Citizen Koch

Review by Willard Manus

Here’s a film that just might slow the USA’s move to the right.

CITIZEN KOCH, the new documentary by Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, takes a hard look at the state of democracy in this country and shows just how it is being undermined on a systematic basis by forces bankrolled by David Koch. An ultra-conservative billionaire, Koch is also a major PBS donor, which explains why that television network reneged on its promise to fund CITIZEN KOCH and give it air time.

Deal and Lessin ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to make up for the lost production funds. As a result of the American people’s support, CITIZEN KOCH has survived PBS’ move to censor it; the film is now playing in theaters nationwide.

David Koch is the Daddy Warbucks of the Tea Party, the rightwing faction of the Republican Party masquerading as a protector of homegrown, “traditional” American values. Exactly the opposite is true, of course: the Tea Party and other Koch-subsidized operations like Citizens United have fought to give unlimited power to the One Percenters, the rich people of this country.

When the Supreme Court decided, five to four, that corporations were individuals–and therefore free to donate vast sums to favored political candidates, without need of disclosure–Koch threw a fortune behind Scott Walker, the Tea Party puppet running for governor of Wisconsin. When Walker won, he declared, “Wisconsin is open for business!” and proceeded to attack worker’s rights, unions, public schools and social welfare of all kinds.

As CITIZEN KOCH shows so vividly and bravely, Walker’s policies were so unfair and undemocratic that even lifelong Republicans were horrified. As one of them said, “The Tea Party has stolen my party from me.”

Buddy Roemer, a businessman and former governor of Louisiana, put it another way in CITIZEN KOCH. “What kind of a country is this when corporations run things? Money is a weapon–and the rich people have all the weapons.”

Roemer, an independent candidate for President in 2008 who was denied the right to take part in the nationally televised political dates), has called on Congress and the American citizenry to fight back against the plutocrats. “We’ve got a tough battle facing us, but we can win it if we have the courage to fight it.”