Chamber of Commerce President Hearts Michael Moore’s “Capitalism”


Kara Ceriello, the president of the Wallingford Chamber of Commerce, loves capitalism. Michael Moore’s “Capitalism,” that is. On Sunday, the leader of the 100-year-old group, which is based in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, is holding a “Capitalism” watch party. All of Wallingford’s 120 Chamber members are invited.

“We had done this before with ‘Sicko,'” explains Ceriello, who owns the “lefty” gift shop Not a Number Gifts. “And we watched all the presidential debates, which was realy fun because we had a lot of Nerf guns and people could shoot at the screen when John McCain was on.”

You might say that the Wallingford Chamber and that other, slightly larger chamber of commerce based in Washington, DC, aren’t on the best of terms.  Last week at the Wallingford Chamber’s meeting, Ceriello was approached by a business owner who wanted to make sure the two groups were completely seperate. Another member who runs a retirement home handed her a letter signed by 100 of his residents expressing concern about the US Chamber’s move to block rape victims’ lawsuits. Ceriello had to explain that her chamber isn’t a member of the US Chamber. It’s not even a member of the Greater Seattle Chamber, precisely because that group is a member of the US Chamber. But she promised to present the signatures to its CEO, and to tell him: “This is why we and so many smaller chambers here in Seattle are not members of your organization.”

Ceriello expects a lot of Chamber members to show up at the “Capitalism” screening, which is part of a nationwide series of watch parties organized by Moveon.org. After all, her members probably have more in common with Moore’s view of the world than US Chamber president Tom Donohue’s.  “The US Chamber has become a Wal-Mart,” she says. “They care about their bottom line of dollars, meaning, with the Chamber, their bigger members. I really don’t think they consider that much the smaller businesses.”

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