The workers unite

Workers in Venezuela get assistance from a master:

In his classic 1936 film, “Modern Times,” Charlie Chaplin has to work so fast tightening bolts in a steel factory that he finally goes crazy.

In one scene that has become a metaphor for labour exploitation, the Little Tramp is run through the factory’s enormous gears.

For President Hugo Chavez’s socialist government, the film is more than entertainment: It has become a teaching tool. Since January, in a bid to expose the evils of capitalism, the Labour Ministry has shown the Chaplin film to thousands of workers.

Once the showings at factories or meeting halls end, Labour Ministry officials use Chaplin’s plight to spell out workers rights under new occupational safety laws.… 

Personally, I would be screening Days of Heaven to the workers at my non-existent workplace. Aside from the fact that it’s the finest movie ever made, it’s a compelling story of love, misguided responsibility and exploitation. Workers, fire up.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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