Bus Rider’s Union (2000)

21 Feb

86m; U.S.

Director: Haskell Wexler

Synopsis: In this extraordinary video, Academy Award-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler records the several-year-long struggle of the Los Angeles Bus Riders Union (BRU) to win better service and to challenge the race and class bias in city spending priorities. At 86 minutes, it’s long for classroom use and drags in a few places for many high school students; but what a rich documentary this is. At the outset, Kikanza Ramsey, a young BRU organizer, explains that the union is “a political, social experiment to see if we can build a multiracial, bilingual, gender-balanced mass movement of working class people that is willing to fight for a set of demands that challenges corporate capital.” And this is not mere rhetoric. The remainder of the film brings her words to life, revealing the twists and turns, highs and lows of this struggle as seen through the eyes of participants.


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