Reclaiming Our History

plutocracy

Plutocracy: Political Repression in the United States

Scott Noble (2015)

Film Review

As German philosopher Walter Benjamin famously stated, “History is written by the victors.” In the US, most history books are written by and for the corporate oligarchs who run our government. Plutocracy is the first documentary to comprehensively examine early American history from the perspective of the working class. Part II (Solidarity Forever) will cover the late 19th Century to the early twenties. The filmmaker is currently seeking donations to complete the project. If you’d like to help, you can donate to their Patreon account.

The film can’t be embedded but can be viewed free at Plutocracy

Plutocracy starts with Shay’s Rebellion in 1786, the insurrection of Massachusetts farmers against the courts and banks that were fleecing them of their meager wealth and property. Similar rebellions in Rhode Island and Virginia would cause leading US bankers, merchants and plantation owners to organize a secret convention to create a central government and standing army. Each of the 13 original states, which in 1787 were still independent and sovereign, sent delegates to Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation.

Instead of revising the Articles, as authorized by their state legislatures, the delegates closed the meeting to the public and voted to replace them with a federal constitution. The latter substantially limited the freedom and power of state legislatures and ordinary Americans.

Plutocracy moves on to cover the massive Irish immigration of the mid-nineteenth century and the appalling squalor so-called “white Negroes” lived in. During the 19th century, 80% of babies born to Irish immigrants died in infancy.

The film touches only briefly on the Civil War, describing laws that enabled robber barons like John Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and Cornelius Vanderbilt to evade the Civil War draft by paying a poor person $300 to replace them.

It offers a detailed depiction of post-Civil War Reconstruction, which coincided with the 1871 Paris commune and saw blacks collaborating with poor whites to establish the South’s first public schools and hospitals. This was in addition to the election of numerous former slaves to judgeships and legislative positions.

Their eagerness to return Negroes to productive status on plantations led northern industrialists to pressure Congress to end Reconstruction by removing the federal troops protecting the rights of former slaves. It also led to their passive acceptance of unconstitutional Jim Crow laws and Ku Klux Klan terrorism. The chief aim of both was to prevent poor backs and whites from associating with one another.

The federal troops withdrawn from the South were redeployed in genocidal campaigns against Native Americans and Mexicans. By the end of the 19th century, not only had Mexico ceded half their territory to the US (including California, Texas, Utah, Nevada and parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Montana – in the 1984 Treaty of Guadalupe), but US corporations enjoyed de facto control of all land remaining under sovereign Mexican control.

Stripping the Native Americans and Mexicans of their land in the West, readied the US for the rise of the robber barons of industry (Rockefeller, Morgan, Carnegie and Vanderbilt) and a corrupt system of federal and local government run entirely by bribery and patronage.

The corruption and squalid living conditions of the late 19th century would give rise to militant trade unionism, socialism, anarchism and populism. Plutocracy depicts the Pullman and similar strikes in which strikers were brutally beaten and killed by Pinkerton’s Detectives and other goons hired by industrial bosses, as well as national guardsmen and, on several occasions, federal troops.

The film opens with a poignant depiction of the Battle of Blair Mountain, the largest labor uprising in US history. It’s the largest armed uprising since the Civil War, involving 10,000 coal miners. Denise Giardini memorializes the Battle of Blair Mountain in her 1987 novel Storming Heaven.


*Rockefeller and Morgan had a relative monopoly on the banks, Carnegie on steel and Vanderbilt on the railroads.

 

14 thoughts on “Reclaiming Our History

  1. I see it as reclaiming “Ourstory” rather than “our history”.


    AGE Of Deception.
    People Are Reminded To Question All…

    “Hearing People Speak About Surreal False Reality And Feeling Trapped In The Maze”
    https://ronmamita.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/hearing-people-speak-about-surreal-false-reality-and-feeling-trapped-in-the-maze/

    This has been described as living in two different worlds or living in the Matrix.

    Ourstory vs history is like comparing truth to fiction and unfortunately many citizens’ mental construct of their reality is fiction.

    NASA and many other alphabet soup agencies have policies and programs of psychological warfare “psyops” against the citizens.
    That mass deception program is not isolated to America, and not limited to the capitalist “West”.
    It is not hyperbole to ask What if institutional governance deceived you about everything?
    Everything?
    Hmm, that goes beyond mere politics and the other socio-economic issues.
    Can we even trust the story about the Earth you live on?
    Is reality on Earth a cosmic random accident?
    What do you REALLY KNOW?

    Push against the bars holding the mental box over the consciousness of civilization and face “Tin-foil-hat” ridicule, or worse!

    – What If Reality Isn’t As You Were Taught?

    How many times must an individual or institution deceive you before you distrust them?
    Isn’t it time for you to question All, do your own research, and to think for yourself?

    Once one truly stop trusting institutional governance then layers of deception and programmed conditioning can be removed.
    Free your mind and question everything.
    You will be surprised at what answers you find.

    When you are ready click: https://ronmamita.wordpress.com/consciousness-shift-archives/not-a-globe/

    Like

      • Same here, and I literally was sick to my stomach once I grasped the worldwide scale, some of the mass deception and secrets are too ghastly!
        The natural reaction is to recoil with disbelief, then the sharp annoying facts pricks your ballooning disbelief.
        The DECEPTIONS never ends, one almost tire of looking with questioning eyes.

        Like

  2. Pingback: The Hidden History of the US Constitution | The Most Revolutionary Act

  3. Pingback: The Battle of Blair Mountain | The Most Revolutionary Act

  4. Pingback: The State as a ‘machine’ of repression | Taking Sides

  5. Pingback: Hidden History: US Workers’ Bitter Struggle for Labor Rights | The Most Revolutionary Act

  6. Pingback: Plutocracy III: Class War | The Most Revolutionary Act

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