MR Transcript – Michael Moore at Occupy Oakland

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MEDIA ROOTS— On Friday, October 28, 2011, filmmaker Michael Moore paid a visit to Occupy Oakland. He flew from Occupy Wall Street in New York to join in solidarity with the current epicentre of the Occupy Movement in the wake of the brutal police-state rioting on Tuesday night, which left 24-year-old Marine, Scott Olsen, in critical condition after being shot in the head by a projectile fired by an officer of the Alameda Sheriffs Department.

The Alameda County PD was just one of 17 police agencies involved in the coordinated, riot-gear-equipped, raids against Occupy Oakland.  In a press conference following the assaults, Oakland Police Chief Jordan has announced having taken unprovoked preemptive actions against the peaceful protesters, which left Olsen in critical condition, left others with broken bones, and terrorised the masses of Oakland with the tear gas laden shock-and-awe police-state tactics. 

Michael Moore calls attention to the militarisation of local police agencies, the courageousness of Occupy Oakland protesters to peacefully assemble in the face of police-state repression, and announces his hope of speaking with the beleaguered Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who, at presstime, has had a “change of heart,” after authorising the police raids against Occupy Oakland and then conveniently skipping town.  Mayor Quan has announced her sincere (or insincere) support for Occupy Oakland’s call for a general strike November 2, 2011 in response to the police-state repression of Occupy Oakland’s First Amendment rights.

“We’re out there.  We’ve been watching.  Millions have watched it.  And millions have been inspired by you because the next night you didn’t go away!  You came back!!”  – Michael Moore

After his speech, Michael Moore made sure to speak with Pacifica Radio for a 15-minute interview (full transcript below).  Moore spoke in-depth with Hard Knock Radio’s Davey D and Flashpoints’ Dennis Bernstein about a range of topics, including Occupy Oakland, Mayor Jean Quan, the militarisation of local police agencies, the brutal projectile-shooting of Scott Olsen (with testimony from an eyewitness account), and the importance of a general strike to the overall goals of the Occupy Movement spreading across the nation.




Occupy Oakland Host:  “ Mic check one two.  Can everyone, even in the back, can hear me?”

Crowd:  “Yeah!!”

Host:  “Okay, great.  It’s my pleasure to introduce Michael Moore.”

Michael Moore:  “Greetings, Oakland!  Occupy Oakland!  Occupy Oakland!  Occupy Oakland!  Occupy everywhere!!  I, I am honoured to be here, to be part of this.  Uh, to the media who are present, uh, let me stress to you, this movement has no spokesperson.  Everyone here is a spokesperson.  Everyone here, everyone here has a story to tell.  There are people here who have no health insurance.  There are people here who do not have a job.  There are people here who are living in poverty.  There are people here who have jobs, but have been told to take less.  And I invite you to interview the thousands of other spokespeople who are here at Occupy Oakland.  Someone asked me, ‘Who is the leader of this organisation?’  [Guffaws]  And I said, ‘We are all the leaders!  Everyone here!’  We are all leaders.  And we are all followers.  We are all doing this together.  The media and the power establishment is having a hard time figuring this out.  So, be patient with them.  They are used to just a few people showing up with a few signs and then they go away and have a meeting in the basement of the Unitarian Church.  God bless the Unitarians, by the way.  Those in charge in this country and the media arm of Wall Street and corporate America were not prepared for this to be happening in hundreds, hundreds of cities across this country right now!  Hundreds!  And it has, it has happened with no leaders, no organisation, no dues pay, no dues to pay.  It’s happened organically from the grassroots, the true grassroots.  And in my lifetime, I have never seen a movement like this take hold this fast with this many people all across the country.  Thank you, everyone, all of us for doing this.  And there’s no turning back, is there?”

Crowd:  “No!!!”

Michael Moore:  “There’s no turning back!!”

Crowd:  “No!!!”

Michael Moore:  “I was at Occupy Wall Street last night, in Zuccotti Park, Liberty Plaza, and I am here to bring greetings from the original Occupy Wall Street.  Thank you, Oakland!  Thank you, Oakland!”

Audience Member (male):  “Power to the people!  Power to the people!”

Michael Moore:  “I said, I said, ‘What are we gonna do with winter coming?’  It was almost a freezing rain last night in New York City.  I said, ‘What are we gonna do with winter coming?’  And they said, ‘There’s two guys over there right now who have flown in from Occupy Anchorage.”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “And they are here to consult with us on how to make it through the winter!”

Crowd:  [Laughs  Cheers]

Michael Moore:  “They said there’s even an ice company in New Jersey that has offered large blocks of ice to build igloos in Zuccotti Park.  The Mayor, and the Police, and Wall Street are hoping that the winter will kill the movement in the same way that they don’t understand that this is a leaderless organisation with tens of millions of spokespeople.  They also don’t understand that weather is not the problem facing us right now.  Climate change is facing us.  But the weather in New York City is not going to stop this incredible movement.  Let me just give you an idea, uh, because I’ve been travelling the country, what I’ve seen.  Uh, there’s a town about, maybe a hundred and fifty miles east of here called Grass Valley, California.  Are you familiar with it?”

Crowd:  “Yeah!!!”  [Cheers]

Michael Moore:  “Where the hell is Grass Valley, right?  No, I know where it is.  Nobody across the country knows Grass Valley.  And, of course, the media doesn’t know Grass Valley.  But last weekend, in Grass Valley, there were 400 people participating in Occupy Grass Valley.  400 people!  There’s, there’s only a few thousand people in the town.  Alright?  And, and everyone was there, old, young, out of work, people with work, the spread of American society is at each of these.  You could see it right now.   I can see it.  I am sitting here looking at the mosaic that this country is right now, right here in Oakland.  This is—”

Audience Member (male):  “Hey cameraman, turn around and take a picture.”

