Class Divide: A Catalyst for Conflict within Nations

Topics: Democracy, Bourgeoisie, Marxism Pages: 7 (2647 words) Published: May 4, 2013
Class divide has long been a catalyst for conflict within nations. History is littered with small groups of elites ruling over the masses. Time and time again, conflict occurs when the divide reaches a tipping point and the ruling elite bourgeois class and the proletariat masses must resort to violence in order to gain, or retain their control. A long history of stronger nations exploiting weaker nations has created a cycle in which a small minority controls most of a nations wealth, creating oligarchies willing to retain power in any way possible. One such nation is the South American country of Chile. Chile has a long history of a small group of landowning bourgeois controlling the country. (Neuman) A cyclic system in which the bourgeois first use their wealth to gain power through democratic means, then as soon as the proletariat class gains control of the democracy, the oligarchy uses any means possible to overthrow the democratic government and establish their power. Constitutions written by the military have been forced on the masses on three separate occasions in Chile’s long history of “democracy”. The Constitutions of 1833, 1925, and 1980 were military attempts to give the illusion of democracy in order to gain legitimacy. (Couso) The current democratic government of Chile uses the Constitution of 1980 in order to exploit the economic reforms put in place by the military government. (Couso) Once again perpetuating this cycle of exploiting the poor to promote the interests of the rich. A history of government promoted class conflict in Chile has created a scenario in which the US backed bourgeois class, and their militaristic oligarchy, can violently shock a country into a complete economic overhaul which only deepens the class divide, in addition to tricking the proletariat class into forgetting how to bring about societal change through social reforms. Andrés Wood uses his movie, Machuca, to remind both the bourgeois elite and the proletariat masses of the social progress brought on by the socialist government under President Allende in order to unite the two classes in an attempt to end class conflict. Andrés Wood uses Machuca in an attempt at reminding rich and poor alike that class conflict does not need to occur. More importantly, Wood tries to remind the proletariat class that legal reforms and violence are not the only way to bring about economic equality. Wood understands that as long as the government is controlled by an oligarchy backed by the bourgeois class of landowners, the proletariat’s have no hope for change through legal reforms or violence. Using Machuca, Wood tries to remind the proletariat masses of the method attempted by the socialist government under Allende. The theory behind the socialist policies implemented under Unidad Popular promoted cross class cooperation and the use of social interaction to remove the stigmas related to the class divide. (Spence) The social experiment initiated by Father McEnroe to integrate proletariat students into a bourgeois institution, St. Patricks private school, in Wood’s Machuca is a metaphor for the socialist experiment occurring in Chile at the time. (Martín-Cabrera, Voionmaa) The friendship that develops between the bourgeois Gonzalo and the proletariat Pedro symbolize Wood’s point that social relationships and cooperation are needed to unite the classes and end class conflict. (Martín-Cabrera, Voionmaa) Wood uses the interaction between Gonzalo and Pedro to symbolize the larger interaction that occurred between the bourgeois elite and the proletariat masses during this time. The actions of Gonzalo and Pedro in the movie, mirror what was happening in the Chile at the time. For the socialist policies of the Unidad Popular, or UP, to work the government needed both classes to cooperate. (Spence) Because a small group controlled most of the nations wealth, the UP needed to take control of much of the wealth of the bourgeois and reappropriate these...

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