Last night, I put on some real clothes (read: not American Apparel yoga pants and a tank top), peeled myself from my writing couch and headed to the Magic Johnson Theatre on 125thÂ Street in Harlem. What could make me return to the spot where my husband and I ended up on our meandering first date and had to go hard on some chicks spitting popcorn and therefore swore we would never visit again?
ImageNationÂ Cinema Foundationâ€”an organization that brings free and low-cost screenings of important, art-house movies to uptown New York City in an attempt to raise the collective consciousness of Harlemitesâ€”was holding a screening of Michael Mooreâ€™s new movie, Capitalism: A Love Story. Of course, Michael Moore directedÂ Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, so I was excited to see what this documentary would reveal.
I wasnâ€™t disappointed. The movie is an indictment (quite literally at times) of the capitalist system America has been laboring under since the day somebodyâ€™s forefathers first bought and sold my forefathers and purchased the land I stand on for the low-low price of a few glass beads!
As to be expected, there was a lot of stuff I (and my companions) already knew; in fact, any regular reader of Politrix has heard me flap my gums about much of the ground covered. But I did learn some things, and got re-energized about some of the battles Iâ€™d gotten a little weary of fighting.
Moore illustrated how America got into the economic situation we now find ourselves in, and examined how capitalism has won out against democracy as the guiding principle of this country. In doing so, he breaks viewers hearts by showing us a family in Peoria being evicted, but tapes them back together again with a story of an organization that helped a Miami family â€œreclaimâ€ the home from which they had been evicted. He outraged me with info on companies (including Citibank, Bank of America, Walmart, American Express, Winn Dixie and AT&T) that routinely take out â€œDead Peasant Insuranceâ€ on employees and name themselves the beneficiaries. He introduced me to the Countrywide Financial employee who granted â€œVIP loansâ€ to members of Congress while his company sold regular homeowners the subprime mortgages that now result in one home foreclosure every 7.5 seconds in America. He intrigued me when he interviewed Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat from Ohio who is speaking out against the fear mongering coming out of the government and advises people to not leave their homes if the banks come knocking. He caught me off guard with previously â€œlostâ€ footage of FDR proposing a Second Bill of Rights, which would have granted all the rights (healthcare, education, housing, employment, freedom from corporate monopolies) that weâ€™re still fighting for (it died with him in 1945).
Moore and his producers, several of whom were in attendance at the screening, started working on this movie before the bailouts started piling up late last year. When asked about the motivation behind the documentary, one of the producers said Moore felt like he wanted to create a film that would threaten all the guys who have threatened us for so long.
And while I felt he did that, there was one thing missing for me: There was no discussion of the role slavery played in the development of this countryâ€™s capitalist system. While that is perhaps a film all itâ€™s own, it would have provided welcome context. In addition, Iâ€™m not sure that democracy is the solution to our ills, as Moore positsâ€”but that is definitely another column.
Nonetheless, I recommend that you all see the movie and keep the conversation going. Then take some action. As Moore says at the documentaryâ€™s conclusion, â€œCapitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil. You have to eliminate it and replace it with something that’s good for all peopleâ€¦â€ Letâ€™s get to workâ€”starting with seeing this movie. Hell, if we can carry Tyler Perry and Madea to the number one spot, we can see this and spread the info. (And while you’re at it, if you’re in NYC, sign up for ImageNation’s mailing list so you can hit up screenings, too.)
Are you planning to see Capitalism: A Love Story when it comes out on October 2nd? Why or why not? Do you agree with Moore that capitalism has replaced democracy? What do you think we can do about it?
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