What can Michael Moore teach Jeremy Corbyn?
Michael Moore’s latest documentary ‘Where to Invade Next’ highlights the failure of the US military to win a conflict outright since WW2. Moore’s solution is for him personally to invade countries and steal their best ideas, not their natural resources. Moore invades Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Tunisia, Solvenia, Finland and Iceland.
The common thread linking all these ideas is people power social justice and a progressive society achieved through continuous collective struggle. Free university education, equal rights for women, bankers held to account, liberated attitudes to sex education, decriminalising drug use, preventative healthcare, rehabilitation of offenders, allowing children to be children and a healthy work-life balance.
None of the ideas are entirely new, many originated in the US only to be suffocated by neoliberalism. Moore seeks to repatriate these great ideas to his moribund homeland.
Interestingly the UK is not invaded, our obsession with blindly apeing the US obviously didn’t provide sufficient contrast. Like the US we need to learn from the social successes of Europe, ditch the neoliberal consensus which has suppressed living standards and degraded the quality of life for all bar the elite, we need to reanimate the society which Thatcher put to sleep.
Of all the themes covered in Moore’s 2 hour film education stands out as our greatest opportunity for improvement, Finland and Slovenia should be our role models. The changes implemented in education have catapulted Finland to #1 in the world education rankings. In Finland education is not a business run for the benefit of corporations - school league tables, standardised testing, elite public schools, mechanised learning, dismissal of arts and humanities play no part in Finland’s remarkable success. Their priority is to make learning enjoyable, encourage curiosity and allow children to develop and cultivate their passions, to achieve their full potential. In stark contrast the regimented, narrow and mechanical system imposed on our kids is designed to churn out complicit, debt ridden robots to fulfil the prescribed duties of the state.
Slovenia, like dozens of other countries in Europe sees free university education as a common good. Corbyn’s National Education Service should offer equal opportunities and benefits to all regardless of their background or parent’s credit rating.
None of the countries invaded are utopia, but each has a great deal we can learn from. Corbyn doesn’t have all the answers, but he knows where to look. Where to Invade Next should be required viewing for Jeremy Corbyn, the shadow cabinet and the entire socialist movement.
I cannot recommend this documentary highly enough, available on Amazon Prime, iTunes and in flight movies.