Plutocracy: Political Repression in the USA

Plutocracy: Political Repression in the USA

2015, Politics  -   25 Comments
Ratings: 8.73/10 from 215 users.

Income inequality has become a key hot button issue in the modern day political spectrum. While these economic and class divides seem more pronounced than ever before, the impressive new documentary Plutocracy: Political Repression in the USA reveals that the core of these struggles pre-date the beginnings of the industrialized labor force. The long and painful journey towards achieving worker rights and fair wages has been marked by violence, discrimination, and inhumane exploitation.

Take, for example, the West Virginia coal mining industry in the early years of the 20th century. Working under extreme conditions plagued by brutalizing hours, unprecedented accident rates and severe health hazards, the miners decided to fight back through strikes and the formation of their own labor union. The industry itself chose to fight back with the importation of replacement workers, and the structuring of new contracts which disallowed workers from joining a union. The fight for freedom from the tyranny of wealthy industrialists was fraught by thousands of lives lost, and many more wounded and incarcerated.

As the film makes clear, the country's founding fathers saw the potential for such class conflicts even before industrialized capitalism made its way to America's shores. During the Civil War, which ranks as the most devastating union conflict in the history of the United States, hundreds of thousands of casualties occurred, many of which were from the poorest populations. The wealthiest figures of the day paid destitute soldiers to fight on their behalf, and some like business magnate John D. Rockefeller could escape the burdens of service by making a cash payment of three hundred dollars.

Throughout history, liberty has come at a cost far more profound than dollars and cents. Change only becomes possible when the working masses band together under the shelter of a common cause of fair and equal rights. Plutocracy: Political Repression in the USA is a smart and engrossing tale of an issue which continues to drive economic instability and power dynamics today. The film 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.

The other parts:
Plutocracy II: Solidarity Forever
Plutocracy III: Class War
Plutocracy IV: Gangsters for Capitalism
Plutocracy V: Subterranean Fire

Directed by: Scott Noble

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Petra Idalia Hernandez
8 months ago

I've stopped watching videos without cc. Can't understand them well.

2 years ago

Why are there no Closed Captions.

Fabula Aeternum
3 years ago

If you liked this and/or Zinn's "A People's History of the United States," I recommend you pick up a copy of Chris Harman's "A People's History of the World." It follows the same pattern of approaching history through the lens of class, but he details all of anthropological history, world history, and US history. He even adds a lot to the US history on top of Zinn and this documentary. It's the best history book I've ever read, if I were a world history teacher or any history teacher, it would be my core "textbook" for the class. I have read hundreds of history/anthro books, and I have never learned so much from a single book than Harman's.

R Harrington
5 years ago

Sad to learn America's Labor problems are recycling!

6 years ago

Money is not the problem. The problem is far more difficult to grasp and manage; else why would we continue to see these powers with abuse and neglect across societies, centuries, indeed, millennia, race, culture, creed? The strongest predictor of class in Boston is the pronunciation of a specific phoneme (a phoneme is to spoken language what a letter is to the written representation, 'a', 'b', 'c', 'd', etc.) A PENN psycholinguist researched predictors of class and published these findings 30-40 years ago. Social structures are embedded in the syntax of language, not the semantics. Does anyone reading this wonder where to place the nouns in sentences, or what tense of verb to use? Young children develop facility with their native languages long before they go to school; so long as they interact with other people children learn to speak language grammatically within the first 4 years of life. There are words for this type of knowledge: 'procedural', or 'implicit'. Knowledge we acquire through behavior and express through behavior; it is largely knowledge not held consciously in the mind. Problems with behavior must be resolved with adding more behaviors. We need to construct more systems of language with which to modify our behaviors, and add behaviors with which to modify speech. This is the only long term solution to the problem with brokering power in society. Mind your language. ALL the customs of society are embedded in the syntax: gender, race, marriage, parenting, wealth and right and wrong. Control yourself. Learn. Add skills. Exercise your mind and your body. Stay away from any programming that someone pays for. Television, movies, news media: if it is sponsored it is laced with implicit messages that you only perceive implicitly. Implicit knowledge drives behavior; until and unless it is brought into awareness. Go to the website 'project implicit' by Dr. Banaji at Harvard. Learn about the science behind what I am saying. Begin by learning 'finite' thinking and proper use of pronouns as follows: all I have is my substantive experience. The pronoun 'I' is frequently substituted with the pronoun 'you', the general 'you'. Notice this!! Notice how often people speak this way. There is no general you. The word references no one. It is a word for the disenfranchised disembodied human being. Infinite thinking involves use of the words 'always', 'never', 'can't'. So long as these words are used without a specified context, these words will disempower human beings. Emotion will be experienced as either overwhelming or hopeless. Discretionary control over your own behavior is abdicated. Control yourself. I find it very difficult to exercise self-control and I've been working at this for 40 years.

7 years ago

It is good to know that America's inception, and more than a century after, was even worse than it is now. Very informative doc. I honestly wasn't aware that disparity was even worse (from QOL standpoint, not necessarily economical) back then than it is now.

