Free movie time: Way Down in the Hole

Categories: Film

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With various Tea Party-led anti-union efforts afoot in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire and all over the country growing increasingly more vehement, it seems a particularly appropriate time to consider the oppressive work conditions from whence the union movement sprang -- and the violent opposition it encountered. Of that violence, there's probably no better example than the Ludlow Massacre, where, in August of 1913, a tent colony of 1,000 striking miners, women and children was burned to the ground by the Colorado National Guard, killing hundreds. That massacre, and the coal miner's strike that surrounded it, provide the subject matter of Alex Johnston's Way Down in the Hole, screening tonight at the University of Denver campus.

The documentary follows the striking miners from the assassination of union organizer Gerald Lippiat (who, remarkably, traveled to Trinidad to organize pretty much knowing he was going to be killed) to Ludlow and through its aftermath, when miners mounted an armed insurrection and took over an area around Trinidad about the size of Connecticut -- and through those events, considers questions of class, labor, immigration and the fabric of the American way.

It screens tonight at 7 p.m. in Sturm Hall at the DU campus (building 12, room 451) -- and like all good commie fare, it is free.

Also, just for kicks, here's Tom Waits performing "Down in the Hole."

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2 comments
Richard Myers
Richard Myers

Thank you very much for providing this information. The Ludlow Massacre actually occurred on April 20 of 1914, yesterday was the anniversary. And, nearly a hundred were killed in the strike, which lasted about a year, but fewer died on the day of the massacre. The shooting started in October of 1913, and was sporadic except for the ten day period after the massacre, during which the fighting was very heavy. That period has been called the Ten Days War.

Everyone who can, please check out this documentary, i have heard it is well done. richard myers

Jef Otte
Jef Otte

Hey Richard, thanks for the date clarification -- lot of disparate associations with April 20, evidently (weed, Columbine, Hitler).

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