virginia Teachers’ Strike
  • Labor Under Attack: How Best To Fight Back?
  • When Women Have a Union: Fighting for Equality and Power in the Workplace and Community
  • Labor Journalism: Its Importance and Challenges
  • The 2011 Wisconsin Uprising—Lessons for us today in the shadow of the Janus decision and ongoing attacks on working people
  • Labor and Climate Change
  • Film showings

 Portland Rising History and Mission Statement

Portland Rising began as a project of Jobs with Justice and made its debut on April 16th, 2011 with a huge rally joining a variety of union and community campaigns under the broad theme of Good Jobs, No Cuts.  In the following months, Jobs with Justice, unions, community groups and activists continued to pull campaigns together in a number of large and energetic Portland Rising actions, including two bus tours.  We built a new level of solidarity from planning campaigns and actions together under the banner of Good Jobs, No Cuts.

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In September 2012, we brought labor and community leaders together for a frank conversation about the trends that systematically affect all of us: the decline in real wages, unacceptably high unemployment, a growing precariousness in work relations, the privatization of and cuts to services, and the globalization of production.  We agreed that corporations have benefited from these trends and that our political leaders have generally promoted policies that have encouraged them.

We also agreed that conditions will continue to worsen for growing numbers of Americans unless we were able to articulate and build support for a positive vision of change.  That conversation produced consensus around a starting point that included the following interrelated demands: good jobs for all, a strong and accountable public sector serving human needs, and healthy cities and communities.

To advance these demands, Portland Rising formed as an ongoing committee of Jobs with Justice with the aim of joining with representatives and activists from unions, community groups and others, in a process of strategic campaign planning, action, reflection, and education. More specifically, we seek to engage with as well as promote campaigns that:

  • involve active participation,
  • encourage deeper understandings of our economy and political system, and
  • lift up the larger demands of good jobs for all, a strong and accountable public sector serving human needs, and healthy cities and communities.

If you would like to get involved with the JwJ Portland Rising Committee please contact us by submitting the form below.

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