Summer is always a time to reflect for me, and each year my focus is a little different. This year, it’s been politics that has captured my imagination: politics and the interface between justice, community-building, and human thriving. I reflected a little in late December, and have continued to read and listen. Deepening inequality and injustice profoundly concern me. I’m concerned by the rise of fascism. Thinkers like Tim Jackson have entered into the conversation. Other conversationalists have been Pope Francis, Noam Chomsky, US-born Iranian film director Ramin Bahrani and his profound 2015 film 99 Homes (spoiler alert – review here), Michael Moore, and US-historian Thomas Frank (his most recent book is a stunner and is sure to be both provocative and controversial (for some) - Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? (March 2016)
Documentary filmmaker and author Michael Moore, always controversial, does a fabulous job at getting the issues out on the table in his 2009 film Capitalism: A Love Story (watch for early Bernie Sanders, who back in 2008/09 still made a lot of sense). While featuring Barack Obama in a positive light (Obama having in 2008 becoming the US President-Elect), I imagine Moore would have had a very different take of him at the close of his second term if that documentary had been released in 2017. Certainly I’ve been deeply disappointed by Obama’s two-term Presidency. So much potential for change squandered and allowed to be bought. I watched Capitalism: A Love Story for the first time earlier this week. Worth re-reading, this side of the US-elections, is Moore’s prescient“Five Reasons Why Trump Will Win” (from memory it came out around July 2016)
A more recent, but equally provocative documentary that I would highly recommend is Noam Chomsky’s Requiem for the American Dream (2015)
There have been numerous other documentaries well worth watching, e.g. 2005’s The Corporation. Or 2011’s The Inside Job. Or Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.
I also highly recommend listening to Thomas Frank, here (The US Election and those who have been left Behind) and here (Thomas Frank and the New “liberal”). Neither conversation is particularly long, but both pack a punch. While his latest book focuses on the US Democratic Party, it nonetheless has real relevance in other Western countries such as my own.