From the Organizing for Power: The Alinsky Approach series, this short documentary shows a group of concerned citizens from Dayton, Ohio, meeting and consulting Saul Alinsky on the means of creating an effective organization.
Indigenous youth, led by Duke Redbird, argue their ideas against the blunt pragmatism of American activist and writer Saul Alinksy. Author of the book “Rules for Radicals”, Alinsky is widely considered the father of community organizing who spent his life advocating for improved living conditions in poor communities across the United States. In this impassioned debate, the young activists question the corrupting influence of power, and ask why Indigenous people cannot live traditionally and peacefully on the land. Alinsky responds, “You have got to be part of the world in order to change it. You are not going to make any changes by staying in your corner.” In Alinsky’s view, equality only happens when the disenfranchised have the strength to show the ruling powers that it will be more costly for them to withhold it. Encounter with Saul Alinksy offers fascinating insights into a conversation about power and activism that has lasting resonance today.
In this feature documentary, American community organizer and writer Saul Alinsky goes to war against the conditions that keep the poor in poverty. The film shows how he helped Black ghettos in the United States find an effective, non-violent method of fighting for their rights.
This documentary follows a community action group led by American community organizer and writer Saul Alinsky in Rochester, New York. Together, they confront the community's largest employer on the issue of corporate responsibility and the employment of minority groups.
This documentary short captures a lively confrontation between the American community organizer and writer Saul Alinsky, and members of the Company of Young Canadians (CYC). Among other topics, the parties argue and disagree about the means and costs of securing social change.
This short film was an experiment in using video recordings and closed circuit television to stimulate social action in a poor Montreal neighbourhood. A citizen's committee filmed people's concerns and then played back the tapes for the community. Upon recognizing their common problems, people began to talk about joint solutions. It proved an important and effective method of promoting social change.
The film is about Moses Coady, who was called many things in his lifetime, but who proved to be the most effective social reformer Canada has known. He went into the villages, organized the people into study groups, helped them set up credit unions and co-operatives, and freed them from the semi-feudal conditions they lived in. Today, people from all over the world come to study his methods at the Coady International Institute in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
Using video recording technology, the citizens of Rosedale, once referred to as "the rear end of Alberta" by a frustrated citizen, pulled themselves together as a community. They formed a citizens' action committee, cleaned up the town, built a park, and negotiated with the government to install gas, water and sewage systems. And all this happened within five months.
In this documentary, striking political science students concerned with the democratization of their university occupy the offices of the Political Science Department at McGill University. The issue: greater student control over the hiring of faculty. The film crew lives with the students and follows their action through confusion, argument, dissent, and negotiations with faculty. The result is an intimate view of a student political action.
The people of the Attawapiskat First Nation, a Cree community in northern Ontario, were thrust into the national spotlight in 2012 when the impoverished living conditions on their reserve became an issue of national debate. With The People of the Kattawapiskak River, Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin quietly attends as community members tell their own story, shedding light on a history of dispossession and official indifference. “Obomsawin’s main objective is to make us see the people of Attawapiskat differently,” said Robert Everett-Green in The Globe & Mail. “The emphasis, ultimately, is not so much on looking as on listening—the first stage in changing the conversation, or in making one possible.” Winner of the 2013 Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary, the film is part of a cycle of films that Obomsawin has made on children’s welfare and rights.
Also available on the Alanis Obomsawin, A Legacy DVD box set
This powerful short documentary showing Indigenous youth resistance and emerging voices that will continue to define the landscape of Indigenous cultural and political activism for the next generation. Members of the National Youth Council, including Duke Redbird and Harold Cardinal, have a powerful exchange with a hostile white priest about the failures of the education system in relation to Indigenous people. The group tackles issues including segregated residential schools, the denial of citizenship rights, loss of language, and mass incarceration, many of which persist or continue to be stumbling blocks in the relationship between Indigenous people and the Government of Canada today.