[Marxism] F.I.F.S.T. - the film

Paddy Apling e.c.apling at btinternet.com
Sat Jan 28 12:20:16 MST 2006

The 1978 film F.I.S.T. starring Sylvester Stallone and Rod Steiger 
was shown on digital ITV3 this afternoon - just listed in Radio Times 
as: "3.15 F.I.F.T. *** 5.55" without review or any other mention - so 
I caught it almost by accident, as it were. - but it was announced 
(sponsored by Cobra - some bottled soft-drink?) as a TV premiere.

However,  it caught my attention as an extremely unusual American 
film with apparently real-life working-class characters.

I suspect it can be viewed from two angles, depending on one's 
political position - either as a realistic presentation of trades 
union struggles in from mid-30s to 1960s America - or as an 
indictment of trades unions as inevitably "corrupt" and in 
Thatcherite terms "the enemy within".

However, without leaving much necessity of guessing which attitude I 
took, it seems to me as a good illustration of the necessity of 
pragmatism in working-class leadership in the class struggle - based 
on an understanding that "our enemy's enemies may need to be treated 
as our friends pro-tem - though such friendship may come back to 
haunt us" if the enemy's propaganda machine can make the opportunity 
- demonstrated in the film by Rod Steiger's role as a McCarthyite (or 
simply "moralistic" ?) Senate committee chairman.

The portrayal, obviously to some extent based on the history of the 
Jimmy Hoffa story, seems to me to be asking to be considered deeply 
as a good example of the problems created by so many on the left who 
take a "moralistic" view of "mistakes" in the Communist movement 
across the world - all episodes in a extremely complex (and violent) 
class struggle.


More information about the Marxism mailing list