Rivera’s mural of the ‘Man at the Crossroads’ depicts a socialist political belief in which property in a country is centrally owned by the state and important decisions regarding the state economy are made by the state. The mural depicts a centrally drawn man whose hands control a metallic infrastructure that divides the painting into separate groups of people who all represent a separate constituent public enterprise or independent cooperative. The administration of these groups is the responsibility of the state government, the centrally placed man. This describes a ‘Public Enterprise Centrally Planned Economy’, or Socialist Economics as propagated by Vladimir Lenin in the former Soviet Union. Indeed Lenin is portrayed in the mural and so Rivera’s is inviting his mural’s viewers to consider, not necessarily agree with Lenin’s political theories. Rivera names the mural ‘Man at the Crossroads’ meaning he only seems to suggest that maybe America was indeed at a crossroads over which political system to adopt, either fascism or a socialist economic system. I disagree with Rockefeller’s disapproval of this mural because I believe they misunderstood Rivera’s intended meaning. Indeed, the film ‘Cradle Will Rock’ depicts a more comprehensive view of this mural by promoting fascism not communism as I believe was originally intended by Rivera (Cradle Will Rock).
This painting depicts a violent scene wherein two groups of young men are engaged in fighting at a social place, probably a bar. One group, having weapons, is wearing predominantly black uniforms with white caps while their collaborators are wearing white uniform. The other group fighting against this group is wearing lavish dark suits consisting of black blazers, buggy groups, cups and ties. The painting relives the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943, in that we can see the white uniformed American sailors and Marines who hailed mostly from southern California fighting Latino Mexican-American youths, who are conspicuously seen wearing their favoured Zoot suits. The uniformed white men are the attackers because they were the ones who were rioting against the perceived extravagant clothing (the Zoot Suits) worn by the Latino youths. They are also shown in a bar which is historically true because the military servicemen accosted the Latinos in social places such as bars and movie houses (Shroll 198)