16 Points about United in Anger: A History of ACT-UP by Jim Hubbard

1. Too many people have no idea what ACT-UP was or why it was important. Read the wiki! Or watch the movie I just watched this weekend: United in Anger: A History of ACT-UP, a film by Jim Hubbard.

2. ACT-UP didn't just fight for people with HIV/AIDS. Almost all of the protests made specific calls for health care for all, for universal coverage. I wonder how much the idea of health care as a right in the United States was born during this era. It seems to be a critical moment in the move towards health care as a human right. I haven't seen any studies of this, but I wouldn't be surprised.

3. ACT-UP was committed to breaking down the cult of the expert, putting the most affected at the front.

4. Live and Love Before Profit said one of the signs at a march.

5. A division arose around whether "Drugs into Bodies" was enough. Another branch of ACT-UP said this analysis was not sufficient.

6. ACT-UP (and the movie) definitely focus on, as someone says in the movie, "the privileged within the margins."

7. Le Tigre's songs seem to have taken a lot from the chant styles of ACT-UP.

8. Just after the invasion of Iraq in the first Gulf War, ACT-UP infiltrated CBS with Dan Rather and got on the air to shout: AIDS is news, fight AIDS not Arabs. I feel like I remember this, but maybe I am inventing the memory.

9. ACT-UP was dedicated to stealing access to the means of production.

10. I need to know more about Gregg Bordowitz. Good thing he's coming to Houston soon.

11. The link between tears, death, grief and activism.

12. At the end of the film, Jim Hubbard thanks the 147 chapters of ACT-UP worldwide. And yet in the movie we really only see the New York chapter. After being challenged on this point by Tish Stringer, Hubbard said there was not an archive of ACT-UP activism outside of NYC. Tish made the great point that the archive produces films like this; prior work to build the archive means the story gets told in a certain way, privileging certain sectors. I can't believe footage outside NYC doesn't exist. Most likely it just hasn't been collected or brought together. Most likely, it's rotting in garages and attics as we speak.

13. I want to know more about Maxine Wolf, an important lesbian feminist organizer who worked hard within ACT-UP and founded the Lesbian Avengers and many other groups. The crucial role of women and people of color in the fight around HIV/AIDS is often overlooked.

14. In the conversation after the movie, Jim Hubbard said that an essential part of gay culture is the juxtaposition of humor and seriousness. I saw a lot of heads nodding.

15. In the film, the story of the break-up or end of ACT-UP is not told. This leaves the impression that ACT-UP never ended. While ACT-UP still exists, I would have liked to know more about the story of its ending (or declining).

16. I want to see Jim Hubbard's experimental films from the end of the 80s and early 90s. If anyone knows how to see them, let me know, please.