Wow. Single figures. Okay, time for some fun.
“I’m asking you to help yourselves,” says the Doctor.
Revolution isn’t about everyone suddenly becoming altruistic and angelic. It is, as Marx saw it, “the movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority“.
“Nothing will change round here unless you change it,” says the Doctor. Here is ‘freedom and necessity‘. It must be done, but they can choose to do it or not to do it.
“What will we do with two guns against all those guards?” asks Veet.
“You can’t do anything, but there are fifty million people in this city. Think how the guards will react to that number.”
“It’s crazy talk,” says Goudry, “Rebellion? No one would support you.” Capitalist realism.
“Given the chance to breathe clean air for a few hours, they might. Have you thought of that?”
The Company pumps a chemical fug into the air that makes people anxious and weak. That’s how it works on Pluto. Here we call it ideology, or hegemony.
The Doctor and Bisham discuss ways of knocking out the gas pumps.
“I was a B grade in Main Control,” says Mandrell, “The Doctor’s right. It could work.”
Until now, nobody has been more cynical. But Mandrell has, in a sense, just been given the chance to breathe clean air.
The Doctor isn’t stinting on the revolutionary optimism. He suggests taking over main control. Mandrell thinks it could be done.
“What have we got to lose?” he asks.
“Only your claims,” says the Doctor.
Everyone is quite impressed by this. It’s a sign of the times that we, the audience, are evidently expected to recognise and relish the reference. The Doctor knows full well what he’s saying – and he’s not just punning. Workers don’t usually have to wear chains these days, but they still have nothing compared to the Companies of this world. They have their ‘claims’ of course – claims upon democracy and human rights, etc… But the Company never gives refunds unless forced to, so the workers’ ‘claims’ are essentially the same as ‘nothing’.
“Anything’s worth trying,” says Cordo, a man who was trying to kill himself that morning, but who is now frantic with revolutionary confidence, “If only we could win. Just think, if we could beat the Company!”
“There’s no ‘if’ about it, Cordo,” says the Doctor, “We will.”
There’s ‘the actuality of the revolution‘ for you.
Robert Holmes is often called a cynic… but he was at least as much a romantic. This story is a full-on romantic political drama of revolution. The cynical and self-seeking drop-outs turn strike-leaders. The cowed and suicidally-miserable worker is transformed by revolution until he’s a whooping, gung-ho, gun-toting freedom fighter. (Revolution changes people even as they change society – one reason why waiting until we’ve all changed ourselves for the better is functionally the same as accepting the status quo. You change yourself by changing society, and vice versa.) The workers collectively overthrow capitalism and set up a workers’ state in about a day. …