American Revolution II: Battle of Chicago

Part of the Global Perspectives on War and Peace Collection. This tape has two sections.

First: “American Revolution II: Battle of Chicago…a few honkies get their heads beat.” Cinema Verite style documentary footage of the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests in Chicago. The tape begins with the armed conflicts between the police and demonstrators, including footage of Dick Gregory instructing the protesters to march to his house. It also focuses on the generally adversarial relationship between the Black Power movement and the anti-war movement. Also featured is Richard J. Daley giving the “shoot to kill” order, and a news segment where a reporter discusses the elaborate methods employed by the city to shield delegates from seeing the poor areas of Chicago that are present en route to the convention center.

Second section: “…What We Have…” The first half of this section features Black Panthers talking about extreme treatment of African-Americans by the police. The second half features the activist group The Young Patriots, who are composed of poor Appalachian people in Uptown, meeting with the Black Panthers to try to discuss common goals.

0:00Copy video clip URL Count-in.

0:11Copy video clip URL A series of clips of armed conflict between protesters and heavily armed police. A man argues, “25,000 people have been killed. These people [the delegates] should be inconvenienced! They have permitted it. They have allowed it!” Victims of gas or beating lie on the ground. Protesters taunt police, yelling, “Come on! Shoot to kill! Shoot to kill!”

3:15Copy video clip URL In front of packed crowds in Lincoln Park, Pierre Salinger, campaign manager for the recently assassinated Robert Kennedy, discusses the events of the night before and rallies the protesters: “What happened on the streets of Chicago last night is an indication of the broader mentality in America today. If you can tell me a way to get rid of Richard Daley as the mayor of Chicago, without the political process…”

3:37Copy video clip URL Official-looking man argues with protesters about their tactics: “I think I’d like to educate the people in another way, and I think it can be done.”

3:54Copy video clip URL Dick Gregory describes the limitations that have been placed upon the demonstrators regarding where they are allowed to march. In order to subvert these orders while keeping to the letter of the law, he suggests the group march to his house, since it can’t be illegal to invite people to one’s home. “We gotta let them know that the order Daley gave earlier ain’t no good anymore.” The protesters march down Michigan Avenue, staying on the sidewalk and remaining peaceful.

5:37Copy video clip URL Policeman reports into his walkie talkie that the group has reached 12th (Roosevelt).  A helicopter flies above.

5:55Copy video clip URL A police officer asks the cameraman if he knows what Dick Gregory looks like. “When he comes, tell me.”

6:03Copy video clip URL Man describes the reasons the police and Daley administration had for insisting that the march disperse before 18th Street. “If the march were to go on past 18th Street, it would go right through the heart of the black belt in Chicago, the south side of Chicago. They felt that this many people would attract quite a large number of black people. And they thought that perhaps the march would swell to 100,000 people. Which is a crowd that they felt they could not control.”

6:43Copy video clip URL Police line-up and move with crowd carrying rifles. People are now sitting on the windowsills of buildings along Michigan Avenue, waiting to see what will happen. The crowd of protesters walks slowly and peacefully.

8:25Copy video clip URL Dick Gregory over megaphone: “We are on the way to my house, up on the sidewalk. We have met an arrest situation once we step off the corner. Now we’re going to move across the street, and at that point, we’ll meet the competition. Remember you’re on your way to my house. There’s going to be no gas, because when we walk across the street – legally – then they’re going to arrest us – legally – and then I feel we got a false arrest. You are not on your way to a convention, you’re on your way, as a private citizen, to my house.”

9:13Copy video clip URL The police begin to make announcements urging the marchers not to move forward, in the name of preserving peace. The crowd waits for action. A police officer announces anyone marching any direction but West will be arrested.

10:12Copy video clip URL Announcement: “Dick Gregory has been arrested.”

10:50Copy video clip URL “If we’re going to go to jail, let’s go to jail!” The crowd moves. Police throw tear gas, begin to attack protesters.

11:12Copy video clip URL (Name blocked by timecode) Official talks about the financial value of the Democratic Convention to the City of Chicago. “Our main cause for two years in the convention business has been to struggle our way out of the potential losses that occurred through the destruction of the McCormick Place Exposition Center. The commitment of the convention to Chicago was tantamount to the commitment of substantial sums of money to the rehabilitation of the International Amphitheater.”

11:55Copy video clip URL A news reporter talks about the city’s rapid cleaning-up the site of the convention in anticipation of out of town guests.

12:14Copy video clip URL A man driving in a car describes the security procedures for the area around the convention center, noting that even neighborhood residents had to be screened in order to proceed to their homes.

12:25Copy video clip URL Reporter describes the new fences built to screen empty lots and debris in the poor areas.

12:38Copy video clip URL Man in car adds to the description of the “beautification.”

