“A Doozer Manifesto, or What I Did in Graduate School When I Should Have Been Writing a Dissertation,” by Ursula Lawrence

Feb 17th, 2010 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

First incarnation: Orthodox Marxism (circa 1848)

The Doozers must organize.

Fraggles, in their role as exploiter, are directly appropriating the surplus labor of the Doozers for their own consumption. The Doozer’s dead labor is embodied in commodity form in the radish sticks/building material that provides the primary Fraggle means of subsistence. On first blush, this relationship appears most reminiscent of the standard exploitative-capitalist/exploited-worker binary that defines the capitalist mode of production. In fact, the relationship between Fraggles and Doozers more closely resembles one of feudal domination. Recall, Doozers do not receive a wage for their radish sticks and neither the Doozers nor the Fraggles sell any remaining product they don’t need for profit. Therefore, the potential to generate surplus value from the labor power of the Doozers is rendered moot. Doozers are not wage slaves as much as they are serfs. They receive a small plot of land (albeit underground) where they can cultivate their own means of subsistence. Hence, it follows that the Doozers must organize – as the peasant classes have done for centuries – an agrarian revolution. It remains unclear, however, who exactly owns the means of production (the tiny bulldozers and little hard hats) and this information will be crucial in targeting the Fraggle ruling class. Regardless, it can be said with a high level of certainty that the Fraggle mode of production, as natural as it may seem, is crisis-prone and fraught with contradiction. The Fraggles have sown the seeds of their own destruction. The Doozers are the universal class. The Doozers have a world win, they have nothing to lose but their radish sticks.

Second Incarnation: The Advent of Cultural Marxism, The Question of Ideology and Critical Theory or The Fraggle New Left

From An Introduction to Fraggle Rock:

“The Doozers are about six inches tall or knee high to a Fraggle. They live and work – mostly work – inside Fraggle Rock. They build and build and build magnificent bridges, towers, monuments, roads and anything else that they can dream of. They use vegetable protein sticks, processed by mining turnips and radishes in the Gorgs’ Garden as their building material . Fraggles don’t pay much attention to the Doozers, hover they do show a keen interest in their architecture – it tastes delicious! Fortunately the Doozers don’t mind the Fraggles eating their constructions. In fact they appreciate it as it gives them space in which to build better ones.” (emphasis added)

How can we account for the fact that the oppressed Doozers really “don’t mind” having the fruits of their labor appropriated by the Fraggles? First, let’s recall that history is always written by the ruling class. Barring the emergence of a Doozer social historiography, we have to remain content with the account provided by Fraggles. But what if the typical Doozer really doesn’t mind? According to Gramsci, this apparent indifference can be chalked up to “hegemonic dominance.” Clearly the Doozers have internalized the ideology of the Fraggles as their own. One should not be surprised that the Fraggles control the means of symbolic production as well as the means of material production. Convincing the Doozers that they are “free” to work or not (but to starve, Marx reminds us), is centrally important to the maintenance of the Fraggle social order. The legitimacy of the Fraggle apartheid state (we’ll call it as we see it) rests not on the control of the means of violence (though in the event of a Doozer uprising we could expect to see some sort of show of force), but on the shared view by all in society that the social order is natural and right – and those that are in charge of the state apparatus are the most well suited for their position.

This analysis seems pessimistic. Without the awareness of their own oppression – and the subsequent transformation of the Doozer masses from a class in itself to a class for itself – the Doozers will never be free. There is reason to hope. Recent evidence points to the emergence of Doozer counter hegemony. Consider these lines from a popular dozer building song:

The Doozer Building Song (author unknown)[1]

There’s a time, there’s a season,
When the world starts again.
And for no other reason,
Than the dream in our brain.
Sing a tune for the tower,
Sing a song for the stair.
Sing-a-ling for the power,
Tracing shapes in the air.

We will all work together (go!).
We will all work as one (go!).
For today is forever (go!),
And the dream world is one (go!).
And the space that we’re building (go!),

Is a grace in our lives (go!).
From the shapes we are given,
We will build till we die.

(Workin’, workin’, workin’, workin’ …)

While the solidaristic message of the song implies the emergence of a radical Doozer counter hegemony it is also important to note the extent to which the identity of every individual Doozer has been absorbed into the body politic. This artifact from Doozer culture clearly demonstrates how the species-being of the individual Doozer comes to be sacrificed on the alter of mass-production. While the orthodox Marxists have emphasized the dialectal nature of Doozer society in which the subsequent mode of production will be born from “the ashes of the old,” we are not so optimistic. This loss of (Doozer) humanity and subsequent indoctrination into Fraggle culture does not bode well for Doozer liberation. The liberation of the Doozers is not guaranteed by “the laws of history.” Doozers must self-consciously challenge the Fraggle rule and develop a counter hegemonic ethos which emphasizes the following fundamental truth: “from each (Doozer) according to his abilities; to each (Doozer) according to his needs.”


Ursula Lawrence spent her 20s pursuing a PhD in Sociology only to throw it all away for the chance to meet George Clooney – a goal she achieved while working for the Directors Guild of America. She currently works as the lead  organizer for the Writers Guild of America, East where her job duties include bringing screenwriters together in the hopes that this will make them feel better about themselves or at very least, leave their houses. She attended communist summer camp and predictably, resides in Brooklyn, NY.

[1] http://www.wherearemytoys.com/pandj/legacy/html/lyrics/lyr36.htm

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.