marxist perspective on halloween

27 posts / 0 new
Last post
DigitalSocialist
Offline
Joined: 16-10-16
Oct 30 2016 21:29
marxist perspective on halloween

Does anyone know of any Marxist or Anarchist Writings on Halloween?

I have thought of Vampires as part of the aristocracy (Upper Class)

and Werewolves as Working Class Socialists .

admin: don't post thread titles in all caps

Khawaga's picture
Khawaga
Offline
Joined: 7-08-06
Oct 30 2016 21:39

Marx actually refers to capitalists as vampires, werewolves and ghouls. Das Kapital is, in part, Gothic horror.

Marx wrote:
Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks... The prolongation of the working-day beyond the limits of the natural day, into the night, only acts as a palliative. It quenches only in a slight degree the vampire thirst for the living blood of labour... The bargain concluded, it is discovered that he was no “free agent,” that the time for which he is free to sell his labour-power is the time for which he is forced to sell it, that in fact the vampire will not lose its hold on him “so long as there is a muscle, a nerve, a drop of blood to be exploited.”

Marx wrote:
So far, we have observed the drive towards the extension of the working day, and the werewolf-like hunger for surplus labour

DigitalSocialist
Offline
Joined: 16-10-16
Oct 30 2016 21:56

Thank you Khawaga for reply. I am a newbie to Socialism so I will be reading The Communist Manifesto Soon.

In films I have seen Vampires are viewed as aristocrats and werewolves as workers or slaves. I am thinking of films such as Underworld.

Khawaga's picture
Khawaga
Offline
Joined: 7-08-06
Oct 30 2016 22:36

The Manifesto is beautifully written, but the content is rather tame politically.

Quote:
In films I have seen Vampires are viewed as aristocrats and werewolves as workers or slaves. I am thinking of films such as Underworld.

True that. I love myself some Underworld moves. Looking forward to the new one.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Oct 30 2016 23:45

This is definitely the most important text: https://libcom.org/library/buffy-anarcho-syndicalist-capitalism-bites

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Oct 31 2016 01:02

Well, Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' could be seen as a bourgeois critique of the aristocracy; the heroic bourgeois doctors & co killing off the vampirish aristocrats.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Oct 31 2016 11:46

Also, the anarchist rappers QELD think that zombies are representative of bourgeois fear of the proletariat:

Quote:
Well, 'Kush Zombies' was originally the name of a song we did, probably like six years ago now. It wasn't really that deep, it was just about being such a wasteman you began to get paranoid and think the outside world is full of zombies, then you realise “nah I'm the zombie”. And I always liked the title of it as a potential album title, so just kept it anyway when we scrapped the song. Every time I'd watch a zombie movie I'd record any samples I thought might work, and then I realised just how 'proletarian' zombies actually are. And it just completely changed the concept for me. Have a look at modern zombie movies: zombies are often uniformed workers, generally from cities, ceasing to work and uprising instead. The protagonists of zombie movies are generally middle to upper-class white people, fleeing from the unwashed, undead masses to mansions they can hide away in. The proliferation of zombie movies in the last decade is just a reflection of the rich's fear of working-class revolution! Cos yeah, we're gonna cease working, and we're gonna feast on bourgeois flesh.

https://libcom.org/blog/red-black-both-sides-interview-radical-hip-hop-d...

spacious's picture
spacious
Offline
Joined: 2-09-15
Oct 31 2016 13:01

The Verso blog just put this up: China Miéville on Marxism and halloween, "celebrating the spooky holiday as a sanctified area of social relief against the wishes of the rural elite."
http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/2908-boo-it-s-china-mieville-on-marxism-...

tigersiskillers
Offline
Joined: 7-08-06
Oct 31 2016 13:02

As Khawaga said, Marx does refer to vampires, ghosts and stuff metaphorically in Capital.

