Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 21, 2020

Great documentaries from Socially Relevant films, see them for free tomorrow and Saturday

Filed under: Film — louisproyect @ 12:17 am

Tomorrow and Saturday, Socially Relevant Films will be showing Black Voices documentaries for free. I reviewed two of them for CounterPunch. “Isaac Pope: the Spirit of an American Century” appeared as part of the 2019 festival, about which I wrote:

Grandson of slaves, and a child of Garveyite sharecropping parents, he joined the army in the 1930s like many men, including my father, for gainful employment. Pope ended up in the all-Black 969th Artillery Battalion, the first black battalion to fight in World War II and in the Battle of the Bulge. The battalion was commanded by a Jewish captain whose daughter produced the film. The 969th Battalion was critical for the survival of the American GIs under siege at Bastogne, where my father earned a Bronze Star delivering food and water to the men of the 101stAirborne.

 “Stonewall with a T” was scheduled for this year’s festival that had to be cancelled because of the pandemic. My CounterPunch review appeared only days before the festival was supposed to begin. Like the Isaac Pope film, I found it deeply informative as I stated in the review:

Directed by Samy Nemir Olivares, a gay Puerto Rican immigrant and media activist, this film examines the rift between transgender people and the gay movement in the years following the Stonewall riot. While you are accustomed to seeing the case for LGBT rights today, for a number of years the T was absent.

Despite being sympathetic to transgender rights, gay men in leadership positions felt that legislators in both Albany and Washington would not pass a bill that included gender identity. The irony, as the film points out, is that it was transgender women who finally stood up and resisted the cops back in 1969.

Nora Armani, the founder of Socially Relevant films, contacted me about doing a “Meet the Filmmakers” session with the people who made the two films being shown. The discussions were really great. Paula Caplan, who produced the Isaac Pope documentary, is a Research Associate and Voices of Diversity Project Director at the DuBois Institute of Harvard University. We agreed to stay in touch after the session since a new film she is working on deserves wide-spread attention.

One of the great revelations in the discussion about “Stonewall with a T” was hearing about the state of the transgender justice movement right now. Tanya Walker, one of the transgender women who appeared in the film, is a remarkably powerful speaker for the cause with a ton of experience. If you are just getting up to speed on this vitally important social movement that the rightwing (and even people like JK Rowling) are trying to demonize, this is a good YouTube video to watch.


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