You are on page 1of 8

Woodie 1

Daniel Woodie
The Rebel Proletariat and the Sith Bourgeoisie
The first installment of the Star Wars franchise came out on May 25, 1977
and almost instantly became a cultural phenomenon. One of the best examples of
an epic story in the modern era and the first many think about when questioned.
From sequels to books to games to toys, Star Wars found its way to almost every
aspect of our culture. And not just in the US, since its initial release it has become a
global sensation. The original trilogys final movie was released in 1983. However
the franchise was not to die then, in 1999 the prequel trilogy began.
Now a third trilogy is being released with plans of many spinoff works. When
it was announced the internet went crazy with both enthusiasm and dread. But
those dreading another trilogy have stated they will still watch it. Even before its
release toys relating to the new characters being introduced have been released to
massive sales.
This all makes it clear that the Star Wars franchise now thrives on our
capitalist economy. Without the fanatical desire of the public, and their frantic
purchasing of anything Star Wars, many of these additions and spinoffs wouldnt
have been made. It is even speculated that the Ewoks of the third film were only
added because they would make good toys. This all goes against the very Marxist
message and themes that this franchise contains.
Everyone knows the story of the original and prequel trilogies. Young boy
living on a desert planet is recruited by an older and wise monk to become a warrior
and fight for all that is good and just. They two trilogies differ in the endings for the

Woodie 2
two main characters. One becomes the hero, Luke in the original trilogy, and the
other the villain, Anakin in the prequel trilogy.
These main characters both start as a part of the working class proletariat.
Luke begins as a simple farmer with his uncle and aunt on the world Tatooine. As
this world is made up by a massive desert they provide possibly the single, most
crucial necessity of life, water. Their farm doesnt raise animals but collects the
moisture from the air and provides their community with the vital substance.
This shows that the working class is not only important, but provides the very
life to the community. Without this farm and the farmers working there life would be
impossible to sustain on the inhospitable world of Tatooine.
In the prequel trilogy Anakin also grew up on Tatooine, however he was raised
in a city. He and his mother are slaves to an alien named Watto, a junk merchant.
Their work doesnt aid the community in any massive way but they are still vital,
without the spare parts they provide many machines that make living possible
would fail.
Though working class they are slaves within the city, forced to work with junk
to get by. Their work is purely industrial in nature. As those working in cities in the
real world can be seen as slaves to the capitalist economy, working with junk that
is mostly not needed but becomes necessary due to the world and culture we
Watto, the slave master, is personification of the disgusting greed that rules
over the proletariat. He is portrayed as greedy and petty. Coercing, tricking, and
forcing others to work in inhumane conditions to make money, which mainly goes to
him leaving his employees in deep poverty. The junk he sells is mainly worthless, no

Woodie 3
point in owning it but to own it. However if he realizes that the customer has an
actual need for the product the price of it sky rockets
Even his appearance is an allusion to the inner ugliness of the ruling class. He
belongs to a race of fat creatures that look like a cross between insects and pigs.
Watto is an especially disgusting character, belching and flatuating whenever he
feels like it when around those who either work under him or are perceived as less
than himself, showing how the bourgeoisie generally feel about those people. He is
also cruel to his employees, who are all his slaves.
When Watto thinks someone is of his standing or above it his entire
demeanor changes, becoming a polite and welcoming business man. Furthermore,
not once do his feet touch the ground. As his species has wings he is always
airborne, as such his legs have become withered and nonfunctioning. Again, this
can be seen as an allusion to the worldview of the upper classes. They are above
doing the same actions as the working class, being lazy and choosing the easiest
method available, ignoring the atrophy around them.
From these roles, the bottom rung of the social-economic ladder, our main
characters rise and become major players in the events of their times. In spite of, or
because of, their rural upbringings these working class laborers become crucial and
powerful entities, both showing the ruling class the true and hidden strength of the
This clash of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie doesnt contain itself in the
origins of our heroes. It is present within many aspects of this space epic. After our
working class main characters become powerful warriors they fight against the

Woodie 4
forces of evil, the Empire and the Separatists. Both groups are ruled over smug,
ruthless, and undoubtedly evil bourgeoisie.
In an example of post-colonialism mixing with Marxism, these ruling class
villains have British accents while the aliens belonging to both sides have a wide
array of accents. These accents are mainly of the countries the British Empire had
colonies in, the most obvious is the alien race siding with the Separatists who have
strong Indian accents.
These ruling class dress very nicely and militaristically. The military officers of
the Empire wear clean and proper uniforms of a very conservative design. While the
Sith leaders of the Separatists wear a wide range of clothing styles but mainly
consist of upper class fashion. The Sith also usually stay at the back of the army,
issuing orders and only fighting when the odds are even or preferably in their favor.
Never taking risks or doing the hard work, they sit back and enjoy the benefits of
the hard work their subordinates accomplish. Often rewarding said
accomplishments with violence and cruelty.
The soldiers under their employ symbolize the proletariat who blindly serve
the upper class. It is revealed in the prequels that the Storm Troopers of the original
trilogy are actually clones. All made exactly the same, factory made and blindly
loyal to their superiors. Just as some of the real world working class, no individuality,
unknown to their superiors, and largely considered replaceable.
Given that not a single trooper reveals his face in the original shows how the
masses are generally faceless to the few who rule. Their lack of accuracy and
incompetence shown also reveal how the ruling class thinks how the laborers are
nameless tools who serve a purpose but are generally inept but easy to replace.

