Free Press Free Film
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 @ 7:30PM

Short films and conversation with award-winning farmworker group, Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Join us for a night of film and conversation with Oscar Otzoy, a farmworker leader of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and representatives of Ohio Fair Food. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is an internationally-recognized group of farmworkers, who, through a 20-year struggle, have won campaigns with 12 multi-billion dollar corporations to transform pay, conditions and power dynamics in the tomato fields of Florida. We’ll show short clips of the hardships and triumphs, including a clip of the never-before-seen documentary Food Chains, produced by Eva Longoria and narrated by Forest Whitaker, which just premiered this month at the Berlin Film Festival. We’ll also learn from Ohio Fair Food how Columbus has suddenly become the focal point of this nationwide effort and about the major March to Wendy’s Headquarters approaching on March 9th.
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Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main St., Bexley

Second Saturday Salon
Saturday, April 13, 2013@ 6:30pm
Come join us for food, music, art, socializing, and networking with progressive friends. Presentations and movie.
1021 E. Broad St., east side door, parking in rear lot or on street in front.

Tuesday, January 24• 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Brother Towns/Pueblos Hermanos is a story about two communities in two different nations and how they intertwine. Ultimately, it is about how we define ourselves as nations and neighbors, our vision of community, and our efforts to connect to one another. News stories about immigrants in the United States appear on TV and in the papers daily. But we don’t have to listen to the news to know that undocumented immigrants live in nearly every community across the U.S. Thus Brother Towns is a story that also affects nearly every city and town in Mexico and Central America, and one that helps us think about not only citizenship, but what it means to be human.

Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main St., Bexley
253-2571 –

Bob and Connie interview Susan Carter from the Ohio Fair Food campaign, the Immokolee workers and the effort to get Trader Joe’s and Krogers in Columbus to sign off on the fair food agreement.


Free Press FREE Movie:
Dirty Business: “Clean Coal” And The Battle for Our Energy Future
Tuesday, October 25 • 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main St., Bexley
Can coal ever really be made “clean”? Watch the 90-minute documentary that investigates. Half our electricity comes from coal, the largest single source of greenhouse gases. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Featuring stories from China to West Virginia, Dirty Business reveals the true social and environmental costs of coal power and explores the murky realities of “clean coal” technology. Guided by Rolling Stone reporter Jeff Goodell, the film highlights the work of energy innovators and the viable, renewable alternatives they offer in an age of rapid climate change. Winner of both the Bronze Plaque and the Award at the CIFVF.
Co-sponsored by the Free Press, Drexel Theater, Columbus Film Council and the Central Ohio Green Education Fund Award., 253-2571

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In July of 2007, Prince William County, Virginia became ground zero in America’s explosive battle over immigration policy when elected officials adopted a law requiring police officers to question anyone they thought was “probably” undocumented.

9500 Liberty reveals the startling vulnerability of a local government targeted by national anti-immigration networks using the internet to frighten and intimidate lawmakers and citizens. Alarmed by a climate of fear and racial division, residents form a resistance using YouTube videos and virtual townhalls, setting up a real life showdown in the seat of county government.

The devastating social and economic impact of the “Immigration Resolution” is felt in the lives of real people in homes and in local businesses. But the ferocious fight to adopt and then reverse this policy unfolds inside government chambers, on the streets, and on the Internet. 9500 Liberty provides a front row seat to all three battlegrounds.

Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main St., Bexley

Sponsored by the Free Press and the Central Ohio Green Education Fund

By Bob Fitrakis
May 25, 2009
Article below.

The Republican National Committee recently dropped its resolution to brand the moderate pro-corporate Democratic Party “Socialists.” As the late, great Democratic Socialist leader Michael Harrington liked to tell it when he testified before a dying Senator Hubert Humphrey on the Humphrey-Hawkins Work Bill, that would theoretically guarantee every American a right to a job, Humphrey bluntly asked him “Is my bill socialism?” Harrington replied, “Senator, your bill’s not half that good.”

Here’s why the Democratic Party is also not half that good. Obama’s “Me too” bailout policy to the largest and most irresponsible banks and investment houses has nothing to do with socializing capital. Democratic Socialists believe in democratizing and socializing money matters. They favor credit unions and co-ops with democratically elected boards over large welfare checks to transnational corporations. In fact, there’s little difference between Obama’s approach to the big bankers and George W. Bush’s.

