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MarxÍsm Theory and the Movie Machuca

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General Overview on Marxism

Marxism in general is a system of thought by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, György Lukác, close friends of Marx, and others have developed this belief system and tried to keep it alive with continuity. Those who believe in this idea and who are trying to do something with this thought have come to somewhere in the general sense and have done something for the people. Marxism is not only a vision of the world, but rather a broader target, trying to solve the problems and reach a synthesis by applying to the problems of man, history, state, society, nature, God and the universe.

Marxism basically targeted and criticized the living societies and management systems. The beginning and the main cause of Marxism is the critique of capitalism. Marxism is a thought-idea structure that has tried to show how wrong capitalism is and how it works. Marxism criticizes all existing developments on the basis of capitalism, capitalism and other economic system. Marxism must be known before everything is a determinist one. Marxism criticizes the classification and social distinctions within a society. Upon this, it struggles to create a system which is in general socially equal. In short, Marxism aims at eliminating class societies where social discrimination has been ongoing since the past and replacing them with classless and socially equal society. Marxism has been created thought and been offered to the humanity in the name of the brotherhood of the peoples with the aim of an equal and classless society. Marxism is a socialist structure. It is a socialist worldview. Marxism does not want to classify people. It wants all the classes to be united. At this point all the classes will be destroyed. The important one is the equal society. Marxism is the opposite of exploitation of people in one form or another. It aims to equal all people. It does not want to be separated in a class, social way. The important thing is that people live on equal footing.

The Analysis of Machuca by Marxist theory

Machuca happens in Chile. It is actually after the Marxist Salvador Allende came into the power and chosen as a president after the democratic elections. As a reaction of the ministry of foreign relations and the intelligence agencies of the U.S. was in charge and unfortunately many people effected badly because of the conflict and the civil right violations urged after the association of the Salvador Allende, in a military coup, in his office.

The film put the story of a boy, Gonzalo Infante, from a middle-class family on the front of the political incidents of the time. He has problems in his family sometimes about his father and about his sister. There was inconsistency between the two classes of the society and the head of the priests of the Private English School believed that these differences and the discrepancy between poor and the rich classes should be overcome. By the time, it was decided to register the children from the poor side of the society to the school and to support them financially by giving scholarship with the spirit of the Allende’s governments reform. Although the film is from the eye of the Gonzalo, we see the Machuca here when the poor students accepted to the private school. Gonzalo makes friend with him and support him whenever he is in trouble. Gonzalo learn from him both the real friendship and how the poor people struggle. Machuca shows him the other side of the life in Santiago. We have the other character, Silvana, who is Machuca’s cousin who draws Gonzalo’s attention positively with his charming playfulness. In order to support the Silvana’s father about his political condition, these three intimate friends sell flag at meetings and demonstrations. The relations between the children indicate us even if they are randomly together and they have many class differences; they could succeed to be unique and united which means the sincerity can handle all the differences and the difficulties.

First Scene

As the first important scene of the film can be the first event of the film. When the Father brings the children from the poor class of the society who will be studied in the best private school in the area with the scholarship of Allende’s government as a step taken in the light of the Marxism. He enters to the class and presents the children and says to the class like “We have new classmates and you know each other, of course you faced with them maybe on the road to home or school. They live around the school and they stay close neighborhoods. “Nobody knows anybody” is the question that uncovered the class conflict even in schools. Then a kid answers from the class like “Sir I know that child, his mother washes our clothes in our home.” Here we can syllogize that the mother of the newcomer student who will study with the government scholarship is the servant or the nursemaid of the house of that private school’s students. It is obviously seen from that part of the film is that the poor families tend to get working class jobs which give them a low standard of living. Marxism had clarified that class inequality was reproduced by nature of education system. Wealthier families use their own resources to send their children into best schools and potential middle-class jobs as well in long term period. It creates vicious cycle to reproduce the class inequality due to class incapabilities of working class. While we mention about the equality and the education system, we should consider the traditional Marxist who see their assumption for the current education system is not equal and it is like a tool at the hand of the elites which means the system performs under the supervision of the hegemon dominant class of the society. In that part of the film what the Priest do with the Allende’s decision is taking initiative to destroy these inequalities not only taking the poor children to the private, equipped school but also make them sit mixed not in groups like ‘poor and the rich’. We can obviously fit that example with, Marx’s free public education theory which is underlined in the Communist Manifesto.

