In Must-See Video, Bill Moyers Slams Rule By the 1%: “Plutocracy and Democracy Don’t Mix”

Joe Romm
ThinkProgress / Video Report
Published: Sunday 20 November 2011
This is from the final broadcast of Bill Moyers Journal.

One of America’s greatest journalists anticipated the entire Occupy Wall Street protests against the 1% back in 2010.

This is from the final broadcast of Bill Moyers Journal, which included an interview with Jim Hightower who said:

So, we need a lot more agitation. And that’s the only thing that succeeds from a progressive side in changing politics in America.

Certainly that’s the only thing that stopped the permitting this year of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline (see Stunning Triumph for 99%: Obama Sends Keystone XL Back to State for Review, McKibben Calls This “A Very Important Day”).

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ABOUT Joe Romm

Joe Romm is a Fellow at American Progress and is the editor of Climate Progress, which New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named one of the 25 “Best Blogs of 2010.″ In 2009, Rolling Stone put Romm #88 on its list of 100 “people who are reinventing America.” Time named him a “Hero of the Environment″ and “The Web’s most influential climate-change blogger.” Romm was acting assistant secretary of energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy in 1997, where he oversaw $1 billion in R&D, demonstration, and deployment of low-carbon technology. He is a Senior Fellow at American Progress and holds a Ph.D. in physics from MIT.

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35 comments on "In Must-See Video, Bill Moyers Slams Rule By the 1%: “Plutocracy and Democracy Don’t Mix”"


James R. Olson

November 30, 2011 5:41pm

stunning that some one so ignorant as JYD would be so eager to show it in a world wide forum.


November 29, 2011 10:10am

He mentions the 10% plutonomists at the top... Hmmm..I just read an article mentioning that though 4% of the entire population are sociopaths, they find that there is a concentration of about 10% sociopaths at the top of political and business power! Without empathy to stop them, a sociopath doesn't care whose toes they step on to get what they want. Evil men wax worse and worse.

Marilyn and Art...

November 27, 2011 2:42pm

It appears Bill Moyers is a voice calling {crying} in the wilderness.Can we heed his call?....We can only try! ..We must.

Ivor Thomas

November 24, 2011 6:45am

One key enabler driving us down the plutonomic road to nowhere is the stunning willfull ignorance exhibited by people such as JYD. Another is a total lack of shame that allows them to comfortably sign their names (sorta) to such upside down garbage. > Whay [sic] aren't Americans listening?????Did you see the recent study that states that the propagandized (Fox News) are less informed than even the non-informed? You can't listen when your fingers are jammed into your ears and your eyes are squeezed tight!

Susy Linn

November 22, 2011 9:46pm

@ Leo Tolstoy: I must be missing something...I thought Obama vacationed in Hawaii. I was also raised in Hawaii and have family, friends and old school mates there. My kids and I have vacationed there for years, we stay at my mom's house. I attended Punahou for many years, just as Obama did. My dad was a University professor, hardly rich in anything but intelligence and the desire for his kids to have a good education. Please do some research on Hawaii and it's beauty, cultural diversity and economic reality before you accuse it of being some place for eltist super rich people. I don't worship Obama, but useing Hawaii as a club against him is, well ignorant. There are few places as beautiful and as filled with friendliness as Hawaii, but there are huge social and economic injustices there also. NO ONE growing up there is unaware of it's history and it's continued struggles. A 1% mecca...nope.


November 23, 2011 12:45pm

Bill Moyers had a fantastic weekly program on PBS, and also highly intelligent, articulate people as guests. He is sorely missed!


November 23, 2011 12:42pm

Obama did recently visit Hawaii. He also vacationed there. You must realize that the Republican Obama haters will use anything to denigrate him - if he plays golf, plays basketball, using his illegal aunt here in the mainland, his uncle's recent run-in with the law, his birth, his education, his Chicago background, his religious associates, anything at-all. They just cannot tolerate having an intelligent, articulate, educated black man as president. Obama is a big relief after the past administration of lies and stupidity.


November 22, 2011 6:51pm

Grow up

Jim Prevatt

November 22, 2011 2:51pm

Bill Moyers is a national treasure. I miss his weekly NOW.


November 22, 2011 10:21am

Our American constitutional rights include the right to free speech and the right to assembly. I'm interested to know, given your view on Bill Moyers, what your particular income, and or perhaps if you're voting against your own best interests because someone has convinced you that it's socialist. I've gone from being a moderate in 2000 through six layoffs, and three years of unemployment, from the beginning of 2008 to the end of 2010; I've experienced age discrimination, and despite applying for everything from gas station attendant to jobs in my own field, remained unemployed through that three years, including after my unemployment benefits had expired. Thankfully, at my age, I don't have student loans, but my 401k is gone--primarily because as a single parent not getting child support despite the alleged law enforcing such things, I couldn't afford to contribute for many years and still feed the kids--my savings are gone, and I get to look forward to a retirement in which I'm going to be 75 before retiring, and after that, I'll have to run away so that my kids don't make me their burden.Yeah, I think a revolution sounds good right about now. But in the meantime, take a poli sci class so your definitions of socialist and communism are correct. My very distant cousin Winston Churchill once said that Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the rest. He meant democracy, not plutocracy. If you don't know the definition of that, I'll help you look it up, but communism as it was in practice was also, essentially a plutocracy and a demented sort of capitalist society pretending not to be. So too has untrammeled and unregulated capitalism proven to be a failure or our economy would be thriving, and there wouldn't still be millions out of work.


November 21, 2011 9:57pm

Bill Moyers is nothing but an America hating communist. The Socialist/Communist model has failed in every instance and brought untold suffering to millions of human beings. Agitation? Synonomous with Anarchy, which the Occupy movement was about from the beginning. You want a revolution? Bring it.


