Revisiting Moore’s “…Love Story”

Today’s my birthday.  Yippee.  What I want to do is honor Michael Moore’s latest film, Capitalism, which is as close to a masterpiece to achieve public success in presenting the problem and solution together.  Only a more in depth and broader treatment of alternatives, especially co-operatives, would be even better.  I just saw his film Sicko, which in its own right is simply spectacular.  The following review was interesting, though it entertains absurdities such as posing Moore as a son of the upper middle class, and neglects his treatment of the solution, an alternative model of business.  I would add that a lesser side of the solution, consumer activism, also deserves some consideration. 

      Then, thanks to the NY Times for its article on Greenpeace Intl’s Director from South Africa.  I agree with his vision and the one cited in the original article by Bill McKibben


On Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story”

08 Dec 2009



Michael Moore and CapitalismMoore balances his trademark showmanship by presenting other significant voices.

There is no metaphor more fitting than love to get us a feel for our engagement with a system’s berserk display of passion for profit accumulation. King of shock docus, Michael Moore, once again, points a wrathful finger on the usual suspects who have enslaved and enchained our hearts and minds to a cruel relationship that neither fungible contracts nor boastings of recovery from Wall Street can assuage.

Tough Love

Capitalism: A Love Story means to shed light on the financial collapse that has left even middle class Americans homeless, jobless and insecure—a condition that has ensured the flourishing of the financial elites for the past several decades. That this condition must usher in the violence of fury over foreclosed homes, declined wages and stolen dignities is the point of this tell-all love story.

Lovers won’t deny how suffering makes love romantic and compelling. Commonsensically, however, they tend to believe that barriers and prohibitions prevent love’s ultimate realization. Such is one of the greatest illusions about love (Salecl, 2000:6). What makes love possible, irresistible and forcible are precisely the hurdles involved in making that grand gesture of total embrace….

 Greenpeace Leader Visits Boardroom, Without Forsaking Social Activism

Alexander Joe/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Protesters outside the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s meeting in Durban, South Africa, on Tuesday.

Published: December 6, 2011

DURBAN, South Africa — The bearded South African in the blood-red dashiki took a seat in the front row amid a sea of dark-suited executives on Monday morning at a side meeting of the United Nations climate change conference here.

David Vincent/Associated Press

Kumi Naidoo navigates between roles of boardroom advocate and radical activist.

“Kumi, it’s good to see you here,” the host of the meeting at a seaside hotel, Bjorn Stigson, president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, told Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International. “I’d much rather have you inside the room here than outside protesting.”

At that moment, a group of Greenpeace activists under Mr. Naidoo’s direction were outside the hotel noisily picketing the business gathering and trying to unfurl a banner reading “Listen to the people, not the polluters.” Seven were arrested and charged with trespassing; three were fined and deported.

Mr. Naidoo escorted the expelled activists to Durban’s airport on Monday evening before returning to the conference to resume his campaigning…..

“Ever since I came into this job, I’ve been accused of selling out,” Mr. Naidoo said. “But I genuinely, passionately feel that the struggle to end global poverty and the struggle to avoid catastrophic climate change are two sides of the same coin.”….

“He’s completely remarkable, bringing all the skills of the social justice and antiapartheid movements to the environmental arena, where they’re badly needed,” Mr. McKibben said in an e-mail. “Above all, he understands that mass mobilization of people is our only hope in the climate fight.”

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Fair Trade USA Leaves FI (FLO)

I am transferring my focus from my blog at, because Google is shamelessly tying its browser to site access.

      Transfair USA / Fair Trade USA has initiated changes to their standards for Fair Trade, and is withdrawing from the international scheme.  They’re going to let product makers use less Fair Trade food in their items, 10%, and allow coffee and chocolate to be certified on large, non-co-operative farms.  Current policies already allow this for a few select items like bananas and flowers.  What are the impacts on workers at these locations?  Are they paid living wages?  See the article for additional details.  

A Question of Fairness 

Published: November 23, 2011 

A tempest in a coffee pot is bubbling in the world of “fair trade,” the socially responsible food movement that seeks to lift farmers in the developing world out of poverty by offering them a premium for crops like coffee, cocoa and bananas. And the fight will soon reach your local Starbucks, Wal-Mart and Whole Foods.


