Vladimir et Rosa (1971) - full transcript

In Godard and Gorin's free interpretation of the Chicago Eight trial, Judge Hoffman becomes Judge Himmler (who doodles notes on Playboy centerfolds), the Chicago Eight become microcosms of French revolutionary society, and Godard and Gorin play Lenin and Karl Rosa, respectively, discussing politics and how to show them through the cinema.

This sequence introduces,
practically and theoretically...

in practice and in theory,
what the film is going to be.

To find correct links...

between theory and practice...

we start with two images of Lenin.

in paranthesis, Vladimir.

One picture of him writing,
one of him talking.

To each of these pictures,
the word "theory" is added.

then the word "practice"...

theory, then practice.

Add two more images:

one of a camera,
one of a tape recorder.

We also hear a voice,
Karl Rosa's voice...

coordinating this group or
sequence of pictures...

in paranthesis: Lenin,
the words "theory" and "practice"...

the camera, Nagra;
end of parenthesis.

The voice
tells us where it's located.

In a film. But which film?

And what was the previous film?

The previous film
was on Palestine.

Thus the voice places itself
within a given process,

which it perceives and
controls only in part,

and only imperfectly.

The voice first asks itself

why it is making this film
called "Vladimir and Rosa"...

and answers that it is
through economic necessity,

to pay for the film
on Palestine.

To pay for the film
on Palestine...

But the voice also
observes that

the economic necessity
of making a film

does not prevent this necessity

from being part
of a larger movement.

Part of a larger movement,

a political movement.

A process which

to be revolutionary.

The voice has arraigned
a mode of production,

and to see how the case is going,

it is about to take part
in the making of a film

a film aimed
at a political analysis

of the meaning behind
the charges brought

by bourgeois justice
against radicals

arrested for so-called
riots and conspiracy.

Riots and conspiracy.

The voice knows
it is committed to a

revolutionary movement
fighting conservatism.

The real title
of the film should be:

The Meaning
of the Charges Against...

the meaning of the charges

Clearly, then, the film will
be both theoretical:

what is the meaning
of the trials of radicals

in imperialist countries?

-- and practical:

how can the portrayal
of such a trial,

its reflection
(in recorded images and sound)

be achieved

as accurately as possible?

That is, how should the film be made

in practice?

How should it be shot and recorded,

so that in theory

(i.e., during screening)

it will be useful
to people who see it?

It was decided to start
from a real basis:

the Chicago trial

in which US imperialism

its own children.

I'm still for non-violence!

I'm still for non-violence!

I'm still for non-violence!

I'm still for non-violence!

I'm still for non-violence!

It's me! Julian!

But you told
me to go with them!

It's me! Julian!
You told me to go with them!

The government had a report

of its own investigation:

the riot had been
organized by the police.

But the government also had
the findings of a poll showing

that 2/3 of the
American people

condone police violence.

So they indicted 8 cops
on the one hand

and 8 radicals
on the other.

The cops' trial
was kept quiet.

The radicals' trial
got all the publicity.

The defendants were
carefully selected.

Yves, a revolutionary
student from Berkeley,

Anne, active in the

Women's Liberation Front.

And me,
Friedrich Vladimir.

I'm a friend of Danny's...

Danny the Red. We were in
the Moscow Circus together...

Back in its hey-day,
of course.

No, that's me again,
Karl Rosa.

There was David,
a peacenik MD...

There was Juliet,
a true-blue red...

She'd been with the

and I think she'd
been in Japan

with the maoist students.

a "maladjusted" worker

from the Paris suburbs.

And Bobby,
from the Black Panthers.

One, two...

three, four, five...

No, that's me again,
Karl Rosa.

Six, seven...


No, that's still me,
Karl Rosa!

The papers called it the
"Conspiracy Trial".

Bobby's case
is a bit different.

He just spoke at a rally
before the demonstration,

then split.
But the government,

was bent on having
a nigger on trial.

So he's here.

He's the only one who's
not out on bail:

he's already accused
of killing a cop.

The government just
took him out of jail...

1,800 miles away...
and brought him here to jail again.

1,800 miles away!

1,800 miles away!

Why and on what grounds
is imperialism...

trying these Eight?

Well, we just told you:

the government's own violence

forced it to arrest 8 cops

and indict them

(eternal justice).

And so, to restore the balance,
the government has decided

to indict a representative

of each type of radicalism

(class justice).

It's against the law
to cross a State line

with intent to incite a riot.

The law dates
from May 3, 1968.

Not to incite to riot,
just to have the intent to do it.

Or the intent to have
the intent.

Either way,

it's what the
law calls "conspiracy".

I told Rosa
that to tell this story

(since the government
has so clouded the issue),

the best approach is to get
a bird's eye view

in the hope of juggling
all the balls at once.

It means leaving out a lot,

like the make of the gun

that was shoved against

Bobby's ear so he'd shut
his filthy mouth.

But a bird's eye view will
at least amount to

talking about the rain
before the clouds gather.

Usually, in films it's the opposite.

It's a complicated story;
but, as radicals,

our job is to serve others
by simplifying it.

Our Chinese comrades call this
"serving the people".

Has the prosecution any
questions to ask the jury?

No, Your Honor! Looks like
a fine, upstanding jury to me!

Any questions, Mr. Kunstler?

Quite a few, Your Honor!

Do you consider young
men who resist the draft

because they're against
the war in Vietnam

as cowards and traitors?

Ever move out

of a "borderline neighborhood"?

Ever hear of Archie
Shepp or Eric Clapton?

Do you admire

and Billy Graham?

Those questions
are out of order.

the jury has now
been chosen.

And I want to make it clear

that anyone with long hair
and weird clothes,

who can't talk politely
and properly

in polite, proper places

will join the defendants.

Will the witness define

a subversive organization?

It's any organization
that raises problems

for the city or the county.

Objection! Answer unclear
and irrelevant.

Objection overruled.

It's a clear,
relevant definition.

So if a football team
can't find a field

and raises problems
for the city

then it's a
subversive organization.


Objection sustained.

We'd like to ask the witness

why his police force

drew up a so-called
security plan;

I say "so-called,"
for we've just learned

it was drawn up two
months before

the announcement
of the demonstration.

That's a leading question!

Objection sustained.

My colleague is right:

in a political trial,
all questions lead someplace!

