Image Union, episode 0307

Image Union episode from September 1980 featuring: "Right to Strike" by Ramazan Ajdini and Jean de Segonzac, a documentary about the 1980 Chicago firemen's strike; and "Double Think" by Janice Tanaka, an experimental film about Japanese internment during World War II.

00:00Copy video clip URL Image Union opening.

01:00Copy video clip URL “Right to Strike” by Ramazan Ajdini and Jean de Segonzac. Color film. Documentary about the Chicago firefighters strike of 1980. Firemen huddled against the cold talk about their experiences on the job. “People think this job is a lot of fun until you get one of these nasty, smoking rooms.”

02:06Copy video clip URL Rev. Jesse Jackson addresses a crowd of strikers through a megaphone to kick off a march down State Street. The camera cuts to individuals in the crowd, including a reporter speaking into a recording device and an irate woman screaming at the strikers.

04:10Copy video clip URL Cut back to the firefighters from the opening sequence. “You never forget the ones you don’t save. It hurts.” One addresses the racial disparities in emergency dispatches discussed later in the tape. “I’ll never believe the thing about white and black in there, too–if there’s a fire, there ain’t no such thing as white and black. Somebody’s in there, you try and get ’em.”

05:23Copy video clip URL Footage of a TV playing Channel 7 news coverage of a fire near 67th & Stony Island. Subsequent sound bites from media coverage of the strike are played as the camera pans over footage of striking firemen, including a recording of Mayor Jane Byrne suggesting that the strikers were too closely tied to then-Senator Richard M. Daley.

07:11Copy video clip URL Firemen and their neighbors discuss the strike. “I can’t take care of myself–this is a team right here. This whole thing is based on teamwork, and our team was cut down to four.”

12:09Copy video clip URL Recording of a woman scoffing at union firefighters and pointing out the high number of African American deaths during the strike plays over footage of firefighters working to save a building.

13:43Copy video clip URL A family combs through the remains of their charred house.

15:26Copy video clip URL End of “Right to Strike.”

15:35Copy video clip URL “Double Think” by Janice Tanaka. Tanaka layers digital effects over a 1940s propaganda film about Japanese internment to highlight the hypocrisy and cruelty of the internment program. Also features non-found footage, including some video animation.

27:17Copy video clip URL Image Union closing segment (no closing credits).


1 Comment

  1. Ms. Crowley says:

    I had no idea that someone made a documentary about the CFD strike. I’d love to see it in it’s entirety, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere. With all the films about the Chicago Fire Department, I’m surprised that no one has thought to make a movie about it. So many interesting stories from that time. Especially the ones that never made the news. I’ve heard many of them for most of my life. It really would make a great movie.

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