3 years, 9 months ago
Early morning in Britain.
Shop-window dummies twitch, stand up and smash their way out into the high street. They stalk past the shop logos and brand names and adverts. Price tags dangle from their fashionable clothes.
Their hands are not like human hands. They're not organs of manipulation, to be used for work. They flip open to reveal weapons.
The dummies encounter shoppers, or people waiting for the bus to work. They gun them down. People fall and die next to the shop fronts.
The dummies are plastic effigies of people. Products, manufactured things, fashioned in the human image. They alienate the human image from humans. They were made in a factory, on a production line, by workers. Sold to shops. They are hostile commodities, made for a capitalist concern; made by people working for a wage, yet out of human control, invested with a life of their own, confronting people as an external, dominating, fierce, blank, gothic, inhuman power.
The alienation of the worker in his product means not only that his labour becomes an object, an external existence, but that it exists outside him, independently, as something alien to him, and that it becomes a power on its own confronting him. It means that the life which he has conferred on the object confronts him as something hostile and alien.
- Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844
By the way Karl, the people who made these dummies were women. The dummies, by contrast, are all male. The dummies are all white too, because that's what the default, 'vanilla' human is to capitalist culture: male and white. Several of the women we see working in Auto Plastics are not white.
Talk about alienation.
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