It’s interesting that documentary “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?” is a Connect the Dots Production, because “Heist” is all about connecting the dots to figure out how multinational corporations have pulled off what filmmakers Donald Goldmacher and Frances Causey call the “biggest wealth transfer” in American history.
“Heist,” one of two American political documentaries opening at New York’s Quad Cinema on Friday, chronicles the past five decades of what the film calls a purposeful dismantling of anything that got in the way of the profit margin for multinational corporations. “Heist” discusses the success of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Glass-Steagall Act and the creation of similar policies that benefited the middle class and how the heirs to some of the richest families in America shaped the economic class war that many know today.
While the seeds planted for a corporate strategy to rig the game in their favor were already growing, the memo/essay “Attack on American Free Enterprise System,” by corporate lawyer and future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, laid out a plan for businesses to buy their way into politics, media and the American mind to take over the national conversation.
Speaking with economists, businessmen, politicians, journalists and activists, “Heist” not only talks doom and gloom but mentions the steps the average American citizen can take to make America once again a nation for the people and not a nation for big business.
While “Heist” implicates both political parties in causing the problem America finds itself trying to solve, Brian Malone’s “Patriocracy” goes even further in pointing the finger at Republicans and Democrats for lacking significant vertebrae and letting the money talk.
Malone, who produced and directed the film, discusses, through his subject matter, how an impatient (due to the Internet and instant gratification) and ideologically separated generation of Americans have caused the partisan divide and now scream and talk at each other rather than to each other.
Even Bob Schieffer of CBS News said, “These last couple of years are the nastiest and meanest I’ve seen in my 42 years in Washington.”
Malone traced some of this to Newt Gingrich, whose reign in Congress started in 1979, right when C-SPAN started airing congressional sessions around the clock. Gingrich became a star by dropping ideological bombs and refusing to comprise, where there used to be backroom deals and friendship between parties.
Malone does a decent job of describing how the Internet and cable news have led to people developing political blind spots for those who don’t think like them, which leads to shock when they encounter said people.
While cable news, the Internet, politicians and the like all share equal blame for the current state of political commentary in America, one needs to keep hyper-aware when watching “Patriocracy” and “Heist.” “Patriocracy” is about the destruction of commentary of political debate. “Heist” is about how big business made it so.
If you go to the Quad Cinema on March 2, you’ll see two very good documentaries that complement each other. Both point to everyone as the reason why America finds itself at a crossroads. One has to wonder if that type of message will draw in the people who really need to see it: those who fault the other side for everything.