Must-Watch Documentaries: Social Justice & Politics | Part II

February 9, 2021

As I have mentioned before on my blog, I love to watch documentaries. I have a running list of films on my Notes application, and over every weekend for the past several weeks, I have indulged myself by watching at least one of the documentaries on my list. As someone who is very interested in politics, most of the films I gravitate toward are centered on political and social justice issues. Given that this winter I am enrolled in Comparative Government and Politics, it has also been really interesting to watch these documentaries as I am learning about politics and governance in my class and apply knowledge I acquired outside of class into the classroom (well, Google Meet classroom). From Russian interference and white extremism to voter suppression and threats to other civil liberties, these films focus on a variety of important issues.

Part I | Must-Watch Documentaries: Politics & Social Justice

Part II | Must-Watch Documentaries: Politics & Social Justice

1. Agents of Chaos

This documentary is absolutely fascinating. Divided into two episodes of around two hours each, Agents of Chaos takes an incredibly detailed dive into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The first episode is centered on the strategic efforts of online trolls in exacerbating divisions among American voters through the use of social media, the success of Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee, and the motivation for targeting Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. The second episode focuses on former president Trump and the connections that he and several of his associates had with high-up individuals in Russia. Given the more overt dangers of social media that have been exposed as a result of the violent attack on the capital, the detailed explanations of the efficacy of online sites in sowing greater division is quite frightening.

2. All In: The Fight for Democracy

All In: The Fight For Democracy explores the history of voter suppression in the United States and the insidious techniques and barriers that are used to prevent particular communities from exercising their democratic right to cast a ballot. The film examines the gubernatorial race of Stacey Abrams, former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, against current Governor Brian Kemp and the tactics that were employed to obstruct people of color from casting ballots. After her defeat, Stacey Abrams founded Fair Fight Action to combat voter suppression and played a major role in mobilizing Georgian voters in the 2020 presidential and senatorial elections.

3. Welcome to Leith

Set in the small, twenty-four member town of Leith, North Dakota, Welcome to Leith examines the efforts of notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb to take over the town and establish it as a home for fellow followers of the white nationalist movement. As Cobb attempts to command control of Leith's city council and construct monuments meant to energize his movement, the frightened locals are forced to take action against the attempted invasion. The film was especially harrowing not only because of the intimate interviews with and intense footage highlighting the hateful, bigoted views of the white supremacists, but also because of the recent rise of white nationalist sentiments in the United States and what that suggests for the future of the country. 

4. The Fight

The Fight follows the legal struggles of lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union to combat efforts by the Trump administration to suppress civic rights. Interweaving four cases centered on stopping the separation of immigrant families, fighting for the right to abortion for an undocumented teenager, challenging the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census, and objecting to the ban on transgender enlistment in the military, this film is an emotion rollercoaster full of upswings of intensity, inspiration, and empowerment but also sensations of anger, frustration, and heartbreak. 

5. Reversing Roe

Reversing Roe explores the history of the feminist movement to fight for abortion rights and the longstanding efforts by opponents to overturn Roe v. Wade. In addition to immersions into the history of abortion and the progression of the rights of women over the last several decades, what I found most interesting was the examination of how abortion transformed from a social issue into an intensely partisan issue and also the fervent rejection of scientific evidence by pro-life communities that clearly convey the safety and innocuous procedures of most abortions. Additionally, it was also quite concerning to consider how the addition of Brett Kavanaugh and very recently of Amy Coney Barrett, the latter of which the film did not cover since it was released in 2018, might influence the essential ruling in Roe v. Wade which endows women with the natural rights to make their own decisions and control their own bodies.

1 comment

  1. Wow these all sound excellent, and I have not seen any of them. I am a big fan of documentaries too. Thanks for the heads up.

    Allie of