Anarchy USA.

This film, made by the John Birch Society in 1965, purports to show us that the civil rights movement going on at that time was just a front for the Communist blueprint for takeover of the US. It does this by comparing various events in the civil rights movement to events that precipitated Communist takeover in China, Cuba, and Algeria, as well as strategies outlined in Communist writings. The problem is, just because events have some similarities doesn’t necessarily mean they are linked in any way, and like most conspiracy theories, the charges are framed in such a way that they are impossible to refute. For example, Martin Luther King is charged with being a Communist because he denies being one, like many Communist leaders did before their respective revolutions. Although very limited lip service is paid to the real need for civil rights reform, no political action to attain such reform is portrayed as anything other than Communist-inspired. The real motivations of the filmmakers are revealed when they characterize the recently passed Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts as somehow steps toward tyranny. The idea that giving African Americans voting rights is tyrannical is baffling, unless, of course, you think of “rights” in terms of the right to oppress others. The film comes off as a piece of propaganda that is just as distorted as the Communist propaganda it criticizes. It’s pretty interesting to watch from today’s standpoint, though, as it has lots of great news footage of civil rights demonstrations and events, as well as giving a clear picture of one way in which civil rights were opposed at the time.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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