FilmSocial 2.

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The Politics of Bread and Roses (2000): Organizing Immigrant Workers in the Age of Trump’s Racist White-lash, with Adriana Paz Ramirez from the Workers Action Centre, as discussant.

Date: Thursday, April 6, 2017

Time: 7:30pm-11:00pm

Venue: Eative’s Film Cafe, 230 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2L8.


Ken Loach’s award winning film, Bread and Roses (2000), explores the struggles for unionization by immigrant janitorial workers in the United States, as well as the imperative to counter white Right xenophobia, scapegoating and hate crimes against these precarious workers.

In a context in which the Trump presidency works to destroy unions, demonize racialized immigrants as enemy “others”, and degrade the gains of women service workers, Bread and Roses addresses the problems of classism, racism and sexism that exist in the service sector, and highlights the opportunities and challenges of organizing immigrant workers at a time when the Right foments anti-immigrant backlash to appeal to the hearts and minds of the white working class.

Immigrant workers will be at the heart of the 21st century Left, but they face emboldened attacks by the white Right: “Defending the rights of immigrants and people of color is critical,” says Nicholas Lichtenstein, and “We can glimpse in the marches, strikes, and confrontations the construction of a left that seeks to energize new strata of the population, embolden those Trump would silence, and lay the groundwork for an actual transformation of American politics.”

What does Bread and Roses tell us about the struggles of immigrant workers today? How does this film represent what it’s like to live and work in the low to no-waged service economy of America, which is the richest and poorest country on the planet? What’s to be done to stymie the anti-immigrant Right and strengthen the organizational basis of the multi-racial working class?

The evening

7:30-7:45: Introduction by Tanner Mirrlees

7:45-9:30 Screening of Bread and Roses

9:30-10:00 Discussion with Adriana Paz Ramirez from the Workers Action Centre, Q&A and social!

FilmSocial 1.

From Cathy Come Home (1966) to I, Daniel Blake (2016): Poverty and the Welfare State, Then and Now, with John Clarke, from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), as discussant.

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Date: Thursday, March 23, 2017

Time: 8:00pm-11:00pm

Venue: Eative’s Film Cafe, 230 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2L8.

Description:  Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home (1966) takes on the social problem of poverty and homelessness in mid-sixties London, and explores the post-war welfare state’s failure to do much about it. At the time of its launch, one critic described the film as  “an ice-pick in the brain of all who saw it. Loach’s award winning newest film I, Daniel Blake (2016), brilliantly exposes the humiliation and frustration which people who rely on welfare benefits are subjected  to in contemporary neoliberal Britain.  We show segments from Cathy Come Home, Loach’s first great film on this subject, to coincide with I, Daniel Blake, made exactly 50 years later.

In 2017, poverty and homelessness persist in cities all over the world. These problems are acute in Toronto, the “inequality capital of Canada.” Campaigns against regressive government policies that adversely affect the working poor and homeless are urgent and growing.

What do Cathy Come Home and I, Daniel Blake tell us about capitalism, poverty and the welfare state, back then, and now? Join us for a screening and political discussion with OCAP’s John Clarke.

The evening

8:00-8:15: Introduction by Tanner Mirrlees

8:15-8:30: Screening segments of Cathy Come Home

8:30-10:10 Special screening of I, Daniel Blake.

10:10-11:00 Discussant: John Clarke, from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), Q&A and social!