This month we discuss the 1941 Disney animators' strike before looking at workers' organisation in the contemporary video games industry.
Our guests were Jamie Woodcock (@Jamie_Woodcock on Twitter) of Notes from Below (https://notesfrombelow.org/), whose new book 'Marx At The Arcade' looks at games workers' struggles, and Marijam Didžgalvytė (@marijamdid on Twitter), games worker, writer, and activist, who hosts the online show 'Left Left Up', and is involved in Games Workers, an internarional games workers’ platform. Check out Marijam's website here (https://www.marijamdid.com), and buy Jamie's book direct from the publishers (https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/1319-marx-at-the-arcade)
Information about the Organising at Work game “jam” Jamie mentions, co-hosted by Games Workers UK and Notes from Below, is online here: https://www.gwu-uk.org/2019/05/10/workers-game-jam/
Special thanks this time to our resident researcher Holly Smith for the presentation about the Disney animators' strike. Holly used the following sources in her research and recommends them as further reading:
Kinney, Jack., 1988. 'Walt Disney and other assorted characters' Harmony Books: New York.
Ostman, R.E., 1996. 'Disney and its conservative critics: Images versus realities'. Journal of Popular Film and Television, 24(2), pp.82-89.
Peri, D., 2008. 'Working with Walt: interviews with Disney artists'. Univ. Press of Mississippi.
Sito, Tom., 2006. 'Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson'. University Press of Kentucky.
Smoodin, E.L. ed., 1994. 'Disney discourse: Producing the magic kingdom'. Psychology Press.
Wasko, Janet., 2013. 'Understanding Disney: The manufacture of fantasy'. John Wiley & Sons.
You can also check out a PBS-produced film about the strike on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSjX7S35mn0), and some of the excellent strike art we mention in the episode can be seen here: https://animationguild.org/about-the-guild/disney-strike-1941. We'd also recommend this Jacobin article by Mark Bergfeld and Kenneth Bergfeld, about the strike: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/11/disney-animators-strike-union-busting
Finally, thanks to our correspondent JP for writing in to tell us our episode on Farrell Dobbs and the 1934 Minneapolis Teamsters' strike had inspired him and his comrades to run a reading group around Dobbs's 'Teamster Rebellion', which prompted them to organise flying pickets for a strike they were involved in, and produce a strike bulletin. The bulletin continues in digital format here, as a publication of the East Bay chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA): https://eastbaymajority.com.
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