FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Good Movie, Now Where’s the Movement?

by RALPH NADER

 

He sat there dejected and indignant-twenty years ago-in our office. His position as editor of the monthly muckraking magazine, Mother Jones, had broken up. He was looking for a job that would allow him to bring his conscience to work.

We gave him a place and support to start Moore’s Weekly-a media critique.

Michael Moore has gone a long way since that short-lived publication. He went on to do documentary films, starting with Roger and Me-meaning of course, Michael Moore.

Rich, famous and Hollywood chic, Moore will open his latest film-‘Sicko’ in theatres around the country on June 29, 2007. To many of those who have already seen this indictment and conviction of the corporations that sell health care under an array of tricky conditions, it is his best move yet.

He was in Washington, D.C. last week, for a preview at the large Uptown Theatre and for testimony before a House Committee. The media followed him with a frenzy hitherto reserved for Paris Hilton.

But Michael Moore is no Paris Hilton from any dimension you wish to choose. He is a heavyweight reformer, pitching his film toward full Medicare for everyone. This also means displacing the health insurance industry the way Medicare partially did in the mid-Sixties for the elderly.

“I think one movie can make a difference;.I believe it will be a catalyst for the type of real change people want,” Moore told the New York Times.

Great movies and documentaries raise people’s latent indignation levels-for a short time. Norma Rae, The China Syndrome and The Grapes of Wrath had this effect. But films do not usually move either people or legislators to action. Their effect does not reach enough people. Their urgent 2 hour impact tends to diminish quickly, as compared with the omnipresent and powerful corporate or commercial interests determined to preserve the status quo.

Will ‘Sicko’ be any different? Certainly the giant HMOs, hospital chains and drug companies are firmly entrenched with all the sinews of power that have left this country, alone among western nations, without health care for all. They have endured easily many mainstream print and television exposés (see the New York Times, AP, 60 Minutes and the nightly evening news, for example) year after year.

Authoritative reports documenting over $200 billion a year in computerized billing fraud and abuse or the loss of 18,000 American lives yearly due to the unaffordability of health care (The Institute of Medicine) bounce off this two trillion dollar industry like marshmallows.

Having been a taught community organizer in Michigan, (see the new book, Citizen Moore by Roger Rapaport) Moore has prepared with all this in mind. He allied himself with the great California Nurses Association and their nationwide colleagues to demonstrate in favor of the film, contact legislators and other large unions.

The anticipatory media for the movie have been generous; citing the U.S. government’s move against Moore for what it claims was an unauthorized trip to Cuba. Right wing think tanks, funded by this hyper-profitable, subsidized industry, pour out inane rebuttals and offer quotes against Moore for reporters.

Unlike for other social justice movies, there is even a bill in Congress, H.R. 676 with 74 cosponsoring legislators, led by Cong. John Conyers (Dem. Mich.), to establish full Medicare for all.

That is a number of lawmakers considerably less that those who signed on to a similar bill in 1993.

There are 17 million more Americans uninsured today than in that year, totaling nearly 48 million without coverage in 2006. So you see where that trend is heading.

If Moore is serious about getting “real change,” as he phrases his goal, he will have to make at least two more contributions. First, he will need to make a comprehensive effort to get many of the 6 million or more people, who will see the film, to sign up as they enter or leave the theatres so that they can be given a chance to connect with each other for a cohesive change constituency.

Secondly, some of the millions he will make from this movie should be put into a full time lobbying organization in Washington and back in the Congressional districts to press for enactment of H.R. 676.

With all his super-rich Hollywood contacts and admirers, Moore should be able to multiply this proposed group’s budget several fold. Michael can even call it ‘Moore’s Miracle!’

RALPH NADER is the author of The Seventeen Traditions

 

 

 

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Binoy Kampmark
Totalitarian Thinking, Feminism and the Clintons
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
David Busch
Bernie’s Blinding Light
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
stclair
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Winslow Myers
Looking for America
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Tony Christini
Death by Taxes (A Satire of Trump and Clinton)
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
February 11, 2016
Bruce Lesnick
Flint: A Tale of Two Cities
Ajamu Baraka
Beyonce and the Politics of Cultural Dominance
Shamus Cooke
Can the Establishment Fix Its Bernie Sanders Problem?
John Hazard
The Pope in Mexico: More Harm Than Good?
Joyce Nelson
Trudeau & the Saudi Arms Deal
Zarefah Baroud
The Ever-Dangerous Mantra “Drill, Baby Drill”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail