Plutocracy II: Solidarity Forever

Plutocracy II: Solidarity Forever

2016, Society  -   15 Comments
Ratings: 8.60/10 from 144 users.

Income inequality may be a hot topic during the current American election season, but it's also a stark reality that has plagued the country for hundreds of years. That sad history foreshadows what many are still grappling with today. The feature-length documentary Plutocracy II: Solidarity Forever is a studious and well-produced portrayal of America's long-standing clashes between the working-class and the industrial beast.

The film, which is the second part of an ongoing historical series, covers the seminal labor-related events which occurred between the late 1800's and the 1920's. Its subtitle refers to a 1915 song composed by Ralph Chaplin as an anthem for unionized workers. The film itself is the cinematic version of that anthem, as it allows us a comprehensive understanding of the need for these early labor unions, and the enormous sacrifices of its members to ensure fairness, safety, and equality in the workplace.

The operations of industries like railroads, steel and coal were characterized by slave wages, dangerous working environments, punishing hours, and child labor. With the birth of the labor unions, these industries were forced to re-examine their worker policies or run the risk of losing their businesses altogether. One of the earliest examples of this is the formation of the American Railroad Union in 1893, an event that is prominently featured in the film. After the organization won early successes in recovering wages for denigrated workers, its popularity skyrocketed among the working class. But the heads of industry soon fought back with their far-reaching strong-arm influence, and subsequent public strikes were marred by violence, oppression and unlawful arrests.

Modern political junkies will find special relevance in the film's portrayal of Eugene V. Debs, a co-founder of Industrialized Workers of the World, aka the Wobblies, who eschewed divisions based on race, sex, skill level etc. The film devotes an inordinate amount of attention to their actions in the film, including the remarkable free speech fights in California. In this age of Bernie Sanders and his message of democratic socialism, it is surprising to learn that Debs' popularity in the early twentieth century was particularly pronounced in states that lean heavily conservative today.

Also, the director explores the still-controversial "Propaganda of the Deed" campaign, which was essentially a terrorist campaign against moneyed elites by anarchists. He doesn't pass judgement on these actions, but he concludes that their ultimate effect was to increase the power of the police state.

Plutocracy II: Solidarity Forever is essential viewing for those with an interest in America's class struggles, and the ongoing efforts to level the playing field between the haves and the have nots.

The other parts:
Plutocracy I: Political Repression in the USA
Plutocracy III: Class War
Plutocracy IV: Gangsters for Capitalism
Plutocracy V: Subterranean Fire

Directed by: Scott Noble

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Cory Zavoskey
2 years ago

Plutocracy II: Solidarity Forever
The voice-over has an incorrect pronunciation (making it the wrong word). The female narrator misspoke when saying, "... cachet of arms". The correct word is cache (pronounced cash).

Whoever reviews speakers' work before accepting it as FINAL dropped the ball here. Both words can be found in any dictionary if there are questions as to the meaning. This amazing piece of work deserves to have this correction made.

james b myers
2 years ago

It is really sad how we put our trust in the ones that you all vote for. I say you all cause I do not vote for these crooks. I am free from my mind to see that they are all crooks and gangsters. It is really sad to know that the government has the people stupified to believe that they are for the people when they are not. IF you look at the constitution and really read it with an open mind, you will see that it is all about the rich and not the poor. It really not a race thing, it is all about the ones who have the power. The world was founded on hate and racism. YOur founding fathers were all slave owners as well as the Quakers, yes the Quakers, they too owned slaves. So when will the world wake up and see the truth? Never. It is much to late in the game now. The damge has been done. Peace

5 years ago

Tried to watch this on Youtube, but there was no sound to the doc???

6 years ago

Thought provoking. Hope this will become part of the curriculum in schools.

6 years ago

I can't believe only 221 people have watched this. We are asleep at the wheel. I have seen it many times and have encouraged my friends to watch.
6 years ago

yes a true time in our history when unions struggled to form ... What happened to the IWW? ... will very much be interested in the series... would be good if we could form a union much the same where all workers are united... one reality we must face is it would be far more difficult in our current times to organize and really obtain a victory ...

6 years ago

and yet this struggle continues until today, I wish more people were interested in such documentaries , they enlighten you about the brutality of our social / economic societies of the western world.

6 years ago

Very informative but very slow and boring. We need to get to the point to turn this around. Who owns what?

6 years ago

The perfect documentary for our time, here lies the root of the capitalist control system in the USA. All of Scott Noble's documentaries are excellent, please consider donating to help him finish this series. Too important to ignore.

Swifty Mcsnuffins
6 years ago

Great documentary, really was useful in the 19th century.

6 years ago

Rich, textured, and visually stunning; yet detailed, interesting and totally accurate. This deserves to be in the Highest Rated column on the right-hand-side.

6 years ago

sorry. was too impatient...all good

6 years ago

the doc is not streaming