Michael Moore on 20 years of film-making and his latest movie in the Democracy Now!
This is the way it is now in this country. The wealthiest one percent right have more financial wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined. When you have a situation like that, where the one percent essentially not only own all the wealth, but own Congress, call the shots, are we really telling the truth when we call this a democracy? I know we get to vote every two or four years. Is that it? Just because we get to vote every now and then, we can call this a democracy, when the economy is anything but? You and I have no say in it. The people watching this, listening to us today have no say in how this economy is run. There’s not democracy in the workplace. I mean, through most of our daily lives, the idea of democracy is fairly nonexistent. And I think things work better when the people who have to work with whatever it is we’re working with have a say in how it’s working.
So I made this movie to do a number of things. One, to just go head on at this system. I’m not a reformer. I’m not looking for Congress to pass a few new regulations, which, by the way, it’s been a year since the crash, and they haven’t passed one of these things, which is what they said they were going to do right away, right? “All we need is a few rules. Don’t get rid of capitalism, just a few rules, and we’ll get everything back in shape.” Of course, they have no intention of doing that, and the banking industry has lobbied them successfully over the last year to leave them alone so that they can keep doing their crazy schemes. That’s one reason.
The second reason is, I wanted to present a filmed explanation of just what exactly did happen a year ago, what led up to it. I think a lot people, including myself—you know, we’re not economists. We don’t—we hear these terms, we don’t understand what they mean—derivatives, credit default swaps and all this stuff. And I thought, you know, I’ll bet you there’s a way to tell this story so that anybody will instantly get exactly what the looting was that took place a year ago this time. So I wanted to do that.
And then I guess I’m—I guess I’m doing what I’m always trying to do and what I think what all filmmakers try to do, is that I’m—I recognize that I’m asking you to leave the house on a Friday or Saturday night, get a babysitter, drive to the theater, spend money, spend outrageous amounts of money on popcorn and soda, and sit in the dark with 200 other strangers. I really want you, at the end of those two hours, to walk out of the theater saying to whoever you’re there with, “That was really—that was a good way to spend two hours. I learned something. I laughed my ass off. I cried.”
And I think this movie provides a range of not just emotions, but also really solid information and a number of exposés of things that have not been discussed in the media, or if they have been, they get brought up quickly and then are rejected, and nobody talks about them again. So I show you a number of things in the film. I think, you know, early audiences I’ve seen it with are fairly shocked at some of the stories that I presented.