By James J. Lorence
This impassioned background tells a narrative of censorship and politics throughout the early chilly battle. the writer recounts the 1950 Empire Zinc Strike in Bayard, New Mexico, the making of the intense movie Salt of the Earth by means of neighborhood 890 of the foreign Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter staff, and the film’s suppression via Hollywood, federal and kingdom governments, and arranged hard work. This traumatic episode displays the serious worry that gripped the US in the course of the chilly warfare and divulges the unsavory aspect of the rapprochement among geared up exertions and massive company within the Nineteen Fifties. within the face of excessive political competition, blackballed union activists, blacklisted Hollywood artists and writers, and native 890 united to put in writing a script, elevate cash, lease actors and crews, and make and distribute the movie. Rediscovered within the Seventies, Salt of the Earth is a revealing celluloid rfile of socially awake unionism that sought to collapse racial boundaries, bridge classification divisions, and emphasize the position of ladies. Lorence has interviewed individuals within the strike and movie equivalent to Clinton Jencks and Paul Jarrico and has consulted inner most and public data to reconstruct the tale of this outstanding documentary and the coordinated efforts to suppress it.
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Extra info for The suppression of Salt of the earth: how Hollywood, big labor, and politicians blacklisted a movie in Cold War America
Page 19 Two Cold War Unionism: The Isolation of Mine-Mill and the Empire Zinc Strike In 1949 and 1950, the CIO responded to the pressures of the Cold War by methodically expelling eleven of its left-led unions after a long and divisive controversy over the influence of Communists within their leadership ranks. With the simple assertion, "That is that," President Philip Murray pronounced the pariah organizations dead, certainly irrelevant to a bureaucratizing union movement. Subsequent years were to demonstrate that vigorous efforts would be required to ensure their demise.
By 1945, IUMMSW represented 75 percent of all copper-industry workers in the Southwest, most of them Mexican-Americans. Perhaps 20 percent of the estimated 100,000 Mine-Mill members enrolled nationwide in 1950 were drawn from minority groups; of these an estimated 10 percent were Mexican-American. However, in Arizona and New Mexico, approximately 85 percent of the membership was Hispanic and another 2 percent Native American. And while Mexican-Americans constituted only 47 percent of New Mexico's population, nearly 90 percent of the Empire Zinc strikers were Hispanos.
24 Because the union's social vision was central to the Empire strike, which became the basis for Salt, this study begins with a more detailed analysis of Mine-Mill's history, as well as that of the labor wars of the late 1940s, which were crucial in shaping the future of IUMMSW and the other left-led unions of the CIO. A full review of these important social and economic developments will provide the historical context in which the attack on the film must be understood. Against the background of a sharp contest for social control in postwar America, the Salt story unfolds.