Anarchism in America
Produced and directed by Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher
“I think anarchism to most people does mean bomb throwing at first, but they don’t know that it’s an idea at all, a whole political philosophy and a moral philosophy.”
In 1979, Pacific Street Films took off on a rambling cross-country trip, funded, ironically, by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The mission was to search out any evidence of anarchist activity in communities as rural as Atkins Bay, Maine, and as cosmopolitan as San Francisco.
Along the way a strange cast of characters emerged; some calling themselves “anarchist,” others, eschewing the label, but nonetheless calling themselves “anti-authoritarian,” or “individualist.” In fact, the premise of the documentary was that Americans, inherently, embody anarchist principles, an experience far different then their European counterparts. The filmmakers stumbled upon Mildred Loomis, 80-years-old and still advocating back to the land individualism; Kenneth Rexroth, a father of the San Francisco beat scene; and the remarkable Republican-turned-Anarchist, Karl Hess, pursued to the end by the IRS for his refusal to pay taxes.
But a lot has changed since the release of the film in 1982, and with the rise of a new generation of anarchist activists – with a whole new set of targets, from globalization to the debacle in Iraq – Pacific Street Films is updating ANARCHISM IN AMERICA for the new millennium.