While income inequality and class divides seem more pronounced than ever before, PLUTOCRACY: POLITICAL REPRESSION IN THE USA reveals that these struggles pre-date an industrialized labor force – and that the long and painful journey towards achieving worker rights and fair wages has been marked by violence, discrimination, and inhumane exploitation.
In part one, "Divide et Impera (Divide and Rule),” filmmaker Scott Noble focuses on the ways in which... [see more] the American people have historically been divided on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex and skill level.
Through this lens class warfare, the film chronicles historic conflicts such as the Civil War draft riots, the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, the Haymarket Affair of 1886, the Homestead Strike of 1892, and the West Virginian coal wars of the early 20th century which culminated in the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain.
PLUTOCRACY makes a strong case that U.S. history is born out of these titanic struggles, and that the power of the ruling class is based on its willingness to use the most vicious violence and divisive policies to achieve its end.
The film shows how time and again, workers used strikes to fight extreme working conditions plagued by brutalizing hours, unprecedented accident rates and severe health hazards, while the wealthy industrialists embraced the use of violence against them in the form of state militias, private "detective agencies" like the Pinkertons, and even federal troops.
As the chronicle moves into the early 1920’s, part two, "Solidarity Forever,” focuses on how workers transcended divisions to create solidarity and power.
As evidenced by each installment’s abundance of powerful images, PLUTOCRACY does not shy away from the brutal history of industrial capitalism. Instead, it ably weaves a history of struggle in which men and women force changes in their conditions and society around them.
Throughout history, liberty has come at a cost far more profound than dollars and cents. PLUTOCRACY honors the sacrifices of all those who have battled to win the freedoms we enjoy today, and reminds us of the importance of demanding equality for all and speaking truth to power.