The Chess Game

Erik Olin Wright’s 1967 animated allegory of class conflict and the meaning of revolution. The relevant joke, I think, is “Under capitalism man exploits man, whereas under communism it’s the other way around.”

Written by Kieran

February 3, 2008 at 4:03 pm

Posted in culture

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  1. Indeed. As Erik explained this movie to me, “You can’t dance a jig on a chessboard”. The point was that capitalism is not about capitalists being bad people, but instead the structure of the relations. Or in the chess metaphor – capitalism is “the rules of the game”; if they don’t change, nothing much does.

    Erik made this as a senior at Harvard. He presented it in France in 1968 (if I recall his story correctly) and was uniformly denounced by the French and Vietnamese students in the audience.



    February 3, 2008 at 7:16 pm

  2. Or to put it in more Hegelian (and hence completely humorless) terms: “capitalism and socialism are simply two moments in the self-exploitation of humanity.”



    February 3, 2008 at 7:29 pm

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