Why this film matters
We all know the system isn't working. The three richest Americans own more wealth than the bottom 160 million. By 2030 the top 1% of Americans will own more than 80% of the country's wealth. This obscene inequality has undermined our democracy. Class mobility has become a figment of the past — for the very first time in the United States this generation will be worse off than their parents. But none of this is new information. Everyone knows how bad things are. So what are we doing about it?
In 2016 13 million Americans cast their ballot for an avowed socialist in the Democratic primary. A poll conducted by Harvard University a year later found that a majority of those under 30 preferred socialism to capitalism. Bernie Sanders remains the most popular politician in the country. How did we get here? And does socialism offer a realistic alternative for our future? This film examines forgotten chapters of America's past and the burgeoning movements of the present to tell the uncensored story of socialism in the United States.
For a political philosophy that has defined so much of America’s foreign and domestic policy, the history of American socialism has largely been written in the margins. Now that the specter of Soviet communism no longer obscures that history, we can examine these ideas afresh, for a mainstream audience newly engaged with the S-word. The young people now exploring socialism represent the next generation of activism and electoral politics in this country. How will they apply socialist ideals in the internet era? Can socialism connect to the millions of people fed up with the status quo? Having been at the forefront of many struggles for equality throughout the twentieth century, what will socialism mean to the struggles for racial and gender equality in the twenty-first? And with teachers and public sector workers striking across the country, what role will socialist ideas play in the new labor movement?
What we need to make this film
We’ve got some great footage shot already — including with Lee Carter, the democratic socialist who was recently elected to the state assembly in Virginia, Kshama Sawant, a socialist in Seattle’s city council, Stephanie, an Oklahoma teacher on strike, the popular podcasters of Chapo Traphouse, and experts like historian Eric Foner and journalist John Nichols. But we have a budget gap and we need your help to get us to the end of production. We're traveling from coast to coast with stops in Ripon, WI, Oklahoma City, OK, Manassas, VA, and Philadelphia, PA, as well as the UK, Scandinavia, and India to talk to people about how and why they were advancing socialism today.
We’re a 501(c)3, not a big production company, and we’re running on a shoestring budget. Since it’s a non-profit project, every dollar that you put in you’ll see on screen. The funds from Kickstarter will go directly towards production costs so that we can finish shooting this summer.
There is another reason we're on Kickstarter, and it's about you
Even if we could fund this film through the traditional channels it wouldn't send the same message as funding it directly from the people. There is a strong and powerful movement brewing — we are eager for you to join us to make our message heard around the world.
We’re so grateful for anything you might be able to give. We’ve put together some fun rewards to give in return! (see panel on the right for a breakdown)
Risks and challenges
The word “socialism” has returned to the mouths of talking heads, politicians, and activists across the political spectrum. The Right employs it as an insult, the Left, now as a badge of honor. It is a highly contested word in our history and we want to give its ideas a fair assessment. What we don’t want to do is create blind propaganda. We’re taking a risk by navigating complicated terrain in the form of a documentary, but we will strive for an honest exploration of how socialism has been understood in the past and why it is being engaged now.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)