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Clear it with SidneyHow our blog got its name >

Notes on journalism for the common good
by Lindsay Beyerstein

How our blog got its name

Sidney Hillman was a powerful national figure during the Great Depression, a key supporter of the New Deal, and a close ally of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

When the rumor spread that President Roosevelt ordered his party leaders to “clear it with Sidney” before announcing Harry S. Truman as his 1944 running mate, conservative critics turned on the phrase, trumpeting it as proof that the president was under the thumb of “Big Labor.”

Over the years, the phrase lost its sting and became a testament to Hillman's influence.

It's hard to imagine a labor leader wielding that kind clout today, but we like the idea—and we hope Sidney would give thumbs up to our blog.

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Is the Labor Movement on the Upswing?

Is organized labor beginning its resurgence after years in decline? Blogger Street Heat of Talking Union thinks so:

Since my last post, we have witnessed a series of events that can only be seen as vindication of those of us who have rejected the notion that the death of the labor movement is a foregone conclusion. Also vindicated is the perspective that labor must begin strategically targeting and organizing in such a way that can shift the balance of power in whole markets in order to win.

SH argues that the Chicago teachers strike, Unite Here's bid to organize the Station Casinos empire in Las Vegas, and OurWalMart's game-changing strikes in California are examples of labor's renewed energy, creativity, and transformative power. 

[Photo Credit: Hillman Prize-winner Tom Morello performs at a rally for Walmart workers, OurWalmart.]


I definitely agree - and the formation and growth of an international Labor/worker film festival conference, from around the world - proves that worker/labor cultural values and creativity are just now poised for rebirth.thanks to the DC Labor Film Fest and a group of dedicated cultural warriors from all over the US and globally, a labor/worker film database and film festival circuit is being built to encourage more stories of real working folk's lives to be portrayed and screened, as opposed to the BS often portrayed in the corporate media.Check us out at! See you May 10th through 17th, 2013 in NYC!

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