Machine love

A rather astute operaismo twist on DIY and the constuction of machines, rather than machinic production. (This image from Maker Faire in the Bay Area, the "World's Largest DIY Festival"; thanks to Max for sending it my way.) In particular, I like the supposed tenderness of the masked-up anarchist cuddling the gidget, a fondling that, after my viewing of the objectum sexual documentary, cannot but appear properly fetishistic.

Also, this puts it rather pithily than what we might write as the equivalent expanded Marxian form: Love the concrete crystallization of the general intellect of a laboring population, hate the machinic assemblage that abstracts human labor into interchangeable units of time. Doesn't exactly fit on the back of an anarchist/pseudo-crustpunk vest. As Lenin always knew, to conceive of our work as the formation and deployment of slogans is not to denigrate it. Rather, it is to accept the hard work of passage between the conceptual and the affective, the figures we inherit and the gestures we produce.

That said, I for one find this particular slogan off in its pairing. To be sure, craft production is a potential thorn in the side of commodity flow or an alternate circuit of non-accumulation, but to attack the factory is to retreat into the nostalgia of the before, as if what is wrong with capitalism is the speed of production, not the social relations that lead to the constant increase in the velocities of production. I am all for the utter destruction of companies (and their production facilities) that produce the ceaseless stream of plastic pieces of shit, singing fish automata, unneeded new cars, planned obsolescence. You never step in the same river twice, but capitalism tries to claim otherwise, the series of repetition that will allow no difference until it is discovered that the fantasm of demand cannot be found.

But this is a condition of markets, not of what the factory could be and has been ideologically, the vision of the real forging of other histories and configurations of the present that cannot happen with colonial-era butter churning.

Refusal of work, as such, may still stand as a lost opportunity and slogan to be recalled. Or perhaps rephrased here:

Love the factory. Hate the job.


Giovanni said...

Love *that* factory, without doubt. That in the picture there is the Lingotto, the magnificent shining jewel in the Fiat crown, and while it still exists as a building (and is put to a variety of different uses, including serving as an Olympics venue), it ceased to operate as a car factory in 1982, and is as much a symbol of the Italian industrial decline as of its ascent.

Wikipedia informs me that Le Corbusier called it "one of the most impressive sights in industry", and "a guideline for town planning".

The slogan on the banner says "Our salaries are losing value because of the rise in rents". Plus ça change.

Anonymous said...

great post. i'm not sure what i make of 'love the factory' as a slogan unto itself, but i appreciate what you are saying about the distinction between the factory's (potential) ideological role and the factory as manifestation of a particular set of social relations.

what id like to ask, though, is whether you could point me towards any of lenin's writings on slogans and sloganeering? ta

socialism and/or barbarism said...


Here you go -

socialism and/or barbarism said...


Yeah, I think a pilgrimage to there is in order for me next time I'm in Italy. Didn't know that about Corbu's love for it. And then Renzo Piano got his hands on it...

Anonymous said...

thankyou. i clearly should've just googled 'lenin slogans'!