Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

April 11, 2014

No God, No Master

Filed under: anarchism,Film,repression — louisproyect @ 7:24 pm

Although marred by a clumsy script, weak character development, tone-deaf dialogue, implausible coincidences, amateurish acting, and an obtrusive film score, “No God, No Master” is one of the more important films showing in New York right now. What saves it is the theme, which is the historical background to the Palmer Raids of 1919 that led to the arrest and pending deportation of 10,000 Americans in the aftermath of an anarchist bombing campaign meant as retaliation for the Ludlow Massacre of 1914.

Among the historical figures that are depicted in the film are:

  • William J. Flynn, the chief of the bomb squad in New York where most of the action takes place
  • J. Edgar Hoover
  • Mitchell Palmer
  • John D. Rockefeller
  • Emma Goldman
  • Carlo Tresca, the anarchist leader who served on the Dewey Commission to clear Leon Trotsky of the charges leveled by Stalin
  • Sacco and Vanzetti
  • Louise Berger, an anarchist who plotted to kill Rockefeller
  • Luigi Galleani, one of Berger’s co-conspirators

As you sit watching the film, you forgive all the miscues since it is mostly faithful to historical details except for one just barely forgivable peccadillo. Played by the incomparable David Strathairn, William J. Flynn is depicted as a free speech liberal challenging Palmer and J. Edgar Hoover on the need to deport radicals simply for their ideas. The connections to today’s world are palpable.

The film was actually made in 2009 and only found a distributor five years later. One supposes if Green made a mumblecore movie about a couple of college drop-outs who decide to become pimps, it would have been jumped on immediately. Of course, it is up to malcontents like us to patronize the Quad Cinema in New York where it opens today so that Hollywood understands that indie films about serious topics have an audience.

4 Comments »

  1. Any idea if this will ever make it to dvd? Don’t expect to see it at the local megaplex!

    Comment by Bill — April 11, 2014 @ 7:40 pm

  2. Bill, check here for news on such matters: http://www.montereymedia.com/

    Comment by louisproyect — April 11, 2014 @ 10:37 pm

  3. Wow. Sounds horrible.

    Comment by St.Paul — April 12, 2014 @ 1:30 am

  4. There are political red lines in Hollywood that have zero to do with the demands of the market.

    Market dogma instructs us that XP should continue being supported. Yup.

    Faith in the market to change anything is for suckas.

    Comment by jeff — April 13, 2014 @ 3:35 pm


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