Your honor, I request that
you overrule the objection.

Objection sustained.

The witness will not
answer the question.

This is not
a political trial.

As far as I'm concerned,
it's a criminal trial.

That's what the
arch-criminal Hitler said

to G. Dimitrov,
a political activist.


I'm fed up with that word!

Just what do you
mean by political?

I feel I'm answering, Sir.

Let the record show
that the defendant said:

"I feel I'm answering
the question."

Well, I feel you're
not answering!

If Your Honor will

hear my client out

and ask questions

it will help him to
present his defense.

I'm sure Your Honor
is anxious to see that

Yves Alfonso has a fair trial.

You know me, Mr. Kunstler,
and therefore you know

that this trial
will be conducted...


All right, I'll agree...

But I'd like you to discuss

the rights guaranteed
by the Constitution,

labor union rights,

and also that future
society of yours.

I'm on trial here
as an alleged specialist

in the art of instigating

various acts

regarded by some
as criminal.

"Regarded by some!"
There's the crux!

For the masses disagree,
they applaud the actions

which foreshadow their
coming liberation.

This difference
of interpretation

is inherent in

the class struggle.

Remember the posters

that the Nazis put up
in Europe in '44

revolutionary activists

as terrorists
and criminals.

Brecht's 3-Penny Opera

depicts bourgeois morality

in underworld terms;
it's as valid today as ever,

for among us is a
handful of hoodlums

who own
the power structure:

police, army,



and the law.

These rich gangsters

openly despoil the masses,
and commit willful murder;

so it's logical for them
to pass off rebels

as criminals.

I'm accused of
preaching violence,

but capitalism has made
violence a daily thing.

For capitalism means
exploitation, humiliation,

and repression of a
vast majority.

Am I in charge
of the National Guard?

Do I use the third degree?


Nor is it I who
invented guerrilla actions;

I didn't invent rebellion

or mass uprising.

The people did that,

when they ransacked
the Bank of America,

cut down the apples trees
of rich landowners

or stormed the metro
without paying.

You speak of democracy!

The ruling class always
has the system it needs,

and the system makes
a farce of democracy.

Courts aren't for
the masses:

justice is too
expensive for the people.

Lawyers cost a fortune!

And legal-aid lawyers
always try to make deals:

a plea of guilty to a minor
charge in return for

an acquittal
on a major one.

The poor can't afford bail.

Appeals are costly.
The transcript required

for an appeal is too
expensive for the poor.

Also: no poor person,
Black, or radical,

can expect a fair
trial from a jury.

Its members are picked
from the phonebook,

from the list of local
property owners

and the electoral rolls,
i.e., from classes which

have a vested interest in
society's remaining unchanged.


...so let's take...


which makes it possible...

to bring out
the contradictions...

show how we're trying...

to clear up the situation....

that oppresses us...

What did we say?

What are we in?...

We're in a situation...

of constant repression...

and we're going to show you...

some victims of that repression...

who are nonetheless
trying to break up...

a trial...

a legal proceeding...

that would be...

that would be pretty good...

I know now why we chose...

a proceeding:

it's because we're
involved in a process.

a revolutionary

...and in the movies

you come up
against balls...

sugar-coated bullets,
but deadly all the same...

which explains

all our difficulties...

it's the reason why
we can't even talk...


between theory and practice.

Take Jacky's case,
for example,

I'm drawn to him most

His actions may
be individualistic,

they're also quite spontaneous.

At times, he Breaks
with the System...

telling them all
to go to hell

or refusing to pay
in the subway because

he's sick of getting
up at 6

in order to be
at work by 8

It's purely spontaneous,
and remains individualistic

but he's the one who
beats up the boss.

It's a revolt that goes
beyond him,

it's an example for others.

Then he finds more guys
with him.

But he's still fighting alone,
as best he can.

That's why he talks
so little

in life and in the film.

Something's taking shape there,

but it's not clear yet.

For Dave Dellinger, the
Break is something else:

He's different...

He's a graduate
of Washington University.

He's 53 years old.

A pacifist.

A CO who first served
time during WW2.

He was at a seminary
for Theological Union.

He was going to be drafted
as a chaplain.

He refused to go, he didn't
want anything to do

with any army.

He got a year
and a day in jail.

He got out, refused to
go again, went back to jail.

He's a guy like Gandhi
or Martin Luther King.

He marched,
he sat in.

He's been arrested
at 100s of demonstrations.

And he's still at it.

To see him at a demo,

you can't tell
if he's scared.

He's as dead-pan
as a lumberjack

except for

that stubborn look he has

when he lets
the cops drag him away...

or when he intervenes

if there's real trouble.

Not that it doesn't

take courage to step
in front of a cop's stick.

But writing petitions all
the time...

what's the use?

It didn't help the
Rosenbergs much, did it?

And the Stockholm Appeal
didn't do much, either.

So he ought to Make
the Break differently, too.

What a waste!

And in Sequence 3,

when Yves answers...

Yes, but he does answer...

right in the judge's face...

the speech he makes
is really violent!

But do the people

in the audience realize

that this violent speech

loses its violence?

I say they don't,
Rosa... Because

that scene was directed
by Judge Himmler.

Don't you think so, Rosa?

Yes, it's true.

I think we ought
to start over again

and show how
these activists on trial

have been conditioned

by everything,

by their previous lives...

Show them away from
the courtroom

Yes, that's right,

broaden the picture...

It's not so easy to Make
the Break

inside the judicial system.

And the main problem,
after all

is Making the Break.

But how can you show
the Break in pictures?

I really don't know.

First, we have to
get to know

the images that oppress us

in order to learn how
to destroy them.

which are often right.


let's look at the practical side:

how does she live?

Here she's in
a kind of collective

This group got together and formed a collective

and later...

and later...

Take Juliet, she fights,
she fights with courage

she's already been
beaten up by the police.

And then she uses

a type of discourse

which is often right.

OK, but, let's look
at the practical side:

How does she live?

Here she's in
a kind of collective

This group got together

and formed a collective.
But they haven't really tried

to think through
the reasons for it.

And anyway, how is this
collective any different

from the way
they lived before?

It's still pretty obscure.

There's an awfully big
difference between this shot

and the shot that's meant
to be political,

the one where she's
got her helmet and club.

They just don't seem
to go together.

