Brazilian Guido Fawkes Masks and Capitalism as a Giant Squid

This is a factory in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro that produces Guido Fawkes masks – those used by Anonymous. The owner says they’re producing 800 a day to supply the protests that have been taking place in Brazil over the last few weeks. The masks have also been used by the Occupy movement. There is some irony in the fact that the symbols of movements that criticize capitalism actually feed it.

About 15 years ago, Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello wrote a book called “The New Spirit of Capitalism” that analysed just that: how capitalism is able to integrate its own critique to perdure. Their main argument is that new methods of management, flexwork and post-fordism have emerged out of the “artistic” and “social” critiques of capitalism in the 1960s and 1970s. While these critiques sought to bring capitalism down, capitalism digested them and developed new mechanisms of control inspired by them instead. Just like a giant killer squid that would eats its enemies, digest them and appropriate their skills to become stronger.

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