Michael Moore:  “We’ll get the cameras to turn around here, just a sec-, you know, I don’t understand it either.  I’ve wondered this for a long time.  Uh, and I’ve tried to explain to them that this is not what people want to be looking at while they’re eating dinner and watching the six o’clock news.  So, I’m sorry.  But I’m getting healthy.  And I’m now in my tenth month with no red meat.  [Guffaws]”

Crowd:  “Whoo!!!”

Michael Moore:  “And that will be the sound bite on the evening news.”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “Now, this is the first of these that I’ve spoken at where there’s an amplified sound system.  Um, what laws are we breaking here?”

 Audience Member (male):  “A lot.”

Michael Moore:  “A lot of laws?  [Chuckles]  Um—”

Audience Member (male):  “We set it up just for you!”

Michael Moore:  “Thank you!  Thank you.  Um, Mayor Quan is having a press conference right now.  Uh—”

Crowd:  “Boo!!!”

Michael Moore:  “—upstairs.  I sent her an email asking if we could, uh, speak, um, while I was here.  Uh, but I have to tell you the other night, uh, both Tuesday and Wednesday night, um, not being here and watching from afar, uh, what took place here, um, was really horrifying, uh, to see this in this country.  Um, it made, it made, it made the rest of the people in the United States aware of something that maybe many of you had been aware of for the last decade and that is the militarisation of our local police departments.”

Crowd:  “Yeah!!  [Cheers  Applause]  Fuck the police!”

Michael Moore:  “The Congress is not allowed to tell the public how much is spent on Homeland Security, but these local police departments all across the country over the last ten years have sucked up, literally, billions of dollars to buy sophisticated equipment, to buy armaments that you use in a warzone—”

Crowd:  “Boo!”

Michael Moore:  “—to buy tanks, to set up spying systems.”

Audience Member (male):  “On our tax dollars.”

Michael Moore:  “Yes, we paid for this.  And, um, and to prepare for what they believe is the inevitable, which is the people, sooner or later, aren’t going to take it any longer.” 

Crowd:  “Whoo!!!”

Michael Moore:  “Ten years—”

Audience Member (male):  “Don’t protect the corporations!!!”

Audience Member (male):  “Fuck them!”

Crowd:  “Shhh.  Shhh.”

Michael Moore:  “Ten years after 9/11, the majority of Americans realise who the real terrorists are.  They are the people who, who create policies and who do things that literally do kill people.  For instance, a Congressional Committee last month released these figures.  They wanted to find out how many Americans die every year because, simply from the fact, that they don’t have health insurance.  They didn’t go to the doctor ‘cos they didn’t have insurance.  Nearly 45,000 Americans die every year simply because they don’t have health insurance.  My friends, that is fifteen 9/11s every single year!  A system, a system that is set up to harm our own citizens!  A profit-making insurance system!  Who said that it is morally correct to make a profit off people when they get sick?  Do ya, how, how sick is that?  I can tell you—”

Audience Member (male):  “Neocolonialism!”

Michael Moore:  “How much money—”

Audience Member (male):  “Free America!”

Michael Moore:  “—has corporate America made from these two wars?  These two illegal, immoral wars?  How much have they made?  We are still spending over $2 billion dollars a week on these wars.  What could we do with that money if it was here in Oakland and Flint, Michigan and across the country?  Somebody asked me, coming in here, ‘Who organised this?’ 

Scattered Members of Crowd:  “We did!!”

Michael Moore:  “Who organised this?  I know, I know, I know you think we, the people, organised it, right.  [Laughs]  Where is Wells Fargo?  I just passed it on the street.  If you want to know who organised this, they organised it!  The people on Wall Street organised this!  Bank of America organised this!  ExxonMobil, BP organised this!  They did more by simply putting their boot on the necks of millions of Americans.  And like any human being, like any human being, how long can you keep a boot on your neck?”

Audience Member (male):  “Not one more second, we ain’t takin’ it no more!!!!”

Michael Moore:  “Not for one second with the boot on the neck.”

Crowd:  “Whoo!!!”

Audience Member (male):  “Go, ‘head, Mike.”

Audience Member (male):  “Oakland style, brotha.”

Michael Moore:  “[Laughs]  I know.  He said, ‘It’s Oakland style.  We’re doing this Oakland style.’”

Audience Member (male):  “Occupy!”

Michael Moore:  “Let me tell you something else I’ve discovered across the country.  Um, and that is, um, America, contrary to what maybe many here believe and the way it’s portrayed to us in the media, America is not a conservative country.  Most Americans are actually quite liberal in their beliefs.  They may not call themselves liberals, but if you look at any of the polls, the majority of Americans, come down on the liberal side of the issue on just about every single issue.  The majority of Americans are against these wars.  The majority of Americans want universal health care.  The majority of Americans believe women should be paid the same as men.  The majority of Americans—”

Audience Member (female):  “That’s because they are the majority!”

Michael Moore:  “—want stronger environmental laws, not weaker ones.”

Audience Member (male):  “School closures!  School closures!”

Michael Moore:  “And for the first time last month, in a poll that was taken, for the first time 54%, the majority of Americans, say they believe gay marriage should be the law of the land.”

Audience Member (male):  “…legalise marijuana!”

Michael Moore:  “That’s the country you live in.  That’s the, that’s the country you live in.  And I know to people in the Bay Area it may seem to get a little scary as you head toward Richmond.”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “Did I pick the right town?”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “I need another town.  What?  As you head towards Walnut Creek!”

Crowd:  “Whoo!!!”

Michael Moore:  “I was, I was just trying to remember BART stops.  Um.  Can I just put that down there?  (‘Yeah.  I got you.’)  Um, but as you go, as you go across this country you see that that’s the country you share, the people out there.  That’s why they’re int-, that’s why 72% last week said they believe taxes should be raised on the rich, 72%.  So—“ 

Crowd:  “Whoo!”