And then there's
John Kunstler, the lawyer

Sure, he's a nice guy

But he's got a fancy

and a big car

and he rehearses
his speeches

like a ham actor.

Sure, he defends

He quotes the Bill of Rights

but he doesn't realize
that this is a bourgeois travesty

of justice.

He waves his arms like
Castro at Moncada,

but Castro was in
a concrete situation,

and so was Dimitrov.

And so were the
Algerian NLF prisoners.

They played
the French game

since they were
prisoners of war

--an undeclared war--

but they were real

Here, John talks
and waves his arms,

he's full of altruism

but he too must
realize that

he must change his life.

It's fine to want to change
other people's lives,

but you've got to start
by changing your own.

Radicals stay...

they've been jailed

by bourgeois justice

for their radicalism

they must also
turn their trial

into an act

of resistance

a continuation
of what's happening

in colleges...

high schools...

and factories...

against the cops...

and it's not so simple...

At first sight...

our position,

in this trial, may appear

ridiculous, grotesque.

A puppet show, yes.

Yes, but in Chicago
they woke America up...

Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin...

Yes, because next,

we're going
to try to explain...

It is the defense's turn.

What is your name?

That's hard to say.

There are so many finks
and police spies in this court,

paid by the government
to infiltrate us,

that I can't even believe
what I say any more!

I end up wondering
if I'm not one of them!

That's right, he's a Finkerton man!

- Quiet!
- That's right, and now

I may just be
a finking machine.

Miss Country Joe MacDonald...

sing us the song you sang

at the meeting of the 12th.

- Objection, Your Honor!
- Objection sustained.

- He's trying to influence the jury!
- The witness will speak the words...

or hum the tune,
but not both together.

When you've deducted
the hours spent asleep

in your dormitory suburb, or
half-suffocating in the subway-bus

Same rat-race, morning
and evening, rain or shine

- ...time marches on.
- Yesterday, today, tomorrow

- Every day, alarm rings at 5.
- Catch the train at 6...

Clock in or out.

The starting gates open
and 1000s of robots

rush off to 10 hours
in a nightmare factory

reeking with tons of steel

- ...and sticky with grease...
- While the rich still dream...

their privileged dreams

Beyond those hellish hours,
is any life left?

The swimming pool
on Sunday mornings


in cat house clubs
for suckers

- But there's a struggle.
- That's only just begun:

none but you can find
the meaning of justice

Comrade, the fruit
of your sweat is yours.

Comrade, what you paid
for in blood is yours.

Quake with fear,
privileged scum!

Your dream has soured, and your
nightmare will be our feast!

Can you explain to me,
Mr. Rosa,

the reason for this strike

when the workers
have just enjoyed

a 5-cent raise?

What do you mean by

a 5-cent raise?

I mean they have more money

and hence greater

So if the government
gives you 5 cents an hour

you get a hard-on?


Contempt of court!

Extreme contempt of court.



Objection, Your Honor!

The defendant is
evading the issue.

Objection sustained.

The defendant must
answer questions directly.

I play my lines so that their
implications will be evident,

in other words,

delivering them may
satisfy the speaker

or anger him.
And we, too,

may be angered or
satisfied with such words.

This makes it harder
to look at films

the 1st effect
often doesn't appear

till a 2nd viewing.


- Who are you?
- A dirty nigger by choice.

What's your name?

Uptheass! My Mom
laid the Unknown Soldier.

- Address?
- Dope-City.

- What state?
- A state of mind.

My nation
is alienated youth.

We carry it in our minds

like the Sioux did theirs.


That's enough.

We won't stand for any
references to Indian philosophy.



Is it true that you told the press,

that your organization threatened

to put LSD in the reservoir?

Is it true that you told a reporter
from Japanese television,

that you were going to perform the
just act of liberation for the lions

in order to necessitate the
deployment of the forces of order

to the zoo, when they
were needed elsewhere?

Objection, Your Honor. Objection.

The defendant keeps
repeating my questions.


The prosecutor is using
my answers as questions!

A defendant is not to echo
the prosecutor!

I say my lines before

the audience hears them.

What it hears
will be in the past.

Each word coming out of my
mouth follows a given path

and falls into
the listener's ear.

I wait and listen to it fall:

I know our experiences
are not the same

and take place at different...

- ...times
- Quiet!



Sieg Heil.


Sieg Heil.

Soviet Union.

Sieg Heil.


Sieg Heil.

And now...

we'll give you

a formal demonstration

of the use of a nightstick.

One, two, three.

I object!
This film...

I object! This film is the
best way to show the court

Vladimir's and Rosa's
state of mind

Conclusions based
on experience...

do not generally connect up...

in the same way...

as the facts behind
the experience.

Simply putting
conclusions together...

does not give a true image...

of the facts
on which they rest.

When too many conclusions
are connected up

end to end...

it is often very difficult

to refer back to the facts.

It's the whole world
that produces the image

but the image

does not embrace
the whole world.

It's more important
to link conclusions

to experience...

than to other conclusions...

than to other conclusions...

when these conclusions

are aimed at

mastering real things.

Lenin was against the idea...

of constructing...

world-images that were
too complete.

Remember, Your Honor, a state
of mind is what the law means

by "intent".
The defendants are accused,

not of conspiracy against
the security of the State...

but of intent to conspire,

or rather the intention
to have the intention.

Article 23, paragraph 5...

of the decree voted on by
the Senate on the 3rd of June, 1968.

Very interesting,
Mr. Chrysler.


Very interesting,
Mr. Tobler...

Objection overruled.

Mr. Vladimir's,

and Mr. Rosa's film
will not be screened.

Mr. Vladimir,
can you explain to me

the meaning
of the word "racist"

which Mr. Bobby X
keeps throwing at me?

I'll explain to you
with an image.

Imagine a worker who is so poor

he has to eat shit.

Now ask him this:

if he has to eat shit

would he rather eat shit
from a white man's ass

or a black man's?

Now if he prefers
white man's shit,

well then that worker
is a damned racist.

Dialectical materialism
is a scandal and an abomination

for the class leaders
and their ideologies

because along with a clear
conception of things as they are

it maintains at the same time

the knowledge of their fatal
negation, their necessary destruction;

Because knowing movement itself

in which all forms are
a transitory configuration,

nothing can oppose it;

Because it is essentially
critical and revolutionary.

