DEATH TO CAPITALISM CINEMA
BEN MOREA IN PERSON
Discussing two legendary films dealing with Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers
MONDAY, MARCH 26TH – 8PM
Ben Morea, legendary anarchist bandit/badass, and one of the founders of Black Mask and Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers, joins us to discuss two films that captured two seminal and legendary actions of the New York City based group.
THE SIXTH SIDE OF THE PENTAGON
dir. by Chris Marker, 1968, 28 min.
Generously provided by Icarus Films
dir. by Newsreel, 1968, 10 min.
Generously provided by Third World Newsreel
In THE SIXTH SIDE OF THE PENTAGON, Chris Marker captures The Motherfuckers breaking into the Pentagon, while in GARBAGE, The Motherfuckers export garbage from their Lower East Side ghetto to the halls of Lincoln Center during a bitter sanitation workers strike.
Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers was an anarchist affinity group based in New York City. This “street gang with analysis” was famous for its Lower East Side direct action and is said to have inspired members of the Weather Underground and the Yippies.
The Motherfuckers grew out of the Dada-influenced art group, Black Mask, with some additional people involved with the anti-Viet Nam War Angry Arts week, held in January 1967. Formed in 1966 by painter Ben Morea and the poet Dan Georgakas, Black Mask produced a broadside of the same name and declared that revolutionary art should be “an integral part of life, as in primitive society, and not an appendage to wealth.” In May 1968, Black Mask changed its name and went underground. Their new name, Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers, came from a poem by Amiri Baraka. Abbie Hoffman characterized them as “the middle-class nightmare… an anti-media media phenomenon simply because their name could not be printed.”
Early Motherfuckers included Tom Neumann, the stepson of Herbert Marcuse, John Sundstrom, Alan Hoffman and Alan Phillips.
The Motherfuckers contributed to New York City’s counterculture by setting up crash pads, serving free food, starting a free store, and helping radicals connect with doctors and lawyers. They were opposed to and resisted on principle any attempt to impose order on the political demonstrations they participated in. Among other things, the Motherfuckers instigated brawls with Maoist groups such as the Progressive Labor Party. They were the first to use the term “affinity group” the term having been coined by Ben Morea.