Loyola Sociology Film Series, February-April 2018

 Sundays,  2pm

Loyola University (downtown)

Corboy Law Center, room  301,  25 E. Pearson Street, Chicago

(one block north of Chicago & State Red line L stop)


February 11                 1804: The Hidden History of Haiti        2017              110 min

This new documentary examines four principal who were instrumental in Haiti’s independence: Makandal, Dutty Bookman, Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines, and their strategies that led to Haiti being the only slave population who successfully overthrew their oppressors.

The film bridges the gap between pre-1804 and the state of present-day Haiti. We are told how the Haitian Revolution could have sparked a global revolution among oppressed people. The replication of the revolution had the potential to turn the global economic power structure on its head, abolish slavery and oppression, and propel the acquisition of independence and sovereignty.


February 18                 W.E.B. DuBois, A Biography in Four Voices   1997   116 min

Dr. William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B) Du Bois (1868-1963), born three years after the Civil War, Du Bois witnessed the imposition of Jim Crow, its defeat by the Civil Rights Movement and the triumph of African independence struggles. Du Bois was the consummate scholar-activist whose path-breaking works remain among the most significant and articulate ever produced on the subject of race.

Part One: Black Folk and the New Century (1895-1915) discusses his works The Philadelphia Negro, and The Souls of Black Folk. Du Bois emerged as the most outspoken critic of Booker T. Washington’s accommodation to segregation. He co-founded the Niagara Movement and then the NAACP.

Part Two: The Crisis and the New Negro (1919-1929) Du Bois created the NAACP’s magazine, The Crisis, which became a vital organ in the Harlem Renaissance.  He also was a founder of the Pan African movement, organizing its first international congresses.

Part Three: A Second Reconstruction? (1934-1948) Dismissed from the editorship of The Crisis for his radical views, Du Bois was forced to resume his academic career at age 68. It was now the Depression and he wrote Black Reconstruction.

Part Four: Color, Democracy, Colonies and Peace (1949-1963) Du Bois’ anti-racist activism and leftist sympathies made him a target during the McCarthy years. He was indicted and for a time his passport was revoked. In 1961 DuBois joined the Communist Party and that year, Kwame Nkrumah, the president of the newly independent Ghana, invited him to participate in that country’s development; Du Bois accepted, living there for the remainder of his life.


February 25                The Hidden Martin Luther King

Excerpts of speeches and interviews with King in the last and half year of his life, the Martin Luther King the US rulers want to keep buried. He speaks of opposing the war in Vietnam, organizing a multi-racial poor people’s movement, demanded the US government stop its militarism and reorient its budget to meeting peoples’ needs, supported Third World liberation movements, and said the ruling US white power structure was an obstacle to human progress.  Included are TV interviews with King, which reflect the increasing hostility by liberals towards the direction King was moving at the end of his life, leading to his US government involved murder.


March 11                     She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry  2014  92 min

This documentary looks at the women’s movement from 1966-1973.  What were women’s priorities in 1966? Beauty contests, clothes, weddings, having children, being beautiful… “If you were raped, no one would believe you.” Under the surface was an anger that reached critical mass and exploded. “The Feminine Mystique” was a book that captured what many women were thinking but hadn’t expressed. Back then, if you didn’t like the way things were, it was your fault. Women were treated like objects, not as full-fledged people. But women were finally starting to organize… they found others who shared their issues. The National Organization for Women started reaching out, later with other women’s organizations, demanding reproductive rights, equal opportunity, equal pay, universal day care, education, women’s studies, freedom from objectification and the basic right to be taken seriously as an equal human being. Now, looking back, we can see we have retreated from the gains made by this third wave of the US women’s movement.


 March  18                     Germinal   1993  160 min

In 1884 the French author Emile Zola traveled to a poor rural district of France to observe the living and working conditions of striking coal miners. The novel he wrote about that experience, Germinal, was instrumental in winning justice for the workers, who existed in a condition little better than slavery.

Claude Berri’s film recreates Zola’s story. Zola, who began as a writer at a time when most novels were inspired by imagination and romance, helped pioneer a style of detailed realism, piling fact upon fact so that his books seemed drawn from real life. Berri’s film has been made in the same spirit.