This sequence, like all
those away from court

(in other words,
one out of two)

is narrated by Vladimir and Rosa

who point out
the general theme.

Here the theme is
"Sexuality and the Break."

Anne says
it is almost impossible,

as things now stand,
to show in a convincing way

--that's neither fascist
or anarchist--

a shot of Yves and herself...

really breaking with...

bourgeois sexual ideology.

Or even an image of herself...

this too is difficult...

even though she's fighting
for women's liberation...

And tying her struggle
in with the NLF's and the workers'.

- Anne?
- Yes?

So we're going to show how...

Anne shows Yves that
a woman's text...

(in this case, a text written
by a South African woman)

becomes a completely different text

when read by a man.





"Today, women
from every walk of life

know they are oppressed

and want to join forces

to take the reins of
our liberation.

We must revolt at home,

at work and in the streets

against the capitalist
system that oppresses us

and the ideologies
that enslave us.

Dare to fight. Unite.

Women's liberation,
year zero."

Not bad.

We discussed this
with Juliet.

She can't relate it
to the trial.

When she's in
a women's prison...

she'll see the relationship.

She's different.

Agitation is necessary,
of course...

but if the women jurors...

heard anything like this...

they just wouldn't get it.

It would be a start, wouldn't it?

Yes, but maybe a false start.

We should talk to the
others first.

Don't you think so?

The others are like you.

They say they understand,
but they don't.

"We women fight for the
time when we no longer

will get less pay than
a man for the same work...

no longer live off our men,

do unpaid yet socially
essential housework."

I understand that.

"Our bodies
are exploited...

because we are not allowed
to choose whether to have a child...

because of
the ban on abortion...

and the moral pressures
on our sex life.

We must bow
to feminine norms...

imposed by advertising...

to earn recognition."

That should be clear
to anyone.

When we've all gotten
2 years...

none of us will fuck
any more, that's for sure.

It's safe to say that when
you're locked up for 2 years

there won't be any more fucking.

But what's complicated
about any of that?

Yes, Yves. But fucking
is one subject

I'm sure I'll talk
about differently

than you or
your cellmates.

And even Juliet will see
that women's minds

are shaped by their
situation in society.

Even Juliet will realize

that the social existence
of women determines their thought.

Of course: we're men,

And you're girls.

Oh, shit!

OK, I guess I don't get it.


OK, I don't get it, I'll listen...

I'll just listen.

OK, I don't get it.

I'll listen.

What you don't get is
that you don't get it!

What is this?

That was written by a
black woman, an African...

it was published in
the Black Panther paper...

July 2nd, 1970.

"Triple oppression:

Women's Liberation
Front declares:

our struggle is linked

to that of the working class,
in all aspects.

Both anti-slavery...

and women's rights movements...

are still a threat to the
establishment for the same reasons.

Both blacks and women

can be paid less.

Until both are organized
on an equal basis...

and are no longer
discriminated against...

they'll be the weak spot
in the working class front.

Of course,
blacks are exploited more.

And at every class level.

Most black women
are triply exploited:

as blacks, as women
and as workers.

Women are underpaid,

except, to some extent,

in the professions.

In periods
of unemployment,

they often have no chance
of finding work

except as servants.

In South Africa, a black woman
can work as a maid,

a farm hand

or in a factory: she's the
cheapest labor available.

Most working women...

in South Africa and England too...

are non-specialized
workers or maids.

Women workers
are exploited twice:

by their husbands
and by Capitalism.

A worker, though
exploited by the system...

collaborates with it

in his relations
with his wife.

Whether they get
along or not,

he still exploits her.

With the rise of property,
women became

an object of exploitation.

serf or wage earner,

women have always been...

vassals par excellence.

Middle class women
are also exploited

even middle class
professional women.

For they are so bent
on proving

their efficiency
in work controlled by men

that they work
much harder for less pay

and they do it
just to keep their jobs

in a competitive field.

They are told that aggressiveness
and force of character

are not attractive
in a woman.

That's why they
can't get rid

of old prejudices, like:

"a woman's place
is in the home."

Not to attract a man,
no matter who,

is felt to be a lost
"business opportunity."

Which is why aggressiveness
in her profession

is always regarded
as a loss of femininity.

And for example,
radical feminists

are often told by male radicals
that they want to castrate them,

make them impotent.

We have to listen
to nonsense like:

Let me speak.

Let me finish... Like:

"When she tells men off,

she's getting back
at her father."

"Messages came from women
in North Vietnam

and in the NLF,
from Oxford co-eds

occupying the
Clarendon Building."

Make an effort, don't
read like that.

Work, I'm listening, shit...

...the Clarendon Building...

and from women workers
on strike in Leeds.

But most tangible

were the women's meetings
held all over England...

and the exchanges
of information

lists of names
and organizations.

In Vietnam,
women fight beside men

to free their country
for socialism.

In the US, they occupied

the offices of Vogue
and Newsweek,

furious at the paternalism
of the men

in the Movement who put
them up front at demonstrations

"just to be nice."

we want to work together.

For that we've got
to think together.

Try, for once,
to think with my voice.

We'll see how unlike
we are, even if

our views are alike.

Stand up straight.

Face front...




calls for...

not only...

a struggle...

for our immediate demands...

to be waged...

but also to fight...

shoulder to shoulder with the workers...

shoulder to shoulder...

with the workers...

to put an end
to this system of exploitation...

of men and women
by man.


to put an end
to man's exploitation...

of men and women.


This sequence is composed of
two shots separated by a black.

First is a first shot of Bobby.

In the commentary...

(sequence 4 explained
that you...

can't just eliminate

Rosa explains that the decision
here to show not a black picture...

but a picture of a black,
was prompted by...

the fact that for a
Black Panther...

the Break has
a different meaning.

Racist oppression

and the struggle
to which they are committed

has already caused
the Panthers to Break

with bourgeois
imperialist society.

And having broken
with society,

their way of maintaining
the Break

when society tries them

is to demand
the strict application

of the rules of the game
of bourgeois justice.

By this simple demand...

Black radicals deepen
the system's contradictions...

exposing its
so-called democracy...

and good
old liberal objectivity.

Witness the method
of defense used by Bobby Seale...

in Chicago:

he asked to be defended
by a separate lawyer

which the judge refused
to let him have.

