For my group we chose to work with the idea of zombies and in particular the zombie-movie. It is in my understanding that zombies, are trapped in a Marxist prison. The zombie is alienated from its labor and as Althusser would say, alienated from its means of production. Althusser states “the ultimate condition of production is therefore the reproduction of the conditions of production” (1483). The zombie, when looked at in this system, is built (or rather has the function of) reproducing itself, that is it. The zombie is the perfect example of the “reproduction of the conditions of production.” First the zombie does nothing but reproduce itself. The infected zombie bights the healthy human, that human becomes a zombie. Second the zombie constantly reproduces the conditions of its existence in the sense that in the zombie epidemic, or the zombie take-over, the zombie has complete control over society. The society in which it takes place is under siege, locked up in basements and shopping malls. The streets are barren, breeding grounds for zombies. The reproduction of the conditions of production has thus taken place.
Althusser also states that “the reproduction of labour power requires not only a reproduction of its skills, but also, at the same time, a reproduction of its submission to the rules of the established order” (1485). The zombie maintains power during the outbreak, during the epidemic, during the post-apocalyptic state. The human race is under the rule of the “brain-dead” zombies (many comparisons can be made to the current state of America and politics, but we shall not go into that in full) and has to submit to such a rule because the zombie race can not be completely destroyed.
Let us now look at Althusser’s statement on his model of society: “the upper floors could not ‘stay up’ (in the air) alone, if they did not rest precisely on their base” (1486). The zombie’s could not stay in power unless their is the human bottom to feed on. The human bottom is the resource the zombie needs to stay elevated, if in theory, the zombies were to annihilate all of the human substructure, the zombie race would not have its essential platform to exist on. The zombie problem would ultimately be solved. However, there would be no more humans.
“the State is a ‘machine’ of repression” (1487). This also goes for the zombie. The zombie is a “machine of repression” for the fact that it has altered the human race.
So the problem is, what do we classify the Zombie as? Is the zombie a Ideological State Apparatus or a Repressive State Apparatus? Althusser gives us the distinctions. “What distinguishes the ISA’s from the (Repressive) State Apparatus is the following basic difference: the Repressive State Apparatus functions ‘by violence,’ whereas the Ideological State Apparatuses function ‘by ideology'” (1490). The zombie does function by violence however, there is a certain amount of zombie ideology that also exists in the way that the ISA functions.
Another problem we face is that the zombie, while the oppressor in this situation, is also the repressed in this situation. The zombie is the typical “cog” in the Marxist theory, the wheel in the machine. The zombie is completely unknowing of what it does, it is alienated from the task that it preforms. So, could there be a zombie revolution in which the zombie realized this and stopped making more zombies? The problem being that this would also cause the zombie race to go extinct. An interesting question to ponder.