From Black Liberation to Mass Incarceration: A Documentary Journey
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Of the repression carried out against the New Left, none was more extreme than that which was visited upon the Black Panther Party. The BPP had aroused an extraordinary mass following in a very short time, leading the FBI to brand it as the greatest danger to US “national security.” Lee Lew-Lee’s 1996 documentary film All Power to the People! The Black Panther Party and Beyond shows both the achievements and the vulnerabilities of the BPP. The official response was in effect to criminalize a whole sector of the population, drawing on deeply ingrained racist traditions and using as a new pretext the “war on drugs.” The resulting rise of mass incarceration and its impact are shown in Ava DuVernay’s 2016 film 13th.