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Political Sciences

World of Politics


A perfect introduction for students, young political aspirants and future voters learning about the American Political system, this program tells the story of middle school teacher Dean Greco and his run for Congress. As an independent candidate, Dean soon learns that the odds are stacked against him. Determined to understand why independent and third-party candidates have a difficult time collecting votes, Dean and his campaign manager tour America to find out. Along the way they develop conversations with the general voting public, other candidates, strategists and political scientists on how the system can allow better access for all challengers. On their journey they discover some of the challenges facing third party/independent candidates, how to participate in the American political system (besides running for office), the foundations of the American political system, civic life, politics, government and the roles of citizens in American Democracy. It emphasizes the rights and responsibilities of civic participation and government to help students acquire the skills and knowledge they need to become active and informed community members.

Students will learn about:
~ The foundations of the American Political system
~ Requirements to run for the House of Representatives
~ The role of citizens in American Democracy
~ Political Parties
~ Polling
~ Ballot Access

DVD / 2015 / () / 63 minutes

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Directed by Phillip Gara

An investigation into how war games, worst-case scenarios, complex systems, and networked media produce the very crises they seek to model, predict and report.

As the Cold War ends, a professor goes in search of an America without an enemy. Armed with a Hi8 video camera and inspired by the detective work of Walter Benjamin, he heads deep into the inner circles of the defense, entertainment and media industries, where he discovers a worst-case future being built from war games, video games, and language games.

Some thirty years later, a group of student filmmakers find the videotapes in a filing cabinet, along with a stack of old newspaper clippings, audio interviews and photographs. With the help of friends from the Global Media Project, the filmmaker produces an experimental documentary that goes back to the future, where they find the original maps for a new world order. An unexpected warning is found on the outermost edges of the maps: "Beware of Zombies!"

The result is PROJECT Z, a film that updates another warning, issued by President Eisenhower in his 1961 farewell address, about the emergence of a "military-industrial complex" and the consequences should "public policy be captured by a scientific and technological elite".

Combining rare footage from inside the war machine with corrosive commentary by leading critics of global violence, injustice, and inequality, the film challenges the living to write their own future before the walking dead conjure the final global event.

DVD / 2015 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 74 minutes

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Directed by Owen Gower

The story of Britain's longest strike, the 1984-85 miners' strike, when Margaret Thatcher declared war on the unions, as told by those who lived through it.

THE ENEMY WITHIN provides unique insight into one of the most dramatic events in British history: the 1984-85 Miners' Strike. No experts. No politicians. Thirty years on, this is the raw first-hand experience of those who lived through Britain's longest strike. Follow the highs and lows of that life-changing year.

In 1984, a Conservative government under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher declared war on Britain's unions, taking on the strongest in the country, the National Union of Mineworkers. Following a secret plan, the government began announcing the closure of coal mines, threatening not just an industry but whole communities and a way of life.

Against all the forces the government could throw at them, 160,000 coal miners took up the fight. THE ENEMY WITHIN tells the story of a group of miners and supporters who were on the frontline of that strike for an entire year. These were people that Margaret Thatcher labelled "the enemy within".

Using interviews and a wealth of rare and never before seen archival footage, THE ENEMY WITHIN draws together personal experiences - whether they're tragic, funny or terrifying - to take the audience on an emotionally powerful journey through the dramatic events of that year.

DVD / 2014 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adults) / 112 minutes

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By Alex Shiriaieff

Ukraine uses more natural gas per capita than any other country in the world. Half the economy is built around a seemingly endless and reliable supply of cheap gas, and a significant percentage of Ukraine's tax money goes to heavily subsidizing household gas prices.

But that cheap gas comes from Russia, which has made no secret of its willingness to use it as an economic weapon.

THE GAS WEAPON is a clear and much-needed examination of how Ukraine and, to a lesser extent, much of Europe are dependent on Russian gas - and the role gas plays in recent Ukrainian politics.

Gazprom, the giant Russian company largely owned by the government, delivers its natural gas to Europe through a network of pipelines, some of which pass through Ukraine. Gas prices per country vary according to an opaque formula - one that seems to offer better deals to the most compliant governments.

Featuring interviews with high-level government officials, journalists and industry analysts from several countries, THE GAS WEAPON argues that a generation after its break from the USSR, Ukraine is independent in name only. To bring the country to its knees, all Russia has to do to is turn off the gas - as it did briefly in the winters of 2005 and 2009.

