Fifty years ago, Michael Harrington’s The Other America made poverty visible. Read by President John F. Kennedy, it was probably the driving force behind the "war on poverty." The Boston Globe editorialized that Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps and expanded social security benefits were traceable to Harrington’s ideas. The official poverty rate of 17% in 1965 dropped to 11% in 1978. Today, the official rate is 15%, and the Brookings Institution estimates that one-third of Americans live in poverty or near-poverty. We face expanding poverty--the result of decades of corporate greed, declining rates of unionization and wages that haven't kept up with inflation.
Harrington became the pre-eminent spokesman for socialism in America. This film captures the essence of Harrington’s ideas through the use of archival footage and interviews with people who knew and worked with him, as well as those who were in total disagreement. It raises questions concerning the merits and relevance of unions, and the problems of migrant workers, farmers, inner cities and our health care system.
"Michael Harrington was a moral giant." Larry Brown, Tufts University
"This interesting production exposes the economic inequities found during an era of supposed prosperity." Booklist
Light refreshments are served.
Following the film:
A Q & A with Bill Barclay, Democratic Socialists of America, and Michele Zurakowski, Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry, will follow the film screening.
This film showing is a co-presentation with Greater Oak Park Democratic Socialists of America.
2001. 75 min
Directed by Bill Donovan
You're welcome to join us. Check this space for the listing of the next meeting. We try to keep general meetings short and work out details at project committee meetings.
Look for us in the fall.