From the outset of the American Revolution to the Citizens United decision in 2010, and onward, the power of large corporations has challenged the notion of true democracy in the United States. No one in modern times has done more to re-awaken the American public to this issue than Richard Grossman. Although he is not a household name, his work, dedication to his cause, and his willingness to rethink his approach is exemplary. We plan to present these things in this documentary.
The clip featured is from an interview that Joe Public Films (my production company) did with Richard in 2006 for a documentary called "Out of Balance". Though only a small portion of that interview was used, those of us closest to the development of Out of Balance acknowledged that the 90 minutes Richard gave us on that summer day in 2006 was a brilliant outline of the history of corporate power and how it has continually undermined real democracy in the USA, via the legal system, and that interview would serve well as the backbone of a separate documentary.
Richard and I had started to discuss the possibility of this documentary, and I was in touch with him until shortly before he passed away from melanoma in November 2011. We are going forward with this documentary. It is just as timely as ever, perhaps more so with Citizens United polluting the coming election with millions (or more) in corporate money.
People who worked with Richard and who knew him best will be interviewed for this piece, in addition to the man himself from the aforementioned 2006 interview. But, fear not, the narrative is right there in the history that Richard details, and this will not be a talking heads fest.
A little more about Richard Grossman: In the 1970s, Richard was the executive director of Greenpeace, and other organizations that included lobbying and organizing for change. By the late 1980s he was researching the growth in power of corporations, with particular attention to the legal history behind this growth. As a result, in the '90s he co-founded the Program On Corporations Law And Democracy (POCLAD). Ahead of his time, this organization attempted to warn citizens about the very same dangers of corporate power that many in the Occupy movement publicly protested almost twenty years later.
The final decade of his life brought even more changes in his work, but you'll have to see the documentary to learn about them (if you don't already know).
I'll end here on a personal note. During the early 2000s I produced a few guerrilla videos about various issues, and then Out of Balance in 2006, which was a step up in a lot of ways. Richard saw all of them at one point or another, usually at a public screening somewhere in southeast New Hampshire. And he would always say the same thing during the discussion afterward; "You know, you could give this the title of 'It's Not Just About Iraq'", or 'water privatization' or 'ExxonMobil'--- whatever the direct subject was. I took it as a compliment. Hell, I took it as a compliment that he even showed up--- this was a guy who Ralph Nader in a cover story of The Progressive magazine called "the preeminent historian of corporations" and a national "treasure". I don't usually worry about titles for documentaries early on, but maybe "It's Not Just About Richard Grossman" would be appropriate. And then a subtitle. I think he would approve.
Your contribution for this project will enable Joe Public Films to hire contract help and cover travel costs (going to interview colleagues and friends) for production of this documentary.
As you no doubt know, we have to at least make our goal in order to receive any money. If we don't make it, we get nothing. But, if we do make it, we can go over-- not so that we can all buy ponies-- but documentary production is a team effort, and the more we can afford to cover travel to do interviews, and cover the best possible production help, the better the documentary will be. And I assure you, a better quality production opens more doors for more viewer possibilities for our attempts to spread the word about Richard Grossman's exemplary American life. The message is more timely than ever. Please help us get the word out by helping to make this production happen.
Thanks for reading.
Tom Jackson, director