Oct. 30, 2020
PROXY [virtual] FALL FILM FESTIVAL, VOLUME FIVE
Our final [virtual] FALL FILM FESTIVAL installment is here, and we wanted to end on a note of empowerment in these oft-deflating times. Our selection of films, articles, and, this week, a podcast explore the thoughts and processes of revolutionary thinkers, past and present. We hope the golden thread of community power that runs through these selections will run right into you, too.
Thanks for joining us for the [virtual] FALL FILM FESTIVAL this month. We can’t wait to see you in person again.
THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE (1967-1975)
Directed by Göran Olsson, 2011
From 1967 – 1975, a Swedish filmmaking crew traveled across the Atlantic to explore the American Black power and anti-war movements. The reels sat unused for three decades, before another Swedish filmmaker, Goran Olsson, discovered them in the basement of the Swedish National Broadcasting Company. Weaving together original footage with contemporary interviews with Black artists, activists, and scholars, BLACK POWER MIXTAPE presents valuable insight into an often maligned moment in the ongoing fight for Black liberation.
Watch on YOUTUBE
FREEDOM ON MY MIND
Directed by Marilyn Mulford and Connie Field, 1994 [not-rated]
FREEDOM ON MY MIND chronicles the Mississippi voter registration campaign from 1961 to 1964, an inspiring push against the one-party totalitarian rule of the Jim Crow South. The film covers the violence wrought by whites in power upon the activists looking to register and enfranchise Black Mississippians — including the murder of civil rights activist Herbert Lee by a state senator in 1961 — as well as the ingenious political and logistical maneuvering of the state’s young, Black organizers. The film is a reminder of the dictatorial reality of American politics through much of the 20th century, and the uplifting power of an organized and principled resistance.
Watch on VIMEO
THE CARCERAL STATE
Ameer Hassan Loggins, PhD, writes in Level about the connection between the the horrors of the African slave trade and the horrors of the modern day carceral state in America — and the levers of control that link the two. Historically informed and beautifully written, his piece illuminates the injustices baked into our institutions and the need for an activism that extends beyond electoral politics. After all, California, with it’s Democratic supermajority, still relies on prison labor to fight its wildfires, a modern form of slave labor.
THE FREE BREAKFAST PROGRAM
In a piece from October 2019, KQED’s Pendarvis Harshaw interviews Billy X Jennings, longtime archivist of the Black Panther Party, about the Panther’s Free Breakfast Program, a revolutionary yet radically simple program serving school kids. Founded in Oakland in 1969, the program was simultaneously targeted by the FBI and replicated across the country as a permanent entitlement program in 1975. Reflecting on the ongoing crises of homelessness and food insecurity, Jennings calls for neighbors to be more solution minded:
“You start programs, you take care of your people, and then you start a clinic. The professional people from our community who went to college, or went and got the skills, you give them an institution where they can provide, where they can help, you know?”
A FUTURE FOR HOUSING
Matthew Bernard reported this lengthy piece on a group of Minneapolis tenants who, through collective action, organization, and sheer willpower, purchased their apartment building from their landlord to convert it into affordable, collective housing. The article explores the long and tumultuous history of housing rights in the United States, and the recent rising tide of tenants’ organizations blooming nationwide. An incredible showing of determination and community solidarity, this story makes clear that new futures can be forged through community activism – starting with thinking beyond what we feel is possible.
THE BLACK LIFE PODCAST
The BLACK LIFE PODCAST is an endeavor by the BAMPFA that explores the vitality of contemporary Black culture in the Bay Area and beyond. Hosted by Oakland local Ryanaustin Dennis, the series includes interviews with Black artists, activists, and creators about their work and lives to further flesh out their present conditions and future aspirations.
You can listen to a recent interview with Oakland producer and artist MAHAWAM here, or check out their archive of episodes here.
PEOPLE’S BREAKFAST OAKLAND
People’s Breakfast Oakland is a grassroots, community-led group that feeds, clothes, and provides hygiene packs and tents to anyone who needs them. Their model of building community capacity is inspired by the work of the Black Panther Party, and includes a community garden to work towards food autonomy. Check out their linktree for ways to contribute, and tune into their Hella Black Podcast for political education.
EAST OAKLAND COLLECTIVE
East Oakland Collective is a community organizing group investing in addressing racial and economic inequality in deep East Oakland. Their work and programming focuses on civic engagement and leadership, community empowerment, and homeless solutions and services — to change the political and social landscape within their community. You can support their work here.
STAMP OUT is still running at PROXY through (at least) November 3rd. John McNeil Studio’s civic installation creates the opportunity for you to support the US Postal Service through its time of need and symbolically (and literally) stick it to the craven Republicans that would seek to defund it. Come out, buy some USPS stamps and join in stamping out corruption, racism, greed, fascism and nepotism.
As always we welcome your feedback and ideas. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.