Just watched Bloody Sunday, a 2002 film by Paul Greengrass.
The film takes place in 1972, around the start of the long-developing “Age of Austerity” in the UK and United States, marked by economic/social policies forwarded by conservative governments of that time and continuing today.
In January 1972, unemployment in the UK exceeds 1 million for the first time since the 1930s. The ranks of the unemployed have almost doubled since the election of 1970, when Prime Minister Edward Heath — Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party predecessor — came to power.
British conservativism is in danger of losing its hold. In January 1972, the National Union of Mineworkers votes for the first of two strikes that year. British forces are deployed in Northern Ireland, and are taking a hard line on protests there.
‘King Coal’ has rigged the system for the sake of extracting coal at the lowest possible price — dodging wages, taxes and fines to state and local governments, while transferring the risk onto the people and social institutions of Appalachia.
Bloody Sunday is about a shooting, in January that year, by British troops on civil rights marchers in Derry, Northern Ireland. Thirteen unarmed citizens were killed — and many others wounded — by the military gunmen, who “lost control” during a peace march, and otherwise failed to understand “the clear limits” of what they were authorized to do, according to a years-later British “truth commission” report.
The long-term effect of the bloody event, according to the filmmakers, was to crush the fledgling civil rights movement in Northern Ireland and escalate the armed struggle being pushed by the militants of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) for another 15 years or more. To inject the Carla Rising message here: This was another march that turned violent because power was turned over to — or taken by — angry militants on both sides, the weak and the strong.
The British government published a revealing report on Bloody Sunday in 2010, almost 40 years after the event. Similar “Truth Commissions” have successfully researched and published more in-depth histories of domestic conflicts in South Africa and elsewhere.
In the wake of the first-ever prosecution of a modern coal-industry executive, I might suggest that West Virginia explore — more deeply than it has — the long history of coal-industry crimes against individuals, organizations and the environment. In a steady, almost unbroken pattern, “King Coal” has rigged the system for the sake of extracting millions of tons of US coal at the lowest possible price — dodging decent wages, taxes and fines to state and local governments, while transferring the risk of early death, injury and (especially) poverty onto the people and social institutions of Appalachia.
Bloody Sunday is a good movie, teaching us the lengths to which some members of the “employer class” will go to hang onto their power.