Michael Moore took a detour on his way to a discussion with filmmakers Laura Poitras and Kirsten Johnson in New York Wednesday night, joining a group of activists protesting Donald Trump on the streets of Manhattan for roughly half a mile. The filmmakers’ discussion, held at the offices of The Criterion Collection, began with Criterion president Peter Becker reading aloud a Facebook message Moore posted Wednesday entitled “Morning After To-Do List,” a five-point plan for combating Donald Trump.
Though the conversation was intended to focus on Johnson’s documentary “Cameraperson,” much of the evening was spent discussing what can be done to oppose Trump’s presidency.
“There is a state of profound shock and a real sense of fear that these are dark days ahead,” Poitras said, adding that she and Moore had been emailing earlier in the day to decide what they should talk about with Johnson. “We agreed that it was a time for the documentary community to come together and think about what we can do to resist what’s happening in this country.”
One of the issues Johnson mentioned that has changed the nature of protesting is how activists can no longer remain anonymous in many cases. “If anyone protests, their face is recorded and their identity is trapped,” Johnson said, referring to the way people like Poitras and others have been surveilled by the U.S. government. Poitras’s company Field of Vision recently launched a new website featuring SecureDrop, an online platform where individuals can anonymously leak newsworthy images and videos.
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Though Moore released his surprise documentary “Michael Moore In TrumpLand” last month, a 73-minute live performance film and plea to Americans for why they should vote for Hillary Clinton, he lamented the fact that he and others in the documentary community didn’t make more films about Trump, other than British director Anthony Baxter’s 2011 doc “You’ve Been Trumped,” about Trump’s building of a golf resort on one of Scotland’s last wilderness areas.
“What did we do?” Moore said. “Nobody really bothered with him because I don’t think any liberals or Hillary supporters thought this was going to happen. There was no sense of urgency among liberally minded people.” He added that nobody knows what Trump really plans to do once in office.
Still, Moore said that Republicans are likely going to use their control of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives to pass law after law during the early days of Trump’s presidency. “They’re going to try to get as much done as quickly as they can before the public rises up,” he said. “We have to take over the Democratic party.”
One of Moore’s biggest concerns is the Republicans’ appointment of Supreme Court judges, something for which he did offer a plan of sorts. “Democrats have got to block every fucking appointment, just like the Republicans were going to do,” he said.
One of the only heartening messages Moore had for the audience Wednesday was the fact that Clinton did win the popular vote by roughly 250,000 people. “Our fellow Americans didn’t want him,” he said. “It’s a good country with a lot of crazy people who are easily manipulated with fear.”