November 22, 2011 6:52pm

Oh grow up already


November 21, 2011 7:40pm

Bill Moyers is as close to being god as any man who ever lived (I think).He is a truly righteous man in every sense of the word


November 21, 2011 7:39pm

Bill Moyers is as close to being god as any man who ever lived (I think).He is a truly righteous man in every sense of the word


November 21, 2011 7:10pm

On A Scale of 10 This Video/Article is a 100 - Can Anyone tell me how to Post this Link On my Facebook Page or Wall?

Kristina Marzano

November 22, 2011 10:51am

Rory, Just click on the "like" button and the video link will appear on your FB page.

Shenzhen, China and West Palm Beach, Florida, Florida and Guangdong
November 20, 2011 11:31pm

@ Mike the problem is not government it is rather who is running the government. The corporate elite is running the government and you are right that they have in fact bought out both political parties. The only legislators that are on the side of all the people of the US are the progressive caucus and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
We need to have an expanded federal government. Who do you think is responsible for keeping; our water clean, our air clean, our streets paved, our children educated, our communities safe, our air and train travel safe. I could go on but the list would get very long. It actually should be longer. They should also keep our medical costs lower and results better. They should also regulate the financial industry and enforce fair trade instead of free trade with all the other countries of the world. They should also insure and insist that all people who are willing to work can find adequate employment and all those who are unable to work have a reasonably decent life.
This would all be possible if only the government wasn't controlled by the 1% of the multinational corporate elite. That's the real problem Mike. So get out there and occupy!

Chatham Hale Fo...

November 20, 2011 11:15pm

Nobody tells today's bottom line truth as straight from the shoulder as Bill Moyers. He speaks as clearly as he thinks, and he is unafraid. Moreover, he has worked in the White House, elbow to elbow with LBJ and company. He knows first hand whereof he speaks. Bill Moyers is a true American.

Concentrate on electing a truly progressive congress. That is the only thing that will make O listen. It is up to us. We can work on this one we got. It is a waste of time to try any of the Repugs. We need a year or two to really get organized and move the power into the hands of the people. It will take perseverance and real dialogue. So, let's not go with the same old same. All politicians are not the same, but they do have the same buttons and influences, and we need to get off of our apathy and make good things happen. It takes courage and understanding to move cynicism and despair out of the way. We can work for wisdom. We have to or we will all die in terrible ways. What a waste to let it get to that. Now is the time to get smart and get together.

Patricia Holly's picture
Patricia Holly
Rhame, ND
November 20, 2011 7:50pm

Goddess, i REALLY MISS my weekly dose of Mr. Moyers! i have a couple years of podcast videos i watch over & over again.... At least there's that =D Thanks so much for the reminder.

Ellie Williams

November 20, 2011 7:39pm

I would cancel or cut short social events just to watch Bill Moyers Journal on Friday nights. Miss his wisdom and insight.

Leo Tolstoy

November 20, 2011 4:51pm

Give up on Obama already, O.K.? He's a member of the 1% - look where he vacations every summer. He'll be re-elected, though, because the Republicans will put up some crazy idiot and people will flock to Obama, where they will get screwed again. And again. And again. Enough of the Obama-worshipping.

Judy Armstrong-...

November 20, 2011 2:55pm

It is my fear that you would never stoop so low nor become so despairing that you might make a run for the presidency. Would you? Could you? Do you have hope enough to even consider it? I'm coming close to giving up, not voting, not hoping for a raise in general consciousness. Obama has nearly broken my heart. Would you think of repairing it - just even consider it? Probably not, I fear.......

Mike N

November 20, 2011 2:54pm

It has everything to do with BOTH parties expanding the role of the federal government! It's the federal government that has become monster, and both parties play a significant part. Get rid of entitlements to everyone in Congress, who cares what party they are! They're all corruptly and unconstitutionally expanding the role of the federal government into every aspect of our personal lives. Shrink the federal government.


November 20, 2011 2:45pm

"......Democracy only works when we claim it as our own." Well, The Constitution of the United States is MY Constitution! The United States of America is MY Nation. I am the 99 and this is MY country. The -1% can Go to Hell. Proded thru the gates with bayonets in their backs if need be!

Beverly Smith

November 20, 2011 2:36pm

Whoever said a brilliant man was not sexy...... NOBODY, cause every time Bill Moyers speaks, one gets tingley jolts of mind-opening spirit!!!!Thank you, Bill Moyers, for the remedy for our sadness on your departure..... YOU ARE COMING BACK!!! HOO and RAY!!!!Beverly Smith

Shirley A. Hampton

November 20, 2011 2:07pm

Occupy Wall Street. Democracy is not Free. Thrive


November 20, 2011 1:30pm



November 20, 2011 8:50pm

Could you put that in lower case so people can read it?


November 20, 2011 1:25pm

Whay aren't Americans listening?????

Jim Nordby

November 21, 2011 6:41am

Because most Americans don't listen to anything requiring contemplation and compassion for fellow citizens, especially those citizens struggling at the lower socioeconomic levels. It's easier to listen to AM radio or Fox news tell you who to hate in simple, easy-to-remember sound bites. If Bill Moyers came back and was slotted against Dancing With the Stars who do you think would win the ratings battle and by how much? That's why Americans are not listening.


November 20, 2011 1:16pm

This is the type of wake up call that everyone should hear and see.


November 20, 2011 1:11pm

It reminds me of how much I miss my Friday night Bill Moyers fix.


November 20, 2011 1:09pm

Bill Moyers makes it so clear, and he is so right.