Quite a few writer have picked up on this. I haven't read it, but McNally has published a book called Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires, and Global Capitalism
http://marxandphilosophy.org.uk/reviewofbooks/reviews/2012/485

spacious's picture
spacious
Offline
Joined: 2-09-15
Oct 31 2016 17:52

Also this, although less marxist than black radical tradition, about the origin of "zombies" or actually "zonbis":
America's Enslaved Dead

The devil's night- on the rebellious history of halloween
http://www.maskmagazine.com/the-asylum-issue/struggle/the-devils-night

Felix Frost's picture
Felix Frost
Offline
Joined: 30-12-05
Oct 31 2016 18:03

A few more texts about the vampire metaphor in Marx:
Gothic capitalism: Marx, monsters and Buffy
Sucking You Dry - Notes on Vampire Capitalism
Vampires of Capital: Gothic Reflections between Horror and Hope

Steven. wrote:
This is definitely the most important text: https://libcom.org/library/buffy-anarcho-syndicalist-capitalism-bites

Just now out in a new edition too!

slothjabber
Offline
Joined: 1-08-06
Oct 31 2016 18:17
Steven. wrote:
Also, the anarchist rappers QELD think that zombies are representative of bourgeois fear of the proletariat...

Not the only one, my standard take on the Zombie Apocalypse is that I'm all in favour.

Khawaga's picture
Khawaga
Offline
Joined: 7-08-06
Oct 31 2016 19:37
Steven wrote:
Also, the anarchist rappers QELD think that zombies are representative of bourgeois fear of the proletariat:

And in Night of the Living Dead, the Zombies are representative of African Americans. The ending to that movie is just... depressing what with the "lynch mobs" and everything.

Pennoid's picture
Pennoid
Offline
Joined: 18-02-12
Oct 31 2016 19:58

This is slated to be released in December. grin

https://www.amazon.com/Marxs-Inferno-Political-Theory-Capital/dp/0691172900

Quote:
Marx's Inferno reconstructs the major arguments of Karl Marx's Capital and inaugurates a completely new reading of a seminal classic. Rather than simply a critique of classical political economy, William Roberts argues that Capital was primarily a careful engagement with the motives and aims of the workers' movement. Understood in this light, Capital emerges as a profound work of political theory. Placing Marx against the background of nineteenth-century socialism, Roberts shows how Capital was ingeniously modeled on Dante's Inferno, and how Marx, playing the role of Virgil for the proletariat, introduced partisans of workers' emancipation to the secret depths of the modern "social Hell." In this manner, Marx revised republican ideas of freedom in response to the rise of capitalism.

Dave B
Offline
Joined: 3-08-08
Oct 31 2016 20:14

Well on werewolves, as I have been beaten to it on the vampire quote, we have Karl quoting Luther in volume one.

It was a recurring theme in Karl’s writings to avoid accusations moralism in his criticism of capitalism by merely quoting moralists criticising capitalism;

Quote:
20. Taking the usurer, that old-fashioned but ever renewed specimen of the capitalist for his text, Luther shows very aptly that the love of power is an element in the desire to get rich.

“The heathen were able, by the light of reason, to conclude that a usurer is a double-dyed thief and murderer. We Christians, however, hold them in such honour, that we fairly worship them for the sake of their money.... Whoever eats up, robs, and steals the nourishment of another, that man commits as great a murder (so far as in him lies) as he who starves a man or utterly undoes him. Such does a usurer, and sits the while safe on his stool, when he ought rather to be hanging on the gallows, and be eaten by as many ravens as he has stolen guilders, if only there were so much flesh on him, that so many ravens could stick their beaks in and share it.

Meanwhile, we hang the small thieves.... Little thieves are put in the stocks, great thieves go flaunting in gold and silk.... Therefore is there, on this earth, no greater enemy of man (after the devil) than a gripe-money, and usurer, for he wants to be God over all men. Turks, soldiers, and tyrants are also bad men, yet must they let the people live, and Confess that they are bad, and enemies, and do, nay, must, now and then show pity to some.