Then he asked
to represent himself,

to be his own lawyer,

and this
the judge refused, too.

I have no more questions.

I'd like to cross-examine
the witness.

Your lawyer
has done that.

Bobby X is not my client
and never was.

My lawyer's not here.
I'll defend myself!

Again it's apparent to this
court that defendant Bobby X

is deliberately obstructing

and sabotaging
the federal system of justice.

That's a lie!

I want to defend myself...

on behalf
of the Bill of Rights.

Let the record show...

that the defendant
refuses to behave,

despite the admonishments
of the Court.

Let the record show...

Bobby X is upholding
his rights!

I am bound by law to declare...

that if the defendant...

fails to heed our warnings...

he will be guilty
of contempt of Court!

I've a right to speak

on behalf of
my constitutional rights!

I hope that's clear.
It's all I've got to say.

I'll go on saying what's
necessary for my defense.

May I cross-examine?

Let the record show
the tone of Bobby X's voice

was one of shrieking
and pounding on the table.

That will be dealt
with in the future.

But Bobby wasn't shouting
or pounding that day.

Later, when he did
cross-examine a witness

and the judge stopped him,

he cooly quoted
the penal code.

Section 1892, paragraph 42
of the penal code of the US...

in an ironic tone of voice.

While the judge
was obviously furious

X remained very calm...


I still argue that...

the court has no right
to deny...

my right to conduct
my own defense.

Mr. Kunstler
is your lawyer.

Bobby X is not my client.

I have not asked
Mr. Kunstler to defend me.


Mr. X, are you going
to stop obstructing justice

or must I ask
the marshals to...

I want to discuss my right
to defend myself!

Court is adjourned!

Marshal, take that defendant out and
deal with him as he shall be dealt with

"It's the final struggle"

The prosecution
may examine the witness.

Was the girl wearing a black
power symbol fist or wasn't she?

Not the black power sign.

The power to
the people sign!

And you just made
another racist statement.

Objection! He keeps calling
me a racist!

Objection sustained.

Imperialism is a whore!

Being black here is like
playing Russian Roulette...

with 6 slugs in the gun!

No matter what,
you get fucked over.


- X was the exception...
- Quiet!

- Sticking to his claim...
- Quiet!

Maintaining carefully
his point of view

that he was being denied his
right to legal assistance.

He'd wait until Kunstler had
cross-examined a witness...

and then he'd stand up
and ask his questions.

The judge would stop him.

His outbursts would
be recorded again

in the transcript of the trial.

At times, they'd force
him to sit.

He never interrupted

the trial at any other time.

At times, Kunstler
would interrupt

to remind
the judge that he was not

X's lawyer.

Sometimes, as on
Bobby's birthday...

it was the prosecutor
who started it all.

As Bobby was in jail
between sessions...

(that murder charge)...

the others saw him
only in court.

So Kunstler asked
the judge's permission

for the other defendants...

to bring X a birthday
cake in court.

Himmler said he'd let no one
bring anyone a birthday cake.

The other defendants were
just outside the door

Vladimir carried the cake...

as they filed in.

You can jail a cake,
but not a revolution.


OK, brothers,
cool it for now.

I give the orders here!

They won't obey
a racist judge.

Marshal, deal with him as
he should be dealt with.

Now, some black leader,
during which Vladimir and Rosa...

explain that

Bobby's "legalistic" defense

is a consequence of
his having Broken with society.

His co-defendants...

must adopt, each in his or
her own way...

an "anti-legalistic"

in order to join Bobby
in his rebellion.

So we decided to show you
an image of a pacifist...

breaking with his
non-violent ideology...

and actually struggling,
instead of staying cool

while getting slugged

after he calmly insulted
the judge

to protest against
the treatment given Bobby.

This sequence will last
a good 10 seconds.

Flouting an enemy flag...

is the craziest thing
I've ever seen

anybody do in
a courtroom.

destroy that flag.

A minute of silence for
the war-dead

of the battlefieds
of South-East Asia!

I forbid you to speak!
It will be recorded...

- that this man...
- David Dellinger.

I forbid you to finish
my sentences!

The prosecution
may proceed.

Simply tell
the court what you saw.

After the order
to disperse was given...

I saw this man and others...

run and shout:

- Bullshit.
- ..."Everybody to the Hilton!"

Your Honor, in all my career
I have never heard such...

- ...obscenity in court!
- You've never been on...

trial here and had
to listen to liars,

paid by the government,
talking crap.

How dare you, counselor!
How dare you, counselor!

Take him out and deal with him
as he should be dealt with.

Every evening...

after the trial...

we gave...

a press conference.

Since we were all...

out on bail...

except for Bobby...

on account of...

his murder charge...

in Connecticut.

Our problem...

during each press conference...

was this:

while John...

was telling the reporters...

about our daily struggle...

against imperialist justice...

Vladimir and Rosa forced...

the imperialist...

TV cameras...

to shoot Bobby's absence...

instead of our presence.

In others words, forced...

the cameras...

- ...the enemy...
- ...the enemy...

to shoot politically...

a political fact...

- ...that was more important...
- ...that was more important...

than the faces of us radicals.

If we fight...

all day long...

with the police...

we must also fight...

the police state's press.

It's logical.

It's logical.

Open the sequence.

Before Your
Honor came in...

Bobby X stood up...

and spoke to
the blacks in this room.

- You're right.
- And said if he is...

I spoke on behalf of
my constitutional rights.

I have a right to do that,

and to do what I can for myself!

And he told those
people out there...

I want this on the record...

- Objection, Your Honor.
- Objection overruled!

he was talking about an
attack by them...

and he said...

You dirty liar!

An attack on them,
not by them...

An attack from the pigs!

I said: fight back!

You're a rotten racist pig.

A fascist liar!

You're a bullshit liar,

A lying fascist pig.

I said they had
the right to fight back

if they're attacked!

You're lying!

An attack on them,

not by them!

From the pigs!

I told them to defend themselves.


You're just a...

fascist liar.

A liar,

a dirty lying fascist pig.

We've a right to fight back!

And I hope it
was recorded and

exposes Nixon's prosecutor

for the liar he is!

We've a right to fight back!

If you attack me,
I'll fight back!

That is what he said,

as he related it.

How so?

