A Festival for the Rest of Us: Free Shows of Labor Films in Broward and Palm Beach

Working class. What a concept. A shameful secret, even, in a world where we're all supposed to be either "upwardly mobile" or eternally grateful for the crumbs from the tables of the "job creators." Bullshit. Stuff don't happen -- and bosses don't get rich -- unless ordinary people put their shoulders to the wheel. Let Apple's board of directors build the computers themselves.

Blowing the cover on that, and in support of working class pride, a free mini-festival of films about work, working people and the fight for a fair shake happens tomorrow and Wednesday in Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Co-sponsored by the advocacy group Florida Public Employees Partnership (FPEP) and Florida International University's Center For Labor Studies, the two programs of short films and features are an offshoot of the week-long "Workers Unite Film Festival" in New York.

Both evenings open with an hour of short films ("all new material, very fresh and current," festival director Daniel Tilson tells us) including brief shorts on frontline organizing, music video and the animated "Tax the Rich," narrated by Ed Asner. There will be a sneak preview of a new documentary being produced by FPEP, "Fighting For Florida: Public Sector Protectors vs. Defectors," with FPEP President Robert Asencio introducing it at the Fort Lauderdale show.

Full-length feature in Broward will be the multiple award-winning documentary "Brothers on the Line," about the Reuther brothers and the birth of the United Auto Workers in the 1930s. The Palm Beach screening's main event is "Set for Life," about Baby Boomers and the destruction of the American middle class.

Calling it "long overdue" in "this 'right to work' state of ours," FPEP president Robert Asencio, a 23-year veteran of the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department, describes the festival as an effort to "fight and win the messaging, communications and public relations battles to gain broad public support."

FPEP's ultimate goal? "To improve and protect the quality of life for all Floridians, by protecting and preserving the availability, quality and integrity of public sector services that we all depend on." In other words, we can't privatize our way to prosperity.

In it for the long haul, Daniel Tilson told us this week's events are a prelude to agitprop to come, including the first annual Workers Unite Film Festival Southeast, to be held at a variety of South Florida locations next winter.

Workers Unite Film Festival: Tuesday, May 14th, 6:30 p.m. at Cinema Paradiso, Fort Lauderdale Wednesday May 15th, 4:30 (shorts) and 6:30 p.m. (feature) at the Hagen Ranch Road Public Library, Delray Beach.

Fire Ant -- an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes-fatal sting -- covers Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.

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