Luckily, this piece of feminist history survives in print, due to Solanas’ publicity stunt shooting of Warhol (she turned herself in at Times Square, Ground Zero of Advertisement Glory). Solanas’ words are gripping, clear, slightly besmirched with 1960s goo (“groove on”), but otherwise completely coherent and prescient, sly and witty, humorous to those not gripped in terror about strong females. The manifesto begins with a powerful shot across the bow:
Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation, and destroy the male sex.
Talking genetics, Solanas deconstructs the male as a biological accident, a Y (male) an incomplete X (female) gene; “the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion… to be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited…”
Unable to relate or to love, the male must work. Females crave absorbing, emotionally satisfying, meaningful activity, but lacking the opportunity or ability for this, they prefer to idle and waste away their time in ways of their own choosing – sleeping,… bowling, shooting pool, playing cards and other games, breeding, reading, walking around, daydreaming, eating, playing with themselves, popping pills, going to movies, getting analyzed, traveling,… lolling about on the beach, swimming, watching to TV…,”improving their minds”…
SCUM is too impatient to wait for the de-brainwashing of millions of assholes… A small handful of SCUM can take over the country within a year by systematically fucking up the system, selectively destroying property, and murder.
SCUM will become members of the unwork force, the fuck-up force; they will get jobs of various kinds and unwork. For example, SCUM salesgirls will not charge for merchandise; telephone operators will not charge for calls, office and factory workers will secretly destroy equipment. SCUM will unwork at a job until fired, then get a new job to unwork at.
Based on that, I need to revise my prior opinion of some of the lay-about workers who seemed to be “unworking” at jobs I’ve encountered over the previous decade. I didn’t realize they were part of the SCUM army.
This is an unrecognized work of art. Clearly mocking in tone, clearly not meant to be taken as operating instructions, yet she shivs the heart of 1960s patrimony that we still suffer under today.
One note: if you get the edition with the intro by blowhard Avital Ronell, skip her thirty-one pages of drivel and dive straight into the Manifesto. Ronell does Solanas a discredit throughout her intro, it’s best to let the text speak for itself. Solanas probably would have resented Ronell’s riding her coat-tails with the pseudo-intellectual analysis you have to wade through in order to get to the tight, clear prose of Solanas.