Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/8788

Posted on 5 February 2010 at 15:46 GMT

"Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil"

Michael Moore's Capitalism - a love story, photo Michael Moore

Michael Moore's Capitalism - a love story, photo Michael Moore   (Click to enlarge)

Karl Marx likened capitalism to a vampire which lives and expands by sucking "living labour" from the worker by extracting "surplus value", "unpaid labour".

Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, reviews Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story'

But that is while the worker lives. Now we learn through Michael Moore, the US radical film-maker, that the biggest vampire, Wal-Mart - "a company with revenue larger than any other in the world" - actually bets on its "workers dying.

"It takes out life insurance policies on its 350,000 shopfloor workers without their knowledge and approval" [Chris McGreal, The Guardian, 30 January 2010].

Moreover: "When one of them dies, Wal-Mart claims on the policy. Not a cent of the payout, which sometimes runs to $1 million (620,000) or more goes to the family of the dead worker, often struggling with expensive funeral bills.

"Wal-Mart keeps the lot. If a worker dies, the company profits."

This and many other devastating and shocking facts are revealed by Michael Moore in his latest film 'Capitalism: A Love Story'.

This film has already been reviewed by Dan DiMaggio in the Socialist. But socialists should repeat the facts and incidents, and shout them from the rooftops. The anti-banker rage which is developing into a mass anti-capitalist consciousness will be boosted by this.

Wal-Mart is not alone

We also discover from Moore that "Wal-Mart is not alone." He talked to one unfortunate woman whose husband died of brain cancer in 2008.

He worked at a bank until they fired him because he was sick. But the bank retained a life insurance policy on this man and cashed it in for $4.7 million (2.9 million) when he died.

When this was revealed to a cinema audience in Washington, "there were gasps". Another family found themselves chucked out of their home with the father- a gun owner and a Republican voter at that - stating that he could understand why "someone might want to shoot up a bank".

Many other shocking facts are outlined, including incidents which completely vindicate Moore's efforts to show the rottenness of the US health system in his previous film 'Sicko'.

We learn, for instance, that a former vice-president of Sigma health insurance admitted on TV: "Everything Michael Moore said in Sicko was true, and we were afraid this film would be a tipping point." This is a health executive for once "coming clean", which is not typical of the "vampires" that infest the 'health industry' in the US, and which has defeated all attempts so far to create a publically funded and run healthcare system.

Capitalism is an evil

But Moore does not leave it at that. At the end of this film he concludes: "Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil." Correct, shouts every worker who has lost his or her job, been forced from a house through no fault of their own but the greed of the banks, cannot pay fuel bills and eat at the same time.

Moore even goes on to say: "You have to eliminate it and replace it with something that is good for all people." Right again, Michael.

But he then weakens everything he has previously said by lamely declaring: "That something is democracy."

Democratic rights - the right to strike, freedom of assembly, a free press - are vital. Moreover, historically all these rights have been achieved by the struggles of working-class people in the teeth of bitter opposition from the bosses and their political cronies.

But Moore himself has shown that when economic power is concentrated, as it inevitably is in this system in the hands of a minority of bloodsucking capitalists, then 'democracy' is mostly on paper and nullified unless the working class organises against them.

Capitalist democracy means you can say what you want, so long as the bosses decide. In the US and elsewhere, the bosses control the press, the TV, the main political parties and the Senate and Congress.

The Supreme Court in the US has reinforced this recently by taking steps to enhance this power by lifting restrictions on how much big business - Wall Street - can now spend in elections.

Moore states: "What I am asking for is a new economic order... I don't know how to construct that, I am not an economist.

"All I ask is that it have two organising principles. Number one, that the economy is run democratically. In other words, the people have a say in how its run, not just the 1%. And number two, that it has an ethical and moral core to it. That nothing is done without considering the ethical nature, no business decision is made without first asking the question, is this for the common good?"

Under capitalism - a society based upon the production of profit for the minority and not social need, the "common good" is a chimera.

We, the socialists and labour movement, fight for the "common good" in resisting wage cuts, the destruction of hard-won services like health, education, etc.

We support all reforms and improvements for working class people. But history - and particularly as it is unfolding now in the US and worldwide - attests to the fact that the "common good" will be attacked and undermined so long as capitalism exists.

Tragically, Michael Moore in all his films - as devastating as they are as an indictment of this system - stubbornly refuses to draw this conclusion.

In this sense he is perhaps no different at this stage to the majority of US citizens - including the majority of the working class.

Yet through his films, he is in a strong position to call for a real alternative to the system he clearly detests.

That is democratic socialism. Events - and mighty events at that - are preparing the ground to undermine his and others' reluctance to draw the obvious conclusion that only democratic socialism and a powerful labour movement fighting for this can defend the common good, enhance and improve it.

This will be at the expense of the power, income and prestige of the minority - the 1% that Michael Moore refers to.

The statements and ideas of Moore reflected through his films indicate that although not yet recognised by him, socialism is on the march, even in the former bastion of capitalism.

It is not excluded that such is the present hatred which is generated against the banks and the rich in the US that the country could be propelled into the first rank of movements towards socialism.

If it does it can become the anvil upon which will be shaped the socialist future of humankind.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 






Related links:

Capitalism:

triangleCWI rally: 80 years since the murder of Leon Trotsky

triangleFighting to end racism and capitalism

triangleCapitalism's 'vaccine war' shows need for socialist cooperation

triangleFrom first wave to second? Capitalism's Covid failures

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: Capitalism and mental health

US:

triangleAnniversary of nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

triangleCuba: Covid-19 and the 60-year-old embargo

triangle'First you clap us then you slap us'

triangleExciting Cuban spy thriller exposes US-sponsored terrorism

Michael Moore:

triangleKshama Sawant's response to Obama speech

Health:

triangleNHS pay: 15% for all now

triangleFight for the NHS

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

5/8/20

NHS

'First you clap us then you slap us'

5/8/20

Young Socialists

Young Socialist day of action

5/8/20

Socialist Party

Campaign stalls on jobs, pay, NHS and racism

5/8/20

Black Lives Matter

North London: Socialist Party speaks at BLM protest

5/8/20

Hull

Engage for Change Hull - trade union youth festival goes online

5/8/20

Socialist Party

Why I joined - Covid changed my outlook

5/8/20

Socialist Party

Socialist Party meetings: Online and in-person

5/8/20

Young Socialists

A-level results day 2020: Fight for our future!

5/8/20

Caerphilly

GE Aviation workers march to save jobs

5/8/20

Trotsky

80 years since the murder of Leon Trotsky rally

5/8/20

BAME

Fighting to end racism and capitalism

5/8/20

Doncaster

Doncaster: Vigil for murdered women

5/8/20

The Socialist

The Socialist summer schedule

5/8/20

Unite

Unite union branch pledges to support socialist candidates who oppose cuts

5/8/20

BT

Oppose BT site closures - national strike ballot needed

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999