AMERICAN LEFT HISTORY: Films to While Away The Class Struggle By-"Incident At Ogala: The Leonard Peltier Story"- Leonard Peltier Must Not Die In Jail Recently I have begun to post entries under the headline- “Songs To While Away The Class Struggle By”-that will include progressive and labor-oriented songs that might be of general interest to the radical public. I have decided to do the same for some films that may perk that same interest under the title in this entry’s headline. In the future I expect to do the same for books under a similar heading.-Markin DVD Review Incident At Ogala: The Leonard Peltier Story, Leonard Peltier, various leaders of the American Indian Movement (AIM), defense attorneys, prosecuting attorneys, witnesses and by-standers, directed by Michael Apted, 1991 Let’s start this review of this documentary of the incidents surrounding the case of Leonard Peltier at the end. Or at least the end of this documentary, 1991. Leonard Peltier, a well-known leader of the Native American movement, convicted of the 1975 murder, execution-style, of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota after he had been extradited from Canada in the wake of the acquittal of two other Pine Ridge residents. In an interview from federal prison in that period the then still relatively young Peltier related that after receiving his life sentences and being told by prison officials that that meant his release date would be in 2035 he stated that he hoped not, for he would then be an old, old man. Here is what should make everyone interested in the case, and everyone interested in the least sense of justice, even just bourgeois justice, blood boil, he is now an old sick man and he is still in jail for a crime that he did not commit, and certainly one that was not proven beyond that cherished “reasonable doubt” This documentary, narrated by Robert Redford in his younger days as well, goes step by step through the case from the pre-murder period when Native Americans, catching the political consciousness crest begun in the 1960s by the black civil rights movement and the anti-Vietnam war movement, started organizing, mainly through the American Indian Movement (AIM), on the Indian reservations of the West, some of the most impoverished areas in all the Americas. The focal point of this militant organizing effort came in the war zone-showdown, the siege at Wounded Knee in 1973. The tension that hovered in the air in the aftermath of that war between the American government and its Indian agent supporters on one side, and the AIM-led “warrior nation” on the other is the setting for this incident at Ogala. Through reenactment of the crime scene; eye witnesses, interested and disinterested, voluntary or coerced; defense strategies at both trials from self-defense to lack of physical evidence, and on appeal; the prosecution's case, its insufficient evidence, and it various maneuvers to inflame white juries against unpopular or misunderstood Native Americans in order to get someone convicted for the murders of one of their own; the devastating, but expected effect of the trials on the political organizing by AIM; and the stalwart and defiant demeanor of one Leonard Peltier all come though in this presentation. As a long time supporter of organizations that defend class-war prisoners, like Leonard Peltier, this film only makes that commitment even firmer. With that in mind- Free Leonard Peltier-He Must Not Die In Jail!