Monday, August 26, 2013

Salt Of The Earth

A very strange email showed up in my inbox today, advertising something called The Salt of the Earth Tour,  which will be a series of events sponsored by the New Mexico Democratic Party over the Labor Day Weekend. I have posted the email here. I don't see anything about the Salt of the Earth Tour at the NM Democratic Party's web site.

Why do I say the email is strange?

Because without making any reference to the significance of it, it uses the title of the movie Salt of the Earth, which was made in New Mexico in 1954, about a strike at a Silver City copper mine, by people who at the time were blacklisted.

That is, made by people who, during the McCarthy Era, were not allowed to make a living, and who were variously imprisoned, harassed, deported, ridiculed, slandered and defamed -- for constitutionally protected political beliefs -- in the media and by elected officials as a consequence of the uniquely American anti Communist hysteria that has been a part of this country since Socialism existed and reached its peak in the years after World War II and continues to this day.

Which the Democratic Party has always participated in, much as they are now participating in the conversion of what was once a social contract that resulted in the US working class achieving the highest standard of living in the world, to the current Neoliberal economy of massive wealth and income disparity and declining wages and living standards for the 99 percent while the 1 percent amasses the fruits of our labor at 1920s levels once again.

The movie Salt of the Earth, by way of its depiction of the labor struggle at the Empire Zinc Company's mine in Silver City, addresses issues of race, gender and of course class and was "a revolutionary film that remains unique in American cinema for both the circumstances of its production and its extraordinary forward-looking content."

Not that there have not been Democrats who, at least in their rhetoric have not said the politically correct things about gender and race. Not that there weren't Democrats who were made a little uneasy by McCarthyism. Not that there haven't been Democrats who have not understood what Socialism actually is and who sympathize with its objectives of economic and social fairness, but much like they do today, they have to a single person allowed themselves to be cowed into disavowing any alternative to rapacious unregulated Capitalism, by conservatives and Republicans and by the owners of Capital on whom they rely for their campaign contributions and their social status.

It's actually an affront for the Democratic Party of New Mexico to use the title of a movie like Salt of the Earth, and to not acknowledge what the title means, considering the party's history of acquiescence to McCarthyism and considering the sacrifices made by the people who made the movie, and by the New Mexican miners who were some of the principal actors in the movie, and the sacrifices made by them and all working people who have given their lives and livelihoods in labor struggles while the party that is supposed to represent their interests and relies on their votes continues to play them for fools.

Note: Salt of the Earth is available for purchase in DVD at least several places on the internet and may even be available for free viewing somewhere, or you can borrow my DVD if I can find it.


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