Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Melancholic Troglodytes on Star Trek, Dune, Capitalism and War

A couple of sci-fi infused critiques of capitalism and war from Melancholic Troglodytes from the early 21st century.

'Neither Species 8472 nor the Borg: No war but the class war' (2001) uses Star Trek as a framework to understand the impending conflict between the US (the Borg) and the Taleban (Species 8472):

'The Borg's diplomatic panache  seems to have been pirated by the US Bourgeoisie. American military radio broadcasts to the Taleban carry an ominous message of doom and assimilation: “You will be attacked by land, sea and air...Resistance is futile”! The Taleban (species 8472), for their part, are quite oblivious to the tractor beams and photonic charges of their nemesis. Their mastery of fluidic space has conditioned them to thinking of themselves as pure, superior and invincible. Even as the bombs rain down on them, the Taleban insist on viewing the Borg as decrepit and decadent, hence their battle cry: “The weak will perish”!'

Full text at Internet Archive

No blood for spice melange

'God Emperors of Dune' (2003) switches to the Duniverse in the lead up to the Iraq War, with the war for oil now being fought over 'Spice melange: The second most precious commodity in the known universe (after labour power)'...  'Paul recounted the efforts of House Atreides to counteract the falling tendency of the rate of profit. His father the Duke had increased the mass of surplus value by raising the intensity and duration of the working day and at the same time decreased the mass of variable capital by depressing wages and expanding foreign trade. Paul would continue this good work by decreasing the mass of constant capital through raising the productivity of labour in the capital goods industry (Caffentzis, op cit.) and by launching the holy Zensunni Jihad. The Jihad, in particular, would catalyse innovation in technology and open up new areas for profitable capital investment.'

Will the proletarian Freman upset the schemes of the rival houses? 'There was only one force they had not reckoned with and that was the mysterious Fremen. Intelligence could not predict their behaviour, although recent reports of Fremen children chanting, ‘No war but the class war’ were ominous. They seemed impervious to both Imperial Conditioning and the Great Voice. How do you control slaves that you rely on for profit? For as the orientalist Nietzsche once said: ‘There is nothing more terrible than a class of  barbaric slaves who have learned to regard their existence as an injustice and now prepare to avenge, not only themselves, but all generations'

Full text at Internet Archive

See also from Melancholic Troglodytes: Star Trek: Towards a Historical Materialist Critique

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