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From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks: the Remarkable Story of Labor Leader Harry Bridges

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Meryl Ann Butler       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   5 comments, 2 series

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Ian Ruskin as Harry Bridges
(Image by Ian Ruskin)
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When teenager and Australian merchant seaman Harry Bridges disembarked in San Francisco for a visit in 1919 he didn't know that he'd stay for a lifetime, grace the cover of Time magazine and change the course of American history!

Bridges would be instrumental in forming one of America's most radical and democratic unions, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. As ILWU President for 40 turbulent years, he was the kingpin of groundbreaking advances in rights for workers. Pro-peace, pro-civil rights, and pro-worker, Bridges stood up for what he believed was right--and Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger sang about him!

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Harry Bridges circa 1918 and, inset, circa 1978.
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Bridges sparred with American presidents. The US government vilified him, and J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI tried to deport him for over 20 years. But Bridges won out every time.

In spite of that, or perhaps because of it, he is often painfully absent from American history lessons. It took a British-born actor-screenwriter to shine a spotlight on an Aussie-born labor leader who changed the face of American unions.

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Ian Ruskin is an actor, playwright, and producer who was classically trained in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. You may have seen him guest starring on such shows as "Murder She Wrote," "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" and "MacGyver", or you may have heard his voice work in over 100 films and television shows.

Ian Ruskin as Edgar in Shakespeare's King Lear, late 1970's.
(Image by Ian Ruskin, used with permission)
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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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