Bastards of the Party is a new documentary running on HBO that examines the rise of gangs in the Los Angeles area. It starts out a little slow and seems to be making excuses for the members – the same tired ones you have heard over and over – but it quickly turns into a fascinating historical piece.
From the early days when Compton was an all-white area, through the civil rights movement and rise of the US Party and Black Panther Party – it is compelling stuff. The real eye-opening stuff involves the actual demise of the BPP and USP orchestrated by Hoover’s FBI. The information about the FBI’s CoIntelPro and their efforts to undermine these groups is now public record, what surprised me was the details about how the program started these groups fighting each other.
The legacy of the FBI’s destruction of the black cohesiveness still survives with the black-on-black crime that is still rampant between these gangs nearly 40 years later. The only downside of the film other than the apologetic start is the left-wing politico-speak that summarizes the film. It is a good history that does an excellent job of giving the facts, when it slips into this type of preaching, it loses a lot of credibility.
The final point about gang names versus given names is especially poignant. Good stuff.
RATING 8 out of 10