In terms of a physical attack...

An attack by those
damned Marshals, I said!

People have a right...

to fight if they're attacked!


My bike's broken.

This car isn't bad...

- Where'd you steal it?
- From the street behind my house.

Did stealing it
change you any?

now I go farther...

and come back faster.

I worked in that factory.
For 3 years.

When I play my music...

I feel
I'm still working there.

Because, after all...

it's the only music made
for the people in there.

It's because I worked
in there that I play it.

I thought they
only liked Tom Jones.

They don't give
a damn about rock.


Right now they don't.

Because every day,
when they listen...

to the radio,
they're brainwashed.

Throughout the day...

all they hear...

is the latest
bourgeois crap.

That music isn't
their struggle.

It's dream-music,
it makes them forget..

that they sit all day
at their machines

like jerks.

It talks to them
about Mustangs,

about Suburbia

and Blighted Love.

My music doesn't.

Mine talks about
their daily lives:

about getting on
the metro without paying,

about cops slugging them.

The way they slug me.

And the cops slug me
because I play that music.

And the cops know that.

The contradictions
of rotting capitalism

hit youth most particularly
in four areas:

education; work;
draft and the army;

cops and justice.

First: in school-prisons...

the young are crammed
with racist, chauvinist,

jingoist, anti-communist...

and anti-working class lies.

What I'd like
to do with my guitar...

is one shrill shout,
one big, shrill shout...

a shout, a scream...

"Shout" is feeble, really.

It's a scream
I want,

a howl, for all the people...

locked up in that
factory-prison all day long...

locked up in that
military prison.

Well, they're people.

What's stopping you?
You've got all those...

electronic instruments!

Why don't you do it?

It's because right now
nobody want to hear a scream...

and because the people...

on top want to keep
the others from hearing it,

for fear that they'd all...

start screaming together!

Second: unemployment
among the young

is 3 times
the national average.

Insofar as more and more jobs...

are threatened by automation...

and the fall of
specialized industries...

the unions act to ensure employment
for those who already have jobs.

The newcomers
on the labor market...

can't find work...

so that unemployment
is increasing.

(stepped-up production norms...

and lowered safety
standards have...

a like effect).

When my guitar screams,
I want the people...

to hear it first
thing in the morning...

I want it to burn their ears,
be with them all day.

So they'll have to wake up!

You can't sleep well...

with a scream in your ears.

I want them to hear it,

all day, every day.

- Why?
- So they'll start the revolution.

Sunday night, he screamed:
"The street belongs to the people"...

"Let's throw out...

- ...the pigs!"
- How did the crowd react?

- They cheered.
- Was much use made of vulgar language?

Objection, Your Honor.

The defendant's speech habits
are immaterial.

Beside the point.

He's not on trial
for bad language.


They're very much
to the point!

I'm beginning to dig.

- What did you say?
- I said: I dig.

The prosecution has
the floor, not you!

OK, I'll be quiet.

Let us dig into
the past for a moment...

and shed some light
on Jacky Martin's morals.

He is already known
to the police:

At 17, he had intercourse...

with his sister, aged 15...

and was sentenced
to 7 months.

The legal-aid lawyer...

told him to plead guilty
to avoid a worse charge.

We only had one blanket,
that was why!

And the judge told me
I should kill myself.

He said beasts
have to be destroyed.

If the defendant continues
to ignore the Court's directives

he will be found guilty
of contempt of Court.

OK, I dig, I'll shut up.

OK, I dig, I'll shut up.

Will you be quiet?

Do you understand English?

Do you understand English?

Will you be quiet?

Will you, yes or no?

Yes or no?

YES, you motherfucking
fascist capitalist bastard!

During this black passage,

Vladimir and Rosa decided
it would be good...

to pan from Jacky to Bobby
and back again,

to show the objective
ties between...

the wild revolt
of young workers...

and the black
revolutionary movement.

We will later prove
that this man incited...

the crowd to return to
the park and fight the police.

- What a farce!
- Who said that?

- I want to know.
- David Dellinger...

I did, I'm overcome by the
prosecutor's dishonesty!


- Objection sustained!
- Himmler, I want to say...

- "Judge Himmler" to you!
- I believe in equality.

I forbid you to make a
mockery of this country's laws!

Stop, sir, stop!
I'll talk about violence!

Stop, sir, stop!
I'll talk about violence!

Stop, sir, stop!
I'll talk about violence!

The girls got out of the car,

threw him down, stripped him,

jumped him,
and left him senseless...

from kicks in the stomach.

It took Angelo two days
to recover...

he needed...

Up with Women's Liberation
Front, Year Zero!

Stop, sir, stop!
I'll talk about violence!

Stop, sir, stop!
I'll talk about violence!

Stop, sir, stop!
I'll talk about violence!

We of the Movement feel...

that there are only
2 choices.

to become soldiers...

in the revolutionary war...

or sink into
our bourgeois holes...

and become
anti-communist pigs.

Young people have the
greatest revolutionary potential.

Because their privileges
have not been institutionalized,

and they are the most alienated
part of the Western White working class

A single word will not
transform lefties...

into revolutionaries.

Only actions and words
together can do it.

And this alone is not enough,
since a young white person...

can always return to a bourgeois
hole of abundance and privilege...

because of his or her white skin.

Always, unless
one submerges oneself...

totally in revolution...

not only in one's ideas...

but also in one's way of life.


Is this El Al airlines?

Good afternoon...

In your opinion...

what is it that ticks...

weighs 5 lbs...

and is now flying...

from Tel Aviv to Washington?

At this moment...

Armed struggle is
becoming generalized,

not just as acts
of sabotage...

but as overt attacks on...

all the forces...

of imperialism, whichever...

and wherever they are.

Fine, we're all
lumpen proletarians.

Lumpen proletariats.

We've no vested interest in
the means of production...

and capitalist institutions.

Nor any security in our relations
with the means of production...

and these institutions.

The lumpen form
a reserve labor corps...

that is always in reserve.

They've never worked,
and never will.

They've no qualifications...

and no aptitudes.

They've been replaced
by machines,

automation and cybernetics.

Management has refused
to invest in them...

by training them
for new techniques.

They live on welfare
and social security.

Is agitation
complicated? No!

Print clear tracts...

right on target.

Stickers you can
stick anywhere.

