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The Top 10 Documentaries that Explain Why the Occupy Movement Exists

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One of the most entertaining yet unsurprising aspects of Occupy Wall St has been the response from traditional media. Whether intentionally playing dumb or genuinely clueless, the mainstream media has failed to inform the public and substantially address the key issues. But why did tens of thousands of people risk arrest all over the world to protest the status quo?

For everyone who has been following independent, alternative media, the answer is obvious. People who have been clued in to what's been going on in this country for the last decade responded: Finally! A movement to match the scale of the problem is taking root here in America! 

A new cultural zeitgeist is growing increasingly more visible in the shadow of the old - one that is steadily zeroing in on the root problems that are paralyzing the prosperity of our future: corporate personhood, an undemocratic system of government, a centralized fractional-reserve banking system, neoclassical economics and capitalism itself. 

Seen in this light, it's understandable that the press would feign confusion. Unlike the now co-opted Tea Party movement, which has sadly only served to bolster the corporate welfare state and the interests of the 1%, the problems OWS are exposing are too threatening to the established powers to critically examine. Our demands are too big to be mentioned. And so from the media: We have no demands. We do not know what the problem is. We want handouts from government and simply want a free ride. However, as more people get tuned into alternative media and see the disparity between the reality and what the pundits have to say, the comical theater of the mass media only ingrains its own irrelevance. 

Of course, for all the people who still get informed by the mass media, there is much work to do. To combat the misinformation, we need to become the media ourselves, and we have ample tools at our disposal. The biggest memes behind OWS - the ideas and analysis of the problem that gives the movement its inspiration - have been amply documented in several amazing documentaries that are freely available online.

So, following, are the top 10 films that capture the spirit and motivation of the movement. They are the heavy-weight truth bombs which provide the intellectual backing and substance to the slogans and chants. Watch these films. Share them with friends. 

By breaking the bottleneck the mass media holds on the flow of information and turning people on to alternative channels, we'll be able to build the collective understanding necessary to realize the ambitious goals of OWS.

If we work hard to get these messages out, we'll be primed to hit the tipping point that will finally rest control of our future out of the hands of the 1% and into our own.

(My comments in bold)

10. The Yes Men Fix The World (2009)
"The Yes Men Fix the World is a screwball true story about two gonzo political activists who, posing as top executives of giant corporations, lie their way into big business conferences and pull off the world's most outrageous pranks."

This film provides the most comical look at the culture of greed that pervades the corporate world. It also critiques the conventional wisdom of trickle-down economics. Keeping the tone lighthearted and quite funny throughout, this is a great film to introduce the subject with.

9. War By Other Means (1992)
"John Pilger travels to many third world countries to investigate the devastating results of loans from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). This film shows how many wars today are not carried out at the barrel of a gun, but by the monetary policies of global banking institutions. Instead of bombs, it has been discovered that debt is a far more powerful weapon to control and maintain the power of global economic interests. It turns out that the "structural-adjustment" policies of neo-liberal economics are even more deadly than nerve gas and many other weapons of war. This documentary backs up many of the claims made by John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man."

All of John Pilger's films are excellent and worth watching. The oldest pick in this list explores some of the older history of our economic policies to reveal some truly paradigm-disturbing insights. The film highlights the fact that the problems addressed by OWS are not new by any measure, but are rooted deeply in a global system which has, as a matter of policy and design, consistently robbed the third world to enrich the first. This is a hard truth to accept, but Pilger backs up his claims with world-class journalism and professionalism.

8. Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (2011)
"Moving Forward presents the case for a needed transition out of the current socioeconomic monetary paradigm which governs the entire world society. The film aims to filter out issues of cultural relativism and traditional ideology so that we can examine the core, empirical life ground attributes of human and social survival, extrapolating those immutable natural laws to propose a new sustainable social paradigm called a Resource-Based Economy."

Of special interest to OWS is the middle section of the film, which critiques the fundamental problems inherent in our monetary/market-based system, and which offers one of the deepest analyses of the big picture perspective on the global crisis yet seen. It also proposes a logical alternative to the monetary paradigm, if we were to rethink how our system works from the ground up. The film asks: what would a true civilization look like - a world without war, hierarchy, or poverty? Would competition really be the driving force of a civilized society, or would it be cooperation? 

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www.filmsforaction.org

Tim Hjersted is the director of Films For Action, a non-profit group that uses the power of film to raise awareness of important social, environmental, and media related issues not covered by the mainstream news. Through our website, public film (more...)
 

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The Economics of HappinessI love this movie-- inte... by Rob Kall on Thursday, Oct 25, 2012 at 10:57:35 AM
Economics of Happiness is one of my favorites. Num... by Tim Hjersted on Thursday, Oct 25, 2012 at 8:44:08 PM
should certainly be added to this list.  ... by Hubert Steed on Thursday, Oct 25, 2012 at 8:51:23 PM