The corporate ownership of our democracy is a familiar phenomenon by now, branded over the last year as the 1 percent owning the 99 percent. But how did we get to this place, when in the 1950s, one out of three working Americans was represented by a labor union? As the new documentary Heist would have it, in 1971, Virginia lawyer, tobacco industry representative and future Supreme Court justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. penned a memo in which he urged corporate interests to take a more active role in influencing elections.
Reviewing the film for The New York Times, Stephen Holden wrote, "To say that the ideas in Heist, which locates the source of our current troubles in a famous 1971 memorandum, belongs to the paranoid conspiracy school of history is not to suggest that its point of view isn't fairly persuasive. Conspiracies exist." Lending credibility to the leveling of conspiracy charges is the involvement of journalist Frances Causey, a UNC graduate and a veteran of CNN. The 7:30 p.m. screening is followed by a Q-and-A with Causey via Skype. —David Fellerath