The 1995 Christmas rom-com While You Were Sleeping stars Sandra Bullock as a union transit worker in Chicago. Over 25 years later, it’s still a delightful working-class holiday watch.
Leonard Pierce is a Chicago-based writer and editor. He is an organizer with the Democratic Socialists of America and studies the intersection of working-class politics and twentieth-century American culture.
A new documentary shows how Mayor Harold Washington upended politics as usual in 1980s Chicago. What goes unsaid is how quickly Washington’s legacy was undone after his untimely death.
Few films capture the difficulties of interracial working-class organizing as well as the 1984 movie The Killing Floor, a drama about black slaughterhouse workers attempting to build a union with white ethnic coworkers in Chicago’s World War I–era stockyards.
Capitalist society can only ever legalize cannabis in a way that benefits the already wealthy. Why not put the newly legal weed industry in the hands of the public and away from the profit motive?
Looking for something other than sappy Christmas movies to watch over the holidays? There is no greater and more prescient skewering of the absurdity of the American national security state than Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head Do America.
The story of Dungeons & Dragons isn’t just about nerds creating a wildly popular game and then losing control of it. It’s also about how the dictates of the free market inevitably end up stripping even our leisure activities of joy.
At a time of widespread urban gentrification, Candyman suggests that the ghosts of the displaced won’t disappear so easily.
The entrepreneurial reality show Shark Tank is saturated with the absurdity of twenty-first-century capitalism. But watching it, you can’t help but think about how its basic premise — helping ordinary people with extraordinary ideas implement them on a wide scale — could be carried out under socialism.
In the stiflingly reactionary cultural atmosphere of postwar America, most filmmakers didn’t talk much about class. But there was one significant exception: film noir was the most class-conscious genre of motion picture America has ever produced.