If the Democrats were European Democratic Socialists or Social Democrats, they would have never allowed 20% of all U.S. workers and 47 million people in the U.S. to live without health care. They would have at least called for a general strike to shut down the system until the injustice was stopped.

If you want to look at the history of democratic socialism as a barometer for that esteemed label in American history, let’s start with the legendary Eugene Victor Debs. Unlike the cowardly Democratic Party and its then-leaders – John Kerry and Hillary Clinton who both supported Bush’s illegal imperialist occupation of Iraq to remain politically viable as presidential candidates – Debs went to jail to oppose World War I.

Not only that, he ran as a Socialist Party presidential candidate from jail and received a million votes defending the First Amendment. What was Debs’ great crime? Claiming the rich have always declared war and the poor and working class have always fought and died.

Historically, U.S. Socialist leaders like Debs, Norman Thomas, and Michael Harrington were not cowards hiding behind pragmatism and popularity polls. When virtually no U.S. politicians spoke on behalf of accepting Jewish immigrants from Nazi Germany during the Great Depression, Thomas fought for their admittance.

Martin Luther King, Jr. called Norman Thomas “the bravest man” he ever met. When Thomas gave his nominal blessing for the last remains of the Socialist Party to merge into the Democratic Party in 1960, he did not surrender his conscience. For example, he called John F. Kennedy “all profile and no courage,” particularly in regards to the President’s civil rights actions. In 1965, Thomas spoke at the first major anti-Vietnam War rally in Washington D.C. and announced he had come to “cleanse” the American flag, not to burn it.

Thomas spoke out and wrote a book against the torture of pacifists during World War I, asking the key question, “Is conscience a crime?” He understood that when you strung pacifists up by their thumbs, it was torture. I’m sure if he had ever been briefed on it, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi allegedly was, he would have denounced it immediately.

Michael Harrington was the architect of the Great Society and the War on Poverty. His book, “The Other America,” stands as a lasting monument to the principles of Democratic Socialism. When both the Democrat and Republican Parties were ignoring the 22% of U.S. population living in poverty during the Eisenhower years, it was Harrington who documented their desperate plight.

Harrington later went on to champion the rights of the wretched of the Earth in his book “The Vast Majority.” He helped write the policy perspectives that tilted the European Social Democrats toward massive aid to Africa, Asia and South America.

Debs, Thomas and Harrington came to realize that democracy was more important than socialism and that decision-making from the bottom up was the key. To label the timid, triangulating Obama Democratic Party as Democratic Socialists is absurd. Not only is Obama not half as good as Debs, Thomas and Harrington, he’s not yet a pale imitation of FDR. And we can only dream that he would adopt the infrastructure programs and progressive tax policies of President Dwight Eisenhower from the 50s.

Perhaps the best we can do is raise the slogan demanding that Obama “Be like Ike.” America needs a Marshall Plan, that’s something an FDR or Ike would understand. Debs, on the other hand, would be calling for an army of a million men to arrest Bush and Cheney for crimes against humanity. And Debs would be talking about his desire to resurrect from the dead the more than a million dead Iraqis killed in a corporate capitalist war for oil.

That’s the legacy of American Democratic Socialism.

Bob Fitrakis, Ph.D., J.D., is the editor of the and author of The Idea of Democratic Socialism in America and the Decline of the Socialist Party which is for sale at the online store.

Dr. Robert Fitrakis

1982 Ralph Nader

by Bob Fitrakis

You’re in the booth this fall. You scan the names for President: Clinton, Dole, Nader, Buchanan, Perot. For the first time, instead of voting for the mainstream, we may have the choice of the radical left, right and center respectively.

Nader’s already on the ballot in California and the Northeast Ohio Greens are pledging to put him on the Ohio ballot as an Independent. Perot is hinting he wants to run, mostly by shouting to anyone who’ll listen: “Draft me!” Whether or not Buchanan ends up on the ballot depends on how much Dole dumps on him at the Republican convention in August. Pre-existing right-wing parties with ballot status like the U.S. Taxpayers Party could provide safe haven for the routed Buchanan Brigades and the troops necessary to get him on the ballot and turn out the vote.

If Clinton runs to the center with nothing new to say this campaign season, many progressive Democrats like myself will have little trouble pulling the lever for perhaps the most principled man in American public life–our beloved Ralphie. Sure, we understand that Newt Gingrich recently led the “barbarians to the gate,” but his social Darwinism and his George Wallace with a Ph.D schtick seems like a spent political force. If Dole runs as a centrist also, it won’t matter that much whether Bill or Bob is the Presidential caretaker. As corporations continue to downsize, rightsize, riff, pink slip and write off U.S. workers, Bill will, no doubt, feel our pain more than Bob. But unless he proposes to do something about it, as Ralph, Pat and Ross surely will, there’ll be a proverbial plethora of third party votes.