But a usurer and money-glutton, such a one would have the whole world perish of hunger and thirst, misery and want, so far as in him lies, so that he may have all to himself, and every one may receive from him as from a God, and be his serf for ever. To wear fine cloaks, golden chains, rings, to wipe his mouth, to be deemed and taken for a worthy, pious man .... Usury is a great huge monster, like a werewolf, who lays waste all, more than any Cacus, Gerion or Antus. And yet decks himself out, and would be thought pious, so that people may not see where the oxen have gone, that he drags backwards into his den.

But Hercules shall hear the cry of the oxen and of his prisoners, and shall seek Cacus even in cliffs and among rocks, and shall set the oxen loose again from the villain. For Cacus means the villain that is a pious usurer, and steals, robs, eats everything. And will not own that he has done it, and thinks no one will find him out, because the oxen, drawn backwards into his den, make it seem, from their foot-prints, that they have been let out. So the usurer would deceive the world, as though he were of use and gave the world oxen, which he, however, rends, and eats all alone... And since we break on the wheel, and behead highwaymen, murderers and housebreakers, how much more ought we to break on the wheel and kill.... hunt down, curse and behead all usurers.” (Martin Luther, l. c.)

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch24.htm

on the more general blood sucking?

Quote:
Where lace-making ends in the counties of Buckingham and Bedford, straw-plaiting begins, and extends over a large part of Hertfordshire and the westerly and northerly parts of Essex. In 1861, there were 40,043 persons employed in straw-plaiting and straw-hat making; of these 3,815 were males of all ages, the rest females, of whom 14,913, including about 7,000 children, were under 20 years of age. In the place of the lace-schools we find here the “straw-plait schools.” The children commence their instruction in straw-plaiting generally in their 4th, often between their 3rd and 4th year. Education, of course, they get none. The children themselves call the elementary schools, “natural schools,” to distinguish them from these blood-sucking institutions, in which they are kept at work simply to get through the task,…….

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch15.htm

Quote:
We have hitherto considered the tendency to the extension of the working-day, the were-wolf’s hunger for surplus-labour in a department where the monstrous exactions, not surpassed, says an English bourgeois economist, by the cruelties of the Spaniards to the American red-skins, [31] caused capital at last to be bound by the chains of legal regulations. Now, let us cast a glance at certain branches of production in which the exploitation of labour is either free from fetters to this day, or was so yesterday….

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch10.htm

I suppose blood sucking as regards were-wolves and vampires etc is an interesting social metaphor, particularly as regards some alleged acaedemic confusion on the subject of blood amongst the intellectuals.

It was probably better understood by the riff raff on a smaller scale re blood sucking body parasites in general.

Even as it affected sheep etc.

On Zombies, I think the classical one was Mary Shelly’s Frankenstien’s monster.

Which was in my opinion a metaphor for the working class created, allegedly, by the technocratic capitalist class.

spacious's picture
spacious
Offline
Joined: 2-09-15
Oct 31 2016 20:33
Pennoid wrote:
This is slated to be released in December. grin

https://www.amazon.com/Marxs-Inferno-Political-Theory-Capital/dp/0691172900

I have a pdf of the doctoral thesis this is based on, called 'The labors of Karl Marx - tekhne-valorization-revolution', probably to be found online somewhere.

He juxtaposes the structure of the books of Capital and the structure of hell according to Dante, and it's in fact a strikingly neat match.

edit: here it is: https://www.scribd.com/document/151058654/18-the-Labors-of-Karl-Marx-Tekne-Valorarization-Revolution-roberts

Pennoid's picture
Pennoid
Offline
Joined: 18-02-12
Nov 1 2016 16:05

spacious! Thanks a lot !

Reddebrek's picture
Reddebrek
Offline
Joined: 4-01-12
Nov 1 2016 17:43
Khawaga wrote:
Steven wrote:
Also, the anarchist rappers QELD think that zombies are representative of bourgeois fear of the proletariat:

And in Night of the Living Dead, the Zombies are representative of African Americans. The ending to that movie is just... depressing what with the "lynch mobs" and everything.

