Harlan County U.S.A.

Harlan County U.S.A. ★★★★★

In the midst of our current political climate, one thread that HARLAN COUNTY U.S.A. beautifully illustrates over and over is the necessity of showing how the survival of one resistance movement must be mutually tied in solidarity to the prosperity of other resistance movements, as the unified power of the oppressors is thoroughly capable of afflicting multiple groups at once. A fight for economic equality does not work if it leaves out the fight for women's rights, a feminist movement doesn't survive without the inclusion of women of color, and so on. The miners of Harlan County are regularly supported, goaded, and more often than not even superseded by the women of Harlan County, whose unshakeable faith in the union and in the political will of the people is sometimes the only thing keeping the strike afloat. The women of Harlan also come to the aid and defense of several of the African-American miners after the scabs and company thugs hurl racial epithets and flash weapons to intimidate. A necessary and vital showing of solidarity amidst across-the-board intimidation and violence. Some stay observations: the miners finding almost more common ground with New Yorkers than with the law enforcement in their own hometown; Lois Scott, an honest-to-God American hero, fearlessly standing up to the sheriff, the revolting strikebreaker Basil Collins, and practically everyone else in town in support of the miners; the impossibly harsh and unforgiving nature of coalmining, a job that almost none of the miners seem to enjoy or take pride in, but do it completely out of necessity for the complete benefit of other people, a travesty of so-called American progress.

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