Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Revisiting May Day & the First Red Scare

Concerned about free speech and the state of the labor movement? Then consider commemorating May Day by having your radio station broadcast Inquisitions (and Other Un-American Activities), a radio play dramatizing the struggle for workers rights and threats to civil liberties. Here is a video recreation of the infamous Haymarket bombing of 1886, a key moment in the history of the labor movement, excerpted and adapted from the play.

The audio was originally recorded at a live performance in Burlington, Vermont.

Dissent and Its Enemies

Inquisitions (and Other Un-American Activities) uses the interrogation of activist Lucy Parsons during the 1919 Palmer raids as a framework. This exciting audio production, featuring a 20-person cast, drama, comedy, and historical recreations, explores timely themes through a dramatic recreation of the movement for an eight-hour workday, the Haymarket bombing, and hanging of four activists. It is the result of more than a decade of research, and includes characters like radical organizer Albert Parsons, business tycoons like Marshall Field and John D. Rockefeller, plus muckraker Henry Demarest Lloyd and J. Edgar Hoover at the start of his FBI career.

Since 2004, Inquisitions... has aired on dozens of radio stations across the country. The complete audio running time is two-hours, divided into 12 chapters, and can be abridged or aired in installments. It was written by Greg Guma, directed by Bill Boardman, and co-produced by Toward Freedom and Catalyst Theatre Company

Click here to listen to an audio excerpt in RealAudio (7 min.)
Click here to listen to an audio excerpt in MP3 (7 min.)

Inquisitions... is available as a FREE MP3 download for noncommercial radio stations. Contact Squeaky Wheel Productions to register for download at: or call (203) 268-8446.

Labor’s March

Unions are portrayed today as just another special interest group. Yet the true, largely ignored early history of the labor movement tells a different story: a long and dedicated effort, despite often ruthless opposition, to shorten working hours, obtain a living wage, and win reforms like Social Security. Here is a six part series that puts labor’s historic struggles and contemporary challenges into a long-term context.

Crisis & Collective Amnesia
1886: Labor Showdown in Chicago
The Haymarket Bombing
May Day’s Forgotten Martyrs
The Legacy of Injustice
Labor’s Long March Continues
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