Celebrating women workers’ rights

Starts Friday, March 25 (Limited Engagement!) Drexel Theatre 2254 E. Main St.

* Mention the FREE PRESS at Drexel Box-Office and receive $2.00 OFF GENERAL ADMISSION & $1.00 OFF SENIOR OR MATINEE ADMISSION

In 1968, Dagenham, England was the site of the largest Ford Motor factory in Europe. 168 women worked sewing seatcovers, earning a fraction of the income of their male counterparts. In the lively and entertaining MADE IN DAGENHAM (pronounced Dag-in-um) soft spoken Rita O’Grady (Sally Hawkins, Golden Globe winner for Happy Go Lucky) is elected to attend what is expected to be an uneventful meeting between the union and Ford execs. She and her colleagues become outraged by the lack of respect shown to female employees when they are reclassified as “unskilled workers”, even though they are using highly technical sewing machines. With humor, common sense and courage, they take on their corporate paymasters, an increasingly belligerent local community, and finally the government itself.

Roger Ebert called the film, “outstanding” and wrote that “the unexpected thing about Made in Dagenham is how entertaining it is. That’s largely due to the choice of Sally Hawkins for the lead … she shows an effortless lightness of being.” Thelma Adams of US Magazine asserts, “the marvelous Sally Hawkins shows spunk as the leader who boils over when bosses insist women don’t deserve equal pay for equal work. It’s a female ‘Full Monty’.” Made in Dagenham is a retro romp with heat, smarts and soul about a brave grassroots movement that continues to be extraordinarily relevant today. Starts Friday for a limited engagement, 113 minutes, rated R. Co-starring Miranda Richardson, Bob Hoskins, Rosamund Pike and Rupert Graves.


To see the official trailer and website visit –

FOR SHOWTIMES – visit or call (614) 231-9512. DREXEL THEATRE, 2254 E. Main St.

The corporatization of the American vote and the secrecy of counting and non-accountibility.


WCRS Podcast – fightback
Fight Back March 23, 2011
Submitted by fightback on Wed, 03/23/2011 – 7:03pm
Bob Fitrakis and Connie Gadell-Newton discuss a Senate Bill that requires voters to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls with guest attorney Cliff Arnebeck.

Dr. Robert Fitrakis
March 23, 2011

While Ohio public employees’ rights to bargain collectively are under siege, the Ohio Republican Party executed a perfect sleight of hand by disenfranchising nearly 900,000 Ohio voters. In the most vicious and direct attack on voting rights since Bull Connor ran amok in the deep South, Ohio House Republicans passed HB 159 that requires Ohio voters to produce one of four state photo IDs at the polls.

The only IDs that will be accepted in Ohio if this bill passes the overwhelming Republican State Senate are a U.S. passport, a U.S. military ID, an Ohio driver’s license, or an Ohio state ID. This is the most restrictive standard in the nation.

The Republican Party’s target is obvious. Studies indicate that 25% of African Americans nationwide do not have a government-issued photo ID, 18% of voters over age 65 do not have a photo ID, and 15% of voters with incomes under $35,000 lack the ID as well. Besides going after blacks, the elderly and the poor, the bill also sets its sights on college students. What do these people have in common? They tend to vote Democratic.

The Republicans refuse to discuss an amendment that would have accepted a college student ID with a photo from their own state-funded university, including The Ohio State University, one of the nation’s largest institutions of higher education.

Usually cautious critics like Dan Tokaji, Professor of Law at Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law, offered dire assessments: “’Disenfranchisement’ isn’t a word to be used lightly. But it is necessary to capture this bill’s purpose and impact. Passage of this bill would restore our state’s unfortunate reputation as our nation’s capital of vote suppression.”

The Republicans are justifying their assault on the most basic and fundamental right by invoking the myth of “voter fraud.” Not only have academics like Lori Minnite documented in detail the absence of voter fraud in U.S. politics, Tokaji addressed the issue in Ohio: “The only documented case of impersonation I could find in recent Ohio elections involved absentee voting by a mother pretending to be her daughter. This isn’t surprising. The few people who attempt voter impersonation aren’t likely to risk criminal prosecution by showing up at the polling place; they are much more likely to vote by mail. The bill won’t do anything about mail voting fraud.”

Ohio Republicans have frequently cried “voter fraud” while at the same time they’ve hired their political allies like Triad, ES&S and Premier voting systems (formerly Diebold) to secretly count Ohio’s vote with proprietary computer hardware and software.

The only way to understand House Bill 159 is to acknowledge its historical significance as the new Jim Crow, which is an even more insidious form of apartheid. This new apartheid encompasses African Americans, and also fits into a deliberate attempt by Ohio Republicans to wage class war against the Buckeye State’s most vulnerable citizens.

What the Republican Party did first with Senate Bill 5 by attacking the pensions, health care and collective bargaining rights of public employees was to establish the shock doctrine, outlined by Naomi Klein. The Ohio Republicans are using the state’s projected $8 billion debt as an excuse to destroy the political base of the Democratic Party. First they destroy the public unions and now they’re going after those constituencies who are likely to support the progressive programs of the New Deal and Great Society.

Another way to look at the recent activity in Ohio is to see how closely it parallels what the CIA calls “economic destabilization” in the Third World. This tactic throws economies into crisis in order to achieve regime change. Since Ohio is one of the nation’s most important swing states, and no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio, both Senate Bill 5 and House Bill 159 are the obvious opening shots in the Republican presidential campaign.

The Republicans are astute students of numbers and demographics. They understand that they can’t beat Barack Obama in 2012 unless they cheat by restricting voting rights. Sadly, the history of Ohio’s Democratic Party is to roll over and allow the Republicans to do whatever despicable racist and undemocratic acts they wish.

