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CapeCod 09/02/2010 - 01:17PM

Ray Rogers Steals the Show!


Woods Hole was extemely lucky to have Ray Rogers, of the Stop Killer Coke campaign, and co-star of The Coca Cola Case come up from New York City to answer our questions about the film and Coke's role in the killing of Colombian union leaders.

Over 50 people packed the Firehouse (a big crowd for us!) to see the film and hear Ray speak. A former Bard College student had seen Ray and a Columbian worker speak about Coke's cynical labor relations on campus; others were inspired to start a campaign to boycott Coke products at their workplace.

Check out the Boston Herald's advance write-up of our "tiny cinema" screening!

 Ray inspired us all with his rousing words before the film, indicting Coke for their "betrayal of consumer's trust." He said that he never agreed to confidentiality-- the alleged reasoning behind Coke's letter asking Cinema Politica not to screen the film-- and would continue to do what he could to "bring down" the corporate "sugar water" giant.

Following the film, Ray filled us in on the 6-year struggle for justice for Colombian workers, and other campaigns he has worked on. His point of view as a lifelong union organizer was especially timely, as eight housekeepers from the Marine Biological Laboratory struggle to keep their jobs from being outsourced to an international franchise, Jani-King.  As the film was being screened, the eight women were in the process of crashing a MBL Board of Trusteeslecture and cocktail party in New York City, an ultimately fruitless attempt for an audience with the MBL CEO.

The discussion after the film was quite potent,
lasting about an hour! One man asked what
the unions in the US are doing in solidarity with the Columbian
workers. Ray pointed out that Teamsters made an appearance in the film, but ultimately have not acted in solidarity, as they are worried about picking a fight against their employers.

Audiences were very
interested in the campaign and its effectiveness in getting Coke to
address their role in the murders, at least in the court of public opinion. Many questioned
the legal process, why Coke wasn't prosecuted criminally rather than in
civil court. This led to a discussion about the "corporate
personhood" amendment and the recent Supreme Court decision to allow
corporate donors to political campaigns.

Several people said the film
itself was disappointing, in that it didn't give a personal point of
view to the actual victims and very little dramatic build-up in regards
to the court case; however, Ray's enthusiasm both on and off screen was
powerful, and reminded some of anti-Nestle campaigns in the 1970's.