Michael Moore:  “So, to the media who are here, um, this is a few thousand people.  But everybody here represents a few thousand more, or a few ten thousand more, everybody here.  That’s how large this is.  That’s why it can’t be stopped.  Too many people have been thrown out of their homes.  Too many people have had their schools decimated to where their kids aren’t getting a proper education.”

Audience Member (male):  “Five schools are being shut down in Oakland!”

Michael Moore:  “We now live in a country with 40 million adults who are functional illiterates.  How did that happen?”

Audience Member (male):  “We’re being oppressed!”

Michael Moore:  “It benefits, it benefits those in charge to have an ignorant population.  To have a population with 40 million people in it that cannot read and write above a fourth-grade level.  Who benefits from that?  It’s like they’ve set up the schools now to make sure that you can operate the cash register at McDonald’s and you know how to greet someone in a sentence with a noun and a verb in it as they come into Walmart.  Let me tell you, let me tell ya who does know that this, that the people of this country have had it and that there’s a very progressive thread and vein going through this country right now.  That’s the other side, Wall Street, corporate America, the right-wing, they know, they know this is a liberal country!  All you have to do is turn on talk radio or Fox News, they’re so angry, they’re so angry aren’t they?  Let me ask you this.  If this was a conservative, right-wing country, wouldn’t, if you turned on Fox News every night, wouldn’t they just be, ‘Yip-a-dee-do-da, Yip-a-dee-day?’  They’re not that way, are they?  They’re like, ‘Aargh!’  Every night, it’s ‘Raargh!  Raargh!’  They’re, they’re just, they, there’s a reason why they wanna suppress the vote next year.  There’s a reason why they’re passing laws throughout the country to make it harder for poor people, for senior citizens, for people of colour to vote.  There’s a reason they’re doing that.  What’s the reason?  They know, they know, no, it’s very simple, they can do math.  They know they’re in the minority.  They know they’re in the minority.  Otherwise, really, why would you wanna suppress the vote if you thought America agreed with you?  You wouldn’t do that, would you?  No!  If you believed, if you believed that America was with you, you’d be setting up voting booths in every aisle of every Walmart all across the country!”

Crowd:  “Whoo!”

Michael Moore:  “That’s not what they’re doing.  Um, I also want to tell you, especially those of you who have been camping out here, um, thank you for doing that.  You are better; you are better men and women than I am.  Give me another year without the red meat.  ‘Wait, we’ve got our second sound bite.’  Um, but watching the other night, um, [long pause] Scott Olsen.”

Crowd:  [Applause]

Michael Moore:  “It is absolutely criminal that this young man was willing to go and risk his life in a war that he, once over there, didn’t agree with, that he would risk his life like this and the only place he had to worry about was here in his own country, in Oakland, California.  Um, I think, um, well one thing we can do for the media who are here is to let them know that we are all Scott Olsen.  We are all with Scott Olsen!  And we are all Scott Olsens!  And we will not tolerate our fellow citizens being treated that way by the people that we fund with our tax dollars.  I don’t, I don’t pay people, I don’t pay people to take a gun, or a tear gas gun and point it at me and hit me in the head with their ammunition or their tear gas canister.  That would be as crazy as me coming up to you right now and saying to you, ‘Oh, by the way, would you just punch me in the face?’  Why would I do that?  Um, I think all of us want to send our best wishes, our prayers, our good karma, everything that we could muster to Scott, so that he is better and well.  And, yeah, and I think, I think that, uh, let’s have 30 seconds of silence in honour of Scott Olsen and our hope that he will recover quickly from his injuries.  Um, I’m goin’ on too long here and, uh, I—”

Crowd:  “Nah!!!”

Michael Moore:  “Well, well, yeah, but.  No, no, but I—”

Audience Member (male):  “You gotta get to Richmond!”

Michael Moore:  “I know.  Now that I’ve, now that I’ve singled out Richmond, I’m going to have to go and participate in Occupy Richmond.”

Crowd:  “Yeah!  Whoo!!”

Michael Moore:  “Or Walnut Creek.”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “Walnut Creek is where we need to be, right?  Isn’t that where the money is?  Alright.”

Crowd:  [Scattered shouts and appeals]

Audience Member (male):  “What would you tell Mayor Quan if you could talk to her?”

Michael Moore:  “Um, I, I, I understand that Mayor Quan is, uh, she’s finishing up her press conference.”

Crowd:  “Boo!”

Michael Moore:  “And I am gonna try and, uh, see if I can, uh, talk to her.  Uh, you know, I saw her—”

Audience Member (female):  “Shes gotta come out here and talk to us!”

Michael Moore:  “I’m sorry, I’m sorry that when she came yesterday to talk that she didn’t wait to speak at the General Assembly because I, I think—”

Audience Member (female):  “Let her speak.”

Michael Moore:  “— the, uh—”

Audience Member (female):  “She tried to.”

Audience Member (male, standing next to Michael Moore):  “No, she didn’t.  She left.”

Michael Moore:  “Well, there’s a, there’s a process, we’re not in a General Assembly right now.  But there’s a process at the General Assembly—”

Audience Member (male, standing next to Michael Moore):  “Be correct.  That’s right.  That’s right.  [Pats Michael Moore on the shoulder]

Michael Moore:  “—where you sign up to speak and we’re all equals.  And so—”

Audience Member (male, standing next to Michael Moore):  “That’s right!  Whoo!” 

Audience Member (male, standing behind Michael Moore):  “And she didn’t wanna wait in line.”

Audience Member (male, standing next to Michael Moore):  “No, she didn’t.”

Michael Moore:  “—when I’ve, when I’ve been down, you know, I’ve been at New York, so I’ve been at Occupy Wall Street and if I’m number 17 to speak, I’m number 17 to speak.  And it doesn’t matter if I’m Michael Moore or Michael Schmoe.  You know.  It doesn’t, and, and it’s the spirit, that’s why this movement has built because it is a movement of equals.  Everybody has something to give to this.  We’re all in this together.  We’re gonna sink or swim together.  That’s our choice right now.”

