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Capitalism: A Love Story: A Political Film Review

Michael Moore‘s latest film, Capitalism: A Love Story, is so far ahead of the historical/political curve that even people who consider themselves progressives will have to run at full speed to keep up with this renegade filmmaker.

Moore has always been ahead of the curve.

Twenty years ago with Roger & Me he demonstrated a deep understanding of the devastating impact of globalization on working people in the US, a topic that academics and unions are just beginning to confront.

In Fahrenheit 911 Moore accurately gauged the political temperature of the US in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the nation and explored the grave domestic implications of the War on Terror.

And in SiCKO, he nailed the predatory US healthcare industry to the wall, fueling the political contest over healthcare that is racking the US right now.

Now with Capitalism: A Love Story, a clarion call for civic revolution, Moore emerges as neoliberal capitalism’s worst nightmare.

In this brilliant political documentary, Moore openly confronts some of the most egregious aspects of US capitalism and documents people fighting back in lively vignettes on the successful battle against an eviction in Miami and the worker occupation of Republic Windows in Chicago.  At one point in the film, Moore boldly defines the battle lines of the modern world by posting yellow crime scene tape in the heart of Wall Street.

The capitalists should have seen it coming.

The Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC), a think tank of the UK’s Ministry of Defense (MOD), warned international capital that this might happen in the DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme, 2007-2036.

The alarm issued by the DCDC was quite specific — in the context of increasing globalization with its attendant global megatrends of growing inequality and absolute poverty, and the looming threat of catastrophic climate change — political unrest in the wake of a meltdown of the US economy was probable and a credible challenge to neoliberal capitalism was possible.  A direct quotation from the DCDC report expresses their deepest fears:

The Middle Class Proletariat

The middle classes could become the revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx.  The globalization of labor markets and reducing levels of national welfare provision and employment could reduce peoples’ attachment to particular states.  The growing gap between themselves and a small number of highly visible super-rich individuals might fuel disillusion with meritocracy [read “capitalism”], while the growing urban under-classes are likely to pose an increasing threat to social order and stability, as the burden of acquired debt and failure of pension provision begins to bite.  Faced by these twin challenges, the world’s middle classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest.

Or, as the renegade filmmaker from Flint, Michigan might put it:

Pissed-off of the world unite!
You have nothing to lose but
the weight of capitalists riding on your back!

Postscript: As the quotation from the DCDC above indicates, this struggle is going to be won by soft power, so go see the movie and then join the movement!


Richard D. and Idell E. Vogel are independent socialist reporters who monitor the effects of neoliberal globalization on working people and their communities.  Their website is From the Left — A US Forum for Combating Globalization: <www.combatingglobalization.com/>.  They can be contacted at <rdvogel@combatingglobalization.com>.


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