Eyes Wide Open Film Series, Part II
October 27, 2005
As part of the Eyes Wide Open Film Series, presented by US Citizens for Peace and Justice, we screened The Corporation - an entertaining and encyclopaedic survey of the history and nature of the dominant institution of our time. It is exhaustive in its depth, and engaging in its delivery. The film brings together an impressive collection of interviews, 1950’s government mandated educational videos and assorted other images and information to present an enjoyable and damning indictment of The Corporation. (See the hand-out distributed at the screening)
Among these redeeming features we can include the fact that it, like trailblazing anti-corporate sell-out magazine Adbusters, is from my hometown of Vancouver BC Canada. Mark Achbar lives and works there as does Joel Bakan, professor of law at the University of British Columbia. Its least redeeming feature would be the flipside of its most redeeming feature; yes it is thorough but unfortunately yes, it’s also too long. The film suffers from a too lenient editor. However based on the amount of extras on the DVD we know the filmmakers had an arsenal of material bigger than the arsenal of ammunition left unguarded by American troops in Iraq last year. However despite this too-long-by-twenty-minutes flaw the film screening was again successful; in fact we packed way too many people into the screening room. Unfortunately, it left no time for the usual discussion afterwards.
The film examines the rise of the Corporation, that omnipresent business entity that so organizes our lives that it is a veritable taken-for-granted necessity. Can we even imagine life without it? It’s not easy, but maybe we should try. Keeping in mind the corporation is structured such that it exists solely to make money for shareholders then add to that the relatively recent granting of full human rights to this entity in the eyes of the law and you end up with what we have now: a society of insanely powerful lunatics raping the earth and people in the single-minded pursuit of financial gain. And you owe them money! But don’t blame the Corporation; it’s structured to brook no alternative.
The Question: Can Corporate Social Responsibility really make corporations work for the public good? Is it worthwhile for activists to focus on holding Corporations accountable or are efforts better spent on dismantling the Corporate System and replacing it with a more accountable business structure, one with a built-in capacity to account for environmental and social costs?
If either of these above questions interests you, you should come out to the next screening in our documentary film series and probably get on the USC4P&J mailing list. If you disagree with the above I’m pretty sure you haven’t seen The Corporation, and should. Email USC4P&J for a copy on loan.
Thanks to Feltrinelli (a f***king Corporation) for supplying us (at retail price) with the English language version with Italian subtitles-giving us our most accessible film to date. See you at the next film.
Special thanks to Linux Club for their hospitality.
Photo of a school in Yemen bombed by Saudi Arabian jets supplied by the U.S. and fueled in the air by the U.S. Air Force.
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