The World Is My Country

You have possibly heard about, and perhaps even seen, this film about Garry Davis, which premiered here in 2017.  It is free, on-line now through next Wednesday, Dec 16.  It’s “popcorn length” – about an hour.  Thu. Dec 17, 7 p.m. there’s live on-line discussion with film producer Arthur Kanegis.  Details below.
Regardless of your own history with the film, I urge you to watch it one more time, and join the online debrief with producer Arthur Kanegis on Thursday, December 17, 7 p.m.  All details are here (website, scroll  to Third Thursday Film Discussion group.  You need to register for both film, and the Third Thursday Zoom.
Personally, I hope there are so many interested that live audience participation will be restricted to q&a.  That’s my dream.
Re the film, one of my CGS MN colleagues raised a question with my group earlier Wednesday. Tactics.  It is a good topic for thought before watching the film, and I’m including his observation, Eleanor Roosevelt’s critique of Garry Davis’ tactics in 1948, and my response, below.  Please note especially the “PS”.  Succinctly, I think this film is thought provoking and stimulating to today’s youth who wonder if they can make a difference; and Garry Davis made a huge difference.
The film, has been recommended for possible airing on U.S. public television stations by their umbrella organization, NETA. This is a very big accomplishment. Wherever you live, if you like the film, recommend it to your local public broadcasting station. Our local station carried the film in December 2019.
Here is the earlier on-line conversation:
From Jim, Dec. 10  (Jim is a long-time good friend): I am looking forward to the discussion about Garry Davis and his tactics.
I am concerned about his tactics.  I am attaching, here, a 1948 article by Eleanor Roosevelt that expresses some concerns about Garry Davis approach  — just more perspective for the discussion.

Response from myself: This is one of those items I printed out including Eleanor Roosevelt’s December, 1948 commentary).

Concern about tactics is certainly not unique to Garry Davis and Eleanor Roosevelt.  A single example: Martin Luther King was ceaselessly and sometimes viciously criticized for his tactics.  In the end he was assassinated.  Dr. King wrote his famous Letter from the Birmingham Jail in response to religious leaders who felt he shouldn’t be rabble rousing in Birmingham, but rather be moderate in his approach.  MLK was a non-violent protestor till the end.
I spent my career as a teacher union organizer back in the day when teachers got the right to bargain and there were a bunch of teacher strikes.  Teachers had waited long enough, but were urged to wait some more.
Eleanor Roosevelt, who I deeply respect, was very much part of the establishment, in all ways.  Garry Davis was a nobody, in context of the meeting she discusses.   The two weren’t on a level playing field, shall I say.  It is natural that they had differing rules of engagement.
At the same time, I think both Eleanor and Garry had a great deal in common – maybe in this case there was simply a different focus on how best to get to the same destination.
PS:  My personal enthusiasm for The World Is My Country was ignited in the fall of 2012 when I asked producer Arthur Kanegis if I could show an early rough cut of his film to a dozen or so high school kids at a high school in St. Paul.  This was before the public preview in Jan 2013.  I wanted to see how kids would react to it.  On Nov. 12, 2012, the day of the film, I gave the students a slip of paper before the film, told them it was about an old man telling his story, and asked them to rate it from 0 to 10 – how they thought they’d evaluate it.  I think the resulting average was 4 (after all, it was a movie!).  During the film, I noticed they paid close attention.  The draft was longer than today’s version.  At the end, I gave the kids a second slip of paper, and asked the same question.  This time the average was 9.  It was that single encounter that convinced me that The World Is My Country was a great film to show and discuss with young people – and they are the ones who will inherit what’s left behind by our generation.  
A wish for Christmas: Christmas in the Trenches, John McDermott
Another:  A little change of pace music, here “The Longest Time” from Vancouver B.C..
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