In one scene you see an electric sign shows, "A SPECTER IS HAUNTING THE WORLD. CAPITALISM." This is a take-off on "A specter is haunting Europe -- the specter of communism." which is the opening line of "The Communist Manifesto."
Opens with an epigraph from a poem by Polish poet and dramatist Zbigniew Herbert(1924-1998), just like the 2003 novel by Don DeLillo did: "a rat became the unit of currency". The poem was originally published 1983 as "Report from the Besieged City" in the collection "Raport z oblezonego Miasta i inne wiersze" ("Report from the Besieged City and Other Poems"). The novel and the film adaptation both include Herbert's poem and further develop his metaphor of 'rats' as an extended leitmotif. For example in Cronenberg's film character Eric Packer says that he read a poem where "a rat became the unit of currency". Later we see the protestors use rat-like masks, puppets and real dead rats as their main symbolic expression of anti-capitalist criticism.