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Vincent Raymond Dunne’s whole life and character had prepared him for the Minneapolis truck drivers strikes of 1934. The workers knew Dunne as a good organizer, a man who was fond of the movies, didn’t get drunk, and was honest. They followed his leadership and many of them would be quite willing to die for him. One reason was his physical courage. Dunne has been beaten by the police on picket lines, attacked by armed thugs, thrown into jail, and confined in a stockade under military guard by the governor. More important than physical fearlessness is his moral nerve. He tells workers what he thinks of a situation whether they like it or not. Their strike victories would lead to the organization of over 250,000 workers across the Midwest, making them the most influential strikes in American labor history. This is the story of the organizer of those strikes and their lessons for today.

Howard Petrick spent many afternoons talking to Ray Dunne about his life as a labor leader shortly before his death in 1970.
“A timely show, and it tells an important story about class struggle and the roots of American organized labour. There are plenty of laughs as well.” – Apt 613 (Ottawa)
“Dunne was a fascinating character and Petrick is an expert storyteller.”
– Winnipeg Free Press
“It’s not just the forgotten history that makes V.R. Dunne so engrossing — it’s the urgent, timely message that the man brings.” – Edmonton Journal
“His message—that human solidarity can triumph over greed—is just as timely now as ever.” – The Georgia Straight

Dianna’s Studio of Dance

3/6/20   5:30pm
3/7/20   5:00pm
3/8/20 8:00pm
3/13/20   5:30pm
3/14/20 6:30pm

There are 8 Comments on this post

  1. Melanie
    3 months ago

    A great reminder to thank those who came before us for what we have today. And a great lesson on what sacrifice for what is right for our fellow workers really is.

    Reply
  2. Evy Pine
    3 months ago

    Howard Petrick’s powerful hour of labor history through the eyes of communist organizer, Ray Dunn, who led a crucial strike in Minnesota in 1934 is galvanizing in 2020. We get the exhilaration of riding the rails, the passion of the wobblies, the rebelliousness and commitment of the Trotskyists, and the intensity of the workers and the violent reaction of the capitalists and their cops. There’s something moving about this portrayal of Danne as a reminiscing 80 year old — not in spite of, but because of his inability to see the world as anything beyond the skirmishes leading to the Final Conflict. Petrick’s performance is a canny, steely, incisive.

    Reply
  3. Melanie Ram
    3 months ago

    This is third show of Petrick’s I’ve seen and it doesn’t disappoint. A good story, a history lesson, and an effective reminder of why we have and need unions. I recommend it.

    Reply
  4. Nick Zacherl
    3 months ago

    We follow the rough birth of organized labor through the simple and telling lens of a man casting his own shadow in the very real human landscape of post-Bolschevist working man’s America. The walk in music alone, a collection of perfectly accomplished labor ballads and folk odes worthy of the Smithsonian, is worth the trip alone. Americana and folk fans, show up early and enjoy feeling at home. Very close to the real human stories told, Petrick’s delivery weaves a history of the tender yet powerful decency that overcame the lesser angels of American nature during the struggle between greed and dignity in the interwar period. It is simply important to see such a genuine human missive of understanding and patience from a time when political tensions meant much more real danger, but far less scapegoating vitriol than they do today.

    Reply
  5. Tim Mooney
    3 months ago

    Thanks, Howard, for this terrific reminder of the struggles that created the middle class lifestyle we have come to enjoy so much, and the struggles that await to get us back there once again!

    Reply
  6. Lorie Ham
    3 months ago

    Just added a review of this show up on Kings River Life’s review post https://kingsriverlife.com/03/07/rogue-festival-reviews-2020/

    Reply
  7. Jim
    3 months ago

    Historically interesting story, well told as a memoire in recollection decades later by the performer impersonating Dunne, about his life from a young boy until he was in his forties and his role in establishing union rights. The performer impersonated the accents of the mid-west, including that of a Swedish immigrant, with great effect. The story seems a bit long.

    Reply
  8. Paul Martzen
    3 months ago

    Howard, Thank you for bringing this show to Fresno. I have enjoyed your other shows, but in this show especially, I felt that you disappeared and it was only VR Dunne on that stage. It was a privilege to listen to his stories. Thank you for listening to him while he was alive, taking notes and recreating that experience for the rest of us.

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