Fair Trade USA, the movement’s leading advocate in the United States, angered critics by saying it would cut its ties at year’s end with the main international fair trade group and make far-reaching changes in the sorts of products that get its seal of approval.

The changes include giving the fair trade designation to coffee from large plantations, which were previously barred in favor of small farms. The group is also proposing to place its seal on products with as little as 10 percent fair trade ingredients, compared with a minimum of 20 percent required in other countries.

The group says the changes will benefit more poor farmers and farm workers around the world and make it easier for large corporations to sell fair trade products. Sales of fair trade goods in 2010 were $1.3 billion in the United States and $5.8 billion globally. Fair Trade USA said it hoped to double sales in the United States by 2015.

Critics accuse Fair Trade USA of watering down standards, perhaps motivated by the bigger fees to be earned from certifying a higher volume of products. Some sellers of fair trade products fear that small coffee farmers will lose market share to the big plantations and that companies will have an incentive to include only the minimum amount of fair trade ingredients in their products.

“It’s a betrayal,” said Rink Dickinson, president of Equal Exchange, a pioneer importer of fair trade coffee, chocolate, tea and bananas, based in Massachusetts. “They’ve lost their integrity.”

Paul Rice, chief executive of Fair Trade USA, said the fair trade movement was dominated by hard-liners who resisted needed changes. “We’re all debating what do we want fair trade to be as it grows up,” Mr. Rice said. “Do we want it to be small and pure or do we want it to be fair trade for all?”

He dismissed criticism that his group was seeking to increase revenue for its own sake. “The more we grow volume, the more we can increase the impact” of fair trade, he said. In 2010, companies that sell fair trade products paid the group $6.7 million in licensing fees, which are meant to pay the cost of auditing a company’s production to make sure its fair trade claims are accurate.

As part of his efforts to expand the fair trade designation, Mr. Rice is cutting ties between his group and an umbrella organization, Fairtrade International, which coordinates fair trade marketing activities in close to two dozen countries. He said his group paid outsize fees to Fairtrade International — about $1.5 million last year — and received little in return. The international group has also rejected the changes put forth by Mr. Rice.

“The best thing we can do is make sure we’re staying true to the principles that got us to where we are,” said Rob S. Cameron, the chief executive of Fairtrade International. “I’m not going to water those principles down.”

The brouhaha has surprised many companies that sell fair trade products and will soon be forced to take sides. For consumers who pay attention to where their food comes from and how it is produced, the result could be confusion as they try to sort through a proliferation of competing fair trade labels with differing claims.

The logo overload will include a redesigned Fair Trade USA seal; a Fairtrade International seal, which previously did not appear in this country; and labels from smaller programs, like one run by Catholic Relief Services.

Coffee, which Mr. Rice said accounted for more than 70 percent of the fair trade market in the United States, is at the center of the dispute.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, which calls itself the largest buyer of fair trade coffee in the world, said that it would continue to work with Fair Trade USA as it sought to increase the amount of fair trade coffee it used.

The company is participating in a pilot project with Fair Trade USA involving a 500-acre organic coffee plantation in Brazil, a farm that previously would have been too large to get fair trade certification.

“Our ongoing commitment to small-scale farmers remains intact,” Sandy Yusen, a Green Mountain spokeswoman, said. “We also believe that Fair Trade USA’s vision presents new opportunities that allow us to impact even more farmers and workers.”

Ms. Yusen said that Green Mountain bought 26 million pounds of fair trade coffee in 2010; in that year, it paid $1.5 million in licensing fees to Fair Trade USA, making it the largest source of revenue for the nonprofit group, according to federal tax filings…..


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Hello world!

Welcome to Green Co-op News, a site to keep the problem of neoliberal economics combined with its politics in clear analytical focus, along with the essential act of reviewing the solution.  The solution as seen here lies in lifestyle choices and such ideas and practices as social and solidarity economics, especially entrepreneurial and co-operative economics, and ecological economics.  Important practices include especially the World Social Forum.

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