An email led me to a website from which Moore appears to have ripped off a sizeable portion of Bowling for Columbine -- the World Socialist Website, official website of the International Committee of the Fourth International.
Okay, before you say I'm hunting for commies under every bed, let me say that it is one heck of an interesting website, and these aren't people who think that socialism means defending Bill Clinton over white wine. It isn't every day that you find a socialist site (or any other political site, for that matter) which rejects attacks on Jefferson as distractions from his remarkable legacy of human equality, objects to the exclusion of Ross Perrot from the past presidential debates, interviews historians on the decline in quality of Presidential debates since 1850, or has an interesting commentary on Orson Welles. Besides, Moore is just an arriviste millionaire who really wants to be a 19th century robber baron:
"I'm a millionaire, I'm a multi-millionaire. I'm filthy rich. You know why I'm a multi-millionaire? 'Cause multi-millions like what I do. That's pretty good, isn't it? There's millions that believe in what I do. Pretty cool, huh?" Michael Moore
The director and star of the acclaimed Bowling For Columbine played a sell out two month run at the London venue before Christmas, but the London Evening Standard says he was irritated to be paid as little as £500 for each gig.
The Standard quotes "a source" saying Moore threw a temper tantrum on the penultimate night. "He completely lost the plot," says the unnamed member of staff. "He stormed around all day screaming at everybody, even the £5-an-hour bar staff, telling us how we were all conmen and useless. Then he went on stage and did it in public." Enraged staff, the Standard continues, refused to work on Moore's final night until the comic apologised, delaying the start for over an hour. The Guardian (UK)
That said, he certainly ought to be paying royalties to the International Committee of the Fourth International. After he gets through apologizing for massively dumbing-down their arguments. At times it's like seeing a book adapted for screenplay ... by someone with an IQ of 60.
Let's go thru Bowling point by point and see where their articles' themes (and sometimes even sentences) were taken without attribution:
Columbine and Military Weaponry & Clinton:
"The killing of at least fifteen high school students and teachers at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado has left America stunned and sickened. . . .
Indignation will greet any suggestion that there is any connection between the mayhem in Colorado and the violence that America is presently unleashing on the world. In this age of high-tech wars and precision guided munitions, the Pentagon conducts wars which allow the US military to kill thousands from afar without the loss of a single American soldier. The media packages the war as entertainment without real consequence--at least for Americans. . . . . Nor is there any consideration of the corrosive impact on this society of the death and destruction that America visits upon people beyond its borders.
Without explanation, the American military is flinging bombs and missiles against Yugoslavia, destroying cities and towns, reducing its infrastructure to rubble. Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan have also come under attack in recent months. US forces burst into a country and start shooting it up. Each international horror resembles a crime scene in which American fingerprints are inevitably found. The media incites the public to glory in the exercise of American military might.
Under these conditions, how is one to react to Clinton's statement, in the wake of the Littleton shooting, that "we must reach out to our children and teach them to express their anger and to resolve their conflicts with words, not weapons"?"
Shooting of Kayla Rolland, Welfare Reform, and Flint:
"The tragic events of February 29, the day of the deadly shooting of one child by another at an elementary school outside Flint, Michigan, will be remembered forever by Tamarla Owens. She is the mother of the six-year-old boy who killed Kayla Rolland, also six years of age.
Only eight days before the shooting at Buell Elementary School in Mt. Morris Township, Tamarla Owens was evicted from her house for falling behind in rent payments. She took her two boys to her brother's home and her daughter to her sister's. It was in the brother's home that the six-year-old found a loaded gun and brought it to his first grade classroom. The two children had reportedly quarreled before the shooting.
. . . . . . .
But while much has been stated by the media concerning the immediate circumstances surrounding the shooting, there has been no attempt to explain the social chain of events that form the background to the tragedy. Layoffs and plant shutdowns have devastated the Flint area, once a major center of auto production. . . . .
