A day of films and talks celebrating class struggle in Britain
Sun Jan 15th 2006 @ The Common Place Leeds
The world has been turned upside down many times by ordinary people in this country. From land squatters to industrial strikers, we have learnt that we can stand up and fight successfully for a better world. For an afternoon and evening the Common Place Cinema Collective celebrate these rich traditions of class struggles through the ages.
2 – 3.30pm FILM: Winstanley
1649. Poverty and unrest is sweeping England after the civil wars. A group of impoverished men and women known as the Diggers take land at St Georges Hill in Surrey to try and live together in peace and dignity. Gerrard Winstanley, an ex soldier from the civil war, is their inspiration. (1975. Dir Kevin Brownlow. 1 hr 30 mins)
4 - 5pm FILM: The Luddites
1812. Britain teeters on the verge of widespread revolt, and Yorkshire stands at the heart of it. Wool croppers, weavers and lace makers are thrown out of work with the coming of steam powered factories. Rather than laying down and watching their livelihoods destroyed they fight back - burning mills, kidnapping industrialists and rioting in cities. This film, made as a historical drama, tells the story of their struggle, and ultimate failure. But their spirit lives on (1984. Dir Taylor Downing. 1 hr)
5 - 6pm FILM: The Battle of Trafalgar. The UK Poll Tax Riot
1990. The Thatcher government exposes its true nature through the introduction of the massively unpopular Community tax – a thinly veiled Poll Tax or head tax. The people of Britain are not fooled, and widespread community organising comes to a head in a huge demonstration in London. This is the documentary of that battle (1991. 52 mins).
6 - 6.30pm TALK: the Poll Tax riots in perspective. Followed by food in the Café.
7 - 8pm TALK: from the Liverpool dockers
Sacked Liverpool dockers went on to set up The Casa social centre in Liverpool. Members of the Casa will be talking about the Dockers strike and what they have achieved after the dispute.
8 – 10.15pm FILM: Dockers
1995. This film follows the nearly 3 year struggle for re-instatement by dock-workers and their families, who suffered hardship as they fought against dismissal by the Mersey Docks & Harbour Company (MDHC). Despite ultimate defeat, the strike attracted international solidarity from across the world. The sacked dockers turned their hand to writing which was structured by TV scriptwriter Jimmy McGovern. Here was a unique opportunity for a group of workers to write and show the nation their own story. (1999. Starring Ricky Tomlinson. Dir Jimmy McGovern. 2 hr 15 mins)
The café and bar will be open. Entry by donation. The Common Place is a members club (membership £1). www.thecommonlace.org.uk
23-25 Wharf St, Leeds (nr the Corn Exchange) 0113 2468640