by Eric Green
Capitalism: A Love Story
Written, Directed and Produced by Michael Moore
Also produced by: Jessica Brunetto, Tia Lessin, Anne Moore with three Executive Producers: Kathleen Glynn, Harvey and Bob Weinstein.
A progressive interviewer of Michael Moore eagerly questioned the filmmaker: Are you a Socialist? He beats around the bush, and usually avoids the answer when he questioned on these issues. This time he said in a defensive mode said, "I never read Marx." The short of it, Michael Moore is a filmmaker. A damn good one to.
But watching his latest screen gem, "Capitalism: a Love Story," is probably the closest so far he has moved away from the economic and political system of Capitalism and the closest he has moved toward a socialist solution. His final on-air film comment is that "Democracy is the system" he likes.
But, interestly, in the background of those closing comments and leading us through the film credits is a great, upbeat version of the working class and Communist national anthem, "The International." When the final words are spoken, that is, the culmination of our struggle will be a universal "Human Race" the final cog in the films wheel fits together.
Michael Moore is truly an amazing character. He is spawned from our country. He is "Made in the USA." He is the Mark Twain, Woody Guthrie and other progressive populist of our time. Enjoy him!
His Films Speak to Us; and, For Us
This is the 20th anniversary of the his first major release, "Roger and Me." That is where he predicted, with great foresight, the downfall of the General Motors dynasty.
Since then he took us through the Columbine shooting disaster, "Bowling for Columbine" and the Bush Administration, in "Fahrenheit 9/11." The former film was a highly creative film whose highlights included the senile Charlton Heston showing, clearly, his fascist beliefs. Exposing Rock 'n Roll millionaire Dick Clark's greedy scheming of people on welfare sticks in my mind, also. The "9/11" film fully exposed the fascistic methods and beliefs of the Bush Administration and its allies. The use of the September 11, 2001 attacks to further the ultra-right agenda elevated that film to epic proportions. Clearly Fascism is on Moore's mind.
And, with Moore's films, especially this one, you never see the equating of Fasciam and Communism which is so fashionable today by the right wing and too many liberals and social democrats
Moore's "Sicko" should have cleared the way for a national health care program that mirrored the national health services systems of the United Kingdom and most of the rest of Europe and most of industrialized Asia. Not to leave out the crown jewel of national health care, Cuba. The honest depiction of Socialist Cuba was unique for U.S. filmmakers. The film enjoyed tremendous popular success, especially financial success. Documentary filmmakers are supposed to lose money, Moore made millions. Since that film, every national poll; the 2008 elections; all of organized labor supporting Single Payer and the Public Option, leave no doubt what the vast majority of people in the US want.
Only the power of state monopoly capital had the strength to beat back the will of the people in the U.S. from this goal, at least for now. Their financial and political strength in the Halls of Congress and the White House is totally transparent. To hear from political leaders in Washington, D.C., from both sides of the aisle, that the cutback or elimination of the health insurance industry from selling health insurance would be too disruptive speaks to the direct link that our government is linked to the goals of those same industries. There is no talk about the disruptions, death and diseases, which are caused every minute of every day due to the greed and power of that health insurance and pharmaceutical industry.
The episode of Dr. Jonas Salk inventor of the polio vaccine and how he turned it over to the drug companies to manufacturer with the proviso of no profiteering with his discovering was particularly important. That is in stark contrast to the too many physicians scientists who are looking for vaccines and another drugs simply to cash in and humanity as a secondary thought. Some need the money to pay back their medical school tuitions; which is questionable in an of itself; but, far and away the majority of these medical researchers just want to get rich.
The 500-Pound Guerilla is Taken On this Time
But, in this film he took on the political economic system of Capitalism. And, he had to do it within a short time limit of a film. He had to put the Moore touch of entertainment, but with grim and devastating stories of victims of the Capitalist system. Moore continues his principles of having the victims, themselves, tell their stories. More foreclosures; employers who take our life insurance policies on their own employees and make themselves the beneficiaries, i.e., Wall Mart; and, as well as the ascendancy of the Goldman Sachs Financial Corporation as the kingpin of contributions to politicians and then being given top positions by both political parties in making deals to feed their own coffers. The power brokers of Goldman Sachs simply have no shame. That was one thing nice about the Moore film, he just gave the raw facts…no talk of the fancy philanthropies of Capitalism which make greedy corporation look good, but, in fact, avoid billions of dollars of taxes for a few million for their do-good activities. And, to justify these foundations to their stockholders, they take enormous tax breaks. This is a win-win for Corporate America. It takes us back to the ruthless, anti-worker, steel magnate, millionaire Andrew Carnegie and his library legacy.
Merrill Lynch played that role with the Bush Administration. Moore's actual filmage of the head of Merrill Lynch instructing President Bush on his comments to the media.
While the film is silent on current Wall Street and White House Connections, Moore does show the corporate role that current financial leaders Larry Summer and Tim Geitner played in the 1990s. Moore also showed that Wall Street is willing to back either mainstream political party in elections in order to keep their grip on national policy.
90% Tax Bracket for the Wealthy
Moore is old enough to remember when the rich were taxed 90% of income. And, in those days, the country grew and industries grew. When Reagan and too many Democrats insisted on cutting the wealthy taxes, that only wetted their appetites for greater profits and more inflated salaries, stock options and other perks. And, that is when the country increased its downward spiral.
What Makes Moore's Films So Powerful?
First of it is Moore himself. His own first person involvement brings the film viewer, up front and personal with every aspects of his films. A large percent of viewers identify with many of Moor's frustrations and rages against the injustices of Capitalism. Moore comes across as a real person, not a film huckster trying to make millions. On the contrary.
Moore was raised a Catholic, so he spares no time in ripping the role of the Church, but in this film episode he puts the life of Jesus Christ into contemporary times and asks the obvious question: what would Christ do with all the greed in the world? He answered that question by showing another picture of the church by showing the positive role of the church at the history worker sit-ins at the Republic Door company in Chicago; and, also the "liberation Catholic Church" leaders in Detroit.
Labor and Moore
The union busting by the capitalist system is specifically highlighted for the first time in Moore's films. In previous films anti-worker and anti-union actions were documented, but here, they too center stage. Again, by highlighting Republic Door in Chicago and comparing that worker action to the Auto, Flint Detroit sit-ins in the 1930s, Moore comes up 100% on the side of the workers and their unions.
The music editor for the film is Dan Evans Farkas who also music edited Sicko and also, the great film, "the Wrestler."
The film was shown to labor audiences at the G20 meetings in Pittsburgh last week. It had a limited opening in Los Angeles and New York City; and, will be opened nationally on October 2nd.