Past Movies

If you missed it…

In US culture, some of these topics are presented and framed to raise guilt and further repression, preventing positive dialog and actions to change the future. We present these films as an opportunity for discussion, not blame, but for building a movement towards an enlightened future and finding our part in the process as loving caring people.

  1. Watch: Freedom or Death – 15mins
    The Louisiana Slave Revolt of 1811, also known as: The German Coast
    Uprising: In January 1811, five hundred slaves of south Louisiana rose
    in active rebellion against their masters in the largest slave revolt in
    American history.
  1. Watch: Own The Change – 30mins
    Building Economic Democracy One Worker Co-op at a Time
    A short, practical guide for those considering worker owned
    cooperatives, made by GRITtv & TESA, the Toolbox for Education and
    Social Action. Featuring conversations with worker-owners from Union
    Cab; Ginger Moon; Arizmendi Bakery, Anti-Oppression Resource and
    Training Alliance

Own the Change movie trailer

Watch – The Haitian Revolution – Documentary – 1hr
A successful anti-slavery and anti-colonial insurrection that took place in the former French colony of Saint-Domingue lasted from 1791 until 1804. It affected the institution of slavery throughout the Americas. Self-liberated slaves destroyed slavery at home, fought to preserve their freedom, and with the collaboration of mulattoes, founded the sovereign state of Haiti. It led to the greatest slave uprising since Spartacus’s unsuccessful revolt against the Roman Republic nearly 1,900 years prior.
The Haitian Revolution was the only slave uprising that led to the founding of a state free from slavery and ruled by non-whites and former captives.

March 21st – Double Feature

  1. Fred Hampton Documentary – 50mins Fredrick Allen Hampton (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969) was a black activist and revolutionary socialist. He came to prominence in Chicago as chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and deputy chairman of the national BPP. In this capacity, he founded the Rainbow Coalition, a prominent multicultural political organization that initially included the Black Panthers, Young Patriots, and the Young Lords, and an alliance among major Chicago street gangs to help them end infighting and work for social change. Context on Fred Hampton: 3mins:

2. The Young Lords Palante Siempre Palante – 45mins

They were leaders of the Young Lords Party, the militant Puerto Rican civil rights organization based in New York. Today, many are notable mainstream journalists, including Juan Gonzalez, Felipe Luciano and Pablo Guzman. Iris Morales makes history come alive as veterans of the movement recall their fight for equality, jobs, health care, and education. Context on Young Lords 6mins:

March 28th

Mississippi’s War: Slavery and Secession – 1hr
State’s Rights vs Slavery? What was the motivating factor that lead to the conflict? Examine the reasons behind Mississippi’s decision to secede from the United States, and the ramifications that action had on its citizens.

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April 2021 Movie Series – Unions and Cooperatives

PLUTOCRACY Political Repression In The U.S.A. – a documentary on the history of Unions in the U.S.A.

April Movie Nights – The Plutocracy Series in 5 parts

Plutocracy tells the story of the American working class in a five-part series. Income inequality has become a big issue in the modern-day political spectrum. The documentary film series Plutocracy reveals the main reasons for these economic struggles. A historical education of the labor movement, to teach the next generation of activists the lessons of our history, and to arm them for the future. 
Plutocracy – Part I – Divide and Rule
Plutocracy – Part II – Solidarity Forever
Plutocracy – Part III – Class War
Plutocracy – Part IV – Gangsters for Capitalism
Plutocracy – Part V – Subterranean Fire

May 2021 – 3-night Series on the Russian Revolution

On May, 9th we were showing the first part of a 3-night series of documentaries on the Russian social revolution of 1917.

The World War I crushed 3 continental empires: Austro-Hungarian, Russian, and Ottoman. These empires possessed immense wealth, political, and military powers. They covered most of the Europe, large parts of Asia, and part of Northern Africa. Why did they fail so abruptly?

In tsarist Russia, the republican movement has been growing since early 19th century. Abolition of serfdom (a form of slavery imposed on the majority of the country’s people) in 1861, enabled economic growth, but also exposed hidden conflicts in the society. The emperor that lead the reform was killed by radicals fighting to overthrow monarchy, and his heir rolled back the reforms and re-established an oppressive rule.

Nicholas II, the son of reactionary tsar, was a loving husband and caring father. At the same time, he was incapable of carrying power bestowed on him with the death of his father. His indecisive reforms and failed military campaigns led to resurgence of revolutionary movement and wide spread of terrorism. The first episodes of this movie show us how rampant inequality, concentration of power, failure of leadership, and escalating conflicts led the empire to the brink of collapse.