Audience Member (female):  “The media is a propaganda control.  The media is a propaganda control.”

Michael Moore:  “When, when they, when I was there last night, somebody asked one of the people in the media tent, ‘What are the goals?  What are you trying to accomplish?’  And he said, well, he said, ‘Our mission is in our name, Occupy Wall Street,’ and then he said, ‘Period.’  I thought about that for a second.  Occupy Wall Street, period.  In other words, it isn’t just about these encampments; it’s that we’re not stopping until we, the people, occupy our economy that runs this country!  This is our economy!  It’s our country!  We’re the ones that have a say.”

Crowd:  “Whoo!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “And, and when somebody says to me, ‘Well,’ you know, ‘What’s the goal?  What’s the end-game?’  And I say, ‘Well, let me tell you somethin’ first of all, we’ve already had a number of victories in our first six weeks.  And let’s acknowledge those victories.  Alright?  Number one, number one, we have killed despair across the country.  The despair that people were feeling, that despair is dissipating right now.  This movement has killed apathy.  People have got up off the sofa!  They’ve turned off Dancing with the Stars!  And they’re out in the streets!”

Crowd:  “Whoo!!  Yeah!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “This is a victory!  There’s something very important we’ve done.  Six weeks ago, what was all the media talking about?  All the politicians in Washington?  All the pundits?  What was the, what was the national discussion that we weren’t part of that they determined?  What were they talking about?  The debt ceiling.  The debt!  The debt ceiling!!  The deficit!  We gotta reduce the deficit!!  We gotta reduce the deficit!!  Over and over and over all summer long!  The debt ceiling!  The deficit!  The debt ceiling!  The deficit!  Can I ask you, honestly?  When’s the last time in the last few weeks you heard them talkin’ about the debt ceiling?  Or the deficit?  This movement has shook down that bullshit discussion.”

Crowd:  “Yeah!!  Whoo!!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “That is a huge victory.  You have altered the national discussion.  You have altered it!  This is what people are talking about in every town and city and village across America.  Occupy Oakland!!  Occupy New York!!  Occupy San Francisco!!  Occupy Grass Valley!!  Occupy Walnut Creek!!  Occupy Flint, Michigan!!” 

Audience Member (male, standing next to Michael Moore):  “Occupy the world!!”

Michael Moore:  “Occupy everywhere!!!  This is the discussion we’re gonna have!!!  And we’re not ceding the discussion to anybody else!!!”

Crowd:  “Yeah!  Whoo!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “So, in conclusion, in conclusion, um, I am—”

Audience Member (male):  “Move your seat!”

Michael Moore:  “—did you just yell at a disabled guy to move his cane?”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “They told me there were plants here from the police.  Plain-clothes, plain-clothes officer, let me just remind you, when you yell too loud at a disabled person, ‘Put down the cane,’ we know who you are.  But welcome!  Welcome!  Because police officers, you’re part of the 99%, too!  They’ll be coming after you!  They’ll be coming after you and your home and your health care and your children.  There’s a number of towns, there’s a number of towns across this country, there’s a number of towns across this country that are behaving differently than Oakland.  There are police departments and police unions, hang on, there are police departments and police unions across the country supporting the Occupy movements in their towns.  Albany, New York, a beautiful example, the Governor told them to remove the people and the police said, ‘We don’t consider that part of police work.’”

Crowd:  “Yeah!  Whoo!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “So, the police do have a choice, even in Oakland.  It’s still America, Oakland P.D.  It’s a free country.  You can join us.  You can join us.  You don’t have to join them.  You don’t have to be here defending Wells Fargo and Bank of America and BP and everybody else!  You can stand up for yourselves and everybody else!  Alright.  Um, so, please keep this alive here.  I know there’s gonna be a lot of snow this winter.”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Audience Member (male):  “Not here!”

Michael Moore:  “I wanna say one more thing about something I saw last week.  Pete Seeger was, he had a conferen-, he did a concert up on the corner, it was up in a theatre, and Arlo and Tom Chapin and a few others.  Um, he did a concert up at the corner of 95th and Broadway at Symphony Space in New York.  And afterwards, they decided to march from Symphony Space down to Columbus Circle.  That’s 36 blocks.  Pete is 92 years old on, on two canes.  On two canes he walked the entire way.” 

Crowd:  [Applause]

Michael Moore:  “And when we got to Columbus Circle and he was leading everyone, thousands of people, singing ‘This Land is Your Land.’  And he looked over and there were two New York City policemen singing along.”

Audience Member (male):  “Fuck the police!”

Audience Member (male, with foreign accent):  “Fuck the police!”

Michael Moore:  “Um, right—[Michael Moore passes the microphone to man behind him:  “There’s good and bad police just like there’s good and bad people.]

Audience Member (male):  “Hey, you tell that to the SWAT team!?”

Crowd:  [Applause]

Michael Moore:  “We are stronger than any rubber bullet or bean bag or tear gas canister.  There’s too many of us.  And what are they defending in the first place?  A broken system in a country that has benefited the few at the expense of the many.  The time for that to end is right now.  And when the history of this—”

Background:  [A blast is heard in the distance, as Michael Moore flinches and turns around]

Audience Member (male):  “There go yo’ police right there.”

Michael Moore:  “—when the history—”

Audience Member:  “We’re from Oakland!”

