I am currently making a documentary about Amazon warehouse workers from Poland, Germany and the USA. I myself have been working in Amazon FC in Poland for 6 years, taking active part in workers struggles. In the film, I focus on the transnational employee organizing, the challenges and the constraints we face and how they affect us and our relatives.
The film is being made as part of a masterclass programme at the Wajda School and Studio in Warsaw. Working with a professional studio made me realise how much the complexity of the world of labor, its contradictions and divisions, and the language of workers are incomprehensible to the liberal elites who shape the world of film. However, rejecting the individualised liberal perspective is not simple and obvious. It raises specific dilemmas. For whom are we making a film? How many and which viewers do we want to reach? How does one raise money for it? How does one make a simple and accessible film while avoiding banality and cliche? Is it possible to maintain the mobilising and political character of the whole while avoiding demagogy? Do we need to go beyond the classic structure and language of film to create new proposals? Or is it better to refer to them using the potential of their mass reach? Can we create movies within the framework of mainstream institutions and schemes without reproducing the mechanisms of oppression and capitalisation of our own histories? Do we have to accept the role of helpless, alienated victims, arousing empathy in order to make our story interesting to a wide audience, producers and distributors? Do we have to be unambiguous? On the other hand, doesn’t rejecting the official shape of film production mean self-marginalization? During the discussion I would like to present a summary of the documentation I have made so far and the problems I have struggled with during its creation, as well as discuss the dilemmas posed above.
Magda Malinowska – a member of Inicjatywa Pracownicza trade union, co-organizer of the Social Congress of Women. Currently works in the Polish branch of Amazon. She is also an editor and documentary movie director. She is the author of several social-related films. Among them are: the “Plyta” – introducing the figure of M. Szary, an uncompromising trade union activist, employed in the Cegielski factory in Poznan/Poland, “Bourgeoisie returns to the center” – explaining the process of gentrification on the example of several Polish cities and Berlin, the “Mothers’ Strike” – on single mothers who squat flats and stage a hunger strike in Walbrzych, fighting with mass evictions (in cooperation with Think Tank Feministyczny)the “Special Exploitation Zone” – about the strike and living conditions of workers employed in polish Special Economic Zones (in cooperation with Think Tank Feministyczny). “Women’s Strike Continues” – about employees of public nurseries in Poznan, which in 2011 has began to fight the marginalization of women’s work. Conflict at their workplace has initiated a long battle to change the social and budgetary policy of the city, enhance the spheres to which women are assigned and abortion rights.