This is a dystopia that really happened, an example the rest of the world shouldn’t follow.

If you missed it, you can watch the movie at:

On May, 16th we were showing the second part of a 3-night series of documentaries on the Russian revolution of 1917.

Russian culture is a mix of eastern and western traditions. On one hand, most ethnic Russians 120 years ago were practicing Christians. But they also worshiped the emperor, much like people in traditional eastern societies. That adoration came at a price: the tsars were trusted when they were lucky. Luck was seen by the subjects as a mandate of heaven.

Nicholas II was anything but lucky. His reign was troubled from the first day. Protracted war took its toll in both lives and economic hardship. Photography, cinema, and newspapers made people see their ruler as a real man rather than mythical figure, and a man very disconnected from their lives. The whole Rasputin affair desecrated the tsar’s family. That story is shown in the episodes of the movie we watched last weekend.

Besides that, tsar’s family was related to the main enemy – German kaiser. Rumors of treason by the tsarina spread so widely that even lawmakers in Duma talked about that in their speeches. Politicians and generals no longer followed tsar’s orders. The power had slipped away from Nicholas, and his only choice was to abdicate. To lots of people, that was good news. Troops, officers, even the grand dukes, tsar’s close relatives, went out with red bows in support of the revolution.

But there was no other government to run the country in the middle of the war. Political and military leaders formed multiple factions that could agree on almost nothing. They were forming provisional governments that competed for power, and were unable to tackle the crisis. Attempts at a military coup that would establish a dictatorship to lead the country through the war have failed. And the enemy was sending its agents to add heat to this boiling pot. Still, the democratic government managed to hold general elections that would result in a new legislature assembling in early 2018 to start working out new political system. The situation unraveled fast, and the democracy was slow. The films we watched have captured these events.

The first movie we’ve seen is compiled from the documentary footage of the time. It is narrated by Max Eastman, an American socialist. He is rather emotional and sympathizes with the revolutionaries, which balances the monarchst stance of our prior night’s film. The video quality is low, but the clips capture an authentic trace of events, arranged in chronological order. The movie is 1 hour 3 minutes long.

Then we saw the final episode of the “Last of the Czars” trilogy. It is 50 minutes long and documents the fate of tsar’s family, including the finding and identification of their bodies in the 1990s.

If you missed that, you can watch the movies at:

On May, 23rd we were showing the third part of a 3-night series of documentaries on the Russian revolution of 1917.

There is a Russian saying: “A holy place cannot be empty”. Whether the tsar has abandoned his power, the government and people betrayed him, or (as soviet people were taught) revolutionary struggle culminated in the overthrow of old regime – in 1917 Russia remained without a working government. There were no more rules, and after a few weeks of celebration, the country began to descend into chaos.

Would-be leaders were coming from abroad, returning from exile or prison, emerging from the ranks of old political and military systems. And most of them had no time to listen to each other, or form coalitions. While everyone was excited about the democracy, its progress was slow. Within months, both right and left-wing radicals attempted to take power by force. In the capital Petrograd, the Bolsheviks lead by Trotsky and Lenin carried out a successful coup with almost no casualties.

The situation was very different across the country, which quickly fragmented into fiefdoms controlled by local militias, or even regional armies. As Bolsheviks declared peace with Germany, most men demobilized from the war found themselves returning home with weapons on hand, but no peaceful work and livelihood. And so, weapons of war were used in the political struggle. Lenin’s slogan of the time was: “Turn the imperialist war into a civil war!”

One of the influential and less-known forces in that insurrection has formed in southern Ukraine. It was called the South-Ukrainian Labor Federation and had Nestor Makhno as the leader of its army and jurisdiction. He was an anarchist, who believed that Ukrainian peasants should be given pieces of land and rights to trade in fruits of their labor. The Ukrainian south was traditionally a Cossack land: there was no serfdom (local form of slavery) there, and the local people were notoriously independent and self-sufficient. They liked anarchy and supported Makhnovian army.

Our first movie is about Nestor Makhno, and his movement of 1917 – 1921. It’s 15 minutes long.

Then, we’ll talk about the winning side of the civil war. Among the large forces, Bolsheviks took the most liberty in political maneuver, and were least shy to use violence, as they believed they were fighting for greater good. Take those trends to the extreme, and you’ll end up with the tyranny of all times – the Stalin’s regime. We’ll watch two episodes of the “Stalin” documentary made by Channel 4 in early 1990s. They are 47 and 48 minutes long.

If you missed that, you can watch the movies at:

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