For those on the right side of the political spectrum, there has been a word used to demonize people on the left in recent years: socialist.
Politicians like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York are the two most prominent members of the Democratic Socialists of America, a group which, among other things, strives to push the Democratic Party more left to secure things like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and more.
The new documentary The big scary word “S”, directed by Yael Bridge, attempts to explain and defuse socialism by showing that it has long been installed in the United States. Capitalism, as shown in the film, has been touted as the ideal of the economic and political well-being of American citizens since the founding of the country. But instead of being a system that allows everyone to thrive, it’s a system in which money continually flows upward, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and greed.
Socialism, according to its supporters and the film, can break this cycle, empowering everyone instead of just those at the top.
To illustrate this point and the history of socialism, Bridge includes interviews with a litany of economics and political science professors from different universities. Each of them conscientiously explains the benefits of socialism and provides many examples of socialists throughout American history, including Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr. Interviews with professors are, to say the least , very dry, giving the sensation of a lecture at the university.
Bridge tries to put a personal face on the issue by following a few people, including Oklahoma teacher Stephanie Price, who is warming up to the idea of ââsocialism thanks to a teachers’ strike in the state in 2018; and Virginia State Delegate Lee Carter, who became the only Democratic Socialist in the Virginia House of Delegates in 2018. While they balance the faculty hum a bit, none of their stories are too convincing. , at least in the context of promoting socialism.
Two people who aren’t interviewed are the ones viewers probably want to hear the most, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez. Both appear in the film, but only in news footage or in a speech by Sanders in support of Carter’s candidacy for re-election. If Bridge could have actually sat down with Sanders or Ocasio-Cortez, it would have brightened up the movie noticeably.
A movie like The big scary word “S” must not only ignite people who are already inclined to believe its message, but also be convincing enough to persuade those who are not. Sadly, the film fails on both sides, ending in a place where the only ones who will likely care are those who were personally involved in its making.
The big scary word “S” is available through video on demand platforms.