Bob and Connie discuss the attacks on women’s reproductive rights by the Ohio Senate with Gary Dougherty of Planned Parenthood and Sarah Jones, feminist blogger.

This Land is Our Land: The Fight to Reclaim the Commons
“You’ll never be the same after watching the mind-opening film This Land is Your Land because you will see the diverse wealth — the commonwealth — that you own with other Americans, how it has been seized, despoiled and corporatized. But you all still own these immense public assets and you can regain control of them for now and for posterity. David Bollier has outdone himself once again!” ~ Ralph Nader
For more than three decades, transnational corporations have been busy buying up what used to be known as the commons — everything from our forests and our oceans to our broadcast airwaves and our most important intellectual and cultural works. In This Land is Our Land, acclaimed author David Bollier, a leading figure in the global movement to reclaim the commons, bucks the rising tide of anti-government extremism and free market ideology to show how commercial interests are undermining our collective interests. Placing the commons squarely within the American tradition of community engagement and the free exchange of ideas and information, Bollier shows how a bold new international movement steeped in democratic principles is trying to reclaim our common wealth by modeling practical alternatives to the restrictive monopoly powers of corporate elites. / co-sponsored by DSCO.
Each movie begins at 7:30PM, followed by discussion
Drexel Theater 2254 E. Main Street, Bexley
Co-sponsored by the Drexel Theater, Central Ohio Green Education Fund, and the Film Council of Columbus

Crypto-Facism, mediocrity and the mindset of Ohio Governor Kasich

Every huge media business requires contracts to operate but to deny unions this privilege is hypocritical and furthering oppression of the poor and middle class.

1st Free Press Express Publication

Second Saturday Salon
with the Free Press
Special Musical Guest Angela Perley!

Saturday, March 12, 2011
1021 E. Broad St., Columbus
East side door, parking in rear parking lot

Join local progressive community activists for food, drink, music, art, and networking. Discussion of SB 5.

Bob Fitrakis
March 6, 2011

Senator Sherrod Brown apologized after giving a speech on the Senate floor March 4 where he stated the obvious, that Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Egyptian President Mubarak all crushed independent labor unions. No need to apologize, Senator Brown. The Republicans never do, as they endorse the policies of union busters. The only thing, Senator, you should be mildly chagrined about, is failing to point out Ohio Governor John Kasich and Wisconsin Governor Walker’s similarities to Mussolini’s fascism.

As Kasich takes money from the new corporate robber barons – the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch – let’s quote Mussolini directly: “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” Kasich has just won his battle to privatize economic development in Ohio. Again the more accurate word would be “corporatize.”

The tyrants of the Left and Right like Stalin and Hitler had to destroy trade unionism in order to create totalitarian governments. Independent labor unions are an essential countervailing power in a democratic society. Unions allow people – be they police officers, firefighters, teachers, janitors, or auto workers – to organize and bargain collectively around their own economic interests.

Senator, you are absolutely correct that Hitler destroyed the trade unions in order to destroy democracy. When the general elections for the Reichstag of March 5, 1933 gave Hitler’s Nazi Party only 33% of the vote and his rightwing coalition government a slim majority, Hitler went after his political opponents. His brownshirt Nazi thugs destroyed the trade union association ADGB (Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund) on May 2, 1933. They simply stormed union facilities, arrested and imprisoned union leaders. Other key trade unions were forced to merge into the Hitler-controlled German Labor Front.

So, first they come for the trade unionists because the labor notion of solidarity includes all people, regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, and age. Before Hitler could lock up the Jews, gypsies, gays and others, he had to shatter the one organization that sings and believes in the song “Solidarity Forever.” The unions must be destroyed because they know that “an injury to one is an injury to all” and they demand the same rights of contract protected in the U.S. Constitution and essential to corporate business. They know that united, they bargain for wages, salaries and working conditions, and that disunited they beg.

Kasich, Walker and the Koch brothers idolize a world wherein unnatural persons (corporations) control the state. This is the dream of Mussolini. It should not escape us that Kasich, Walker and the Koch brothers hate liberalism and the ideas of tolerance and reason that it has historically promoted. Let us again quote Mussolini directly: “Fascism is definitely and absolutely opposite to the doctrines of liberalism.”

If we look realistically upon what is happening in our nation – the attacks on liberalism, intolerance, imperialist occupation of Iraq, the endless war over oil in Afghanistan, a military greater in firepower than Hitler’s in 1939 according to the New York Times – why not call it what it is. Fascism.

Sure we can quibble, Senator Brown, and use Bertram Gross’s term “friendly fascism.” Writing in 1980, Gross, who had worked for the U.S. government, noted that “in the United States, it points towards more concentrated, unscrupulous, repressive, and militaristic control by a big business-big government partnership….” It exists, and “…squelches the rights and liberties of other people both at home and abroad. That is friendly fascism.”

The parallels between Kasich, who received less than a majority of the vote, and Mussolini and Hitler are all too clear. Take your meager mandate and smash the only countervailing power that middle class people have – their trade union organizations. Kasich has spent a lifetime serving wealthy and secretive interests. Earlier in his career Richard Nixon and Rev. Moon, two shadowy, paranoid figures – one willing to do anything to be president and one claiming to be the Messiah. Later in his career, Kasich served Rupert Murdoch at News Corp and the firm of Lehman Brothers which sold junk assets and made billions and helped destroy the U.S. economy before going out of business.

I think I have a reasonable compromise for Sen. Brown: agree to apologize for your references to Hitler and Stalin when Kasich agrees to quit acting like them or stop thinking he’s the reincarnation of Mussolini. Kasich’s actions are those of a fascist movement.

Bob Fitrakis is the Editor of the Free Press and ran against Kasich for Congress in 1992. Originally published by