Top 20 US Progressives: Michael Moore

Activist and author.

Films about gun violence, health-care systems and capitalism might not, at first glance, inspire you sprint to the cinema. But the Michigan-born writer and film director Michael Moore has somehow managed to make each subject not only compelling but hugely popular with Bowling for Columbine, Sicko and, most recently, Capitalism: a Love Story.

His documentary style might not be to everyone's taste - the films are polemical, furious and passionate - but he has become a hero to many on the US left, especially for his work during the long years of George W Bush's neoconservative presidency. More recently he has pledged his support to the Occupy movement, speaking late last year at Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland. Yet he would never describe himself as an activist; rather, he claims that his political drive stems simply from being a citizen. "I and you and everyone else has to be a political activist," he says. "If we're not politically active, it ceases to be a democracy."

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