Naomi Klein Interviews Michael Moore on the Perils of Capitalism
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So if [New York Democratic Congressman Anthony] Weiner or any of the other members of Congress want to step forward, now would be the time. And I certainly would be out there. I am out there.
I mean, I would use this time right now to really rally people, because I think the majority of the country wants this.
NK: Coming back to Wall Street, I want to talk a little bit more about this strange moment that we're in, where the rage that was directed at Wall Street, what was being directed at AIG executives when people were showing up in their driveways -- I don't know what happened to that.
My fear was always that this huge anger that you show in the film, the kind of uprising in the face of the bailout, which forced Congress to vote against it that first time, that if that anger wasn't continuously directed at the most powerful people in society, at the elites, at the people who had created the disaster and channeled into a real project for changing the system, then it could easily be redirected at the most vulnerable people in society; I mean immigrants, or channeled into racist rage.
And what I'm trying to sort out now is, is it the same rage or do you think these are totally different streams of American culture -- have the people who were angry at AIG turned their rage on Obama and on the idea of health reform?
MM: I don't think that is what has happened. I'm not so sure they're the same people.
In fact, I can tell you from my travels across the country while making the film, and even in the last few weeks, there is something else that's simmering beneath the surface.
You can't avoid the anger boiling over at some point when you have 1 in 8 mortgages in delinquency or foreclosure, where there's a foreclosure filing once every 7.5 seconds, and the unemployment rate keeps growing. That will have its own tipping point.
And the scary thing about that is that historically, at times when that has happened, the right has been able to successfully manipulate those who have been beaten down and use their rage to support what they used to call fascism.
Where has it gone since the crash? It's a year later. I think that people felt like they got it out of their system when they voted for Obama six weeks later and that he was going to ride into town and do the right thing. And he's kind of sauntered into town promising to do the right thing but not accomplishing a whole heck of a lot.
Now, that's not to say that I'm not really happy with a number of things I've seen him do.
To hear a president of the United States admit that we overthrew a democratically elected government in Iran, that's one of the things on my list I thought I'd never hear in my lifetime. So there have been those moments.
And maybe I'm just a bit too optimistic here, but he was raised by a single mother and grandparents, and he did not grow up with money. And when he was fortunate enough to be able to go to Harvard and graduate from there, he didn't then go and do something where he could become rich; he decides to go work in the inner city of Chicago.
Oh, and he decides to change his name back to what it was on the birth certificate -- Barack. Not exactly the move of somebody who's trying to become a politician. So he's shown us, I think, in his lifetime many things about where his heart is, and he slipped up during the campaign and told Joe the Plumber that he believed in spreading the wealth.