Film and Discussion
Saturday, June 18, 2011
The Brecht Forum, 451 West Street
(between Bank & Bethune Streets, Manhattan)
4 to 6 pm
Former Political Prisoners Shaba Om, Laura Whitehorn,
Beginning in the 1950s with a focus on the Puerto
Rican independence movement and continuing
through the 1960s and into the 1970s when much of
its focus had shifted to the Black Liberation,
Chicano Liberation and American Indian Movements,
COINTELPRO racked up a number of assassinations,
false imprisonments and ruined lives. No
government official was ever punished for actions
taken under the program's auspices.
The film by Freedom Archives details this history
through the artful use of still photos and moving
images of the period covered. Films of police
attacks and protests; still photos of
revolutionary leaders and police murders
graphically remind the viewer of Washington's
willingness to do whatever it takes to maintain its control.
Organizers who began their political activity
during the time of Cointelpro discuss the effect
the program had on them and the organizations and
individuals they worked with. Indeed, several of
the interviewees were themselves targets and
spent years in prison (some under false
accusations, as in the case of Geronimo ji-Jaga Pratt)
or on the run.
Former Black Panther member Kathleen Cleaver
states toward the end of the film that Cointelpro
represented the efforts of a political police
force making the decision as to what is allowed
politically and what is not. Anything outside the
parameters set by this force was fair game.
Nothing that was done by government officials or
private groups and individuals acting on the
government's behalf was perceived as wrong or
illegal. As Attorney Bob Boyle makes clear in his
final statement in the film, Cointelpro is alive
and well. The only difference now is that most of
what was illegal for the government to do during
Cointelpro's official existence is now legal. The
PATRIOT Act and other laws associated with the
creation of the Department of Homeland Security
have insured this.
Cointelpro 101 is a well made and appealing
primer on the history of the US police state.
Produced, written and directed by individuals who
have themselves been the target of tactics
documented in the film, it has an authenticity
and immediacy that pulls the viewer in. Although
too short to cover the history in as full detail
as some may desire, the film's intelligence and
conscientious presentation of the historical
narrative makes it a film that the student, the
citizen and the activist can all appreciate.
Light Refreshments will be Served!
Sponsored by: NYC Jericho Movement, Malcolm X
NYC Leonard Peltier Defense-Offense Ctte,
ProLibertad, NYC Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition
For more information:
Wednesday, June 08, 2011