Recent events in Ukraine and Russia have played out against the backdrop of the gas wars. The Euromaidan protests that drove pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich from power may also have marked a new willingness on the part of Ukrainians to seek new sources of energy and assert their independence - even if it means paying higher prices.

While the political and economic implications are complex, THE GAS WEAPON offers clear and insightful analysis, making it a valuable tool to understand the impact of natural gas on current European politics.

DVD (Color) / 2014 / () / 52 minutes

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~ China's political system
~ Popular protest in China
~ Internet censorship in China

China is now a market economy, but holds on to the communist political system íV pollution, corruption and ethnic divisions cause great tensions.

POLITICS They call it "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" but the communist party has a monopoly on power and no opposition is tolerated. There are tensions in regions such as Xinjiang Province where movements for independence have led to violence.

PROTEST In a one-party system the people are the opposition. A major cause of popular protest is land expropriations to build factories. The party says it must listen to these protests íV but are they?

FREEDOM OF SPEECH Protests grow against censorship and human rights violations íV the authorities try to clamp down but the internet is hard to censor. Says one blogger: "We can hope for a civil society, where people may dare to speak out."

DVD / 2014 / () / 25 minutes

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By Rehad Desai

In August 2012, mineworkers in one of South Africa's biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days into the strike, the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress it, killing 34 and injuring many more. The police insisted that they shot in selfdefense. MINERS SHOT DOWN tells a different story, one that unfolds in real time over seven days, like a ticking time bomb.

The film weaves together the central point of view of three strike leaders, Mambush, Tholakele and Mzoxolo, with compelling police footage, TV archive and interviews with lawyers representing the miners in the ensuing commission of inquiry into the massacre. What emerges is a tragedy that arises out of the deep fault lines in South Africa's nascent democracy, of enduring poverty and a twenty year old, unfulfilled promise of a better life for all.

A campaigning film, beautifully shot, sensitively told, with a haunting soundtrack, MINERS SHOT DOWN reveals how far the African National Congress has strayed from its progressive liberationist roots.

DVD (Color) / 2014 / () / 86 minutes

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The 2012 Presidential election was the most costly ever in the U.S. history.More than $6 billion have been spent by the campaigns and independent groups to get their candidate elected. But for what purpose?

MONEYOCRACY focuses on the rise of Super PACs and their affiliated secret organizations íV the 501(c)(4)s - and documents how these organizations influenced the political debate and American voters during the 2012 presidential campaign and beyond through political advertising.

DVD / 2014 / (Senior High, College) / 54 minutes

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An illustrated lecture with Gar Alperovitz

While there's been no shortage of commentary about the structural crisis plaguing the American economic and political system, from wage stagnation and chronic unemployment to unchecked corporate and state power and growing inequality, analyses that offer practical, politically viable solutions to these problems have been few and far between. This illustrated presentation from distinguished historian and political economist Gar Alperovitz is a rare and stunning exception. Pointing to efforts already under way in thousands of communities across the U.S., from co-ops and community land trusts to municipal, state, and federal initiatives that promote entrepreneurship and sustainability, Alperovitz marshals years of research to show how bottom-up strategies can work to check monopolistic corporate power, democratize wealth, and empower communities. The result is a highly accessible look at the current economy and a common-sense roadmap for building a system more in sync with American values.

DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2013 / () / 47 minutes

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In the 80s, Central America was in crisis. Wracked by brutal civil wars, death squads and militia backed by the warring Superpowers of the Cold War. Yet one man at the center of this conflict decided to take action against the chaos. 'The Price of Kings: Oscar Arias' explores the legacy of this man: the former President of Costa Rica and lone leader without an army who had the courage to forge peace with his neighbors against the will of US President, at risk to his own life and the impoverishment of his people. Arias' diplomacy and leadership brought an end to the bloodshed, for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize and the adoration of his people. Now his contraversial policy choices leave his reputation destroyed. Arias' pursuit of peace and prosperity for his people came at a significant personal cost, and his story reveals that even the best intentions can be held against you.

