The Null Device

Is the Matrix Marxist?

Is The Matrix a metaphor for the oppression of the workers under capitalism, with Neo representing the revolutionary proletariat? Ken Macleod (who else?) thinks so:
Reading it I thought of something I hadn't before - the real reason why in the film the machines use the humans as a power source, as 'batteries', something I have long derided. On a literal level it is of course ridiculous. But symbolically it makes literal sense: we are the source of their power. Surplus value comes only from living labour, not from machines.

There are 8 comments on "Is the Matrix Marxist?":

Posted by: dj http:// Tue Jun 3 02:21:15 2003

I don't think that necessarily makes it 'Marxist'. Perhaps socialist or communist?

Posted by: acb Tue Jun 3 03:22:31 2003

Most contemporary socialism (unless one classifies anarchism as socialism) is based on Marx' writings. Besides which, "Is the Matrix socialist?" wouldn't have looked quite as catchy.

Posted by: CNWB Tue Jun 3 06:17:21 2003

Socialist Alternative (or some such mob) have an upcoming discussion night on this particular subject, called 'Revolutionary Cinema'. Yeah, like the Revolution will be produced by Sony, Village Roadshow, Warner Brothers et al. I can't wait for the DVD release of the Revolution, complete with Castro commentary.

Posted by: dj http:// Tue Jun 3 06:22:20 2003

Fair enough, but socialism does go beyond Marx, even if in many cases it owes a debt to his writings. Other socialists were around either before, or at the same time as Krusty Karl. My frustration is less with your headline, than with people who insist on calling everything vaguely socialist 'Marxist'. Whether anarchism is socialism probably depends on who you are saying is socialist!

Posted by: acb Tue Jun 3 07:13:07 2003

Far be it from me to join the neo-McCarthyists on the Murdoch payroll in this. Ken Macleod's take on the matter (the subject of the blog entry) was neo-Marxist (Macleod is a libertarian Trotskyist, whatever that is); hence the subject matter refers to Marxist beliefs.

Posted by: acb Tue Jun 3 07:19:23 2003

The thing about "surplus value" gives it away too.

Posted by: CNWB Tue Jun 3 23:53:25 2003

heh heh, NEO-Marxist. Sorry.

Posted by: dj http:// Wed Jun 4 05:25:42 2003