Film and Discussion: State of Siege

Final Friday Films
Continuing the Anti-Bourgeois Film Series

“The problem is not to make political films but to make films politically.” —Godard / Gorin

France, 1973, 121 minutes
Directed by Costa-Gavras
featuring Yves Montand

State of Siege details the overt and covert practices of the Agency for International Development throughout the world, with a particular emphasis on events that took place in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1970. The actual taking of supposed American ambassador Daniel Mitrione by Tupamaro guerillas as a hostage for the release from prison of fellow Tupamaros, details in interviews themany training exercises conducted by American forces in both the US and Latin America, concerning psychological and physical torture techniques, which were accompanied by broad austerity measures and implementation of anti-trade union measures and broad militaristic attacks on other working class organizations.

In State of Siege, Mitrione is known as Philip Santore, is well-played by Yves Montand. The rightist military government of Uruguay would never have allowed Costa-Gavras to film in Uruguay. Instead, it was filmed in Chile, in and around Santiago, and in the coastal cities of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. during the brief time of Salvador Allende, just before the 1973 Chilean coup d’état, planned with Nixon and Kissinger with Pinochet, in much the same way in which American policy is detailed in the staged interviews in State of Siege. Costa-Gavras would later dramatize the Chilean coup in the film Missing.

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Crises and Uprisings in Latin America Today

Four Thursdays with Gerardo Rénique and Fred Murphy

Join us for a closer look at the political and economic background to dramatic recent events in Latin America, where a tremendous struggle is taking place between popular movements opposed to neoliberalism and authoritarianism, and capitalist elites determined to defend their profits and privileges. Recent months have seen enormous uprisings by popular movements in Ecuador and Chile, a violent right-wing coup in Bolivia, the rise of a massive feminist movement in Argentina, and in Haiti prolonged protests against President Jovenel Moïse. These developments come in the wake of crises and setbacks experienced by so-called “pink tide” governments that had sought to redistribute wealth and challenge decades of domination by US imperialism, the IMF, and local elites.

Gerardo Rénique teaches history at the City College of the City University of New York. He is a frequent contributor to Socialism and Democracy and NACLA: Report on the Americas. His research interests include the political traditions of popular movements in Latin America, and race, national identity and state formation in Mexico.

Fred Murphy has led numerous study groups at the Marxist Education Project since 2015. He studied and taught Latin American history at the New School for Social Research. In the 1980s he traveled in Latin America as a journalist for several socialist publications.

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The People’s Uprising in Chile

Fighting Austerity, Demanding Democracy
with J. Patrice McSherry and David Duhalde

Taking to the streets by the millions and withstanding brutal police assaults, the working people of Chile have beaten back austerity measures and forced the right-wing Piñera regime to accede to a new constitution to replace the restrictive one imposed by the Pinochet dictatorship. The struggle continues to assure that the new charter be drafted by a democratic process and contain safeguards to civil liberties and social welfare provisions. Join us to hear direct reports from Santiago.

J. Patrice McSherry, professor of political science emerita at Long Island University and currently resident in Santiago as a researcher collaborating with the Instituto de Estudios Avanzados (IDEA). She is the author of Predatory States: Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America, and her most recent book is Chilean New Song: The Political Power of Music, 1960s-1973.

David Duhalde is a NYC-based activist involved with the international work of Democratic Socialists of America. He previously held roles at Our Revolution, the Bernie Sanders-inspired grassroots organization, and as DSA’s deputy director. David’s father came to the United States as a political exile following the 1973 overthrow of Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity government, and his American mother toured the country telling of her experiences in living through the coup.

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