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Ferrua, Pietro

Anarchy USA

Sunday 31 August 2003

United States, 1966,

Black and White, 78’

Before viewing this film, I glanced at the title and I expected to see a geographical, historical or theoretical movie on the anarchist movement in North America. Much to my surprise and chagrin the film portrays no anarchist groups, no thinkers no events, in fact it covers nothing I had anticipated. The only allusion to "anarchism", oh, pardon my English, to "Anarchy", is the title of an authentic or fake front-page article from The Daily Chronicle : "ANARCHY IN THE USA".

To edify the viewer, the film displays the image of the definition of "anarchy" from an unidentified dictionary:" The breakdown of authority and order...mob rule...the collapse of government authority..."

But who are or were the anarchists (American or otherwise) who created such havoc in the sixties? They are nowhere to be found in this film. All the quotations are by Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Mao (all enemies of anarchists) and tend to prove that revolution can be triggered by a few essential strategies:

Divide the people;

Great appearance of popular support;

Neutralize the opposition;

Precipitate mob violence;

Create the semblance of a revolution.

These were the basic strategies of the Communist Party (apparently the Soviet Union’s, which was still active and strong at that time) to conquer the world through lies, intrigues, plots, assassinations, etc.

The tone adopted by the film director(s) is a kind of racist fear that Communism was insidiously and progressively dominating America through the creation of an independent state in the country so called "Black Belt".This directorial bias is confirmed when we listen to excerpts of a speech given by a reformed black communist and by the actual treasurer of the Communist Party of America conveniently placed in that position by the FBI.

There are no credits indicated in the film: we are not told who directed it, who wrote the script *, who produced it [the John Birch Society], who commented it with an authoritarian raucous voice remembering WWII propaganda films. The decision to omit film credits could have been made to shield the development team against potential public ridicule in reaction to the crass half truths and nasty accusations about people such as Martin Luther King Jr. The film also shows us several political figures who were never suspected of being pro-Communists such as Charles de Gaulle, Richard M.Nixon, John F.Kennedy, etc., who, according to the authors of the film, wre not sufficiently far right.

Some of the condemnatory statements heard in the film could be justified. Many anarchists who have lived in Russia, China, Cuba, had to fight against communist rule and would probably subscribe to some of the criticism in the film, but there are limits. This documentary is a typical product of the so called counterintelligence propaganda that literally "counters" any vestige of intelligence remaining in the numerous secret offices of the federal capital in which visceral racists develop policies of intolerance, prejudice and political repression that erode, in every possible way, our constitutional and civil rights.

Pietro Ferrua

* It was written by G. Edward Griffin, a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Individualist Research Foundation, a right wing "libertarian" think tank (Note by R.C.)