12:48Copy video clip URL Reporter says that whether or not the fences remain after the convention, the neighborhood will go back to the same destitute state it was in beforehand. “The delegates will come and go. The people of the neighborhood will go back to things as they are, and always have been.”

12:59Copy video clip URL Man in car: “It’s always the poor guy that nobody worries about. In other words, it’s just the way things are. You see it every day of the week. If you travel the city of Chicago, you’re bound to run into it.”

13:11Copy video clip URL Black pool hall. Black Panthers complain that the beating that happened to the white people at the convention is something that has happened to African-Americans for years. Several people complain about problems that have always existed in the neighborhood. They complain that the only reason police brutality is brought to news is that white people are being beaten up.

16:09Copy video clip URL Man in car continues to talk about poverty in Chicago: “Those are just things you put up with. In other words, you seem to avoid all that. In other words, you’re staying away from trouble, you don’t want to get in trouble, so you’re stayin’ away from that, and you don’t wanna be involved in it.”

16:28Copy video clip URL Pool hall. Man disputes the idea put out by the Panthers and others that the police pick on blacks for no reason. “You fuck with the police, police gonna fuck with you.” Panther: “I’ve seen police crack people’s head for no reason.” Man: “I’ve seen you crack peoples head for no reason when we was growin’ up. Remember?” Panther: “Yeah, but that was in a different time.”

17:56Copy video clip URL Female Panther says “Black people have been demonstrating for I don’t know how long and we’ve been gettin’ our heads beat and whatnot. And we knew what was goin’ happen when those folks went down there because we have seen the pigs on the scene. We know what he’s like, we know what he’s capable of – just bein’ a damn pig, oinkin’ and beatin’ and walkin’ the streets. I’m sick of these damn pigs walkin’ our streets. And so everyone gets uptight when a few honkies get their heads beat. What did they do when we was gettin’ our heads beat? So I don’t even want to deal with why they got their heads beat in no damn walk or whatever else that’s goin’ on. I just wanna deal with black and black liberation. My scene is pickin’ up my damn gun, and I’m a mother. I have my gun in one hand and my baby in the other and walkin’ up to a honkie – all honkies – and sayin’ ‘I’m here motherfucker, to get what’s mine.'”

18:51Copy video clip URL In Uptown, at a community activist meeting. Leader says that poor people in Chicago of all races and ethnicity have the same problem. “We’re all people, and all poor folks.”

19:19Copy video clip URL Panther woman: “Power flows from the barrel of a gun.”

19:22Copy video clip URL Two Panthers discuss Richard J. Daley and the “shoot to kill” order: “He worse than Hitler.”

19:35Copy video clip URL Clip of Daley announcing “Shoot to kill” order. “I said to him very emphatically and very definitely that an order be issued immediately under his signature to shoot to kill any arsonists.” At this point a voice interrupts and sarcastically says that all the people on the street are arsonists and they should all be shot. Daley continues, “To shoot to maim or cripple anyone looting any stores in our city.”

20:05Copy video clip URL Lawyer Dennis Cunningham describes Daley’s tactics. “He thinks good government includes the suppression of leftist dissent.”

20:19Copy video clip URL African-American man claims that the reason so many white people were beaten during the convention was because African-Americans didn’t show up as anticipated. “[The police] got to whoop somebody, they don’t care who they whoop.”

21:55Copy video clip URL Man in car shows all streets that were blocked off, and how the neighborhood was kept out.

22:06Copy video clip URL Chicago officer talks about money and politics being at play. “After all the success of the city is based on total input, and conventions are valuable to the city basically for two reasons: One, of course they bring money to the city, but also there’s a fantastic exchange of ideas that occur at a convention.”

22:22Copy video clip URL Footage of pig being grabbed by police. Title: American Revolution 2: Battle of Chicago “…a few honkies get their heads beat.” Credits over footage of the demonstration.

22:55Copy video clip URL Black.

23:09Copy video clip URL African-American woman: “You don’t know what we have. You think you know what we have. You don’t know what we have.” Title: “…What We Have…” African-Americans talk about being to jail, being kept out of their homes and the streets by police. “Police around here have that sign on their car that read ‘serve and protect’ – they serve us with them 38’s and them shotguns and protect the white folks.”

24:32Copy video clip URL Lawyer talks about the unfair treatment by police in Chicago. “If you’re arrested today in a Near North neighborhood, in a car that’s two years old or older, for failure to make a left turn signal, you know darn well that every person in that car’s going to be yanked out of that car by the police officers.”

25:06Copy video clip URL African-American man recalls getting pulled over for missing a taillight. The police searched him, he asked to be arrested rather than deal with the physical search, then police sprayed mace in his eyes, then started shooting with shotguns while he struggled for breath. When a cop hit him, he hit the cop back, then he was beaten with rifles. He ended up receiving 60 days in county jail for resisting arrest.

