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Actor/activist Ian Ruskin announces: “I am excited to let you know that I have put up download versions of my films From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks and To Begin the World Over Again: The Life of Thomas Paine specifically designed for union members, social justice organizations and students. Both films include new introductions, optional Spanish subtitles and closed caption English subtitles. There is also a free 27-page Screening Kit available for the Paine film (and why Paine for unions? — please see below). These films are on Vimeo which, as opposed to Amazon, treats its workers well, treats its artists well, and is not trying to take over the world. The price for each film download is $3 because I want as many people as possible to hear these stories.

“I believe that there is a hunger out there for greater equality, democracy and truth. More and more people are realizing that capitalism, unchecked, is screwing them. This is where the films can help. Together, they can and do inspire people. When you are struggling, often both in your private life and in trying to change the system, to hear about the visions and fights of these two men from the past can give you hope today because they thought like you and they made a difference! You can realize that you are not alone but part of a movement and struggle that began with America’s founding and goes on today!”

From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks: The Life and Times of Harry Bridges

Every union has its heroes, the men and women who fought, and sometimes died, to organize. This is the story of one such man, an immigrant who led the way to forming the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, the ILWU. A one-man play about this “unlikely hero,” Harry Bridges, was performed in front of 1,000 longshore workers at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, California. This is a film of the event.

To Begin the World Over Again: The Life of Thomas Paine

In 1772 he was the first man to attempt to organize his fellow workers, demanding better pay and working conditions. He was fired. In 1775 he wrote a pamphlet that ignited a revolution, creating the United States of America. In the 1790s he envisioned the framework of Roosevelt’s New Deal, calling for Social Security, welfare, disability insurance, unemployment benefits and free education, funded by general taxation.  He fought for the right to vote and against voter suppression. Who was he? Thomas Paine, and this is his story.