Plutocracy III: Class War

2017, History  -   15 Comments

The early struggles of the working class are placed under a microscope in Plutocracy III: Class War, the latest chapter in an exceptionally well produced series which explores the origins of America's growing economic divide.

Without a doubt, the clashes between worker rights and corporate interests are prominent in today's political and economic landscape, but they're not a modern phenomenon by any means. These imbalances, and the wealth inequalities that have resulted in their wake, have existed for generations. The filmmakers provide a searing portrait of the brave workers who fought for true democracy in the early decades of the 20th century.

The film begins with the titan of the labor movement during that period - Mary Harris "Mother" Jones. A galvanizing presence who spent her life inspiring a working class revolution, Jones rallied a coalition of miners from Ludlow, Colorado in 1914. These miners worked under heinous conditions and for little pay in a coal operation owned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Their determination knew no bounds; when the company cast the striking miners and their families out of their homes, they defiantly set up a colony of tents and continued their fight for fairness.

Their stand-off ended in tragedy. The National Guard was deployed and unleashed gun fire into the colony, senselessly massacring men, women and children. This appalling event sparked outrage and public protest across the United States.

The bulk of the film examines the impact of World War I on the labor movement, a conflict that saw the slaughter and disfigurement of a generation. The war provided further evidence of the class divide, and would propel labor advocacy efforts among all genders and races.

All of this culminated in the rise of the Socialist Party and the radical International Workers of the World organization, as well as the events of 1919, a year that saw 22.5% of the work force in strike mode.

Plutocracy III: Class War offers invaluable historical insights from a panel of historians and labor advocates. Their deeply human narrative is assisted by a briskly edited barrage of stock footage, archive materials, and other provocative imagery.

Directed by: Scott Noble
Ratings: 8.65/10from 81 users.

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15 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Urban dweller

    Dustup: If the playing field was simply honest (unlike Trump campaigning for one thing but switching gears in office) then capitalism could work.
    But how is it that "socialism" works in other western countries? Magic? Or have they simply defined a moral compass for their country over and above money (capitalism)? Because life/work isn't just about money (capitalism). It's about balance. Work/life balance. The world is made up of "people" living, changing, growing organisms - not categories, numbers and dollars! Get off the capitalistic bandwagon and vote for a higher level of awareness for humanity! Vote for candidates who don't take PAC money! Simple.
    No corporate PAC money (capitalism) in order to vote for a candidate who will support "working" adults as opposed to "mega"corporations.

  2. DustUp

    Although WW1 was before Stalin's reign, his words are educational:
    "World dictatorship can be established only when the victory of Socialism has been achieved in certain countries or groups of countries ... [and] when these federation of republics have finally grown into a world union of Soviet Socialist Republics uniting the whole of mankind under the hegemony of the international proletariat organized as a state."

    "Unions are the perfect training ground for Socialists."

    "The press must grow day in and day out - it is our Party's sharpest and most powerful weapon." DUnote: Still is. The socialist media is strong as ever here in the usa.

    "It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."
    --Joseph Stalin

    Rather than a Plutocracy, it seems those times and most times since, depict an idiocracy. Two major sides, both doing bad and wrong things to retain or gain power. The greed of a few too many who hide behind corporations is quite amazing. Just as bad, the wrongheaded greed of unions to extort, which is much easier than to compete in business.

    With all the members of the IWW why did they fail to start a business to fulfill their stated goal of being anti wage and share in the rewards? Because they were in a different business. The business of destruction of Capitalism in favor of Socialism and managed to round up a number of recruits who believed their propaganda, that their vision was better, when it was far worse. Socialism simply steals from the workers to give to others creating a severe lack of motivation; hence bare store shelves in the Soviet Union when I was a kid.

    Let's not forget that in the WW2 era, Rockefeller, Ford, JP Morgan and a few others favored Socialism because they wanted ever more control over the workers while getting rid of the competition. Socialism being far more corrupt than Capitalism, the corporations tight with govt simply have the competitors contracts terminated, with no recourse. Yes that can occur in Capitalism but there are at least a few avenues of recourse.

    Like everything else, unions can be corrupted for the benefit of corporations, to strike when it is in the best interests of the corporation when they have temporarily over produced or the economy has stumbled not needing as much of their product.

    In the early part of this docu, clearly the union leaders care not for the worker, switching to favor the wars. How much were they paid? It seems little has changed because the nature of these type of robber barrons has not changed. I think there is a docu on this site which talks of Psychopaths in business or some such.

    If one watched closely, they saw where laws were passed against the Constitution, by Congress, facilitating most of the abuse. Congress had to fund the FBI, etc. Since nothing was accomplished at the necessary levels, being legislatures and Congress, the people failing to get laws passed in their favor, removing unconstitutional laws, or facilitating a means of ousting all office holders, including supreme court members who fail to follow the constitution they take an oath to uphold, the people volunteer for their own misery, death, and destruction.