And Dawn of the Dead has a critical subtext about consumerism.

And quite a few people myself including saw the plot of Land of the Dead as being a workers revolt using zombies. The main zombie is a gas station mechanic in overalls and the main human baddy is a rich bloke who lives in a giant luxury condominium.

http://libcom.org/library/proletariat-zombie-revolution-cameron-weed

Khawaga's picture
Khawaga
Offline
Joined: 7-08-06
Nov 1 2016 20:16
Reddebrek wrote:
And Dawn of the Dead has a critical subtext about consumerism.

And quite a few people myself including saw the plot of Land of the Dead as being a workers revolt using zombies. The main zombie is a gas station mechanic in overalls and the main human baddy is a rich bloke who lives in a giant luxury condominium.

Yeah, now that you mention it, Land of the Dead is overtly a zombie revolt.

Pennoid and Specious, thanks for bringing my attention to that book/thesis. It looks great.

ultraviolet's picture
ultraviolet
Offline
Joined: 14-04-11
Nov 2 2016 09:11

I know it's the wrong kind of communism, but I thought this was really cool. My friend and her buddy dressed up as the Spectre Haunting Europe. The pic also went semi-viral on Facebook.

ultraviolet's picture
ultraviolet
Offline
Joined: 14-04-11
Nov 2 2016 09:11

This is also fun. Again, it's the other kind of libertarian.

Khawaga's picture
Khawaga
Offline
Joined: 7-08-06
Nov 2 2016 22:13

Both of those are pretty lulzy, UV.

potrokin
Offline
Joined: 28-05-16
Nov 2 2016 22:59

Frankenstein can be read from a Marxist perspective aswell, with Victor (Dr) Frankenstein representing the ruling class and his creation as the proletariat http://www.teenink.com/nonfiction/academic/article/600247/Frankenstein-T...

potrokin
Offline
Joined: 28-05-16
Nov 14 2016 14:21

I found it especially interesting, not only how Marxist Frankenstein can be interpreted (it can be read as an allegory of Marx's theories), but about the times of when Mary Shelley was alive and writing it. It can be said that from a Marxist perspective that Victor represents what Marx called the bourgeoisie (the ruling class) and that his creation/monster can represent the proletariat (working-class). What was so striking was that how Victor's behavior and attitude,according to the Marxist perspective, can be said to be very similar to the attitude and behaviour of the government of the time and Victor's creation can be said to react and be in a very similar situation as the Luddites. I discovered a man alive at the time by the name of George Beaumont who wrote the book The Beggars' Complaint, Some Observations on the Conduct of the Luddites in 1813, who sympathized with the Luddites and saw their actions as justified, in a similar way many people sympathize with Victor's creation.

DigitalSocialist
Offline
Joined: 16-10-16
Feb 11 2017 21:46

Hello,

Finished reading the Communist Manifesto.
I am rather glad I did read it.
To use a quote from Doctor Who episode The Unicorn and the Wasp

Quote:
"The Universe exploded in my mind"

after I had finished reading Communist Manifesto.

I intend to write a new post when I get time (busy with work and studying at moment for next few months) on my reflections and impressions of reading the Communist Manifesto.

Quote:
"Workers of the Word, Unite!"

P.S. Have you seen the new Underworld film?
First time I have spoken to a cat about Communism wink

DigitalSocialist
Offline
Joined: 16-10-16
Feb 11 2017 21:55

Hello,

I totally get what you mean by the

Quote:
"wrong kind of communism"

From a graphic design point of view, the Hammer and Sickle works fantastically but what the Hammer and Sickle actually stood for historically is be criticised and opposed.

P.S. I oppose Stalinism and am becoming more critical of Trotskyism more each week.
I read many books on Stalinism so I have a clear and distinct idea why I oppose Stalinism but I am still at learning curve to articulate why I now have gut instinct to be negative towards Trotskyism now ( sorry for being wordy)