The New Yorker: Politics And More

The Early Days of ACT-UP, and Its Lessons for Today’s Activists

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Sinopsis

Sarah Schulman is a novelist and playwright as well as a well-known activist and documentarian. She was an early member of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, and, for twenty years, she and the filmmaker Jim Hubbard have run the ACT UP Oral History Project, interviewing surviving members of the group. Out of that work comes a new history of ACT UP in its early days, “Let the Record Show: A Political History of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, New York, 1987-93.” Schulman talks with David Remnick about the group’s successes, its lessons for young activists, and also its greatest failing. “We were able to defeat H.I.V.,” she said. “But we couldn’t defeat capitalism. And we still don’t have a workable health-care system in this country.”