Image Source: Netflix
Director Aaron Sorkin is hopping back on the political drama train with Netflix's The Trial of the Chicago 7. Based on a true story, the period film follows the infamous case of the seven men - really eight - who were indicted for inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The demonstrations drew an estimate of
To understand how the situation unfolded, we need to look at the Democratic National Convention in 1968, which followed the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. People arrived in Chicago to demonstrate against poverty, racism, and the Vietnam War. Groups that came out included Students For a Democratic Society and the National Mobilization Committee to End War in Vietnam. For months, demonstrators organized and requested permits from the city of Chicago.
But instead of granting them permission, Mayor Richard Daley deployed 12,000 police officers, 5,000 National Guardsmen, and 7,500 regular Army troops. Daley infamously gave police permission to "shoot to kill any arsonist," as well as "to maim or cripple anyone looting any stores." On the field, violence quickly broke out for four days. Police clubbed people with batons and set off tear gas to control crowds. The protests ended on Aug. 29 with over 650 people arrested and over 1,100 injured.
Eight men were accused of inciting the riots at the convention: David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale. In
So, why was it the Chicago Seven instead of the Chicago Eight? Seale, the cofounder of the Black Panther Party, spoke at the demonstrations and faced charges of intent to cause a riot. The judge on the case, Julius Hoffman, had Seale
The Chicago Seven and their lawyer, William Kunstler, disrupted the trial because they saw the proceedings as unjust. They didn't observe
By 1970, all seven defendants were
Without a doubt, The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a timely reminder of how history echoes in our political landscape today.