Like some other movies, it is not soft on the brutality, racism, and narcissism of capitalism, but Sorry does something different in current cinema. It points its finger toward self-organization, toward unions, toward strikes, toward mass picketing as a way forward. And it does not fail us by having liberalism riding in on the proverbial white horse to save the workers." Ron Cooke, Socialist Alternative.
Is Sorry To Bother You the anti-capitalist movie of the year?
DID YOU HEAR about the revolutionary socialist who finally got to make his movie? That's Boots Riley, best known for being the frontman for the leftist hip hop outfit the Coup in the 1990s and his continuing work as a political activist - he was the public face of Occupy Oakland in 2011.
Riley studied film at San Francisco State University and some eight years he wrote the script to what was eventually to become Sorry To bother You.
Its a rambunctious and surreal smash-and-grab of a movie, that builds on Riley's own experiences as a telemarketer. Riley says that while the movie might be anti-capitalist it is only reflecting a revolutionary politics that most of the American left - and the left generally - has previously abandoned.
Riley says that the American left deserted the working class in its pursuit of the centre ground and more tangible 'influence'. He says that while it might have inserted itself into mainstream culture it has had minimal political influence. He says that he hopes Sorry To Bother You suggests a way forward in changing the status quo.
"There's a radical politics that has a class analysis, which just means "analysis" because if you have an analysis of capitalism, it's an analysis of class. Otherwise, it's a useless analysis. It means that it situates problems as systematic, not just the outgrowth of a bad person there and a good person here. That's pretty unique in modern media. It does offer a class analysis and offer the idea that if we want to make social change, organizations need to be doing things that we can plug people into. What I'm saying is not revolutionary. It's revolutionary, but it’s not new. It's just regular shit that a lot of the left has decided it's not going to do anymore."
The point is to get people to engage in class struggle. "
Unfortunately the movie doesn't appear it will get a cinema release in New Zealand (which was also the fate of The Young Marx). Boots Riley has attacked international distributors who he says are prejudiced against black movies as having limited commercial appeal - even after the massive worldwide commercial success of Black Panther.