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The endless rain of stones

Você não estava lá, Ken Loach, 2019
Still of "Sorry we missed you", Ken Loach, 2019

In 1993, English progressive filmmaker Ken Loach addressed the impacts of capitalism on the working class and made a film that is still current: Raining Stones. In the year of this release, the imposition of neoliberal dogma on the English population was already over ten years old. The period from 1979 to 1990 was the Thatcher government.

In the story, two chronically unemployed friends, Bob and Tommy, try to survive and feed their families as best as possible. Bob uses an old van for occasional delivery jobs. The van is stolen, leaving him in a difficult situation.

The situation worsens when the very Catholic Bob decides to buy the First Communion dress of his daughter, even without the money for it. At a certain point in his pilgrimage for work, he confesses to the priest of the parish he attends: “when you are a worker, it rains stones seven days a week."

That is an excellent description of capitalism: it is like a rain of stones that falls on the head of every creature on this planet seven days a week. Despite his understanding, Bob is not conscious enough to join an organized movement of workers. There is a scene in the movie that exemplifies his lack of trust in unions. It is in the mysticism of the Catholic Church that he seeks and finds refuge.

At the end of the film, we have redemption and a sense of justice. After all, we root for Bob. However, in a contradictory way, Ken Loach leaves the interpretation open since this sense of justice depends on the help of the Catholic Church.

The resolution is dialectical because, despite bringing some comfort, it is symbolically an individual solution. Years later, Ken Loach made another film about a worker who supports his family as a delivery man in a van. This movie is Sorry we missed you, from 2019.

With the two films, we have two representations of the situation of the British workers: one in 1993 and another in 2019. However, when comparing these representations, it is incredible to note that the exploitation and precariousness of work conditions, despite new technologies, have not changed, if not worsened. There was no gain.

In Sorry we missed you (2019), Loach also touches on the terrible problem of the lack of public health care and the absence of retirement for the elderly and disabled.

We can infer that one of the answers to the worsening living conditions of workers in 2019 is in the individual solution of Raining Stones. There will not be profound changes in the capitalist society if the workers are not aware of their exploitation and do not unite to demand changes in their living conditions.

The focus of the work of the left must be on raising awareness and organizing workers against the intolerable and endless rain of stones.


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