citizenKochIf you’ve never heard of the Koch Brothers, Charles and David, then this film could give you a bit of an introduction to the enormous power they currently wield in American politics. The documentary Citizen Koch reaches back a few years to the moment when the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that corporations can give without limit to political candidates, and uses the example of what happened in Wisconsin as a result of that decision as a cautionary tale. It is a textbook look at the political disenfranchisement that occurs when the people with the most money are allowed to buy an election. And in this case it is also the story of how what seemed from the outside to be a grassroots movement, The Tea Party, was in fact created and bankrolled by a couple of the wealthiest brothers in the country.

Citizen Koch
makes good use of real people to tell its story. Many of the Wisconsin citizens they interview through many months of political action began as conservative Republicans, but come to see that the things that they care about matter less to those in charge than what a bunch of rich people who don’t even live in their state want. The political battle being fought there even gets one of them to the polls for the first time in his 50-something life. koch-elsewhere

There is not a whole lot of new information in the documentary. It is another one of those that needs to be seen by people who have little interest in politics, who might be woken up to participate if they realized what is actually going on, since Wisconsin was just the test case and the same thing is now happening all over this country. I was disappointed in that the title leads you to believe that you will find out more about the Koch Brothers than you actually do, but as with Robert Reich’s wonderful film Inequality for All, for the uninitiated it is a good first taste. And an interesting side note to the film is that it was supposed to be shown on Public Television, but was reportedly pulled because David Koch, who is also a big funder of PBS, registered his disapproval. If you have friends and family who are not upset enough with the current state of our political system, and it isn’t a left or right issue, take them to see this movie.

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