The Trial of the Chicago 7 | Chicago Reader
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The Trial of the Chicago 7

In a timely but historical account, Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 takes a look at the protests of the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the notorious trial that followed. The violence between police and protesters was a result of protests aimed at speaking out against the Vietnam War. Activist leaders from the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Youth International Party (Yippies), the Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam, and the Black Panther Party were all accused of violating the anti-riot “H. Rap Brown law”—formally known as the Civil Obedience Act of 1968. The eight men were accused of conspiring to incite a riot, although some had never even met. The Chicago 8 becomes the Chicago 7 as Bobby Seale, who was just in Chicago for a total of four hours to make a speech, was finally severed from the case. This was after the judge required that he be bound and gagged in the courtroom. The film is not meant to be a documentary and naturally takes creative license, but a greater examination of the internal conflicts within the group of activists could have added more depth. The greatest takeaway of this film, in our current time of unrest, is: What is worth standing up for?

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