Woodie 5
When these same soldiers were in the employ of the Republic before its fall
they were treated as individuals despite how they felt. The Jedi and others acted as
each soldier was their own person, though that confused many of them. As clones
they were raised believing they were all the exact same, no individuality and no
freedom, but they were not treated as such. Because of this their competency rises
tremendously, becoming absolutely crucial in the war against the Separatists.
The Separatists soldiers drive this point even further, actual robots. Near
mindless, programed for singular purposes. Working with no regards to their own
well-being for no compensation. They are literally tools, inorganic and non-human
work force to be used for the benefit of the small amount of rulers. These troops are
also incompetent and are slaughtered when fighting.
On the other side of this conflict is the proletariat Jedi and the organizations
they aid, the Rebel Alliance in the original trilogy and the Republic in the prequels.
These forces are the opposite of the Empire and the Separatists. They are portrayed
as all that is good and humble.
The Jedi represent the working class fighting against the oppressive ruling
class. They wear dull but functional clothing, usually brown robes. Jedi as a group
are humble, kind, loving, hardworking, and the greatest force of good in the galaxy.
Instead of hiding behind their soldiers the Jedi lead from the front, charging in
before the normal soldiers or taking on extremely dangerous missions all by
In the original trilogy only three Jedi are shown, all heroes in their own right.
Luke, Obi-Wan, and Yoda. They are provide the Rebels with the greatest amount of

Woodie 6
backing, the rebellion only succeeding due to their roles. Alongside that each is
shown to be incredibly powerful but only using their powers for good.
Even the ruling class of the Republic are portrayed as humble workers. While
the senators do dress fashionably, most are dedicated to aiding their people.
Princess Padme being the best example. Despite being both a princess and a
representative for her planet she usually dresses sensibly, only getting extravagant
when in the presence of others in the ruling class.
The only person belonging to the Republics ruling class that doesnt appear
to be a worker and always dresses in expensive clothing turns out to be the leader
of the Separatists and the future Emperor of the Sith Empire. Palpatine is an old
white male, as many in the ruling class are. His body is twisted and ugly, even while
disguised as a benevolent senator. When his identity is found out and he reveals his
power his appearance only becomes more ugly, twisted, and ancient in appearance,
mirroring his revealing of his true bourgeoisie self.
Palpatine is also the cause of Anakins fall from the Light Side. Because of his
tempting Anakin with power and playing with his love of Padme, Palpatine
successively turns one of the strongest Jedi into a Sith. Anakin becomes the feared
and powerful Darth Vader of the original trilogy. Vader is ruthless, kills without a
second thought, and willingly sends his men to slaughter. He is also in charge of the
planet destroying Death Star, which he uses to destroy the home planet of his own
daughter. It is debatable whether or not he knew she was his daughter but the fact
remains he knowingly sacrificed countless lives to further his own ambitions.
The forces under the command of the Jedi also reflect and show the Marxist
views of this franchise. We have already looked at the troopers fighting for the

Woodie 7
Republic in the prequels so now we shall look at the Rebels. They are the most
obvious example of the proletariat in the franchise.
All the rebels are ex-military or simple laborers tired of the oppression
delivered by the bourgeoisie Sith. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and
species. While the Empires forces are clones and work without thinking, the Rebel
forces are all individuals. They think for themselves, make decisions without their
leaders telling them to do something.
Even their appearance shows how diverse the working class is and how
everyone of the proletariat is powerful in their own right. Some of the rebels are fit
while some are out of shape but no less competent. One pilot of the Rogue
Squadron, the fighter ship group led by Luke, is overweight but provides no less to
the war effort than his physically fit companions.
Again, this shows the individuality the Rebels possess in opposition to the
faceless troops of the Empire. Even if they are different and individually weak, when
they band together they are stronger than the upper class. Because of their hard
work they are able to win the war and destroy the Empire, leading to the creation of
a new Republic.
This shows how opposite the Rebels and the Republic are to their Dark Side
counterparts. Not only the people that make up the factions but the appearance of
the factions themselves. The very infrastructure of the sides shows their ties to
either the working class or the bourgeoisie. Nature and spare parts vs. industrial
and militaristic.
In both trilogies, the evil sides ships shown to be very industrial in
appearance, with sharp lines and massive amounts of metal. The dull colors of the

Woodie 8
ship are in stark contrast to the usual dress of the leaders, since it is being used by
the working class underneath them it doesnt need to look pretty or appealing.
The good sides ships and buildings, on the other hand, show a much
different picture. The Republic with sleek and with gentle curves, while this is
luxurious for the ruling class it also benefits the working class as it is able to be
seen by all. But when they lose the war to the Empire they adopt a different
aesthetic. Rough, patchy, and filled with signs of damage and repair, truly working
class in appearance.
This also gives us a glimpse at the militaries of the two factions. Both use
similar equipment but they have different attitudes towards them. Obi-Wans
famous quote sums it up best, while talking about light sabers to Luke he states
that they are not as clumsy or random as a blaster, an elegant weapon for a more
civilized age.
The gun can be seen as a symbol of not only industry and progress but as the
way the bourgeoisie oppress the proletariat. One way for the bourgeoisie to remain
in power is through violence, when guns were created it made that method easier.
Obi-Wan states that this very item is uncivilized, a tool for those who cant lead
except through violence and fear. The same way as many bourgeoisie remained in
power. They didnt keep their positions because of good leadership, intelligence, or
benevolence but by the fact that they were willing to use uncivilized means.
This evidence proves that Star Wars not only has Marxist aspects but an
overall Marxist, anti-bourgeosie, world view. Making the rampant consumerism
surrounding the franchise hypocritical and a true sign how everyone can fall when
tempted with power and money.