Second Scene

The first swimming lesson in the swimming pool after the newcomer was introduced takes place which is my second analyze. The rich families’ children who are the old student of the school jump into the pool without any hesitation one by one with different jumping styles. However, the children of the poor families hesitate initially and stays a little away from the pool. While the woman teacher informs the children about not to pee in the pool and in case they do it will turn pink, the water, because of the chemicals, the Priest comes in to the lesson and starts to inspect them. Suddenly he really gets angry with a boy from the pool who says to the shy and poor new students like ‘You the ones with black t-shirts, let’s jump to the pool ‘fooling them because of their skin color. Then suddenly the Priest shouts at that scoffer guy and at the same time not only yell to him but also addresses to the rest. Firstly, he punishes him by taking out of the pool and while shouting to him, goes on giving lessons to the whole class like ‘You will learn what the respect is, even if the single thing you will learn is only that learning what the respect is, you will learn it!’ He goes on aloud ‘This is no important who you are and from where you are; Here everybody will show respect to one another! Is it clear guys?’ All says ‘Yes’ and He says ‘Good, so enjoy your swimming’ then he leaves the class. Then the shy poor guys also start enjoying and even jumping. Economists explained the goods exchange on the market with the labor theory of value. In that sense, certain relative prices were influenced depended on exchanges on goods. It mainly argues that the labor of producing the commodity should be measured necessary hours to work for the product in average. Adam Smith and Karl Max were the best-known advocates of the theory. Destroying the labor theory of value which is the alienation of the works also effects the relationships between people because in the distorted capitalist system the time the individual passed in the producing process is not taken into consideration which lead everybody unconsciously to devaluating the human itself but evaluating the meta (the product) itself. The isolated individuals who have collapsed into themselves form an indirect social relationship can be able to have relationship only with the help of what they produce. However, the value relation between the meta should be the essence of all the social relations so that isolated individuals make through commodities. We can consider the boy’s behavior from the swimming pool as a subliminal reflection of the commoditized capitalist system. By ridiculing the black skinned guy, the rich guy actually represents the capacity of his family’s means of production in comparison to the poor guy’s family and also represents how the system offers not respecting to the value and time that the poor families gave behind all. And the Priest insists on ‘Respect’. I evaluated that word of the Priest as respecting to the time and labor given for the works behind all the social class or skin colors, in other words, even they seem poor or they are black people, keep in mind that ‘whoever you or whatever the social status you have, firstly learn to respect everybody for their labor and the time they passed on the work. It goes without saying the Priest does not explain in so much detail to the children who cannot even understand the philosophy of Marxism but I interpreted as the way I explained.

Third Scene

Machuca and Gonzalo go to the town of the Machuca by one bicycle. While they reach to the poor and edge neighborhood town of the Machuca, Gonzalo firstly hesitates and thinks for a while for going into this slum or not. But immediately he decides to go on enjoying with his friend by cycling the one bicycle both together one in steering wheel and one at the back on the back wheel at stand. Then they enter to this muddy slum by laughing and cycling fast. Firstly, they face with the mother of the Machuca who deals with a landwork with her shovel and the digging. She asks to the children to prepare something to eat if they are hungry while they are passing fast with Gonzalo’s bicycle in front of her. After it is evening, they come to the old house of the Machuca. Gonzalo finds the house and even the food a little bit bizarre because he used to flourish life and city life. We can understand how he surprises to the environment in that slum town from his question for going to the toilet: “Do you have toilet here?” and then his friends laugh at him. When he reaches to the toilet outside the home, he shocks again because it was not like the toilet he gets used to before because it was a handmade wood toilet and not clean enough. Here we have many topics to analyze, regarding classes of the society and the Marxism theories. As long as it is regarded like, the economic struggle creates class and the existence of classes creates conflicts. These poor families are the sub class of the society which are compulsory to work in low skilled jobs so they earn less money than the Gonzalo’s family earnings which can be understood from their life standards. Gonzalo here symbolize the high-class person of a capitalist economic system. But whereas as a child, he behaves unconsciously without regarding these class differences which is the key point in order to provide the social welfare and transparency. In Marxist class theory, the main factor creating the class is the division of labor, and the decisive factor is the production relations. The element that exposes the classes is the private property of the means of production. The state of having or not possessing private property on the means of production arising from the division of labor bring into the existence mainly two classes in modern society. These are the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Here we see the families like the Machuca’s family in their own hometown don’t have man of the production and the private property in comparison to the Gonzalo’s family which indicate these 2 classes of society and prove the class theory.

