Films

CAPITALIST CRISIS 

Inside Job: This provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008 which, at a cost of over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression. It nearly resulted in a global financial collapse. This is presented in an easy to understand manner, without the Wall Street jargon or economic text-book mathematical language.

Capitalism: A Love Story: This is a Michael Moore exposé of the failure of corporate capitalism to fulfill the American Dream. There is some very moving footage of interviews wrecked lives. This movie has some extremely funny footage of Wall Street brokers attempting to explain how derivatives work. There is a short section on workers taking over a window factory in Chicago as well as the sprouting up of worker cooperatives.

Network: If the ratings of your news division were so bleak, would it be worth trying to raise them by telling the truth about the news industry itself? This is the dilemma faced by the UBS network in 1976. Can terrorism and socialism be turned into a sympathetic dramatic series if the price is right? The line between what’s on the tube and what is real becomes provocatively blurred. An all-star cast.

The Power of Nightmares: The Politics of Fear: Adam Curtis: What do Islamic fundamentalists have in common with American neoconservatives? Apparently more than you might suspect. Documentarian Adam Curtis traces a chillingly parallel story of each movement from the end of World War II until 2000. Back and forth, from Egypt to the United States we slowly discover how the two seemingly opposites both support and amplify each other. This is a complex but rewarding three-hour thriller. Have a pen and paper handy to keep track of the plot and characters.

The Century of the Self: Adam Curtis: So you think psychology is about helping people find inner peace, improve romance and heal families? That is psychology “lite”. In this great four-part documentary, we discover a “sinister psychology”, which has lasted a century. Covering the period from 1918 to 1996 Adam Curtis shows how the field of psychology and psychiatry worked with advertisers against the American public by selling them products. Psychologist Edward Bernays actively assisted the US state  to start and sustain the popularization of World War I and overthrow a socialist government in Guatemala. In the late 1960s Esalen experimented in confronting race relations with disastrous results and succeeded in hijacking a generation of activists away from politics and towards individualistic solutions such as psychotherapy and Eastern mysticism.

Marxist theory of crisis: The nature of the current long depression: Michael Roberts: This 72-minute video is divided equally between Michael Roberts’ lecture in the first half and questions from the audience in the second half. Michael Roberts argues that the source of capitalist crisis is the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. He lays this out clearly and compares his theory to mainstream economists. In his audience are fellow socialists who ask very good skeptical and supportive questions.

Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises, Professor Anwar Shaikh,

SOAS University of London: This video is a 50-minute overview of the work of Marxian political economist Anwar Shaikh as articulated in his book Capitalism: Competition, Conflict Crisis. His talk is systematic, deliberate, interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and historical. He covers the history of economics and compares his theory to mainstream bourgeois economics. The last 30 minutes or so are commentary but include panelists who facilitate further discussion.

WORKER TAKE-OVERS

La Commune by Peter Watkins: A mammoth three-disc dramatization of “ten weeks that shook Europe” in 1871 when workers took over Paris and ran the city without capitalists or the state.

The Take: Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein. In the shadow of an economic meltdown in Argentina, workers in an auto parts factory refuse to leave their bankrupt company. Not only do they take over the factory, but they also restart production on their own, linking their factory to other sectors of the remaining population. An inspiring and personal story of how firing your boss can pay off!

Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution: Once a country gets on the bad side of US foreign policy it is difficult to find on-going and objective news about what is going on. Despite the United States’ failed attempt to overthrow socialist president Hugo Chavez, his Bolivarian revolution continues. This 80-minute documentary by social visionary Michael Alpert interviews workers in factories, a television station, a day-care program and more. It includes an in-depth interview with sociologist Greg Wolpert.

Made in the USA: American Worker Cooperatives: A 35-minute video of worker-coops in the United States. It includes interesting issues such as how coops determine if there will be a differentiation in pay scale, how they survive and hold their workers in tight economic times and by what process do they come to decide to ask a troublemaking worker to leave.

Shift Change: Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young: This 70-minute documentary moves nicely between the largest and most thriving coop in the world, the 50-year-old Mondragon experiment, and smaller cooperatives in the United States. Skeptics say that coops are largely limited to the food industry such as bakeries, restaurants or farms and further cater to middle and upper middle-class neighborhoods. Shift change shows how WAGES has organized domestic workers into a coop. It also films engineers in Wisconsin collectively creating and manufacturing doors for large buildings.

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