A new film, Corporate Coup, (trailer at link ) is premiering in the coming days in Washington, D.C., (April 26-27 at Filmfest DC) and Toronto (April 29, 30, and May 3 at Hot Docs Festival).

The film is vague about when the corporate takeover of the U.S. government began, probably because it actually predates the U.S. government and wasn’t entirely new in the 1970s or the 1980s but did see, at that time, a major acceleration that in some ways was a leap backward and in other ways a leap into something unseen before.

The film contains insightful comments from people like John Ralston Saul, who makes a case that the winner of World War II was Mussolini, that his military was defeated but his ideology triumphant. Certainly corporatism, the rule by wealthy business interests, was never met by complete opposition in the U.S. or any other government, including the Russian. One might add that the militarism and global imperialism that we are urged to associate with Nazism has triumphed as well.

Corporate Coup D’Étatshows us sacrifice zones, areas of the United States devastated economically by shutdown businesses. One might group them with areas destroyed environmentally. A Pennsylvania town with a closed-down blast furnace and a Pennsylvania town with a coal fire still burning just underground after catching decades ago both have the same empty houses. One might group these zones with the many large zones of the earth outside the United States that have been sacrificed. In fact, it will soon become apparent to most people that the entire planet falls into the same category.

What’s most interesting about this film is all the interviews of people who voted for Obama and then Trump, or voted for Democrats for decades and then Trump, or voted for Bernie Sanders and then Trump. Some of them explain that they saw Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as the worst two choices ever, and they chose the one who was new and different. That may strike some people as irrational. Even if it doesn’t, the continued loyalty these poor people express for Donald Trump may seem willfully delusional.

But imagine that you live in a place where half the buildings are empty, that you have no savings and no health coverage, that your choices of schools for your kids are the crappy public school down the street and . . . that’s it, that your job involves no improvement, no raises, no benefits, no voice or control or possibility of a union, no options of switching to any other job, and the distinct possibility that you may be out of work altogether at any moment. Imagine further that you’ve been told that all you can do is vote for a president or sit around bitching, that you have no knowledge of activism or civic engagement and very little time or energy for it if you did. Imagine that even the experts in movies like this one that you yourself now play a bit role in (presumably unpaid) describe numerous actions that Congress has taken in the past two years as having been taken by Trump, because it simply goes without saying that presidents make laws and presidents make budgets.

You’ve concluded that politicians are all slimy, that voting is not very different from doing nothing at all, and that you have a choice between an evil you know and an evil you don’t, or an evil you know as a disastrous public official of long standing (why is my brain flashing to images of Joe Biden walking onto a stage?) and an evil that’s been presented as likeable on idiotic television programs of long standing?

Your conclusion is not particularly irrational. InCorporate Coup D’État we see journalist Lee Fang interview members of Congress, and — with very few exceptions — to call them slimy would be an insult to slime.

I think it may be easier for many people to write about Trump Democrats than to talk to them or even to watch them talking on video. It’s certainly easier to fantasize that they’ve all seen the light and repented than it is to watch them, over and over, stating clearly and articulately that they have done no such thing.

To the extent that they deny the evidence of Trump’s malicious mendaciousness and stay loyal to their leader or party, they are no different from most Republicans or Democrats. One can blame them for it, but it’s like blaming theists for believing in God. (It’s stupid, it’s harmful, but it’s so widespread that if you don’t find a way to interact with them respectfully, you’re going to be pretty darn lonely.)

To the extent that Trump voters, or non-voters, might recognize what a walking disaster he is, that wouldn’t mean they’d rationally be obliged to reject him in favor of a different variety of walking disaster like Joe Biden. Even if offered the notably superior choice of Bernie Sanders, many of them could be too fed up; it could be too late to reach them. But certainly a Democratic Party that chooses not to impeach Trump and not to try offering a decent candidate who legitimately gives a shit about people and is willing to try to help them should be banned from looking down its nose at anybody. In terms of stupidity, it will take the prize.



David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

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