Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 4 October 2007

The Socialist Reviews

It's a free world

a film by Ken Loach

GOING TO the cinema is normally a pleasure but last Thursday was also a privilege as I attended and was asked to speak at the special preview of Ken Loach's new film, It's a free world.

Glenn Kelly, Unison national executive, (personal capacity)

The preview was called in support of the Newham Unison branch secretary Michael Gavin who has been suspended by the council for "showing a lack of loyalty to the council". Addressing the preview Michael said that "his loyalty was to the workers and union members he represented".

In introducing the film and giving his backing to the Unison campaign, Ken Loach launched a scathing attack on the Labour party saying "the Labour party was no longer the party of Labour" and, "it had turned his stomach to see Brown shake hands with Thatcher".

The film is set in Leytonstone, east London, and tells the tale of the exploitation of both 'legal' and 'illegal' migrant workers. Unusually the story is told through the eyes of the exploiter Angie, a victimised worker herself, struggling to care for her child.

She turns to being a small time gangmaster to make a living, lining workers up in a pub car park every morning farming them out like slaves to factories.

This is too much for her own father who challenges her saying: "I thought these days were gone," posing the question: what hope would there be for a decent job for her son when he grows up, when these workers were being paid less than the minimum wage.

The film shows some of the graphic conditions that these workers are forced to live in, in what was effectively a derelict caravan site, more reminiscent of a shantytown.

If this is the plight of the legal workers, for those illegal ones things are even worse. Egged on to make more money Angie is told to use "illegals" as "no passport equals no back chat and no problem workers".

Resistant at first at fear of being caught she is persuaded by being shown an actual case of a gangmaster running thousands of illegal workers who was only given a warning letter as his punishment!

Driven on to make more money, the last elements of humanity are driven out of her. Having helped out an Iranian family living in a freezing shed she later sinks to new depths, calling in the immigration services to deport and clear out the camp site, only so she could then move in a new group of Latvian illegal workers who had paid her 250 for the privilege of being exploited.

Angie's plans come unstuck when the bigger crooks in this chain of abuse fail to pay her 40,000 she's owed.

Not being paid for weeks, the migrant workers demand she help them to feed their families but she refuses to use the money she has.

Denied any legal or organised recourse some of the workers wreak their own revenge on a boss who has ignored their plight.

It is hard to watch this film and remember that it's happening today just streets from where we were sitting and under a Labour government. This film again demonstrates that the government will do little to resolve such exploitation and there is a desperate need for the unions to actively organise these workers and fight for justice.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 4 October 2007:

Support postal workers: decisive action can win

"We've had the battle - now this is war!"

Protests make bosses ditch closure plan

War and terrorism

Iraq: end the occupation nightmare

Stop the War Coalition (STWC) national demonstration

Editorial and comment

Tory party fears an autumn election

Banking turmoil continues

Corporate Labour

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Come to the NHS demo!

Swansea meeting

Socialist Party news and analysis

Classroom assistants on strike

Supermarket price-fixing scandal

Success! Double whammy for nursery campaign

Socialist Party features

EU's anti-working class 'reforms'

Fighting nuclear power

Socialist Students

Students want to fight back

Socialist Party feature

Che Guevara - revolutionary fighter

Socialist Party events

Socialism 2007: Ideas for our future


International socialist news and analysis

Burma: Dictatorship under threat

Socialist Party reviews and comment

QPR buy-out - Reclaim the game!

It's a free world, a film by Ken Loach

Anno 1701 - Dawn of Discovery

Socialist Party workplace news

Local government pay offer: It's time for action

Remploy workers win partial victory

Care workers on strike

National Shop Stewards Network makes plans


Home   |   The Socialist 4 October 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Ken Loach:

triangleNewham socialists attend 'I, Daniel Blake' film night

triangleFood banks and the real Daniel Blakes

triangleSocialist inbox

triangleWe are all Daniel Blake: no more deaths from benefit cuts

triangle"We are all Daniel Blake!"

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Homes for All - Not billionaire profit!



School strikes against academy management



Hands Off HRI campaign granted judicial review



Refugee Rights to be launched in Manchester



Over 1,000 on Newcastle NHS march


Socialist Party

Why I joined: 'The Socialist Party is at the forefront of defending Corbyn's anti-austerity leadership'


Socialist Party

Past fund-raising campaigns show dedication to the fight for socialism


May Day

Ideas matter: help us fight to win with May Day greetings



Refugees march against racism and to demand rights



Unions condemn 'culture of bullying' at Merseyside hospital



Hull college workers ballot for action against mass redundancies



Strikers and parents rally again in Newham against academies



Hinkley workers win back unpaid wages after sit-in protest



UCU strike: staff and students unite to continue pensions fight after magnificent 14 days of action



Walkout from undercover policing inquiry

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018