DVD / 2013 / (Senior High, College) / 62 minutes

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On Friday May 14th 1948 Shimon Peres was with the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, as he declared Israeli independence. Watching the celebrations afterwards he turned to the young Shimon Peres, future Prime Minister and current President of Israel and predicted the Middle East conflict that followed. Shimon Peres has quite literally spent a lifetime at the seat of power since that very day and with a seven-decade-long career in politics at the heart of the Middle East conflict. The second in the series of documentary films reveals the price he paid for being a leader, helping us answer the question "What is Leadership?" As a nation builder it's hard to overestimate the achievements of Shimon Peres, but in the words of the President, "What we call experience the younger generation call a chain of mistakes". Despite winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his attempts to negotiate peace between Israel, the nation he helped to build, and it's neighbors; Israel remains at war.

DVD / 2013 / (Senior High, College) / 62 minutes

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Yasser Arafat's political legacy is one marred by controversy. To some, he was a heroic revolutionary who fought for the freedom of Palestine and the rights of his people; to others he was a terrorist and leader of a corrupt state. Yet regardless of the dichotomy, Yasser Arafat's position at the heart of the Middle East conflict for over forty years makes him a character of incredible significance. With groundbreaking access to the people who knew Yasser Arafat best; his wife, Suha Arafat, his political allies and his adversaries, the film delves into Yasser Arafat's history, the personal struggles he faced and sacrifices he made seeking to establish peace with Israel, whilst at the same time trying to build a Palestinian nation for his people.

DVD / 2013 / (Senior High, College) / 62 minutes

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Short documentary films about the most important social movement of the 21st century

When Occupy Wall Street established itself in Zucotti Park in New York City on September 17, 2011, there was little indication that it would spark a firestorm of protest in communities across the nation and the globe. But within a year it had done just that, in the process transforming both mainstream political debate and the very strategies of direct-action protest movements. As their encampments became permanent centers of liberated creative energy, the tech and media-savvy participants of Occupy Wall Street documented every aspect of this thoroughly 21st century social movement.

Made by Occupy protestors on the ground, and ranging from one to ten minutes, these films offer snapshots of a movement in progress -- a vivid glimpse into the human costs of Wall Street's predatory and rapacious behavior, and the new style of political activism that has risen up to challenge inequality globally.

DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2012 / () / Approx. 100 minutes

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Directed by Alexandre Trudeau

After centuries of Western domination, the waterways of the Middle East are now being contested in unprecedented ways. Pirates are roaming sea lanes. Local powers are threatening chokepoints. And the people are rising up to bring their authoritarian rulers down. With no simple solutions for maintaining control of oil flows, the West is facing a crucial decision. Already weakened by extended military interventions, faltering economies, and strained global partnerships, the US and Europe must decide whether violent intervention or benevolent passivity is the best course of action.

DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2012 / () / 54 minutes

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By Phillip Montgomery

Ryan Gosling narrates this engrossing film about social activism, the forces that galvanized the Occupy movement, and how a new generation of young people is coming to terms with a rapidly changing world. The film skillfully weaves commentary from some of the country's leading political and social analysts with personal observations from a collective of young musicians, a tight-knit group of suburban high-school students, and a young conservative family, providing a nuanced look at the myriad challenges facing the next generation of Americans. The result is as personal as it is political, as much a portrait of the contemporary political scene as of a generation of young people finding their way in uncertain times.

Features Noam Chomsky, the late Howard Zinn, Adbusters' Kalle Lasn, Andrew Bacevich, Amy Goodman, Talib Kweli, Sut Jhally, and music from STS9.

DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2012 / () / 80 minutes

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Director: Ruaridh Arrow

Gene Sharp hardly seems like one of the world's most dangerous men. White-haired and soft-spoken, the 83-year-old professor mostly keeps to himself, spending much of his time in his small Boston home reading, writing, and tending to his orchid garden. But to the world's most brutal dictators, Professor Sharp's ideas have proven catastrophic. In this fascinating new film, first-time director Ruaridh Arrow details how an obscure list of nonviolent actions authored by Sharp in 1973 has served as a blueprint for anti-authoritarian revolts everywhere from Eastern Europe and the Balkans to the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. Giving as much attention to the substance of Sharp's "198 Methods of Nonviolent Action" as it does to the democratic rebels who have courageously made these methods their own, How to Start a Revolution bears witness not only to the power of nonviolent struggle, but to how one person of conscience can quietly influence the lives of millions of people. Features commentary from Sharp's close ally Retired U.S. Army Colonel Robert Helvey, Sharp himself, and many of the revolutionary leaders his work has inspired.

DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2011 / () / 134 minutes

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Directed by Steve Cowan

A non-partisan look at the consequences of big-money campaign donations and a Capitol overrun by lobbyists.

PRICELESS examines the growing cost of federal elections, the impact of political campaign fundraising on members of Congress and on policymaking, and the citizen movement to limit the "undue influence" of large campaign donors.

This non-partisan film includes a look at two national policies - agriculture and energy - shaped by a variety of interests including industry groups, political parties, lobbyists, citizen groups, candidates and officeholders.

The filmmakers also look in on Arizona's pioneering "clean election" system as a possible alternative to the prevailing model - an optional reform attracting support from members of Congress in both parties. Commentators include elementary school students, "average" citizens, members of Congress, lobbyists, reform advocates, noted political observers and humorists. Amongst those interviewed are Alan Simpson, Mario Cuomo, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Bill Bradley, Lawrence Lessig, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), Charlie Stenholm, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Thom Hartmann, Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Bob Edgar.

DVD / 2011 / (Grades 8-12, College, Adult) / 58 minutes

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Religious fundamentalism underpins some of the world's most intractable political problems as members of fundamentalist groups seek to influence both domestic and international policy. After identifying general hallmarks of fundamentalist belief, this program places fundamentalist movements within the Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Hindu religions into their cultural and historical contexts. Movements that are examined include the dispensationalist organization Christians United for Israel, the Jewish haredim, the Jewish settler group Gush Emunim, Hamas, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a key component of the Hindu "Saffron Brigade." Some content may be objectionable.

DVD / 2010 / () / 26 minutes

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The war on terror requires greater cooperation among countries and a deeper understanding of terrorism's causes and manifestations. This program spotlights five nations caught in the crosshairs to examine regional history, terror -related issues, and counterterrorism actions: the U.S., post -9/11, where captured international terrorists have been handled by military rather than civilian courts; the U.K., where fighting the IRA has ultimately conferred little advantage to the country in its battle against the Islamic extremists in its midst; Germany and Japan, whose counterterrorism efforts are constitutionally constrained by their history as aggressors in World War II; and Colombia, a land of narcoterrorism where extradition to America has been the government's key anti -terror weapon. Some content may be objectionable.

DVD / 2010 / () / 29 minutes

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Algeria is the second largest country in Africa after Sudan. In this program, hosts Esther Mills and Linda Sipprelle speak with Richard W. Erdman, the former American Ambassador to Algeria (2003 - 2006), who shares the challenges he faced as an Ambassador during his Algerian public outreach; also how he helped create the framework for the Bosnia/Croatian Court that helped to end that war. A career foreign service officer, who once served in the Peace Corps, Erdman has held many other important positions for the US State Department, including the Near Eastern Bureau's Director for Jordan, Lebanon, & Syria.

DVD / 2010 / (Senior High,, College, Adult) / 30 minutes

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Steve Forbes is the CEO of Forbes, Inc. and the editor-in-chief of the business magazine Forbes; he serves on the board for Defense for Democracy, as well as the board of overseers for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; he's received the prestigious Crystal Owl Award four times; he appears as a regular guest on Forbes on Fox; and he's the author of A New Birth of Freedom and The Flat Tax Revolution. He is a graduate of Princeton University, where as a student he and three other students founded the magazine Business Today, which is currently the largest student-run magazine in the world; also he was a Republican candidate in the U.S. Presidential primaries in 1996 and 2000. In this program he speaks with host Esther Mills about two topics close to his heart: politics and the economy; also he discusses the health savings' account he uses for his own employees and expounds on the Flat Tax used successfully in other countries.

DVD / 2010 / (Senior High,, College, Adult) / 30 minutes

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Directed by Peter Galison and Robb Moss

A brilliant visual essay about the costs, benefits and history of the vast, invisible world of government secrecy.

In a single recent year the U.S. classified about five times the number of pages added to the Library of Congress. We live in a world where the production of secret knowledge dwarfs the production of open knowledge. Depending on whom you ask, government secrecy is either the key to victory in our struggle against terrorism, or our Achilles heel. But is so much secrecy a bad thing?

