harun farocki – inextinguishable fire (1969)

“(1) A major corporation is like a construction set. It can be used to put together the whole world. (2) Because of the growing division of labour, many people no longer recognize the role they play in producing mass destruction. (3) That which is manufactured in the end is the product of the workers, students, and engineers.”

“When we show you pictures of napalm victims, you’ll shut your eyes. You’ll close your eyes to the pictures. Then you’ll close them to the memory. And then you’ll close your eyes to the facts.” These words are spoken at the beginning of an agitprop film that can be viewed as a unique and remarkable development. Farocki refrains from making any sort of emotional appeal. His point of departure is the following: “When napalm is burning, it is too late to extinguish it. You have to fight napalm where it is produced: in the factories.”

Harun Farocki, rest in peace.

karl marx on how the division of labour is boring

Manufacturing assembly line in China

Manufacturing assembly line in China

For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a shepherd, or a critical critic and must remain so if he does not wish to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, to fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have in mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic.

— From The German Ideology¬†(1845).