28:03Copy video clip URL African-American man says that all judges, regardless of their own race, give African-Americans time in jail.

28:23Copy video clip URL Bobby Seale talks to lawyer Dennis Cunningham: “I don’t have too much faith in the legal system at all.”

29:18Copy video clip URL Young African-American points out ruling maxim: “If you’re white, you’re right. If you’re black, stay back.”

29:28Copy video clip URL White man emphasizes that the police are the problem, not black people. “Is it black cats who are like, you know, stoppin’ you and making you pay them off on your way home from working at that crummy factory, before you go to that bar where you cut each other up? No man, it’s like the Man is making you tight. The Man is turning you in on your wife. The Man is turning your buddy on the line.”

29:53Copy video clip URL Whites and blacks discuss the fact that the ruling parties want to turn the people against each other, and tell them their problems are about race in order to control them.

30:08Copy video clip URL African-American man suggests uniting African-Americans in the neighborhood.

30:21Copy video clip URL Uptown activist: “It’s a class fight anymore. It’s not anymore a race fight, but they don’t realize it yet, that it’s a class fight.” People point out problems of unifying with people of other races, like blacks or Native Americans, due to longstanding issues. Man talks about the powerlessness of poor people in the face of moneyed interests.

31:33Copy video clip URL The Young Patriots talk about problems their community faces. One man outlines their goals, which are to be able to proceed in their daily lives without trouble from the police. Another man: “I sat in jail thinking for two years, man. And the thinking is, there’s a rich man here, and the rich man all the time gotta have a dog to kick, you know? And that’s us, brother.” They explain that the membership of the Young Patriots is actually more diverse than just Southern people, and includes people from many other countries.

33:10Copy video clip URL Young Patriots debate the Vietnam War and who benefits from it.

36:06Copy video clip URL Young Patriots talk to a Black Panther about not having heroes like Huey Newton to look up to.

36:37Copy video clip URL Young Patriot talks about opening up small activist groups into a new unified group.

37:28Copy video clip URL Young Patriots member talks to a group of middle class whites about joining together to protect poor interests, such as housing and employment. The group is somewhat angered by the Young Patriot taking up time in their meeting when they have a full agenda, and propose that he come back to a separate meeting with them.

38:30Copy video clip URL Neighborhood get-together with checkers and folk music.

39:04Copy video clip URL Leader leads group in “We Shall Not Be Moved.” Then he talks about being discriminated against as a Southern person in Chicago, before singing again.

40:29Copy video clip URL Young Patriot returns to other community meeting other members of the group to present their case to people. They talk about their efforts to improve life in Uptown and prevent police brutality, and encourages the group to unify with them in their common interests. Man named Junebug announces that the Young Patriots have been working with the Black Panthers to deal with police brutality.

43:02Copy video clip URL Black Panther Bob Lee gets in front of the group and answers questions from the crowd. Man in crowd asks about what specific plans the Uptown coalition has set forward.

43:56Copy video clip URL Bob Lee talks about the importance of uniting the community together while encountering resistance from the audience. A woman asks whether the Panthers hate Jews. Bob Lee explains that “in some communities, the Jew is a symbol of exploitation. In some communities, the Italian is, the Polish cat is, the Japanese is, and in some communities, black cats is a symbol. So the people are oppressed, this happen to be the cat, we want off him. That’s all I can say.”

44:54Copy video clip URL A woman attacks the Young Patriots, who respond by asking how much she pays for rent and whether she has roaches. She continues to yell about them being on welfare. A man from the audience stands up and points out that the Young Patriots are only trying to say that their problems are all the same.

46:01Copy video clip URL A man from the audience points out that the groups say their against those in power, but wants to know how far they’re willing to go, whether they’re against capitalism entirely. Lee: “Panthers are the vanguard, man. We’re talkin’ about tearin’ shit down from the bottom to the top – a non-capitalistic state, that’s what we’re talkin’ about. We’re talkin’ about revolution. People get hung on like Panthers are all self-defense. You know, that’s had war. We’re talkin’ about war. Guerrilla war. Urban guerrilla war… We’ve been tryin’ all these things you’ve been talkin’ about, man. No good. What these brothers [the Young Patriots] say is no good.”

46:42Copy video clip URL Another man in the audience says that what they’ve been hearing is all liberal bullshit. “You’ve just played the great liberal game of being very interested in what’s going on someplace else.” Another man gets up and yells that he’s tired of these groups discriminating against him for being white and middle class. “We are ready to do action now, if there is action now. A lot of you guys have got a lot of talk, and knockin’ us, and I think you’ve got a lot to learn. But if there’s anybody who feels, that in any way, that they have been pushed by police, we will do what we can to take action now… If you’ve got an answer, other than criticism, tell us!”

47:45Copy video clip URL Black.



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