October League: Wildcat at Mead (1972)

A year ago, at an event organized by fellow union members at my university, the audience was introduced to the League of Black Revolutionary Workers (LRBW) and the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM) through the  1970 documentary, “Finally Got the News” (which you can see here). It was at that very juncture that I read several books in conjunction to one another: Dan Berger’s “Outlaws of America” (which I mentioned in my entry on the Weather Underground Organization) which documented the history of the RYM I faction’s development into the WUO and subsequently into the PFOC and the May 19th Movement; Max Elbaum’s “Revolution in the Air” which is a very comprehensive history of the New Communist Movement (although I do realize that many people disagree with different elements of his narrative and definitely with the lessons that he draws); and  Dan Georgakas’ “Detroit, I Do Mind Dying” which provides a history of the DRUM and its successor the LRBW, but ends at the point that the majority section of the LRBW and the Communist League merge to form the Communist Labor Party (CLP). Unfortunately, I am not aware of any study that focuses on a more complete history of the CLP, besides the information that is available through Elbaum. Now another documentary directed and edited by another organization central to the New Communist Movement , the October League, has been made available by a former member of the October League and the Solidarity-USA daily motion feed. It will fill in another gap into the rich history of the NCM in the USA and expose a new layer of Maoists like myself to the struggles of those who came before us.

1972 documentary about a seven-week wildcat strike at Mead Packaging Corp. in Atlanta, during which almost all of the majority-Black workforce stayed out and won significant community support. The film was made by the October League, a communist group that played an important role in the strike. This version was digitized by a former member of the October League.

Here in Canada we suffer an even bigger memory loss as little has been written in English on the growth of the Maoist movement in Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia etc. Most Canadian Leftists are unaware of the existence of En Lutte! (In Struggle!) or the Workers’ Communist Party or the Progressive Workers’ Movement., which has allowed for the Trotskyist Left in Canada to act like they were the only real alternatives to the ‘Stalinism’ of the CPC and CPC(ML). There has been a small recent effort to publish the works and biographies of key Maoist leaders such as Charles Gagnon (in French) and Jack Scott, or to provide a brief broad history of the movement by the Revolutionary Communist Party (Canada), however, this has been again incredibly incomplete and does not clarify matters significantly. Thankfully, the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line has begun to provide small thumbnail histories of different trends of the movement and has uploaded several key documents which has done a great service to those of us that wish to know our own history. What is needed is a Canadian equivalent to Max Elbaum’s book that can fully document the different trends and their development, and draw out lessons for a new revolutionary movement in Canada.

2 thoughts on “October League: Wildcat at Mead (1972)

  1. My name is Sherman Miller, I was one of the Mead Strike leaders. I’m glad to see u preserving this history

    1. Hello Sherman, I am curious if you guys in the Mead Strike had contact with the LRBW in Detroit? Also what caused you guys to make the film?

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