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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Subversive use of Capitalism? Michael Moore joins the debate on hypocrisy

Sociologist, economist and political thinker Chaitanya Mishra and FPJ editor Jeremy Hammond also join the debate

Last weekend, I posted an article in this blog after compiling a debate between myself and Surath Giri that had taken place in Facebook timeline. That debate centered around whether filmmaker Michael Moore is a hypocrite for constantly deriding capitalism while immensely benefiting from it in terms of earnings by his movies. I mentioned Moore (@MMFlint) in twitter in a tweet that provided the link of the debate.

 This is how Moore reacted to the debate:

Sad to read this. I guess people don't really understand what modern day capitalism is. Do you think if I lived in a socialist country & my films were a huge draw that I would b penniless? How simple to think by earning $ that makes u a capitalist!  

But let's say that's true, why doesn't your friend think it's possible to subversively use capitalism to create its undoing? The money I make goes into my next film. 

Btw, I lost 62 pounds this year. And the production company got the subsidy, just as every studio filming anywhere gets one. Thx!

In his response to the debate, Jeremy R. Hammond, the editor of Foreign Policy Journal tweeted like this, referring to one of the Moore movies, 'Capitalism: A Love Story':

My problem with "Capitalism: A Love Story" is it blamed "capitalism" for anti-free market policies and practices.
Moore's notion that he was subversively using capitalism to some way harm the system was particularly fascinating. Eventually, I forwarded the debate and Moore's response to Prof. Chaitanya Mishra, sociologist, economist and political thinker of Nepal asking his opinion about subversive use of capitalism. His response was brisk but insightful:

Thanks. Straight away, yes, it is possible to utilize (and benefit from) a system in order to bring it to an end. Illustratively, trade unions use the principle of 'work to rule' in order to effectively stop work. The point being that if one worked according to laid down rules (under a system) work would really cease to proceed ahead. This is really a form of Gandhi-giri--of passive resistance. 
 In keeping with this principle, Immanuel Wallerstein and others call for overloading the capitalist system in order to bring it to an early demise. Illustratively, the principle of democracy, if pushed ruthlessly, could surely overload the system. Just imagine pushing the principles and policies clauses of the interim constitution to the limits. The present state certainly could not deliver all the promises contained there. This would make it easier to dismantle the present state.  
The key point, however, is whether agency action, sans historical process, is enough to dismantle a system. I think not. That is why I try to take the historical, processual, evolutionary, etc. angles. 

This chapter of debate is closed for now but the subject being highly captivating, it may soon pop out anywhere anytime. Any views for or against any side are very welcome.

Earlier in the series: 

Michael Moore: A hypocrite? A debate

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