No Workers Paradise

By Daisy Valera

The Working Class Goes to Heaven” by Elio Petri (Italy, 1970)
The Working Class Goes to Heaven” by Elio Petri (Italy, 1970)

A few days ago, as I was walking by the Charles Chaplin Movie Theater, one of the cinemas with the best films in Havana, I noticed that they were showing “The Working Class Goes to Heaven” by Elio Petri (Italy, 1970), as part of a screening of the best 50 movies of the 20th century.

The title drew me in and I got to see one of the most moving movies I have seen in years of wandering from one cinema to another.

The film mainly takes place in a car parts factory and the name of its main character is Lulu. “The Working Class Goes to Heaven”provides those who have never lived in a capitalist system insight into what the life of a worker is like, complete with all its nuances.

Lulu is portrayed as no more than a work machine, constantly producing for an absent owner. Stressed and tired, he has no option but to be chained to an auto parts machine.

He looses a finger and for sometime also his job.  For the first time he realizes the importance of having free time to spend with his son and being free of the three alarm clocks and other things that become completely useless.

Lulu is in crisis and thinks he is going crazy.  He fully realizes that his social system has burnt him out and dehumanized him.

However, he goes back to the factory, determined to resist.  In alliance with his fellow workers, he declares war on the system that makes him spend almost his entire life in a factory, practically as a slave.

When the movie ended, its images mixed in my mind with the experiences that some foreign friends have told me about their parents.  Their parents are like Lulu; they have two jobs and only six hours of free time.

So the experience portrayed in the movie happens in the majority of countries surrounding us.

The capitalist world is unable to satisfy humanity, it depends on the existence of an exploiting class and an exploited one.

The struggle to get rid of this system is not a matter of preference, but of necessity.

Daisy Valera

Daisy Valera:Soil scientist and blogger. I write from Mexico City, where Havana sometimes becomes so small that it disappears. However in others, the Cuban capital is a city so past and present that it steals your breath.

9 thoughts on “No Workers Paradise

  • November 4, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Grady, excuse me, but the comparison you are doing is very naive. Again, you have NO IDEA. and remember that in Cuba probably more than 95% of the people HAVE to work for the government.

    I understand that you are not a mouthpiece of Socialism, but again, believe me when I tell you that someone who hasn’t experienced it has no idea of how Cuban society works.

    I find this post extremely simple and influenced by the Cuban government media. She seems to be more intelligent than that. I think Capitalism has a lot, a lot of very sad problems, but they are not compared with the system we have in Cuba.

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