    Thus it seemed it will always be since enough of the people are too lazy to toss the bums out of office and see to it honest wise decent appropriate freedom loving Constitution following individuals are running from all parties for all offices, in numbers, so it will not matter who the major media watching fools vote for, someone decent will get in to straighten things out, drain the corrupt swamp. That of course would require close monitoring of all voting apparati, counts, etc. The people are just too lazy. Much easier to shout and blow up some bombs and pretend you are doing something when you aren't at all, really. It seems a miracle Trump managed to win despite all the vote rigging. I would bet he won the popular vote as well were it not for that. It is a rare time in history when someone who isn't beholden to the corporations is at the helm. Hopefully more good will come of it despite the socialist media propaganda.

    @Peter seems to be a propagandist or confused. If the negative aspects which can occur with Capitalism due to greed (but not necessarily so for less greedy Capitalists) are considered "vulgar", then by any measure so to is Socialism vulgar in its own greed, oppression of those who disagree with their methods, threats and outright theft of the rights of the very workers they claim to support, theft of what they produce to give to others, and extortion of those they should pool their resources to compete in the marketplace with, if they don't like the situation offered.

    IWW had one big flaw. The result it sought was worse than what it was fighting against. It sought Socialism the lite version of Communism the not so lite version of Totalitarianism. It was filled with what Lenin and Stalin would call useful idiots. Those working to put themselves in a large set of chains than they had before.

    One wonders who and what was behind many of the unions? I could imagine some to be supported by the Soviets. Or supported by corporations to expose and eliminate the "trouble makers".

    IN Conclusion: Today just as then, we have an idiocracy with two major opposing sides: Corporations and Socialism pretending to fight to destroy the other when NEITHER should survive. Both are bad, together they are bad. Charity or caring for those in need has nothing to do with stealing from others, skimming most of that in govt salaries, and dribbling a little bit to the downtrodden to buy their votes. It has to do with a community taking care of their own in need. It is NOT the job of govt. They don't know how to do anything worthwhile at all. They just know how to steal, which is simply far worse under Socialism. Govt is run by attorneys, the most morally corrupt and parasitic of all "professions" outside and inside of govt. Socialism = more govt = more theft = less freedom. Please read about the beginning of this nation, when the whites first landed and nearly starved until they tossed socialism. Please read The Constitution, how it was written to benefit YOU not any other group or class or corporation. Realize that corporations were only for public works projects like road building, originally, until attorneys managed to create a monster that psychopaths could hide behind. Roll that back along with govt and the economic activity that freedom creates will astound.

    My grandfather lived through those times depicted in this docu. He never mentioned any of this. He was too busy working his hiney off so he could open a store and later go into another business. Unions like to portray that they are pushed to the limit and so are justified in doing bad things. I know people who LEFT the mines and moved to another part of the country for other opportunities. Why is it that some would rather cause death and mayhem than to better their condition elsewhere? Can't afford to move? It truly seems they could not afford to stay.

    1. J Rushy

      Your a complete nut job trying to normalize lunacy with typing more words than needed to explain a basic situation. Capitalists exploit and workers are exploited. The whole system is built off this one simple premise. The problems we have today all grow and are systemically built off of this. Do not over complicate a subject matter by saying both sides are bad. Capitalism is a parasitic, self destroying system of unsustainable growth with one target of shareholder wealth at any cost. My point again, is that these situations are extremely simple to wrap your mind around, that is why we are not taught about these points in history. People who labor are exploited, and people who control the means of production and wealth are the exploiters. Simple.

  3. now appearing

    Informative, clear, interesting. A well made documentary indeed.

  4. Camille

    Great job!!
    I LOVE how the text is neutral and voice tranquil, as opposed to the sequence of sensational stupid comments of History Channel 'popular' documentaries.

  5. mark

    Excellent film. History is certainly repeating itself today.

  6. filippos

    Excellent! Revealing the true history of USA

  7. Last viewer

    Too bad the format is Vimeo. I'm only at high speed DSL here.
    So, it freeze every once in a while even if I set Vimeo at its lowest quality.
    In hope that it'll be re-encode soon.
    I quit.

  8. joe nobull

    the fed whispers into the ears of its war dogs 'corporations' whom it never punishes,only rewards

  9. joe nobull

    there is an alien on earth,its name is 'corporation',this alien has no conscious,no heart,no arms or legs,its invisible and cannot be physically touched.

  10. Loraine james

    very sound comment here Peter, the two halves must unit and become whole. The head capitalism and the body/heart socialism .

  11. Peter

    Capitalism (Pure/Vulgar) and Socialism (Socialist) are two extreme ends of the social organisation of the means of our survival. It is traced to the material (body - mass) and the social (soul - rule).

    The head is separated from the body and you see the separation of the system is incompatible with Democracy or Equality. The only way for relative peace is to unite in diversity. And this requires a formal science that renders a moral sanction. It’s a movement upward from the body/material to the heart and soul - emotional intelligence. But this movement is now hijacked by technological development – AI and Data; a war between humans and robots.

    Capitalism and Socialism each alone dwells in the subjective abyss. But united gives rise not to Capitalism or Socialism but to Social Capitalism – unity between the two is uniting the body and head.

    And Social Capitalism is maintained by objective links between individuals, their communities and like Freetrade Agreements between nations.

    It is also subject to power play of unilateral dictate, but may not succeed in a group of binding parties. Example; Trump and Brexit.

  12. SP

    With numbers

  13. butters

    @bart Definitely not by a Food Fight. ;)

  14. bart

    How do poor people fight a class war?