Decades after the end of the Vietnam War, the impact on both Vietnam and the United States is still felt. Yet few Americans are aware that the conflict, which killed several million people, ended in large part thanks to the anti-war movement made up of, among others, 570,000 Americans that refused to be drafted to fight a war that many saw as immoral even then. Among those, 3,250 draft resisters–many of whom considered themselves conscientious objectors–were punished with up to five years in prison, including the anti-war activist and journalist David Harris. These valiant young men from a wide range of social classes are the subject of the documentary “The Boys Who Said No,” directed by Judith Ehrlich, who joins Robert Scheer on this week’s “Scheer Intelligence” to discuss her film.
“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” an Aaron Sorkin film that recently aired on Netflix, brought an important chapter in the history of American activism to screens around the globe. Based on real events, the film dramatizes the 1969 trial of eight activists who were arrested during the Vietnam War protests that took place in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, David Dellinger, Lee Weiner, John Froines, and Bobby Seale were all charged with attempted incitement of a riot after the Chicago Police Department, under orders from then Mayor Richard Daley, brutally repressed the summer demonstrations.
The documentary filmmakers discuss their film “RBG” on the life and career of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. While Justice Ginsburg did not grant access to filmmakers Betsy West and Julie Cohen right away, eventually she allowed them an intimate look at her life and her career-long fight for equal rights. West and Cohen tell host Robert Scheer that Ginsburg has embraced her recent emergence as a pop culture icon because she believes it is an opportunity to reach a younger generation.
It is hard to think of an American film that provoked a greater backlash in 2020 than “Planet of the Humans.” Focused on the theme of planetary extinction and fanciful proposals to ward it off, the documentary was released for free on YouTube on April 21. The date was significant not only because it was the eve of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but because a global pandemic was tearing through America’s social fabric and exposing the human toll of the country’s globalized, growth-obsessed economic model.
The pandemic has brought into focus the stark conditions and precarity faced by workers in the gig-economy. When the dust settles, can these workers who were at the frontlines of this crisis build a fairer future? The workers featured in Reclaiming Work believe so. This short documentary by Cassie Quarless and Usayd Younis of black & brown film features cycle courier cooperatives who offer a socialist alternative to the digital giants of Deliveroo and Uber. In fact, La Pájara, one of the cycle cooperatives showcased in the documentary, was formed following protest movements against Deliveroo in Madrid. Cooperatives like these are supported by the wider federation of CoopCycle – a ‘platform cooperative’ countering mainstream economic models of platform capitalism.
Recently, hundreds of PBS stations around the United States were scheduled to broadcast a powerful new Frontline documentary: One Day in Gaza. But viewers tuning in found that it had been replaced by a slightly updated Frontline report on Robert Mueller that had been broadcast two months before and had been streaming online ever since. PBS no longer has the Gaza film listed on its schedule. The documentary was to be aired on the one-year anniversary of events that took place on May 14, 2018, when tens of thousands of men, women, and children in Gaza gathered with the intention of deploying the tactics Gandhi had used in freeing India from British control.
The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire, is a documentary film that shows how Britain transformed from a colonial power into a global financial power. At the demise of empire, City of London financial interests created a web of offshore secrecy jurisdictions that captured wealth from across the globe and hid it in a web of offshore islands. Today, up to half of global offshore wealth may be hidden in British offshore jurisdictions, and Britain and its offshore jurisdictions are the largest global players in the world of international finance. But, as the world of offshore finance grew, so too did the inherent corruption that secrecy and unaccountability breed.
When the Movement for Black Lives released a platform in August 2016 that supported the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement and identified Israel as an apartheid state engaged in a project of genocide against Palestinians, the Israeli government snapped into action. Previously unreleased footage from Al Jazeera’s censored investigative documentary, “The Lobby – USA,” shows Israeli diplomats complaining about the Black Lives Matter “problem” and boasting about their cultivation of established black civil rights activists as pro-Israel proxies. The footage also reveals how the Israel lobby orchestrated the sudden cancellation of a Black Lives Matter fundraiser at a New York City nightclub.
Most people know that Malcolm X began his public career by calling for black separatism. Lost Tapes: Malcolm X reveals surprising details that have not been seared into our collective view of the martyred activist. At the end of the Smithsonian Channel’s Lost Tapes: Malcolm X, Ossie Davis delivers a stirring eulogy for Malcolm X, the fallen Muslim minister and human rights activist. “And we will know him then for what he was and is,” Davis intones, “a Prince – our own black shining Prince!” The haze of history has obscured some of the finer details of this remarkable leader’s life, one cut short by assassination at the age of 39 in 1965. Schools go into far greater detail about the life and times of another spiritual leader, Martin Luther King Jr., but in the shadows behind King’s narrative lurk remarkable stories of a prince that have been largely ignored.
By Staff of Unicorn Riot - In Black Snake Killaz, Unicorn Riot brings you the raw experience from many frontline actions throughout the struggle to protect the water. Although the Dakota Access Pipeline is completed, the impact of the movement will be long-lasting. As fossil fuel extraction projects continue to impact some of the most vulnerable communities throughout the United States of America, the importance of the water protectors story grows. This film is a collaborative creative commons project being produced by Unicorn Riot, a non-profit 501(c)3 educational media organization. Our journalists, who were on the ground covering the demonstrations throughout the entire campaign to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, have gathered extensive footage and are working hard to produce this film for historic and educational purposes. We need your help in the creation of this documentary. PRODUCTION FUNDING: Research, editing, and other aspects of production must still be completed. We hope to gather enough financial support for this project to wrap up remaining interviews and finish the post-production phase of the film. Our production team also needs funding for hardware, such as external hard drives, a better editing station, and to support cloud-based file sharing.
By Alex Demyanenko for Capital and Main - Depending on whom you ask, Solly Granatstein and Rick Rowley have spent their careers either causing trouble or exposing truths. As investigative journalist-filmmakers they have been on the front lines of digging up facts and battling the status quo, all to expose injustice. They’ve been pretty damn good at it too. Granatstein worked for 60 Minutes for 12 years and has won seven Emmys, a Peabody and a host of other awards. Rowley’s Dirty Wars
By Ryan Devereaux for The Intercept - The officers, members of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department tactical team, were descending on a modest one-story house looking for drugs and guns. The team smashed through the windows of the home with iron pikes, then stormed the front door with rifles raised. Inside, they found a terrified family of four, including an infant. As the family members were pulled outside, Atkinson’s camera captured a scene that plays out with startling regularity in cities and towns across the country
By Abba Solomon for Mondoweiss - Harriet Beecher Stowe is reputed — in Stowe family legend at least — to have been greeted by President Lincoln with, “Is this the little woman who made this great war?” Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Stowe’s novel that dramatized government-sanctioned human bondage, is credited, somewhat fancifully, with moving American public opinion about slavery and helping start the US Civil War. This documentary film aims to explain why United States media, in contrast to most of the world’s, omit the Palestinian story, and thus why US public opinion favors Israel so markedly.
By Peter Bradshaw for The Guardian. We Are Many is a new documentary which is on the list for an Academy Award. Several showings are coming up. This film does a necessary job. It’s a piece of history that must grapple with both the success of the Stop the War march and its manifest failure: a staggeringly huge demonstration of public opinion that nevertheless did not stop the war. But Amir Amirani makes a bold case for understanding the march in a larger context: that over the next decade it re-energised people power, sowed the seed for Egypt’s Arab spring and laid the foundations for Labour’s sober, courageous refusal to countenance the attack on Syria. Meanwhile, we wait for the Chilcot report. A very valuable film.