2000s >> 2005 >> no-1213-september-2005

Film Review: Capitalism and Other Kids’ Stuff

Capitalism and Other Kids Stuff

To describe a society of common ownership without mentioning the word socialism is undoubtedly difficult. But by no means impossible. For a short film produced by members of the Socialist Party, Capitalism and Other Kids Stuff, does just that in a language that nevertheless consistently pulls no punches.

Socialists are well aware of the dual purpose on the part of the capitalist media in portraying the class of exploited producers as a mindless, selfish, non-caring mass of individual consumers: to promote profits and create disunity. The film destroys these caricatures right from the start and exposes them for the claptrap they are, by juxtaposing the individual differences of perception with the broad facts of social evolution, human behaviour, and the unique ability of humans to care and share in common despite our cultural differences and lifestyles.

When the producing class engage in widespread discrimination over issues of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality, disability, etc; and take sides over who gets what share of the global market, this is clearly against their interests since they are thereby helping to create the conditions for a wealthy few to control the means of living.

Globally the results are all too familiar with the complexity of private property relationships concealed within a quagmire of disputes over territory and markets, followed by constant eruptions of violent conflict, and ending in misery and destitution on a massive scale. By skilfully crafting the reasons for this complexity of private property relationships to a novel ‘kids stuff’ analogy the script neatly underlines the importance of gaining a worldview of capitalism by analysing how the rules governing the minority ownership of the ‘toys’ determines the terms of oppression and the conditions of inequality for the ‘toyless producers’.

Although there is an obvious danger such an analogy could be counter-productive, by unintentionally projecting an oversimplification of what constitutes the reality of capitalism, this hurdle is overcome by complementing the linkage to the “reality” of capitalism with a powerful backdrop of words and images, so the overall context underscores a revolutionary outlook on how we might live. These contrasts are further enhanced by comparing the divisions and horrors of capitalism with a society where production is geared to meeting human needs not profit plus the immense benefits to be gained when the world’s resources are distributed through a system of production for use and free access so the necessity of social equality become conclusive.

This is maintained throughout the 50 minutes so the viewer is left in no doubt that before a world of common ownership is possible the majority have to gain a level of class consciousness and political understanding. In other words: engaging in a struggle to promote the class interest of the majority to attain and create a society where private property is replaced by common ownership involves acknowledging that the present unequal access to the means of living requires a political solution.

To get this solution across to an apolitical audience successfully in itself is no mean feat, but to also focus attention on the vast amount of social and individual freedom such a revolution will bring about will motivate many viewers to press the replay button over and over again, and so speaks volumes for the professional dedication and attention to detail. Although this is a first in terms of the socialist message being transposed into a film format no doubt it will not be the last. So watch this space, but in the meantime judge for yourself by watching Capitalism and Other Kids Stuff at www.socialist-tv.com, or alternatively by purchasing a DVD from: Socialist Party, 52 Clapham High St, London SW4 7UN. Cost £5 (including post & packaging).

Brian Johnson

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