Fourth Scene

One day, Gonzalo and his father go to one of the closed shops with shutters in the city, and knock the door then the door is opened by a man inside. It is clearly understood that they had known before because they go there directly without going any close shops around but this one. Actually, the issue becomes clear when they go out by Gonzalo eating sandwich with bacon and his father with his cigarette inside his one hand and in the other hand carrying a food bag but walking in front of the shops which writes “No cigarette available” or “No more meat for selling” and the poor people sitting on the ground. We can say that while normal people and the low skilled jobs workers are getting almost poorer, or getting paid little, the capitalists gets wealthier. The exploitation of laborers provides great margin called as primitive accumulation. Laborer had low wages against the high profits for bourgeoisie. Furthermore, Laborer had no chance to change the current status of their social status. Their employers raised the cost of living which makes the rise in wages useless. Proletariat would endlessly be weak in short. Globalism had also brought new challenges faced by proletariat that keeps them exploited. Marx is right again, we can see how normal people who is called in that system as the workers are suitable for exploitation and how it has no limits even you are dying from famine. This scene of the film was not more than a half a minute but what it means economically and socially requires explanations as I tried to clarify above.

Fifth Scene

Gonzalo invites Machuca to the birthday party of his sister. They pass their time wonderfully at the party and after the night party they get into their beds just before sleeping, they heard talking angrily speaking sounds and be silence in order to hear these voices. What they hear is the discussion sound of the parents of Gonzalo. While they shout each other, we hear an important sentence of the man to the woman which says ‘Your friends are really rude and stupid, they speak nonsense and think always money nothing at all.’ The woman answers like ‘you are rude too’… The discussion goes on and they shout at each other they use heart breaking words to each other. Actually, it is not only a scene of a film we see them generally discussing…It is true that Marx see the Capitalists badly and give names to them as vampires but in fact He does not assume they are really bad people in their heart. In other words, they changed into that position because they had to change they were compulsory to be like what they are now. By the time they became the victims of this artificial data centric system. For instance, there were some particular reasons lay behind the bourgeois marriage. The spirit of the marriage evolved into a continuity of the business. By the help of the marriage, men got the power of the administer the issue of the family. Generally, the bourgeois marriages include within tensions, discussions, anxiousness because of lack of real life and because of the marriages done with convenient and financial reasons. Obviously, Marx does not mean that all people who is the part of this cruel system want to set and go on their life in that path but he simply believed that the configuration of the system forces everyone to prioritize the financial relations in their life so that people hardly have sincere and deep relation even while they are marrying. To sum up the real valuable thing become less valuable and our lives are forced to be firstly financial centric which brings oppression and resentment even to our marriages

Sixth Scene

The film shows a moment which people form a line in order to buy some daily life kitchen needs. It is actually in front of a market like a buffet in the city which sells oil, milk, bread etc. However, we can syllogize from the clothes styles of the people waiting in the row, there is not any poor people waiting there. While it is Gonzalo’s turn, he buys 2 concentrated milk with the money his mother gave. When he turns his back and walks away, he comes across with the beautiful Silvana who is not in the line but is selling cigarette to the people in the line and earning money maybe to buy a milk. Then Silvana sees the milks in the plastic bag of Gonzalo and suddenly takes one of them in her hand. Although Gonzalo was not willing to give the milk but she takes and makes joke to him. Then they go together to a place and open milk and share it equally. Here we see the reaction of the Silvana who sells cigarette and tries to earn money is as taking one of the Gonzalo’s milk without taking any permission. This reflection can be counted as a reaction of the Communist Party’s ideals. This is a case of Marx’s ‘contribution principle’ analysis. This principle argues that workers are right in the product of their labor. Because contribution principle assesses each person equally, it naturally equals people. Unequal individuals can only be measured on an equal basis when they are considered as equal, for example, as workers. To make it clearer, the girls sells cigarette but she cannot obtain a milk even if she has a labor and there is the value of that labor according to Marx. On the contrary the boy does nothing and can reach the milk easily just because of his family’ situation. By taking one of his milk and persuade him to share one of it with her, what she unconsciously did is to get what she deserved according to the Marx’s “contribution principle”.

The film in general shows us an innocent but distressing story of 3 children of different social background in the fire of a political struggles of communists and anti-communist in the era of Allende. We see how exactly the political winds effects even the life of kids from both sides and how people are divided into when it comes to economic issues. One side a community who has the capital and the means of production which bring them together with its advantages like social welfare and opportunity to reach efficient and qualified education and the opposite side there are the low skilled jobs and the low level of life standards and poorer standards of education and the unpaid value of the real labors which bring together with the anger and the going on social unrest. To talk about the film correctly, Marxism raises the main issues of the raised theory or not can be a little bit controversial. The Marxism itself is an ocean waiting to be explored. It has theories never came into existence in the practice. Marxism has been very interested in labor. He regards workmanship as a core area of capitalist exploitation. Defending labor for the fight against capitalist injustice is very important. Another interest of Marxist theory of justice is the class war. They see history as the struggle of poor workers against the capitalist riches, and they work and form the theory to justify it. In my opinion, one can get some outcomes related to Marxism in social order in the film but it is still controversial for if these symptoms are raised correctly.

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