The workers do backbreaking work to earn a living, and expect their children to do the same; indeed, the mother frankly states that one reason for having children is so that they can work, and bring more money to the family.

The wages in the local pits seem carefully calculated down to the last franc, to support life and the ability to work while not providing one franc more. The miners are unable ever to gather enough money to leave the district, or to make a different choice of work. They are trapped between servitude and starvation.

The overall effect of the movie is much the same as the effect of Zola’s novel: To present a time and place so realistically in fiction that the audience will be able to share the experience.


 March 25                    Mother Jones and her Children     2014   52 min

Mother Jones:  America’s Most Dangerous Woman   2007  24 m

Mother Jones mobilized thousands of workers in struggles for justice in the early 20th century.
These films recount the story of her life. For labor activists such as Mother Jones, labor and civil rights such as freedom of speech and assembly were a goal rather than a reality. The documentary evokes the terrible conditions and labor oppression that motivated her to travel across the country, mobilizing thousands to fight back.
The documentary includes rare photos as well as the only existing live footage of her at age “100″ proclaiming she is still a radical, still awaits the day that the people will “replace this moneyed civilization,” and “longs for the day when labor will have the destination of the nation in her own hands.


April 8                         John Pilger: The Coming War on China          2016   113 min

The US has 400 military bases in Asia, equipped with bombers and nuclear weapons. It is largely this fear of an economic blockade that has seen China building airstrips on South China Sea islands. A major US military build-up is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China according to award-winning journalist John Pilger. Nuclear war is no longer unthinkable.

The rise of China is viewed in Washington as a threat to American dominance. To counter this, Obama announced a “pivot to Asia”, meaning that almost two-thirds of all US naval forces would be transferred to Asia and the Pacific, their weapons aimed at China.

“If you stood on the tallest building in Beijing and looked out on the Pacific Ocean, you’d see American warships, you’d see Guam is about to sink because there are so many missiles pointed at China. You’d look up at Korea and see American armaments pointing at China, you’d see Japan which is basically a glove over the American fist.”


April 15                    The Gatekeepers       2012    95 min

Tells the story of the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet, through six of its former heads. These men accept that national security has no morality. Their expeditions into Palestinian neighborhoods are exercises in hunting rabbits. One officer comments, with a slight grin, that in Nablus, “wherever you threw a rock, there was either a cat or a terrorist. Some nights we arrested hundreds of people.” Others say “I didn’t want any more live terrorists in court. In the war against terror, forget about morality.”   “We are making the lives of millions [of Palestinians] unbearable, into prolonged human suffering, [and] it kills me.” “We are taking very sure and measured steps to a point where the State of Israel will not be a democracy or a home for the Jewish people.”  “We’ve become cruel. To ourselves as well, but mainly to the occupied population.” Our army has become “a brutal occupation force, similar to the Germans in World War II. Similar, not identical.”


April 22                  Che Guevara Interviews and Speeches   80 min

Here are Che’s speech on US imperialism in Algiers in 1965, and his 1964 interviews with Meet the Press and Face the Nation.


April 29                   The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers   2009   92 min

This documentary provides insight into the actions of Daniel Ellsberg, a leading American military strategist who leaked the Pentagon Papers, a massive top-secret document that pointed to government deception about the Vietnam War. The film looks at Ellsberg himself and at the repercussions of his surprising revelations, which led to a media circus and ultimately contributed to end of both the Vietnam conflict and the presidency of Richard Nixon.

In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a high-level Pentagon official and Vietnam War strategist, concludes that the war is based on decades of lies and leaks 7,000 pages of top secret documents to The New York Times, making headlines around the world.
The Most Dangerous Man in America is a riveting story of how one man’s profound change of heart created a landmark struggle involving America’s newspapers, president and Supreme Court– a political thriller whose events led directly to Watergate, Nixon’s resignation and the end of the Vietnam War.


Sponsored by Loyola University Department of Sociology and Chicago ALBA Solidarity.   Stan Smith, 773-322-3168 stansfieldsmith100@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s