The Big Scary ‘S’ Word

Monday, December 6, 2021 - 1:00pm
Discussion with filmmaker Yael Bridge

For an older generation brought up on Cold War anti communist propaganda, socialism was scary. But today’s youth faced with the problems of capitalism, find a socialist alternative appealing. They are, in effect, getting in touch with an earlier socialist tradition in the US.

The film ” The Big Scary "S" Word” shows us that socialism is as American as apple pie. Featuring interviews with Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cornel West, Eric Foner and Naomi Klein, this documentary explores the rich history of the American socialist movement. Weaving together hidden episodes of history and verité footage, the film shows that, contrary to popular belief, socialism is in fact deeply American and led to popular government programs such as public schools and Medicare. Activists and journalists explain how the 2008 financial crisis, the Wall Street bailout, the Occupy Movement, and the ascension of politicians like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez have pushed a new generation to embrace the language of socialism.

With inequality growing, a climate catastrophe looming, and right-wing extremism ascending around the world, many Americans are wondering whether capitalism is to blame. This film explores where American socialism has been, why it was suppressed, and imagines what a renewed American socialism might look like. It journeys with the people striving to build a socialist future today.

Our webinar will discuss “The Big Scary ‘S’ Word” with the filmmaker Yael Bridge. She is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker. Earlier she produced “Saving Capitalism,” starring former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, which was nominated for an Emmy Award in Business and Economics. You can view the 82 minute film ahead of the webinar by going to You can rent it there for $4.99 and have it to view for 48 hours.