Michael Moore:  “[Laughs]  You know how sad it is?  He says, ‘We’re from Oakland we’re used to that.’”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “You shouldn’t be used to it.  You know if you lived in any of the Weste-, other democracies, the one to the north of us, you know, you would never say a statement like that, ‘Oh, we’re used to that.’  You know, other people in other countries have decided to organise themselves differently.  We can do that, too.  And, don’t worry.  For those of you who aren’t quite sure, who may just have stopped by to see this today and you’re wondering, ‘Yeah, but where’s this goin?’  Or, ‘I need to know more.  I gotta figure this out.’  Don’t, don’t approach this like other movements from the past.  Don’t approach it like a term paper.  Um, just join in because the group itself, something will come out of this and it will be good.  It will be good and generous to each other.  So, everybody’s gotta come into this on some level.  And we could make this happen.  So, I just, the thing I want to say, before the, uh, sound effects truck, um, was that when the history of this movement, uh, is written about these first few weeks where—”

Audience Member (male):  “Or filmed.”

Michael Moore:  “No, it’s not going to fail.”

Crowd:  “No, filmed.”

Michael Moore:  “The what?”

Audience Member (female):  “Just let him talk.”

Michael Moore:  “What film?  Oh, or filmed?  Yes.”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “Yeah.  Are you making a film?  No, I’m not mak-, no, no, no, no.  No way.  No.  No, no.  I’m sorry.”

Crowd:  “[Applause]  Whoo!”

Michael Moore:  “I’m here as a citizen.  By the way, haven’t I made those films?  I was, uh—”

Crowd:  “Yeah!  Whoo!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “I’ll tell you what I’m happy about and I have been a bit giddy and overjoyed these past few weeks because at the end of my last film I was pretty dejected, uh, if you did happen to see it.  And I, and I didn’t, and I said at the end of the film as I was wrappin’ the crime scene tape around the New York Stock Exchange, um, that, uh, I just, really, I don’t know if I could keep doing this.  I don’t know if I wanna make another film ‘cos I keep making these films and it’s, you know, you wonder when’s this gonna happen?  When’s this gonna happen?  And I said at the end of the film, ‘Let me know, audience, or people, when you wanna, when you wanna do something and I’ll do it with you.’  Um because, um, it, uh, it’s a little rough being the poster boy on Rush Limbaugh or Fox News, uh, everyday.  And they can get away with it when it’s just the Michael Moore and Naomi Klein or even a number of great people that have been busy on this issue for many years.  Um, but when there are a million Naomi Kleins or ten million Michael Moores they won’t know what the eff to do.”

Crowd:  “Yeah!  Whoo!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “So, and that’s why they’re confused right now.  So, when the history of this movement is written this week in Oakland, California will go down as a watershed moment.  People, people across America were disgusted by what they saw here, when average Americans trying to stand up and peacefully assemble, to be brutally savaged and attacked by the police department that they pay for!  That, that, let me tell you, the footage, you’re here.  Okay?  You’re here.  We’re out there.  We’ve been watching.  Millions have watched it.  And millions have been inspired by you because the next night you didn’t go away!  You came back!!”

Crowd:  “Yay!!  Whoo!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “You came back!!  You were supposed to go away!!!  You were supposed to go away!!!  What are you still doing here??!!  And then you came back today!!!  And you’ll be here tomorrow!!!  And I’ll be with you!!!  Thank you very much!!!  Occupy Oakland, thank you!!!!


Following his speech to the Occupy Oakland crowd, Michael Moore made some comments to the press.  Abby Martin of Media Roots was there to capture a minute with the filmmaker.

Michael Moore on Mayor Jean Quan’s resignation and his support for Obama.



Davey D:  “Well, right now we just heard the speech from Michael Moore.  We’re gonna try and catch him, as he’s movin’ over here.” 

[Organisers deliberate] 

Davey D:  “For Pacifica.  Michael—”

[Michael Moore moves through the crush-and-rush of the crowd at Occupy Oakland] 

[Organisers, to the crowd:  “Go ahead, give him some room.”]

Davey D:  “Michael!  (Hey, wussup, boss.)  Michael, what do you wanna say to the Pacifica audience right now?”

Michael Moore (circa 11:09 or 16:11 PDT):  “I wish everybody, I wish everybody here, listening to this, could be here.  This is an incredible moment.  It’s an incredible movement.  And I am just overwhelmed and overjoyed.”

Davey D:  “Um, last thing, where are you gonna go next?”

Michael Moore:  “San Francisco tomorrow, then later this week, we’ll go to Portland, Denver, Houston, across the country.”

Davey D:  “Are you surprised at how resilient people in Oakland were?”

Michael Moore:  “This is an incredible moment that’s happening.  And this is an incredible movement.  And it’s amazing.  And it’s only going to spread.”

Unidentified Establishment Journalist:  “What’s your plan now?  Are you trying to meet with the Mayor?”

Michael Moore:  “Yes, I’m gonna, well, I emailed and I don’t want to interrupt her press conference.  So, I’m gonna see if she’ll talk to me later tonight, maybe tomorrow.  I’ll be here.”

[Organisers, to the crowd:  “Let the man through.  Let the man through.”]

Michael Moore:  “Um, you know, I’m gonna trust that she has a good heart.  I’m hoping that she does.”  

[Organisers, to the crowd:  “Let the man through.  Back up.”]

Davey D:  “So, there you have it.  Michael Moore, looking like he’s gettin’ ready to head towards City Hall.” 

Dennis Bernstein:  “This is Dennis here with Davey D.  It’s a bit of a crush and a rush here, but hundreds of people just stood here, Michael Moore.  If you’re listening to the broadcast, uh, you can understand that there are hundreds of people here in Frank Ogawa Plaza [renamed Oscar Grant Plaza by Occupy Oakland] following Michael out.  And we wanna see if we can come around the other edge and see what’s going on.”

[Organisers, to the crowd:  “Get back.”]

Dennis Bernstein:  “  …  And I can tell you that is a very excited crowd.  And they are, hundreds of people, are following Michael Moore, uh, down the walkway, out of the park, he’s on his way to City Hall.  And we’re gonna have to leave it right there for now.  This is Dennis Bernstein and we will, sort of, sit ourselves down at our [KPFA/Pacifica Radio] table, our KPFA table here.  And it is an extraordinary scene here in Frank Ogawa Plaza [renamed Oscar Grant Plaza by Occupy Oakland], as I said, I don’t know how many people do you think were here?”

