Last night I went to the Varsity with Nader to see Chicago 10. This is a fascinating documentary about the trial of the Chicago 7, 8 or 10 depending on what name you want to use. The film mixes animation with archival footage. I’m not fan of hippies, yippies, Democrats, police, Chicago, numbers, or 1968, but this film is fascinating.
If you are wondering why there the movie is called Chicago 10 when the group was originally known as the Chicago 8 and then the Chicago 7, well there is an interesting story.
When the trial began there were 8 defendants. Bobby Seale (the leader of the Black Panthers that was only in Chicago for a couple hours during the Democratic National Convention) was denied his right of defending himself. Actually he was originally denied his right of having his own attorney. He wanted his trial delayed while his attorney recovered from surgery. When this was denied he requested to defend himself and that request was denied.
In the end, Bobby Seale was severed from the trial and sentenced to 4 years in jail for Contempt. Thus the Chicago 8 became the Chicago 7. However, Jerry Rubin insists that they should be referred to as the Chicago 10 because the two lawyers that defended them also spent time in prison as a result of the trial.
That is the hardest part to soak in for me. How often do lawyers end up in jail because of the people that they are defending? Or because of how crooked the judicial system was at that time?
Jerry Rubin is quoted as saying:
“Anyone who calls us the Chicago Seven is a racist. Because you’re discrediting Bobby Seale. You can call us the Chicago Eight, but really we’re the Chicago Ten, because our two lawyers went down with us.”
The film is definitely heavily slanted towards the side of the protesters, but I don’t really know how it couldn’t be.