But in both cases,

the wiles of war
are necessary.

Stir up the next workshop

if the boss turns his back.

If he won't turn his back,
back him up to the wall,

so you can agitate freely.

It just takes a little daring
and solidarity.

In an automated economy...

you cannot ascribe...

the high level of production...

to the working
class alone.

Computers are not part...

of the working class,

even if some who claim to
speak for the working class,

and especially certain

seem to act like machines
or computers.

Why discuss for hours
a workshop's aims,

and its immediate objectives.

Do not focus on the future.

Only discussion based
on practice is useful.

Or unity around ways
of fighting the bosses.

That's how you start
to organize. It's easy.

The lumpen must create
their own rebel forces...

in terms of their own life...

their special relations...

to the means of production
and to social institutions.

They must attack all
the structures around them...

including the right wing
of their own class...

when it tries to bar
the road to revolution.

Mr. Kunstler, you may
cross-examine the witness.

This witness' testimony
concerns only Bobby X...

and I am not his lawyer.

I'd like to cross-examine
the witness.

No! That's settled!
Sit down!

Why did you follow me?

Sit down, nigger!

Have you ever tried to
infiltrate the Black Panthers?

Have you ever killed
a Black Panther?

This Court adjudges
Bobby X guilty...

of contempt of Court...

in sequences...

7, 9 and 13...

and commits him
to imprisonment for a term...

of 16 months on each
and every specification...

the sentences
to run consecutively.

Moreover, Bobby X's trial...

for conspiracy will be...

separated from that
of his co-defendants.

Objection, Your Honor.

It was an insult to defense
and counsel...

to read that sentence
so theatrically.

I speak with
the voice God gave me.

Palestinians hijack planes
God didn't give them!

What's this black
section mean?

We just had a shot of Kunstler
refusing to represent Bobby...

then one of
the judge banishing Bobby...

for alleged contempt
of Court.

This black section means
the disappearance...

of Bobby, a black radical.

So for once, this black screen
really means something:

Bobby's absence.

For us, Vladimir and Rosa...

it's a great victory
in filmmaking.

We've been toting
those black frames around...

for ever so long.

Since May, 1968...

to hide a bladeless knife
without a handle.

At first,
these black frames...

were shots we couldn't
shoot, we'd say...

they belonged to CBS...

and we couldn't
afford them...

so we'd put black leader instead.

Then we realized those
black frames were...

shots we didn't know
how to shoot:

shots of bourgeois ideology
and imperialism...

and they weren't even black,

they were colored...

like in any
James Bond movie.

So we started looking
for black images...

production relationships...

images that define...


Our problem...

is to begin with black...

in order to show colors
different from those in...

bourgeois and imperialist

And so now,
after shots of Yves...

of the jury, Vladimir, Rosa...

or Juliet,
a black shot...

indicating that Bobby
is gone...

has meaning at last,
it's a victory.

A real victory,
not like Proust's maid...

a victory in
the sense of "Hasta la victoria"...

a contribution to
the Palestinian struggle.

Your Honor,
this is a government fake.

I won't tolerate insults to the
government in this Court!

Be careful, Mr. Kunstler.

Let a committee of 2 look
into the matter.

One chosen by the government,
the other by the defense.

I'm in charge here
and I'm old enough...

to make my own investigations.

Miss Russel.

What's in this letter?

"Look out, we're watching you."
Signed: the Black Panthers.

Have you ever seen
this letter before?

No, never.

Now that you have,
tell me, child:

can you still keep an open mind...

- ...as a member of this jury?
- No, sir.


The juror had never
seen the letter.

Your Honor showed
it to her...

and led her to say
she's no longer impartial.

Objection overruled.

As usual, Your Dishonor.


What was that?

What? What?


I said: the defense
is overruled as usual...

Your Dishonor.

This is becoming
intolerable, Mr. Kunstler...

Let the jury be tested...

to see if it's been affected
by recent events...

or by the Court's
crazy antics.

This is the last time!

Objection, Your Honor.
The vulgarity of the defense

is unprecedented.

My methods are those
of the prosecution!

You fag leftist lawyer!
You commie!


Defense's request
is rejected...

because it was not
properly stated.

May I repeat it...properly?

No, a thousand times no!

Don't try to outsmart me,
Mr. Kunstler.

Let's get back to it.

What is a riot?

According to the law
of May 1st, 1968...

it's a public disorder
involving violence...

by 3 or more persons.

It doesn't matter which of the
3 persons commits the violent act,

so long as they're together.

Take 3 people lying in bed,

and a 4th drops
an ashtray out a window.

Legally, it's a riot.

There's also a definition
of violence here.

It can be aimed
at property...

not just a person.

3 kids slashing a tire...
that's a riot!

To put it another way...

officers have testifed...

that Yves Alfonso's...

tires were slashed...

and testimony has shown by whom!

We may therefore reverse
the accusation:

the city police
are guilty of rioting!

There are more than 3
of us in this room...

so this session is
a riot too...

and as you say,
you're in charge of it!

Do you wish to call
any more witnesses?

Yes, Your Honor.

Then be quick about it.
Let's not waste time...

vacation is coming.

You deserve a vacation.

My last witness
is Judge Ernest Adolf Himmler...

Chairman of the Board
of the Chicago Courts...

appointed by the government...

to stage the proceeding known as...

"the trial of the eight"...

and now...

eight minus one.

Why did the witness,
in sequence 3...

find a statement "clear"
when it was not?

Objection, Your Honor.


Now, Your Honor,
should I answer?

The witness need
not answer.

In sequence 7, a motion by
the defense was rejected

because counsel had not given...

4-hour notice.

2 minutes later...

you granted a prosecution motion.

Why? Why?



Must I answer?

No, honorable witness.
You needn't respond to the question.

I've been here
4 1/2 months...

watching Your
Dishonor juggle objections...

like an old monkey
with peanuts.

I know now that this
is a fascist trial.

I say this from
the bottom of my heart...

even if I'm to be disbarred
and jailed...

for I know
of no better reason...

to be disbarred and jailed.

Right on.

Right on.

The country's
future must no longer be...

allowed to depend
upon the interests...

of a handful of millionaires...

or their coldly
calculated profits.


Right on.

Right on.

There is no justice
in this courtroom.

This trial is meaningless.

Jailing these people
is legal lynching.