Anita Johnson:  “Well, we’re looking at maybe, what, based on, based on the crowds, I would say hundreds, maybe even a thousand people that have gathered here today.”

[KPFA/Pacifica speaks with various people at Occupy Oakland following Michael Moore’s speech]



Dennis Bernstein (circa 39:00 or 16:39 PDT):  “Michael Moore, welcome.”

Michael Moore:  “Sorry about that, they just kind of, uh, lifted me over the crowd.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Not a problem.  We appreciate you coming down and spending the time.  Last time when you just spoke here about a half-hour ago, there were no helicopters.  Now, there are about four circling around over head.  This is, sort of, the, uh, a regular part of the operation, so I think maybe they’re here to cheer for you as well.  I wanna say, here with Davey D—”

Michael Moore:  “They’re up, they’re up in the sky.  They’re part of the Occupy Helicopter Movement.” 

Dennis Bernstein:  “I’m here, with Davey D—”

Michael Moore:  “This thing is not only happening on Earth.  It’s also happening up in the, uh, atmosphere.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “In space, on land, sea, space.  Um, the Mayor of Oakland said an amazing thing the other day.  The Mayor of Oakland said that 99% of the police were attacked, [‘took a lot of abuse’], she used that 99% [terminology].  Now, Davey, knows.  He was at the press conference when the [Oakland] Police Chief [Jordan] admitted that they actually opened fired on the demonstrators.”

Davey D:  “Not even on the demonstrators, they were asleep, to, to catch him off guard.  But with that being said, I guess, um, first of all, how do you feel about those types of remarks?  And are you seeing this type of pattern everywhere, you know, in New York and other places with this militarised, um, brutal police tactics against ordinary folks?” 

Michael Moore:  “I think, uh, one thing that Oakland has got a lot of people talking about across the country, is how since 9/11, um, untold billions of dollars have been spent on so-called Homeland Security.  We don’t know how much because, by law, they don’t have to tell us how much.  But what we do know is that local police forces across the country have applied for, and received, an enormous amount of money to buy armaments, tanks, uh, um, spying apparatuses, equipment, things we don’t even know about.  Um, and it is, on some level, frightening, uh, that we have allowed this to get out of hand.  And they’ve all done it under the guise of 9/11.  You know, I, I, if I had had a loved one die that day.  And I did have a friend in one of the planes, one of the, the plane from Boston was a producer we worked with.  Um, the fact that he and the others who died, their deaths, their names have been used to create so much harm, um, across, of the country, it’s really disgusting.”

Davey D:  “Definitely.  You know, what about the whole thing with New York?  You have the white-shirts police that are now being paid—”

Michael Moore:  “M-hm.”

Davey D:  “—by Wall Street financial banks and institutions—”

Michael Moore:  “Right.”

Davey D:  “—we’re seeing a privatisation of police—“

Michael Moore:  “Yes.”

Davey D:  “—and do you see that maybe spreading, going to, uh, other cities.”

Michael Moore:  “No, actually, well, uh, it has spread.  But the spreading has stopped, is gonna stop because this movement is growing so fast, so wide, so far, um, it is amazing.  If, and I’ve had the good fortune of being able to travel the country in the last few weeks, so I have seen it with my own eyes.  It would blow your mind if you just got on a bus now or got in a car and just drove across the l-, the smallest of towns having little Occupy Movements.  There’s a little town where I live called Niles [in Michigan], there’s only like 10,000 or 11,000 people who live there.  They’ve got a hundred people camping out there, demonstrating in Occupy Niles.  Now, a hundred may not seem a lot here in Oakland.  But a hundred is one percent of the population there.  If one percent of America showed up on the National Mall to a demonstration that would be over three million people.  So, a hundred people in Niles is the equivalent of three million people showing up for a national demonstration on the mall there in D.C.  Now, that’s never happened.”

Davey D:  “Right.”

Michael Moore (circa 42:54 or 16:42 PDT):  “Uh, just to give you an idea.  And, again, there’s nobody organising at Niles.  Uh, there’s no, uh, uh, national organisation that the belong to, they don’t pay dues.  There’s no leaders, uh, it is just happening organically.  And it is just, it is an amazing thing to see.  It has, it has lifted my spirits.  Uh, it almost feels like drugs.  If I knew what drugs felt like.”

Davey D:  “Boots, Boots Riley [of The Coup, Street Sweeper Social Club, and long-time Oakland-based activist] just hit me up and he wants me to, uh, talk to you about some sanitation workers and for you to accompany him tomorrow, if you’re in town.  But, also, the other thing that Boots is reminding us of is that there’s a general strike going on in Oakland next Wednesday [11/2/11].  And then on the 5th, I guess there’s a national effort for people to start switching banks.  Your thoughts on that, the fact that the City of Oakland is calling for a national strike.”

Michael Moore:  “I think that’s great.  Ultimately, you know, that’s what’s gonna have to happen.  Ultimately, people are just gonna have to say, ‘Sorry, we’re not participating in this system any longer.  We’re, I, we are no longer cogs in this wheel.  We are, we are resigning from that.’  And I think that, you know, I think, eventually, this is one of the things that will happen.  Um, and I don’t know when it’s gonna happen.  I don’t know how it’s gonna happen, but—”

Davey D:  “Well, I know for us [in Oakland], next Wednesday we—”

Michael Moore:  “Sounds like in Oakland here, it’s gonna start here—”

Sellasie:  “It’s goin’ on right now.”

