In short, the final historical totality, which marks the end of alienation, is nothing but the reconquered unity of the labourer and his product. This end is simply the restoration of the origin, the reconquest of the original harmony after a tragic adventure. . . .If that doesn't describe what's going on in the Urban Homestead movement, I don't know what does. On what level folks are trying to return to the natural unity (the italics are Althusser's), as opposed to realizing that they are postlapsarian (or merely postmodern) I don't know. I suspect that self-awareness is pretty high amongst the urban chicken-farmers and tomato-growers. Idealism is, too.
Yet it is only in a formal sense that the final unity is the restoration of the original unity. The worker who reappropriates what he himself produces is no longer the primitive worker, and the product he reappropriates is no longer the primitive product. Men do not return to the solitude of the domestic economy, and what they produce does not revert to being what it once was, the simple object of their needs. This natural unity is destroyed the unity that replaces it is human.*
*Louis Althusser, The Spectre of Hegel: Early Writings, ed. Francois Matheron and trans. G.M. Gosharian, (London:Verso, 1997) 137, cited in Robert S. Kawashima, Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2004) 207.