Bismillah. A massive “thank you” to the UK’s Channel 4 for screening Michael Moore’s superb 2009 film, “Capitalism: A Love Story” tonight. A must-watch, much like John Pilger’s “The War on Democracy.”
The main message: let’s rescue US democracy from Wall St. & greedy bankers.
There were shocking examples as well as inspiring stories:
* Judges & private prison CEOs making money from locking up kids for minor misdemeanours.
* Pilots paid so little that they resort to waitressing & food stamps. Hence the “Pennies for Pilots” charity collections on some US flights.
* Walmart and other corporations making millions from taking out life insurance policies on employees, who do not even know about these. The financiers call such people “Dead Peasants”; see http://www.deadpeasants.biz.
* The Troidy family in Miami whose home of over 20 years was foreclosed (repossessed). With local community support, they moved back in, defying the police and bank who had to back down.
* A sheriff who halted all future foreclosures (repossessions) of houses in his county, saying that no more working-class families should lose their homes.
* The Chicago factory-workers who staged a sit-in after being fired without pay. The company gave in after massive support from the public, including President Obama (Wall St gave his campaign a lot of money when they realised he was going to win).
* The courageous Congressmen who opposed the $700 bn bailout of the banks in 2008, arguing that Bush used fear to intimidate their colleagues into passing the motion, just as he did with the illegal Iraq war.
* Michael Moore attempting a citizen’s arrest of bank CEOs & putting “Crime Scene – Do Not Enter” yellow tape around Wall St. banks and those “bull and bear” sculptures in protest at the bailout fraud. Then with a megaphone asking the CEOs to come out to be arrested. He then says something like, “I’m getting old & tired of doing this by myself. Please join me” – via http://www.michaelmoore.com
* Footage of Roosevelt’s speech to the US during WW2 where he proposed a Second Bill of Rights, including the right of every citizen to a decent home, job, wage, education & healthcare. He died soon after and 65 years on, Americans still don’t have those rights. Ironically, many of his team helped to write constitutions for European countries & Japan, where such rights are widespread. The opponents of such ideas in the US describe them as “dangerous socialism,” one of the many labels put on Obama now.
Such rights are also very Islamic. As my grandfather wrote in his “Way of the Prophet” (p. 218 under Hadith 374),
“An Islamic government is responsible for all the basic necessities of people who are unable to support themselves. The basic necessities are: (1) food, (2) clothing, (3) accommodation, (4) healthcare and (5) education.
If the citizens of any state are deprived of these basic necessities, the government cannot be regarded as Islamic in the true sense.”
* The film ends with a wonderful, moving song by Woody Guthrie entitled “Jesus Christ.” The lovely lyrics include lines like:
Jesus said to the rich: “Give your wealth to the poor!”
And they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
If Jesus was to preach today as he did in the past,
They would lay Jesus Christ in his grave.
(The Koran rejects the story of the crucifixion of Christ, but this song’s powerful appeal for social justice is very Islamic.)
More quotes from the film:
* A leaked memo from top bankers admitted that the US was now no longer a democracy but a plutonomy, ie rule by wealthy corporations.
* Several priests described capitalism (or its current state in the US) as “evil.”
* The richest 1% of US households now have more wealth than the “bottom” 95% put together. But the latter have 95% of the vote, something the rich elite fear.
* “I truly believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies” – Thomas Jefferson, 1816.
It was Jefferson vs. The Bankers in one of the US Presidential Elections. Jefferson won, narrowly, despite all the dirty tricks used against him. I recommend “The Creature From Jekyll Island” by Edward Griffin for a fascinating, readable history of this period, the US Central Banks, the Federal Reserve, etc. Note that Griffin is right-wing whilst Moore is on the left. Griffin also criticises the international banking system for diverting US taxpayers’ money to help “international socialism” in Europe & Asia!
A final note: modern capitalism’s biggest problem is its foundation of riba (usury, exploitation, etc.). A key Koranic teaching is that usury is fundamentally opposed to charity. A clear illustration of this is that surplus wealth and profit is reduced by 2.5% per year under the Islamic charitable rules of zakat, with the money going to the poor and needy. Under a usurious system, the exact opposite happens: such money magically grows due to interest rates. If you trace it back, this increase comes ultimately from exploitation of the poor and indebted.
The net effects are:
Charity – wealth transfer from rich to poor
Usury – wealth transfer from poor to rich
May Allah give us the courage & wisdom to replace our current usurious system with a charity-based model of the free market and free enterprise.