The Declaration of
Human Rights:

says that if a government
violates a people's rights...

is a sacred right...

indeed an obligation.

When an individual
seizes absolute power...

he must be put
to death by free men.

who've nothing
to lose but the chains...

you've laden us with.

As free men,
we sentence you to die.

The Court
instructs the jury...

that when
deliberating its verdict...

not to be influenced
by any personal hostility...

it may feel...

toward the
defandants' long hair...

weird clothes...

wild manners...

political convictions,
or inflamed speeches.

May God assist you.

Hitler may have been right:

in our society, wild beasts...

should be destroyed.

Comrades and friends
in the audience.

In a few minutes,
the verdict will be read.

We know in advance
what it will be...

since one of our
jobs as radicals...

is to analyze in the present...

what happened in the past...

so as to know what
will happen in the future...

and know how to act tomorrow
and the day after.

Our comrade Bobby X...

is going to read the sentences.

and then draw his own
conclusions from the trial.

Charge of conspiracy,
the Chicago 8: not guilty.

On the charge
of infringing paragraph 8...

of the law dated June 11,

paragraph also known as
the Lumumba amendment:

having violated this amendment...

against crossing a state
line with intent to...

or intent to have the intent to...

incite a riot...

Anne Wiazemsky and Jacky Martin,
not guilty.

Friedrich Vladimir, Karl Rosa,
David Dellinger...

Juliet Berto,
Yves Afonso and myself...

Bobby X, guilty.

The maximum
sentence under the law...

is 5 years and $10,000.

won't be hard on us:

he'll give us 5 years
and maybe $5,000.

In addition,
for contempt of Court...

defendants will
be sentenced as follows:

Yves Afonso: 1 year...

2 months, 14 days...

on 22 counts.

Anne Wiazemsky:

9 months, 17 days, on 23 counts.

David Dellinger: 2 years, 5 months...

5 days, 14 counts.

Juliet Berto: 2 years, 1 month...

18 days, 32 counts.

Jacky Martin: 1 year, 8 months...

4 days, 17 counts.

Friedrich Vladimir: 2 years, 6 months...

3 days, 57 counts.

Karl Rosa: 2 years, 2 months...

16 days, 62 counts.

John Kunstler: 4 years, 13 days...

47 counts.

I, Bobby X:

4 years, 18 days, 237 counts.

The bourgeoisie would
have us believe...

that only hoodlums
and gangsters...

use certain methods
of liberation.

Only the bourgeoisie has
the "right" to use force.

If anyone else uses force...

to preserve his
or her dignity...

they are immediately vilified...

by the mass media...

who are under bourgeois control.

The Black Panther Party
is going to send a letter...

to the Supreme Court.

the gist of which is that...

the death penalty is
applied only to the poor...

and to people of color.

This is easily seen
along death row...

that leads to the electric chair.

There, the cells
are occupied solely by...

poor whites, blacks, arabs

and other colored people.

The death penalty is
a class weapon.

It's time...

someone stepped between
the people...

and the bloodthirsty

We regard
the judicial system...

not only as
a corrupt institution...

preserving the power
of the bourgeoisie...

but also as a gimmick...

in the hands
of treacherous murderers.

Since the police are agents
of the bourgeoisie...

and the big bosses...

it is now clear that,
in order to combat...

the power structure, we must
lead a daily combat against...

the ordinary policeman...

for he is the bourgeoisie's

So too, the Vietnamese...

in order to defeat US
imperialism in general...

must fight each GI
in particular.


students must fight
ordinary professors...

who are also
soldiers of imperialism.

Ours is a vanguard party.

But its strength rests
on the masses' confidence.

We're going to make shoes.

I've noticed that in prison...

many inmates become
skilled in shoe-making.

All kinds of shoes.

They are worn by inmates...

and also sold to
government agencies.

Inmates are paid
2 cents an hour.


We're going to make
shoes for our people.

Most of our children
go barefoot...

in Harlem, in Watts, in Philadelphia.

We want to put an end
to the class system...

and to the
privileges of the few.

Which does not mean
putting an end...

to cultural differences.

We believe that the union
of different cultures...

can be like
a bouquet of flowers.

This vision...

is essential if the world
is going to be better...

than it is now.



We're all in a state of revolt...

against the bourgeoisie.

The distinction between...

ordinary and political prisoners
is artificial...

and meant to divide us.

"They" don't want us
to communicate with you.

But bars cannot stop...

revolutionary ideas.

Why are you in prison,

Because you refused to
work for the bourgeoisie!

Because you didn't want
to be exploited...

for starvation wages...

while the boss fills
his pockets...

at the expense of our sweat.

Why kill yourselves...

in places like Ford
Mercedes, Renault?

You'd rather steal...

from the bourgeoisie.

You're right, comrades.

You were right.

It's always right to rebel...

against bourgeois power.

You were right, in a way.

But you've got
to understand, comrades.

You've got to understand:

trying to make out all
by oneself...

doesn't change much
in the long run.

One petty theft...

2 hold-ups,
3 burglaries, 4 robberies...

5 murders...

won't stop the bourgeoisie
from exploiting us.

Comrades, we must unite!.



We must unite with the workers
and poor farmers,

ordinary soldiers
and civil servants,

taxi drivers and students,

and they must unite
with you inmates...

and you with them.

We must all unite, now.

Right here in this prison.

We must unite.

Tonight, when you
go back to your cells.

You're fed up with this life!

So are we.

So let's unite...

and rebel!

Right here...

in this prison,
in our cells, in the yard.

Let's begin.

Let's begin right here and now...

in our cells,
in the canteen.

For example, in awhile, when
you go back to, I don't know,

back to making
light-bulb filaments...

back to fixing
bicycle handlebars...

for a dollar a day,
demand the union rate!

That'll make that
much less for Mazda!


Delinquency leads
to revolution...

provided you manage
to leave it behind.

Comrades, this prison
is yours as much as it is theirs!

Comrades and friends...

this call to resistance
mustn't make us forget...

class differences.

Conclusions come at the end of an
investigation, not at the start.

The only way to know
a situation...

is to investigate it...

through the reality of class.

Leaders should devote themselves...

to a few towns or villages...

carrying out detailed

from the basic
Marxist point of view:

class analysis.

This is the fundamental way
to get to know a situation.