Michael Moore: Wall St. Protests Aren't Violent, the Police Are the Rioters
Leftist filmmaker Michael Moore dismissed the accusation that some Wall Street protests have grown violent, telling CNN's Piers Morgan on Tuesday that the "Occupy" protesters are, in fact, "a nonviolent peaceful group" and the real rioters are the police.
"There's no violence coming from the 'Occupy' protesters," Moore insisted. "What we've – what we've seen across the country are a series of police riots, where the police are rioting, where the police have gotten violent."
Moore, who earlier in the interview claimed that he is not, in fact, worth millions, defended the widespread Wall Street protests against bankers who, according to him, hate America and wish for Soviet-style capitalism.
"And these people, these poor bankers, they hate this country, and they hate the people in it and they hate the workers in it," he ranted. "And they're trying to get away with as much money as they can before that next crash. And they have to be stopped."
He added that "these capitalists of the 21st century, they like the – they would like a Soviet style capitalism where they're the only ones that get to call the shots."
[Video below. Click here for audio.]
A transcript of the segments, which aired on October 26 at 9:28 p.m. and 9:40 p.m. EDT, respectively, are as follows:
PIERS MORGAN: Michael Moore, increasingly there is a sense that it's getting angrier. There is violence on both sides. Is this where you want to see these protests go? What is your view when you see what's happening in places like Oakland? It's potentially dangerous.
MICHAEL MOORE, filmmaker: There's no violence coming from the "Occupy" protesters.
This is a nonviolent peaceful group. What we've – what we've seen across the country are a series of police riots, where the police are rioting, where the police have gotten violent. These are Americans who are, in the American tradition, standing up for what they believe in, and occupying the front lawns of the city hall in the case of Oakland. They're not destroying any property. And this is going on all over the country. It's – this is something that can't be stopped. They can bring in all the police they want. I was down in Times Square last weekend for the big protest down there. And the police looked really frightened because there were simply not enough police.
If the people had just decided to go past the barricades and go into the streets and take over the streets, because there are tens of millions of people that feel this way. Tens of millions. And this is a movement that cannot be stopped with billy clubs or this kind of behavior.
MORGAN: Let me ask you about jobs, in both senses of this. One, the jobs crisis. Secondly, Steve Jobs. Because Apple has become a kind of symbol of glorious capitalism and at the same time Apple now has more employees in China than it has in America – which is one of the fundamental problems of America.
I've got a tweet here from Gabby Sunhar (ph), saying, wake up America, we need to stop shipping jobs overseas and stop buying imported goods of lower standard. There's a good merit to this argument that America needs to be more selfish, isn't there? That companies like Apple should lead by example. They're making billions. Bring it back to America. What do you think?
MOORE: If I were president – and I'm not announcing, by the way, on your show.
MORGAN: Good. Good.
MORGAN: Spice things up, Michael. You'd get a few votes in this room.
MOORE: I would like – no, no. Please. No, no, no.
MOORE: I would make it – I would say – this is what I would say. I would say our jobs are a national resource. And you, corporate America, cannot just take a national treasure like the jobs of the people that make up this country and take them some place else. And I would make it – I would have laws that would make it very hard to do that. Even illegal to do that.
Where you can – I mean I'll give you my instance of Flint, Michigan. People of Flint, Michigan, and the other General Motors towns, they built that corporation into the largest and richest corporation in the world. And then in the 1980s, GM decided hey, you know what? Instead of making $4 billion in profits – that's what they were making in the '80s – we could make $5 billion if we started moving this overseas.
So they decided that it was worth wrecking the lives of tens of thousands of middle class people so they could make an extra billion. What was wrong with $4 billion? What was wrong with $4 billion? So for an extra billion, we have to see the destruction of Flint and Detroit and all these cities across the country?
If I had anything to say about it, I would say, you know what, GM? As long as you're doing well here – I understand if you're losing money and you can't do it, OK, we'll see what we can do. But if you're making money, you're making a huge profit, then you just cannot pick up and leave. I'm sorry. These are the people's jobs. This is what makes this country run.
MOORE: – I mean, they – these capitalists of the 21st century, they like the – they would like a Soviet style capitalism where they're the only ones that get to call the shots.
MORGAN: What is a good capitalist?
MOORE: Well, the thing, again, when we were growing up there was a system that said – I mean the way I described it, I think I might have said this last time I was on the show, that the contract with the workers, between the workers and the owners was that if you the worker worked hard and the company prospered, you prospered.
But they decided to change it to you work hard, the company prospers, and you lose your job. And this has been a shock, I think, to the American people that after years and years of what you put into the company, and then you're just treated like so much garbage that's put out on the curb.
This is – it's un-American. And these people, these poor bankers, they hate this country, and they hate the people in it and they hate the workers in it. And they're trying to get away with as much money as they can before that next crash. And they have to be stopped.