The conditions that led to this working mother's particularly tragic situation are the fruits of punitive legislation euphemistically called "welfare reform." In 1996 the Clinton administration ended welfare "as we know it" and enacted the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWOA), which has been responsible for forcing people off welfare into low-wage jobs. With this legislation, AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) was abolished. AFDC was created in 1935 as part of the Social Security Act, with the intent of assisting poor women and recognizing that children needed someone at home with them.
. . . . . . .
Tamarla Owens is a single mother raising three children ages five, six and eight. She currently works as an assistant manager in training at one of the stores in the newly built Great Lakes Crossings Mall in Auburn Hills. Since she received a promotion, she makes $7.85 an hour, up from the starting pay of $7.00 an hour. She has already had five different jobs at the mall, sometimes working two jobs at a time to make ends meet. When she worked as a waitress for a time at the mall, her tips were expected to compensate for her meager wage of $2.65 an hour.
. . . . .
The Beecher neighborhood where the shooting took place and where both families live, is one of the poorest areas in Michigan. An estimated 45 percent of households have total incomes of less than $15,000 a year. Children on free lunch or reduced-price lunch programs account for 87 percent of the student population at Buell Elementary. The only playground for neighborhood children is the one at the school, which is in great need of repair and new equipment.
Like so many single-mothers in this situation, every day is a major struggle. Because her present job requires that she open and close the store, Tamarla Owens arrives at the mall at 9:00 in the morning, one hour before opening time. During the busy holiday seasons she remains until one hour after the closing time, which is 9:00 p.m. The hours are long, but her day is made even longer by the fact that she has no car. She spends five dollars a day on transportation to and from work.
"I wake the kids up early-6:30 a.m.-get them ready for school, and myself ready for work. I leave the house at 7:30 in the morning. I take the bus from home to downtown Flint, then another bus from Flint to the mall in Auburn Hills where I arrive about an hour and a half later. Depending on how busy we are and how many hours I work, I often don't get home until 11:00 at night."
Lockheed being hired to run workfare programs:
"The architect of the Michigan state government's attack on welfare recipients, social services director Gerald Miller, announced September 16 that he was moving to Austin, Texas to head the new welfare management division of Lockheed Martin, the $30 billion corporation which is the largest Pentagon contractor."
U.S. Foreign Policy & 9/11:
"In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's events, politicians, editorialists and media pundits have declared over and over that Americans must recognize that the destruction of the World Trade Center means the United States is at war and must act accordingly. But the fact of the matter is that the US government has been engaged in direct warfare in the Middle East, in one form or another, for the better part of two decades.
Putting aside the massive material aid that it provides for Israeli military operations, the United States has been bombing one or another Middle Eastern country almost continuously since 1983. US bombers and/or battleships have attacked Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Iran, the Sudan and Afghanistan. . . .
Given this bloody record, why should anyone be surprised that those who have been targeted by the United States have sought to strike back?"
Moreover, both bin Laden and the Taliban mullahs, whom the US accuses of harboring him, were financed and armed by the Reagan-Bush administration to fight pro-Soviet regimes in Afghanistan in the 1980s. If they are involved in Tuesday's operations, then the American CIA and political establishment are guilty of having nurtured the very forces that carried out the bloodiest attack on American civilians in US history.
Just about Moore's only original contributions to Bowling are his personal attacks on Heston and his comments on guns and gun laws (which he abandons at the end). These he couldn't take from the Fourth International, since they have no grudge against Heston and they're moderately pro-gun (can't disarm the working classes and expect a revolution!). While the mass media endorsed the Million Moms March with enthusiasm, the Fourth International suggested it was set up by Clinton Administration flaks. Allowing that "some form" of gun control was "in principle" a rational measure, they continued:
"At the same time there are very real grounds for concern over the use to which the government would put vast new data bases of personal information derived from the registration of guns and licensing of gun owners, two of the main demands of the Million Mom March organizers. One of the provisions of proposed gun legislation would mandate the finger-printing of gun purchasers. That this represents a significant expansion of the police powers of the state is not a mere delusion on the part of gun-control opponents. It is a real threat."