Michael Moore:  “—on Wednesday”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Michael Moore, Dennis Bernstein here, with Davey D, a special on Pacifica Radio, KPFA.  Can I ask you, what was your gut reaction when you heard, uh, this young, really very peaceful vet, Scott Olsen, was hit hard at close range and, uh, sent to the hospital in critical condition by a police action, in which 17 police departments were sent to arrest a hundred sleeping people, with children, in the camp?  What’s your response to that kind of violence?”

Michael Moore:  “Well, at the level, at that level, obviously, apalling.  But, it, it’s not just me.  I mean, they, they, again, overplayed their hand, just like Wall Street has overplayed their greed hand, the police here overplayed their brutal fascistic hand because people, all kinds of people, across the country saw what happened here in Oakland.”

Sellasie:  “They did.”

Michael Moore:  “And were horrified by it.  Nobody wants to live in that country.  Nobody wants to, to see the police, that they pay taxes for, do this to fellow citizens.  Uh, I mean, um, I think it, it, what happened here, I’m, I  feel really bad for the harm that happened to those that were injured, and certainly to Scott Olsen, who is sitting in a hospital here, um, who’s gonna probably take a long time for him to go back to being normal, if ever.  Um, I just think about two, you know, these kids that, uh, you know, he and his roommate were, or his roommate was talking on the TV the other night about how when they were both in Iraq, they turned against the war.  They saw first hand how wrong this war was.  And, um, that’s a very brave thing to do when you’re a soldier, when you’re in the war zone and you become anti-war.”

Sellasie:  “Yeah.”

Michael Moore:  “Um, man, that’s, um, and, it, it’s already, you know, to be a soldier, first of all, in a volunteer army, um, the implication is, is that if you sign up to go into the army, you’re basically saying, ‘I am willing to give my life, so that others can live.’”

Dennis Bernstein:  “That’s right.”

Michael Moore:  “Assuming, you know, if the military was actually used for what it should be used for, which is pure self-defence.”

Unidentified Man 1:  “Yeah.”

Michael Moore:  “Um, you’re willing to die.  What greater gift can a human give to another human, than to be willing to give their life for another?  So, that’s what these kids are.  And to have had two tours over there.  And to come back and want to tell his fellow Americans, ‘I’ve been there.  This war is wrong.’  That takes a lot of courage on top of the courage he already had.  And to find that the only people that were gonna harm him were the people here where he lived in Oakland, California.  And the difference between Oakland and Iraq, in terms of what Scott Olsen had to face, is this.  In Iraq, uh, there, you’re biggest threat driving down the road is in what they call an improvised explosive device, an IED.  Okay?  Scott Olsen is in the hospital tonight suffering from an un-improvised explosive device.  There was no improvisation going on.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Yes, that’s right.”

Michael Moore:  “This, these devices that were being fired are meant to control the people.  This is really what Homeland Security is about.  They’re not worried about Al Qaeda.  Al Qaeda is just a, it’s a joke right now.  Even our own, our own CIA says there’s only 50 Al Qaeda left in Afghanistan.  Okay?  Alright, this is the bogeyman.  That’s the bogeyman that they want to create to try and get everybody afraid, so that everybody will back a huge military budget and the militarisation of the police forces.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “17 police forces, 17 in the [S.F.] Bay Area.  But we don’t know who shot Scott Olsen because they’re all wearing the same uniform.”

Sellasie:  “I remember.”

Davey D:  “Well, they’re saying now it’s the Alameda Sheriffs that did.”

Sellasie:  “Yeah.”

Michael Moore:  “Well, you know—”

 Sellasie:  “I remember what he looked like.  I was on the front line.”

Michael Moore:  “Yeah.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “But they were all wearing Federal equipment.”

Michael Moore:  “The officer in New York who put the pepper spray in those girls eyes.  They were able to find out who that was and he’s had to go through a suspension and now he’s been removed to Staten Island.  Um, they will find who did this.”

 Sellasie:  “Scott was next to me and the other guy with the, with the hat that was the Marine.  And they hit him just a couple of minutes after we were all standing there.  You know what I’m saying?  ‘Cos we was there, it was goin’ down.  They shot three tear gas things.  Boom!  Then they waited like another 30 seconds.  Boom!  And then they did another one.  Boom!  It was crazy!  It was like we were in a war zone.  There was old women, there was, the media didn’t even report this!  There was people that were there—”

Michael Moore:  “There were children there.”

 Sellasie:  “—that couldn’t breathe!  I’m a little bit healthy, so I was able to run about three blocks up to 11th or 10th.  But it was people that was on the ground that was, aach, acch, that was to’ up!”

Michael Moore:  “Right.”

Davey D:  “And those are the stories that aren’t being told.”

Michael Moore:  ““Well, they’re gonna get told.  Well, they’re being told here on Pacifica Radio.”

 Sellasie:  “Exactly.”

Michael Moore:  “This is where it starts.  And then others will start to cover it and, eventually, justice is going to start to happen.  And the people that made the decisions to do this to unarmed citizens who were acting peacefully—”

Sellasie:  “Yeah.”

Michael Moore:  “—they’re going to have, there’s going to be justice here.  And, um, ultimately, the buck does stop at the Mayor’s desk, no matter how progressive she is, no matter how nice she is, no matter how broken-hearted she is over what happened, or no matter how much she had to interrupt her vacation, or whereever the hell she was, and had to come back.  The bottom line is the buck does stop with her.  And, uh, look, the people of Oakland have had to suffer for long enough. For crying out loud, how many years, how many times have I come to Oakland over the decades of what this town has had to go through?  And talk about a town that’s been abused by the policies of corporate America and Wall Street.  It, it is amazing, though, the life that is still here.  And the resistance that is still here, tht people are not giving up.  And that, in some ways, I’m not surprised that this watershed moment in this movement happened here in Oakland this week.” 

 Sellasie:  “Yeah.”

Michael Moore:  “And, and, and if it had to be here, then it was here.  And, uh, it has inspired people all across the country.”

