The Socialist

The Socialist 25 August 2021

NHS pay: 3% is not enough

The Socialist issue 1145

Afghanistan disaster - Unite to fight for funding for refugees and local communities


Afghanistan in crisis:

Afghanistan: The Taliban takeover - what are the lessons for the workers' movement internationally


NHS Pay

UK hospitals in danger of collapse

University of Leeds students bribed to stay away while staff are under attack

Exam results: grade gap widens


Lessons from Poplar 100 years on


NEU: Oppose the pay freeze with action not just words

Care workers struggle for a pay rise and trade union recognition

Reject the Ministry of Justice pay offer

East Midlands rail strikes continue

Homelessness workers fight for better pay and conditions across sector

Woolwich ferry strikers - the action necessary to win

Liverpool university strike saves jobs


Nigeria: Comrade Omomeewa, student leader and socialist campaigner, killed by armed assailants

SNP-Green deal will not deliver for workers and youth

Reflections on the Lebanese tragedy one year on


Biggest in-person socialist event this year!

Ealing by-election: Labour council has not opposed Tory cuts

Why I rejoined the Socialist Party

Councils declared climate emergency - now act like it!

Wales: Gearing up for 9 October youth marches

Liverpool: Stop the arms fair!

Marching for Kashmir's liberation

Donate to stop Tories clawing back crumbs


Film Review: Martin Eden

TV review: Revolutionary Love

 
 
 
 
 

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Film Review: Martin Eden

Establishment can't ignore Jack London's socialism

Martin Eden

Martin Eden   (Click to enlarge)

Clare Wilkins, Nottingham Socialist Party

Martin Eden is an Italian film based on Jack London's 1909 novel. I highly recommend it. Jack London set his novel in the US, the film moves the story to Naples in the 1920s and 1930s.

Jack London was a writer and socialist, a member of the Socialist Labour Party, and then the Socialist Party of America. Born into a working-class family, he was homeless for a time, and a sailor, before he became a successful writer.

The academic establishment plays down or ignores Jack London's socialism, referring to him as 'America's Kipling', and the embodiment of the 'self-made man' and the 'American Dream'.

Martin Eden is held up as proof of the potency of the American Dream. Not what Jack London intended: "One of my motifs, in this book, was an attack on individualism (in the person of the hero). I must have bungled it, for not a single reviewer has discovered it."

Moving the action to 1920s and 1930s Naples - with its political mix of socialists, anarchists and fascists - the film gives Martin Eden back the intention Jack London had in writing it. Martin Eden's journey to transcend his working-class roots for the love of an upper-middle-class woman, Elena, leaves him alienated from the working class, but not accepted by the woman he loves or her family.

An older writer introduces Martin to socialist meetings, he chooses not to get involved. The regret that permeates the rest of his life, and his dissatisfaction with material success, stems from this choice.

The politics in the film are not central, but it is an important thread. There are strike meetings, and fights between socialists and anarchists afterwards.

The film is intercut with political newsreel from the time. It portrays the growing confidence of the fascists and the threat of war. In a restaurant, a fascist leader salutes Martin Eden, but says that in the coming war, writers will not be needed.

At dinner in a middle-class household, Martin Eden lambasts liberalism as opportunistic and supporting nationalisation and state intervention. At that point he is hostile to socialists.

At the beginning of the film, Martin says: "So the world is stronger than me. For so long as I do not get overwhelmed, I am also a force". His individualist approach is powerfully juxtaposed with the deathbed speech of his friend, Russ Brissendon: "Fight on. Socialism is the only thing that will save you from the disappointment that is approaching."


In this issue


What we think

Afghanistan disaster - Unite to fight for funding for refugees and local communities


Afghanistan

Afghanistan in crisis:

Afghanistan: The Taliban takeover - what are the lessons for the workers' movement internationally


News

NHS Pay

UK hospitals in danger of collapse

University of Leeds students bribed to stay away while staff are under attack

Exam results: grade gap widens


Lessons from Poplar 100 years on

Lessons from Poplar 100 years on


Workplace news

NEU: Oppose the pay freeze with action not just words

Care workers struggle for a pay rise and trade union recognition

Reject the Ministry of Justice pay offer

East Midlands rail strikes continue

Homelessness workers fight for better pay and conditions across sector

Woolwich ferry strikers - the action necessary to win

Liverpool university strike saves jobs


International

Nigeria: Comrade Omomeewa, student leader and socialist campaigner, killed by armed assailants

SNP-Green deal will not deliver for workers and youth

Reflections on the Lebanese tragedy one year on


Campaigns

Biggest in-person socialist event this year!

Ealing by-election: Labour council has not opposed Tory cuts

Why I rejoined the Socialist Party

Councils declared climate emergency - now act like it!

Wales: Gearing up for 9 October youth marches

Liverpool: Stop the arms fair!

Marching for Kashmir's liberation

Donate to stop Tories clawing back crumbs


Readers' opinion

Film Review: Martin Eden

TV review: Revolutionary Love


 

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