7 years ago

Excellent documentary! Explains a lot of what's still happening the "Make America Great Again" mindset. Living next door, maybe we in Canada should build a wall just to keep that mindset at bay.

7 years ago

Excellent Film it shows me why Bernie Sanders was such a phenomenon although he was set up for defeat by the powers that be.

Chichi Hermosa
7 years ago

Because of our Latino children have a lot to lose if "Adolph" Trump, we MUST know the U.S. History to pass it on to our newer generations; so they: 1) can appreciate what they have now; 2) know it has not been easy for minorities in the US. 3) can appreciate the people who has fought for us to have some rights. 4) can defend their rights as human being. 5) know that if they do not study, they cannot advance in the future. etc. Spread the word. Let us empower our Latino people, not with violence, but with knowledge.

Chichi Hermosa
7 years ago

Is this the MAke American Great "Adoplph" Trump is offering? Brutal Capitalism is very bad for middle and lower classes.

7 years ago

Why does it end with "end of Part 1"? Is there more than 1 hour, 49 minutes? Or a continuation under another title?

This is very, very good. Follows a lot of Zinn's book, "A People's History of the United States" which is already terrific.

Tanya Robinson
7 years ago

as well as brutal, violent suppression, oppression and exploitation of huge class of folks by big business families (rockefellers, jp morgan, hearst, railroads, and more named). A MUST-SEE FOR EVERY AMERICAN!!

Tanya Robinson
7 years ago

this is one of the best docs i've seen! really shows the rich elite business class' exploitation, oppression, and suppression of human and workers' rights continuously throughout our american history! it is NOT the history we all learned in our american education system!! there were the 'have everything's class dominance over the 'have nothing's class of immigrants, slaves, servants, labor unions, women, and children!! shocking, and undeniably true!!

Mahmoud BouRaad
7 years ago

Values mater. So does freedom.
You better call it the Dark History of the Americas.
The Secret of Happiness is Freedom and the Secret of Freedom is Courage...

7 years ago

Good history lesson on capitalists enslaving the poor to keep the cash coming, also good information on racism and how division was a seed sown for the benefit of business and government interests, something we still see to this day. United we stand.

7 years ago

Some things never change, even as the techniques become more sophisticated.
Skilled and unskilled labor are still victims of internal prejudice and manipulation. Government officials are still duplicitous. A-moralists are still infiltrating and inciting controversy. The wealthy are still relying on the weak willed to do their bidding.

No Solutions Given
7 years ago

Documentaries that parade repression and oppression with ZERO solutions are documentaries that are working for the repressors and oppressors. I try to avoid these documentaries. This one is dark & gloomy and devoid of optimism. Although the history is cool, they overdo it. Where is the Hope? This is happening today with African Americans while apathetic Whites are sitting on the sidelines. Surely you know your government is making an example of them to keep you in line. Surely you know Technology will continue to take your jobs. And Surely you know the Bankers who are the oil barons are crumbling the American and European economies along with their shadowry posse. Watch 'four horsemen' documentary produced by Renegadeeconomist. They explain WHY these fiendish goons do what they do. This documentary is Darkness Devoid of Depth.

7 years ago

Why were the "expert" speakers not identified? I would like to know who they were.

7 years ago

if I'm not mistaken that's where the term Redneck originated as the workers wore red scarves to show solidarity

Roger Andout
7 years ago

Very informative and surprisingly balanced, especially the segment outlining racism within the labour movement itself. Not at all boring, as previously commented.

JC Tripp
7 years ago

Incredibly enlightening doc on the long struggle for rights by America's labor force, with deep insights into our racial divide, and why. Considering the plight of workers in this country today, it seems like nothing has changed. Watch, listen, learn and then educate those around you.

7 years ago

Excellent film. Robotics has and continues to replace human workers in previously excellent paying jobs in the auto and other industries. Robots have no rights, work 24/7, need no medical or retirement benefits. Most secretarial staffs have been replaced with voice recognition software and high end word processing. Yet, we middle class workers are taught to believe the technological revolution is good. Those in power tell us we need more education, yet after spending tens of thousands of dollars on higher education, we still are underemployed and have become deep in debt. Another documentary on, "Will Work For Food," shows the callus attitude of the film makers toward this growing technocracy through their glorification of technological advances, eliminating career after career for 2 hours while devoting only 30 seconds to the 'UNEASY PERIOD OF MASS POVERTY AND STARVATION" that is expected in the transition from human labor to robotic labor. Watch both films to see the history and the future of plutocracy.

button lady
7 years ago

Really good labor history lesson. I was pretty vague on Shay's rebellion, for only one of many examples. The comment about American corporatists using their own private militias really struck a bell with all the organizers being murdered in Central America, Hope these folks do more like this!

freedom1st time
7 years ago

as long as there is money, human will be thought of as property to be owned.

7 years ago

It starts off a bit slow and boring, but in the end, it was a beautiful history lesson