In mid-February, the Labor Department reported that median wages for fulltime male workers is almost nine percent less than it was in 1979. The New York Times points out that pay for top level corporate executives has “soared to nearly 200 times that of the average worker, compared with only 40 times that of the average worker two decades ago.” The arrogance of the corporate elite in the global economy is now well established. Steven Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley predicted a “worker backlash” even before Buchanan rode the NAFTA issue to a shocking political upset in the New Hampshire GOP primary. NAFTA now stands as a metaphor for economic despair and anxiety. While it didn’t start the trends toward lower wages, NAFTA sure as hell helped accelerate them. It’s a manifestation of the greater problem of top-down corporate control and undemocratic dominance over our lives.

On January 1, 1994, when NAFTA–a truly strange and bizarre idea to merge the world’s most advanced high-tech economy with a third world country–was implemented, what was then a small trade surplus with Mexico is now a $15 billion a year deficit. Clinton took a bundle of money from the notorious K Street international trading crowd–essentially Dole’s donors–to push a conservative multi-national corporate pact that won more Republican than Democratic votes in the House. The President conveniently points to the European economic community as precedent. Yet he fails to mention that the European Common Market was put together over a couple of decades and it includes all first-world developed countries, a freely elected European Parliament as well as continental environmental and worker safety standards.

The NAFTA issue isn’t going to go away. A recent poll shows that 55 percent of U.S. citizens now regard NAFTA as a bad deal. In fact, anti-NAFTA sentiment is what’s creating the openings for Nader, Perot and Buchanan in presidential politics this year. It is vitally important to understand why each is opposed to the pact that both Clinton and Dole promote.

Loss of the U.S. manufacturing base is why Perot’s followers, despite the failure of his Reform Party to gather enough signatures, are motivated and most likely to place his name on the Ohio ballot as an Independent come August. His being a wacky and semi-paranoid billionaire aside, Perot, while on the Board of General Motors, consistently fought to keep auto manufacturing in the United States. Perot upholds the tradition of Henry Ford. Fordism, while not in and of itself progressive, argued that a stable middle-class society can only be achieved by paying stable middle-class wages. Perot is not overly concerned with the human rights abuses or ecological disaster associated with NAFTA.

Nationalist and isolationist voters, prone to Buchanan’s appeal, are driven by anti-immigrant hysteria and job loss. This “Fortress America” national front sees not the exploitation of U.S. and Mexican workers and environmental degradation, but hordes of little brown people swarming our territory and taking our jobs. They need to realize that what we call the southwest United States was formerly the northern half of Mexico prior to the Mexican-American War. And the real enemy are those in the corporate boardrooms who are equal opportunity debasers and degraders of workers and the environment. It’s not likely that a “Know-Nothing” coalition uniting xenophobe and homophobe is the future of U.S. populism.

Nader, on the other hand, will show real compassion, not only for the nearly one million estimated U.S. workers who have lost their jobs due to NAFTA, but for the even more unfortunate Mexican workers being mercilessly exploited by U.S. corporations in the sweatshops known as the maquilladoras. And he’ll also eloquently speak out against the factories spewing toxins that know no border.

–Bob Fitrakis visited the maquilladoras in January 1993 and co-produced a video entitled The Other Side of Free Trade.

Saturday, August 11, 2007
Free Press Second Saturday Salon
6pm-midnight. Meet new friends in the progressive community! Have a meeting during the salon with a small group! Give a presentation on a social justice issus. Food, drinks, music, art, political discourse or just socializing time with progressive friends. Music by Marvin the Robot.
Location:Free Press office, 1000 E. Main St., in Columbus Compact building, parking lot in rear, overflow in Salvation Army parking lot next door.
Phone:253-2571, 224-1082

Saturday, June 9, 2007Liberators-Kultur-Terror-Anti-Americanism-1944-Nazi-Propaganda-Poster.jpg


Meet new friends in the progressive community! Have a meeting during the salon with a small group! Give a presentation on a social justice issue!

Every second Saturday night we hold a salon at the Free Press office. Check out the new location. We have food, drinks, music, art, political discourse or just socializing time with progressive friends.