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Friday, April 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 28.0° F  Fog/Mist
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WISCONSIN FILM FESTIVAL

Wisconsin Film Festival 2013: Citizen Koch provides perspective on the Capitol protests of 2011

Citizen Koch is a clear recounting of the disparate, far-reaching prongs of the right's attack on collective bargaining rights.
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So of course I had to get tickets to Citizen Koch, a film that attempts to elucidate the relationships between the Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, the influence of businessmen Charles and David Koch, Americans for Prosperity, the tea party, and the epic (and I mean epic in more than just the current, debased version of the term) protests that took place in Madison in February and March of 2011 after Gov. Scott Walker introduced his "budget repair bill" that ultimately stripped public employee unions of much of their power. The Wisconsin Film Festival screened the documentary on Saturday and Sunday.

If you were in Madison and paying attention at the time, there is not so much that Citizen Koch will present that will be a surprise to you, but it is a clear recounting of the disparate, far-reaching prongs of the right's attack.

The look back does provide perspective even to those who were present on the front lines. The filmmakers, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, wondered at times if they had two films. And although the accompanying story of Buddy Roemer's bid for the Republican nomination for president may seem a long way from the Capitol Square, both his story and the tales of three Wisconsin average Joe Republican voters who feel betrayed by their party illustrate the effects of money on politics.

As Roemer says, "money is a weapon." A gun can be a weapon when it is brandished just as effectively as when it is shot, he notes.

For a film entitled Citizen Koch, we don't get to see that much of the titular funders. But the effects of the brandishing of their weapon are ever-present.

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