I. “Finally Got the News” and “I Am Somebody”

November 8, 2020

In our first installment, we screened two documentaries on race, gender, and class struggle in the U.S. First, in “Finally Got The News” (1970), we follow the efforts of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers to build an independent black labor organization in Detroit’s auto factories, outside of the labor establishment.

Then, in Madeline Anderson’s “I Am Somebody” 400 black female hospital workers strike for higher wages and union recognition in 1969 Charleston, South Carolina, matching the repressive efforts of state police and the National Guard with the strength of communal solidarity.

Finally Got the News
1970 ‧ Documentary ‧ 55 mins

I Am Somebody
1970 ‧ Documentary/Short ‧ 28 mins

Detroit, I do mind dying: A Study in Urban Revolution by Dan Georgakas

II. “Grenada: The Future Coming Towards Us” and “In The Sky’s Wild Noise”

December 13, 2020

In our second installment we paired two short documentaries which highlight the struggles of the African and Indian descended working classes against centuries long oppression by US – European colonialist forces.

The first, Grenada: The Future Coming Towards Us is about Maurice Bishop’s New Jewel Movement and explores the radical, people-powered changes made in Grenada prior to the party’s demise in a deadly US invasion in 1983. The second film, In The Sky’s Wild Noise, examines the conditions of working-class Guyana in the 1970’s and is built around an interview with the Marxist historian and revolutionary Walter Rodney, who was assassinated by the country’s US-installed government in 1980.

Grenada: The Future Coming Towards Us
1983 ‧ Documentary ‧ 54 mins

Walter Rodney: The Sky’s Wild Noise
1983 ‧ Documentary ‧ 30 mins

Maurice Bishop and the New Jewel Movement

Walter Rodney

III. “ATTICA”

January 17, 2021

The third installment of our series “The Revolution Will Be Streamed” highlighted history that is closer to home. We are screening the documentary Attica (1974) which details the revolt of 1971 at a men’s prison in upstate New York, where inmates took control of the facility after their organizing efforts towards better living conditions had been ignored and suppressed.

Attica
1971 ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h 20m

IV. Black Communists in Exile: “W.E.B. DuBois: A Biography in Four Voices” and “Claudia Jones: A Woman of our Times”

February 21, 2021

An excerpt from “W.E.B. DuBois: A Biography in Four Voices” (1996) and ”Claudia Jones: a Woman of our Times” (1989).

This excerpt from a four-part documentary on W.E.B. DuBois takes up the political radicalism of the final years of his long life. Written by Amiri Baraka, the segment looks in depth at DuBois’s split from the NAACP during the Cold War; his McCarthyist trial and investigation by the FBI; the US government’s attempt to keep him from international travel, including the 1955 Bandung conference, through stripping him of his passport; his eventual travels to China and the USSR; his decision to join the CPUSA in 1961; and his final self-imposed exile in Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana.

“Claudia Jones: A Woman of our Times” follows the life of Trinidadian communist Claudia Jones after she was deported to London because of McCarthyist anticommunism. Using the tools she learned organizing with Communist Party in Harlem, New York, Jones brought an incredible vitality to the political and cultural life of Notting Hill, the heart of Caribbean life in London. Her remarkable impact as an organizer and writer resulted in her being buried to the left of Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery.

In screening these documentaries, Emerge invites our comrades to reflect on the US government’s war on Black communism: what threat did they believe it posed? Why did DuBois respond through internationalism, party membership and emigration? What lessons

Claudia Jones: A Woman of our Times
1989 ‧ Documentary ‧ 29 mins

WEB DuBois: A Biography In Four Voices
1996 ‧ Documentary

V. Irish Anti-Imperialism: “The Patriot Game” and “Battle of the Bogside”

March 21, 2021

This month we’re focusing on Irish Republicanism and Anti-Colonialism as an antidote to St. Patrick’s day, a holiday that (in the U.S. certainly) has lost connection to Irish culture and history. The struggle for Irish independence has long been one operating in solidarity with colonized people the world over and has often been driven by freedom fighters envisioning a communist horizon.

We’ll start with an excerpt from “The Patriot Game” (1979) to give some historical context for the Irish Troubles. The first part of this sober documentary traces the conflict from the beginning of British colonization, through the formation of the IRA and the territory’s division in 1922, and up to the street rebellions in the late 1960s (We recommend watching the full film if you can! It shows the IRA at work throughout the 70s with secretly filmed footage and eye witness accounts.) This groundwork sets us up for our feature-length screening, “Battle of the Bogside” (2004), an in-depth look at the three-day skirmish in the north of Ireland, which temporarily established the “Free Derry” autonomous zone. Considered one of the first major armed conflicts in the Troubles, the 1969 fight between the police and poor Catholic nationalists led to the deployment of British troops into Derry, significantly shaping the occupation and subsequent resistance for decades to come.

The Patriot Game
1979 ‧ Documentary ‧ 1h 38m

Battle of the Bogside
2004 ‧ Documentary ‧ 58 mins

VI. “Sambizanga”

April 18, 2021

This month we are screening Sarah Maldoror’s Sambizanga, a landmark film about the Angolan liberation struggle made as it was still unfolding. Using a spare narrative in which an Angolan woman named Maria has to navigate the byzantine network of colonial incarceration to find out where her husband Xavier, a member of the MPLA, is being held, Maldoror manages to communicate a complex portrait of colonialism and its discontents. Weaving together communal networks of counter-surveillance – from informal modes of feminist resistance embodied by Maria and mothers in her village, to the vanguard of the MPLA proper, to solidarity between prisoners and contributions from villagers around Luanda – Sambizanga also presents a cultural affirmation of their efforts.

As anti-imperialists and police/prison abolitionists, the portrait of jail support networks and the work required to sift through police department misinformation after arrests, the amount of overlap between apartheid Angola and any US police department is both damning of our present conditions and – given ongoing rebellions to #endSARS, #freeHaiti, #shutdownAFRICOM – a bridge to the ongoing international struggle against imperialism and neo-colonialism.

Sambizanga
1972 ‧ Drama ‧ 1h 42m

Films

La Guerra en Angola, a Cuban documentary/agitprop directed by Miguel Fleitas and written by Julio Garcia Espinosa in solidarity with the MPLA:

Cuba! Africa! Revolution! Jihan El-Tahri’s BBC documentary on Cuban support for African liberation struggles, in particular Angola.

John Stockwell, CIA whistleblower who was stationed in Angola, discussing the various tactics used against the MPLA and Cuban and Soviet Support

Readings

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