Actor James Cromwell: ‘Capitalism is a cancer’
James Cromwell, forever doomed to be “that guy” despite being nominated for an Oscar for his performance in “Babe” and winning an Emmy for his work in “American Horror Story: Asylym,” turned himself in to authorities on Friday so he could face a seven-day jail sentence stemming from a protest he took part in back in 2015. Cromwell could have easily gotten out of jail time by paying a $375 fine and agreeing to 16 hours of community service, but he chose jail instead.
Cromwell was convicted along with five other activists for obstructing traffic while protesting the building of a gas-fired power plant by Competitive Power Ventures in Wawayanda, New York. Environmental activists maintain the plant is completely unnecessary and will negatively impact the surrounding environment.
“Once you commit yourself to commit an act of disobedience, you know there is going to be consequences,” Cromwell told People. “They imposed this ridiculous fine and 16 hours of community service. What seemed incongruous to me was why should I admit guilt and thereby besmirch the whole idea of what we were doing and the importance of it. So I said I’m not gonna pay the fine, I’d rather go to jail.”
Cromwell also spoke with Democracy Now before turning himself in, where he took a much more defiant tone.
“And it is time, actually, to name the disease,” Cromwell said during a lengthy interview on Thursday. “Most people can’t put their finger on the cause of it, but everybody perceives the threat. Capitalism is a cancer. And the only way to defeat this cancer is to completely, radically transform our way of living and our way of thinking about ourselves. And I call that radical transformation revolutionary. So this is the revolution.”
The 77-year-old actor — who plans on going on a hunger strike while in jail — also told People his jail time would be “symbolic,” and that it doesn’t really compare to those who are sentenced to years behind bars for minor infractions. Nevertheless, he admitted he was actually kind of looking forward to it because he views this is as something of a learning experience.
“So yes, I’m excited,” he explined. “I’m excited because I will have had an experience that not a lot of privileged white people have, what it’s like to be in there. What that system does to people who have no choice of how long they’re in there — they’re not gonna be in there for a week, they’re gonna be in there for years.”
Uh, OK. Have fun, buddy.