The gap between America’s “1%” and the rest of its people widens every day, and world economies are still stumbling to find their footing after the 2008 global economic crisis.  The reasons for both are connected and will be traced when the 2012 New York Times Critic’s Pick documentary, “HEIST: Who Stole the American Dream?” is presented at the next Salem Progressive Film Series.
The evening promises to be both fiery and intellectually stimulating, with two engaging speakers – including HEIST’s director/producer – to follow the movie.

Narrated by Thom Hartmann, HEIST critiques deregulation, job outsourcing and the tax policies that favor mega-corporations – and connects them to a 1971 secret memo written by the future Supreme Court Justice, Lewis Powell.  Powell’s 6-page document, written at the behest of the US Chamber of Commerce, was entitled Attack on American Free Enterprise System.

With clear, fact-driven storytelling, HEIST connects this memo to the hollowing out of the U.S. economy.  It provides background on the New Deal and explores how FDR’s policies were altered by Ronald Reagan, among others, to focus economic benefits on the wealthiest investors and CEOs.

Through expert testimony, investigative filmmaking and key archival footage, HEIST unfolds critical historical background, including the Heritage Foundation’s Mandate for Leadership on government reform, and traces both Republican and Democratic allegiance to big business.

HEIST explores a story of how corporate leaders worked with elected politicians of both major parties, to create the largest transfer of wealth in history and create a gap between rich and poor previously seen only in impoverished colonial nations. Structured as a political thriller, Heist effectively connects the dots to show audiences how – and why – we live in an era of class warfare, and what we can do to restore democracy and economic fairness.

Two speakers will lead a discussion following the film.  One, Donald Goldmacher, is the film’s director and producer, and a longtime and international-award-winning filmmaker.  He has also worked as a labor advocate, activist, and community psychiatrist.

Also presenting will be Willamette University alumni and 35-year professor of Economics, Russ Beaton.  Beaton has specialized in areas such as environmental economics, urban land economics, and energy economics.

The seeds of today’s economic disparity were sown long ago, these speakers and HEIST: Who Stole The American Dream will argue persuasively on April 11.  Those alarmed by the profound changes they see in their financial lives, in Wall Street’s behavior and in monetary crises around the world will find this a provocative evening.


Salem Progressive Film Series
Guest speakers & audience discussion follow

Thursday April 11  7 pm
Grand Theater