The movie Essay

            The movie, Salt of the Earth, is one of those films that challenged the institutions of society.  Nearly blacklisted due to the socialist themes that it embodied, Salt of the Earth has succeeded in not only drawing a large following in the United States but also by presenting socially complex themes such as feminist social and political points of view.  Set in New Mexico, it recounts the struggles of Mexican-American and Anglo Miners against the Empire Zinc Company during the strike that they waged.  In doing so, it also shows the hardships that these miners endured in their battle for fair treatment and equitable wages.

  As such, the movie has been so successful in depicting these socially relevant themes that it has drawn comparisons to the teachings of Marx and Engels.            It may seem that the movie promotes a socialist state but in reality it is actually a critique of the teachings of Marx and Engels.  As can be seen in the teachings of Marx, when Marx suggests that “every class struggle is a political struggle,” he undoubtedly means that every class struggle, even in the workplace, and even over purely “economic” issues, is about class power and resistance to domination.  Modern Industrial society in specific is characterized by class conflict between the bourgeoisie and proletariat. However, the productive forces of capitalism are quickly ceasing to be compatible with this exploitative relationship. Thus, the proletariat will lead a revolution.

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However, this revolution will be of a different character than all previous ones: previous revolutions simply reallocated property in favor of the new ruling class. However, by the nature of their class, the members of the proletariat have no way of appropriating property. Therefore, when they obtain control they will have to destroy all ownership of private property, and classes themselves will disappear.

            As shown in the movie, however, the struggles that the miners face reveal the difficulty of having such a ruling class.  In an effort to create equality, the ruling class becomes the oppressors.  This is seen clearly in the scenes showing how the wife was treated as merely a second class citizen and how the pregnant woman was physically abused.  The destruction of the classes and the revolution that Marx and Engels call for will result in the deterioration of society and instead create a new type of oppression that is controlled by the ruling class. 


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