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Bastards of the Party

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Bastards of the Party, which recently aired on HBO, is one of if not the best documentary about the rise of the Crips and the Bloods in Los Angeles. Directed by gang member-turned-activist by Cle "Bone" Sloan, who spent years in the Athens Park Bloods and still considers himself a non-active member, the film provides an insider's view on the economic privation and neighborhood rivalries that continue to fuel L.A.'s gang warfare.

Sloan traces the rise of Los Angeles gangs in a twisted route that begins with black migration from the South, extends to the first black neighborhood gangs formed in the 1940s to combat racial discrimination, continues to the radical communtiy activism of the 1960s, follows as it dissolves due to egos, infighting and government infiltration, and reaches its logical conclusion with the loss of L.A's manufacturing base and the introduction of crack.

The title of this sad and fascinating documentary comes from the book that inspired Sloan to begin asking questions about L.A.'s gang history, City of Quartz. Author and historian Mike Davis, who appears in the film, writes "The Crips and the Bloods are the bastard offspring of the political parties of the 1960s. Most of the gangs were born out of the demise of those parties. Out of the ashes of the Black Panther Party came the Crips and the Bloods and the other gangs."