Michael Moore speaks about Occupy movements, auto companies in Q&A session

Renowned and controversial director, author and social activist Michael Moore encouraged students to get involved and speak out against corporate greed and failing systems in America this past Wednesday at Oakland University.

Moore, a Michigan native, speaking to a standing room only crowd at Meadow Brook Hall, cheered the Occupy movement and encouraged all to join and not be afraid to speak up.

“Everybody has to step up right now … everybody has to take risk,” Moore said. “Get involved and do something. What if people actually rose up, and exercised their democracy?”

Moore, who has been an outspoken supporter of the Occupy movement, compared it to the civil rights and feminist movements and noted its strong and quick impact.

“It has killed apathy, it has alleviated despair. It has changed the national conversation,” Moore said, referring to the fact that it has dominated the news as of late.

He praised Michigan for the many contributions it has offered the word, and encouraged Michiganders that they will succeed.

To the creative people of this area, we have done so much, we have invented so much. Michigan figured out how to put people on wheels,” Moore said. “And to think that we can’t pull ourselves out of this mess, I reject that.”

Moore touched on many issues relevant to Michigan, including the bailout of the auto companies and the student loan debts.

He criticized the policies of GM, Ford and Chrysler, noting that the entire companies are at fault and must be restructured. He suggested that citizens be allowed to vote on policies.

“The Big Three made a lot of really bad decisions. They had an arrogance that said what is good for GM is good for you,” Moore said. “I would like to see a society where they don’t get to do what they want.”

On the topic of student loans, Moore said that student debt should be non-existent because school should be free, as is the case in much of Europe.

“At the age of 22, instead of sending you into the real work, we send you into a debtor’s prison,” Moore said.

For Emila Allen, and OU student, Moore hit on key issues relevant to Michigan students.

“I felt he really knew Michigan, being a local,” she said. “He is definitely more in touch with the average student and citizen. That makes him relatable and credible.”

Elisa Malile, a sociology major at OU and vice president of OU student congress, agreed with Allen on his credibility.

“He is from Flint, and Flint was hit the hardest. They saw the downfall of middle class Americans working in factories,” Malile said. “He has experienced that, he knows what’s going on, he knows the system.

She also supports the Occupy movement.

“It is really touching to see that it is not a partisan issue,” she said. “You have Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats and Communists. You have everyone their standing together. Everyone has the same issues and we are facing the same problems.”

Donovan Wenworth found Moore inspiring as well as the Occupy movement.

“I think these economic issues have been unaddressed for a while,” he said. “I see the Occupy movement as a way to express my opinions about these economic issues and to try to do something positive to change them.”

Many students stayed after he spoke to have books and posters signed.

Moore is touring in Michigan promoting this newest book, Here Comes Trouble.

For more information on Moore and his books, visit his website at www.michaelmoore.com