Leela & Biocommunism as a denial of precariat alienation

With his (fifth) designation of the Marx’s ‘global worker’ as ‘precarious in its conditions, with a chronic insecurity underpinned by capital’s access to a transconinental reserve army of the unemployed, a surplus population whose task it is to survive in a state of readiness for work,’ Dyers-Witheford evokes Guy Standing’s theory of the precariat, the perpetually insecure class of laborers who possess the least amount of econmic, social, and political capital. Arjun most certainly can be prescribed with the “precariat” label, especially as Kunzru emphasizes the motif of mobility both “sublime” and, as Arjun experiences, “other,” a kind of forced, nomadic, oppressive mobility that affords him no room for comfort or rest. Dyers-Witheford later states that digital products “depend on the incessant repositing of cheap degraded labour,” and this phenomenon can be seen in Transmission when Arjun is terminated from his position at Virugenix, disposable, inessential, and ultimately replaceable.

In protest of his dismissal, Arjun then embarks on (an iteration of) what Dyers-Witheford calls “the capture of the strange planet,” an “intensification of tendencies to socialization implicit in the new forces of production and destruction — something we might call a biocomunism.” Creating the Leela virus, Arjun puts forth this “production and destruction,” anarchically and indiscriminately taking down technological corporations while also producing a demand for his unique digital labor. With this act of creating the virus, Arjun attempts to deny precariousness and regain control of his Dyers-Withefordian ‘species-becoming,’ his socio-economical-historical designation.


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