[Marxism] Fwd: Machines | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Aug 4 11:34:19 MDT 2017

CounterPunch readers who follow my film reviews probably are aware that 
I avoid superlatives. That being the case, when I tell you that 
“Machines”, a documentary that opens on Wednesday August 9th at the Film 
Forum in New York, is the most powerful Marxist treatment of labor 
exploitation that I have seen in 25 years of reviewing film, you’d 
better believe me.

This is the first film ever made by Rahul Jain, a 25-year old Delhi-born 
director who originally considered titling the film “Machines Don’t Go 
On Strike”. Filmed almost entirely in a vast dungeon of a textile mill 
in Gujarat, it is hard not to see the workers as being an extension of 
the machines they operate. Marx described such factory life in Chapter 
10 of V. 1 of Capital, titled “The Working Day”:

"It usurps the time for growth, development, and healthy maintenance of 
the body. It steals the time required for the consumption of fresh air 
and sunlight. It higgles over a meal-time, incorporating it where 
possible with the process of production itself, so that food is given to 
the labourer as to a mere means of production, as coal is supplied to 
the boiler, grease and oil to the machinery."

This is exactly what you see in “Machines”, a process in which workers 
are slaves to the machine. It is what Charlie Chaplin depicted comically 
in “Modern Times” and Fritz Lang depicted more darkly in “Metropolis”. 
As long as capitalism exists, this is the fate of the working class. In 
the USA, many workers wax nostalgic for the $20-40 jobs that prevailed 
in the 60s but for the Gujarat textile workers, the hope is for an 
8-hour day and a wage that enables them to send a bit home to their 
family, some living thousands of miles away. Most of them appear to be 
ex-farmers who have been crushed by debt and drought. In the decades 
before Marx was born, it was the Enclosure Acts that accomplished the 
same results. Peasants were robbed of their means of self-subsistence 
and forced into the textile mills of Birmingham and Manchester that 
William Blake referred to as dark and satanic.

full: https://louisproyect.org/2017/08/04/machines/

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