Secrecy saves: counter-terrorist intelligence officers recall with fury how a newspaper article describing National Security Agency abilities directly led to the loss of information that could have avoided the terrorist killing of 241 soldiers in Beirut late in October 1983. Secrecy guards against wanton nuclear proliferation, against the spread of biological and chemical weapons. Secrecy is central to our ability to wage an effective war against terrorism.

Secrecy corrupts. From extraordinary rendition to warrantless wiretaps and Abu Ghraib, we have learned that, under the veil of classification, even our leaders can give in to dangerous impulses. Secrecy increasingly hides national policy, impedes coordination among agencies, bloats budgets and obscures foreign accords; secrecy throws into the dark our system of justice and derails the balance of power between the executive branch and the rest of government.

This film is about the vast, invisible world of government secrecy. By focusing on classified secrets, the government's ability to put information out of sight if it would harm national security, Secrecy explores the tensions between our safety as a nation, and our ability to function as a democracy.

DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2008 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 81 minutes

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Directed by Koji Masutani

A filmic examination of "virtual history." What would Kennedy have done in Vietnam if he had lived and been re-elected in 1964?

At the heart of Virtual JFK is the critical question: Does it matter who is President of the United States when it comes to issues of war and peace? It explores this question by investigating one of the most debated "what if" scenarios in the history of U.S. foreign policy: What would President John F. Kennedy have done in Vietnam if he had not been assassinated in 1963, and had he been re-elected in 1964? The film employs what Harvard historian Niall Ferguson calls "virtual history," assessing the plausibility of counterfactuals -- "what ifs" -- and the outcomes they might have produced.

Drawing on unusual archival footage from presidential libraries and the National Archives, along with newly deciphered audio tapes and other documentary evidence, the film draws our attention to six highly charged crises Kennedy faced in which many, or most, of his advisers counseled war: The Bay of Pigs, The Laos Crisis, the Berlin Crisis, the Showdown over Vietnam, The Cuban Missile Crisis, The Withdrawal from Vietnam.

DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2008 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 80 minutes

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Truth, Lies, and Intelligence is a powerful, hard-hitting documentary chronicling the intelligence fraud and the devastating chain of events culminating in the invasion of Iraq led by America, Australia and Britain,chronicling the inside journey from 9/ll to the bombing of Baghdad. After scores of interviews with senior intelligence analysts, Iraqi refugees, Arab leaders, insurgent bombers and ordinary citizens íV can there only be one conclusion? That the devastating chain of events culminating in the invasion, conquest and occupation of Iraq was a war based on a litany of lies and intelligence fraud.

DVD / 2007 / (Senior High, College) / 52 minutes

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Tells the gripping story of the race for mayor of Newark, N.J., where elections are won and lost in the streets.

STREET FIGHT chronicles the bare-knuckles race for Mayor of Newark, NJ between Cory Booker, a 32-year old Rhodes Scholar/Yale Law School grad, and Sharpe James, the four-term incumbent and undisputed champion of New Jersey politics.

Fought in Newark's neighborhoods and housing projects, the battle pits Booker against an old style political machine that uses any means necessary to crush its opponents: city workers who do not support the mayer are demoted; "disloyal" businesses are targeted by code enforcement; a campaigner is detained and accused of terrorism; and disks of voter data are burglarized in the night.

Even the filmmaker is dragged into the slugfest, and by election day, the climate becomes so heated that the Federal government is forced to send in observers to watch for cheating and violence.

The battle sheds light on important American questions about democracy, power and -- in a surprising twist -- race. Both Booker and James are African- American Democrats, but when the mayor accuses the Ivy League educated Booker of not being "really black" it forces voters to examine how we define race in this country. "We tell our children to get educated," one Newarker says, "and when they do, we call them white. What kind of a message does that send?"

STREET FIGHT tells a gripping story of the underbelly of democracy where elections are not about spin-doctors, media consultants, or photo ops. In Newark, we discover, elections are won and lost in the streets.

DVD (Color) / 2005 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 82 minutes

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From 1980 to 1988, a war between Iran and Iraq raged threatening the stability of the Persian Gulf region. Greed, religion fanaticism, and chemical warfare combined to create horrors similar to those evidenced in World War II. This DVD covers the highlights of this bitter conflict from the iraqi attack on seven Iranian cities to "The Fountain of Blood" where nerve agents and mustard gas were used to murder thousands. This DVD also covers the Afganistan war against the late Soviet Union and their internal civil war.

DVD (Color) / / () / 80 minutes

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