Two fascinating documentaries on one disc. Each tackles the politics and history of American anarchism in a unique, engaging, and often hilarious manner.
Anarchism in America (1983) For the first, Anarchism in America, filmmakers Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher took a rambling cross-country trip. Their mission was to search out evidence of anarchist activity in communities from rural Atkins Bay, Maine to cosmopolitan San Francisco. A strange cast of characters emerged. Starting with the premise that Americans embody anarchist principles of freedom and independence, the filmmakers were not disappointed. Along with archival footage of luminaries like Emma Goldman, they introduce us to Mildred Loomis, 80-years-old and still advocating back to the land individualism; beat poet Kenneth Rexroth: science fiction author Ursula Le Guin; long-distance trucker Li'l John; punk rockers the Dead Kennedvs; and, among many others, AK Press author Murray Bookchin. The Free Voice of Labor: The Jewish Anarchists (1980) The second film, The Free Voice of Labor: The Jewish Anarchists, traces the history of a Yiddish anarchist newspaper - publishing it's final issue after 87 years. Narrated by anarchist historian Paul Avrich, the story is mostly told by the newspaper's now eldery, but decidedly unbowed staff. It's the story of one of the largest radical movements among Jewish immigrant workers in the 19th and 20th centuries, the conditions that led them to band together, their fight to build trade unions, their huge differences with the Communists, their attitudes toward violence, Yiddish culture, and their loyalty to one another.
Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher. since studying with Martin Scorsese in 1969, have been making Emmy and Guggenheim award-winning non-fiction films that explore American social history.
Paul Avrich, Jello Biafra, Murray Bookchin, Emma Goldman, Karl Hess, Irving Abrams, Abe Bluestein, Fanny Breslow, Joe Conason, James Dick, Sam Dolgoff, Sonia Farber, Franz Fleigler, Emma Cohen Gilbert, Clara Larsen, Sara Rothman, Ahrne Thorne, Charles Zimmerman