Davey D:  “Michael, I know you have to go, so we appreciate you comin’ in.  Is their any last words that you wanna pass along before you leave?” 

Michael Moore:  “Yes.  Um, everyone listening to this, who has been participating in the Occupy Movement, please know that you have already changed the national debate and discourse.  We have already a number of victories here.  You have killed apathy across the country.  You have removed despair from people’s hearts.  So, many people sitting at home, thinking they were all alone, ‘What can I do, I live in Dubuque?  What can I do, I live in Boise?  I live in Salt Lake.  I live in Grass Valley, California.  What can I do?  What can I do?  I can’t do anything.  So, I’ll just sit here on the sofa.’  Well, ain’t no sittin’ anymore.  No more sofa.  People’s ears are, are wide open, as are their eyes.  And they are participating.  This is gonna grow.” 

 Sellasie:  “Yeah.”

Michael Moore:  “And you, Dennis, me, we don’t have to, nobody really has to do anything.  We just have to  just watch it happen.  This is, these seeds have been planted by the abuse of corporate America on its own people and, and it is just sprouting out, no way to stop it.  They, I, they must rue the day they overplayed their hand and decided to kill the middle-class of this country and give no hope to the poor.”

 Sellasie:  “Mm.”

Michael Moore:  “They must just completely rue that day.  So, have heart everyone that’s listening.  Uh, this is a movement.  Uh, already with a number of victories.  And there’s only going to be more to come because this thing is going to blossom throughout the winter.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Michael Moore, we wanna thank you very much for stopping by the Pacifica table, for coming to Oakland, California.  Davey D and I, here, for Pacifica, appreciate the time.  And, uh, we hope you’ll come back soon.”

Michael Moore:  “I will.  And, uh, thank you very much.  This is amazing.  I wish, I’m sorry we’re on the radio.  No, I’m not sorry about radio.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Ha!”

Michael Moore:  “But, if you could see—”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Pretty good radio—”

Michael Moore:  “No, we’re, we’re sitting, we’ve got a little card table here set up in the middle of Occupy Oakland, uh, there’s the Wells Fargo Bank over there—”

 Sellasie:  “Yeah.”

Michael Moore:  “—and there are thousands of people, all kinds of people, all kinds of people are here, um, and this is the America we wanna live in, you know, what we see here right now.  This is, this is the democracy, as the way it should be.  And so, I’m very hopeful, um—”

Dennis Bernstein:  “It’s a bit different of a thing than the peace marches of the ‘60s, isn’t it?”

Michael Moore:  “No—”

Dennis Bernstein:  “It’s a bit of a different crowd here.”

Michael Moore:  “It’s, it’s differenet and it’s, but, again, those things were well-organised.  This wasn’t organised.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Ah!  Yes.”

Michael Moore:  “And, and, and it’s so counter-intuitive that out of disorganisation [or anarchy] came already one of the best movements I’ve seen in my lifetime, with no structure, no discipline, no organisation.  And I’m sayin’ that, I mean, I’m not, I’m not like an anarchist or anything.  But there is something that it does, it just appeals to my inner core of, of, and I think we’re probably all this way.  We wish that, you know, I said at the end of my last movie.  I refuse to live in a country like this.  And I’m not leaving.  So, I think that is shared by millions of people.  We refuse to live in the way that they have constructed our America.  We’re not going anywhere.”

Sellasie:  “M-hm.”

Michael Moore:  “So, that means it’s gotta change, end of story.  Thank you so much for having me on.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Thank you, Michael Moore.”

Audience:  “Woo-hoo!  [Applause]

Dennis Bernstein:  “Uh, you are listening to KPFA in Berkeley, KFCF in Fresno.  Dennis Bernstein here with Davey D of Hard Knock Radio.  Michael Moore comes to visit us here in Oakland, spoke earlier to a crowd of, probably, over a thousand, mayb two thousand in Frank Ogawa Plaza [which Occupy Oakland has renamed Oscar Grant Plaza].  You can hear the helicopters circling overhead, wasting more fuel.  But we appreciate your time.  Thanks, Michael.  Be careful.” 

Davey D:  “Thank you.  I just wanna remind everybody, um, before we come back to you, Brooke, we appreciate you being patient wit’ us.  Um, there will be a speak-out against police brutality, um, or police violence right here at Oscar Grant Plaza [a.k.a. Frank Ogawa Plaza] starting tomorrow, at six o’clock.  It’s gonna be an open mic.  Everybody’s invited to come down to speak, listen, and act.  So, again, there will be a speak-out tomorrow at six o’clock against police violence in Oakland.  And that is going on tomorrow night here at Oscar Grant Plaza starting at six o’clock.”

[Davey D continues the prior interview with Brooke Anderson, “one of the Occupiers who was arrested…”]

Davey D:  “And we got a lot more people comin’ up.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “We got a whole other hour of coverage, a collaboration with Hard Knock Radio.  That’s Davey D.  I’m Dennis Bernstein.  We’re gonna break in at five, take a musical break and then we’re gonna continue the dialogue here at, what did I say?  Oscar Grant Plaza.  Oscar Grant Plaza.  It is Pacifica Radio, KPFA, again, Hard Knock Radio, Flashpoints, in collaboration, bringing you live coverage of, among other things, Michael Moore’s visit here to Oscar Grant Plaza, helicopters flying above, some music from our good buddy, Francisco Herrera.”

[KPFA’s coverage of Occupy Oakland continues into the next programme, Flashpoints at 5pm]


Transcript by Felipe Messina, photo by Abby Martin, and video by Media Roots.


Also, check out our firsthand coverage of the immediate aftermath following the brutal predawn raid of Occupy Oakland (at 6:20 am) on October 25, 2011 and the preemptive assaults on peaceful protesters later that evening (around 7:45 pm) when rioting police, as Michael Moore has noted, “overplayed their brutal fascistic hand.”  –MR

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