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Occupy SMA

OCCUPY 13th

By Jim Carey

Monday, Occupy will watch the documentary 13th, DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing film, which refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States … “The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass incarceration and the prison industry in the US is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity.” (NY Film Society)

Historically, the seven richest colonies in the US were all Southern slave-owning states. The truth was that the US`s prosperity and wealth were built on the backs of slaves. The states of New York and Rhode Island were close behind, becoming wealthier as their slave traders prospered. Unless you had a black studies class, it`s safe to say that most of us learned that “Lincoln freed the slaves” and little detail about the events which occurred after that was taught.

Charlie Lyne of The Guardian describes “13th as not just any documentary: it’s an outspoken, clear-headed, effortlessly damning treatise that joins the dots from colonial America to Black Lives Matter. The film tracks a devastating path from the US constitution’s 13th amendment (which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude) to 2016, when one-in-three black American males can expect to be imprisoned during his lifetime.”

The Guardian’s reviewer Wendy Ide says: “There is something bracing, even exciting, about the intellectual rigour that Ava DuVernay brings to 13th. This is a documentary about the prison system and the economic forces behind racism in America. The film takes its title from the 13th amendment, which outlawed slavery but left a significant loophole. This clause, which allowed that involuntary servitude could be used as a punishment for crime, was exploited immediately in the aftermath of the Civil War and, DuVernay argues, continues to be abused to this day. There is an understandable anger to this filmmaking, but DuVernay, who is best known as the director of Selma, but cut her teeth as a documentarian, never allows it to cloud the clarity of her message. It’s an approach that reminded me of the fierce intelligence of Charles Ferguson’s No End in Sight and Inside Job. Leaning on eloquent talking-head interviews and well-sourced archival material, DuVernay draws a defined through-line from the abolition of slavery, through the chain gang labor that replaced it, through segregation and “the mythology of black criminality,” to the war on crime and the war on drugs to the rise in mass incarceration and the big business of prisons. The words are so piercing and acute that we hardly need the stirring score that swirls in the background … There is some memorable information imparted: that the US has less than 5% of the world’s population and almost 25% of the world’s prisoners is something that shouldn’t be forgotten.”

Join us for this thought-provoking film. Our events are free.

 

Meeting and Film

Occupy SMA present:

13th

Ava DuVernay’s documentary

Mon, Sep 11, 1pm

Quinta Loreto Hotel, TV room

Loreto 15, Centro

Free

 

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