[Marxism] Michael Moore interview with Bill Maher

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Sep 27 17:27:15 MDT 2009

I am watching these two on HBO now. Maher is actually more incisive than 
Moore, reminding him that democracy is not an economic system. In the 
end of his movie, Moore says that we need to replace capitalism with 
democracy--a point that Maher found fuzzy to say the least. Now I don't 
think that Moore has to recite lines from the CM, but you really have to 
talk about what will replace it. You can use all sorts of formulations 
to make the points without using the word "socialism", like the economy 
should be controlled by those who produce the goods, etc. Anyhow, it is 
interesting to see open discussions about the capitalist system. Moore 
was followed by Krugman and Elliot Spitzer who are about at the same 
place as Moore. Spitzer says that we haven't had capitalism in the past 
10 years or so, as if derivatives and subprime mortgages were not in 
keeping with the accumulation cycle. I have a feeling that they have 
this idealized notion of the system out of high school government textbooks.

Here, btw, is Moore explaining his economic ideas to Amy Goodman. 
Basically, it sounds like a call for worker-owned businesses, as if 
something like Mondragon is not subject to the laws of capitalism:

MICHAEL MOORE: Well, I’m very clear in the film that, you know, I’m not 
an economist. But the alternative, the economic order that we need to 
create for the twenty-first century—and that’s what we really need to 
do. We need to quit having the argument about the economic system that 
was invented in the sixteenth century versus the one that was invented 
in the nineteenth century. We need to—come on, we’re smart people. We’re 
in the twenty-first century. We have a whole new set of issues and 
problems that we face. Can’t we come up with an economic order that has 
these two basic underpinnings: that it is run democratically and that it 
is run with a sense of ethics and morality? So, whatever we construct, 
for me, personally, it has to have those two things in its foundation.

I do show in the film some very specific examples of workplace 
democracy, where a number of companies have decided to go down the road 
of having the company actually owned by the workers. And when I say 
“owned,” I’m not talking about some ding-dong stock options that make 
you feel like you’re an owner, when you’re nowhere near that. But I mean 
these companies really own it. And I’m not talking about, you know, the 
hippy-dippy food co-op, and I don’t mean that with any disrespect to the 
food co-ops who are listening or any hippies that are listening. But I 
go to an engineering firm in Madison, Wisconsin. These guys look like a 
bunch of Republicans. I mean, I didn’t ask them how they vote, but they 
didn’t necessarily look like they were from, you know, my side of the 
political fence. And here they all are equal owners of this company. The 
company does $15 million worth of business each year.

I go to this bakery. It’s not a bakery really; it’s a bread factory out 
in northern California, Alvarado Street Bakery. And they’re all paid. 
They all share the profits the same. They’re all shared equally, 
including the CEO. And they vote. They elect, you know, who’s going to 
be running this and how this is going to function. The average factory 
worker in this bread factory makes $65,000 to $70,000 a year, which, I 
point out, is about three times the starting pay of a pilot who works 
for American Eagle or Delta Connection. And that’s another harrowing 
scene in the movie, where I interview pilots who are on food 
stamps—pilots who are on food stamps because of how little they’re paid. So—

full: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/24/after_20_years_of_filmmaking_on

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