Verizon: union win

Peter van Heusden pvh at
Tue Aug 22 14:32:28 PDT 2000

On Tue, 22 Aug 2000 christian11 at wrote:

> Uh, yeah. One of the things that I've never bought is the whole work
> equals wage slavery equals alienation equal oppression business. In
> whatever utopia follows the dismal world we're in, I hope there's work
> to be done. I want to work. More than that, I want cable TV, I want a
> computer to download my mpegs (subversive consumption!), I want decent
> clothes. I hope someone will want to make those things, or think of a
> way to make them without making others miserable.

> I don't know anything about anarchism, really, so I don't know how
> this discussion got to this point. Maybe someone could enlighten . . .

I don't know when anarchists and laziness got to know each other, but for Marxists the first sign is generally Paul Lafargue in the late 19th century. Anyway, the whole point - a point rather well developed by the Situationist International in the late 1960s in France (the SI were basically something of a merger of anarchism and Marx) was the distinction between living and surviving, labour and work.

The SI, following Marx, saw our labouring nature, the way we 'aprropriate the world through activity' as central to our humanity. The problem is, that within capitalism we are forced to work - that is, we are twisted into such a shape that our labour might be an abstraction, an alienable commodity which confronts us as not-us - as, in fact against-us. (Marx wrote about this happening in terms of time and the working day, etc - the SI took this one step further in terms of looking at how modern capitalism turns our consumption into an activity safe for capital - it twists our desire against us)

To give you an example - I work in the field of human genetic research. I actually quite liuke my work most of the time, but that aspect of my life is not important to capital - what is important is that I have no control over my labour, and I must sell my labour merely to survice. So, in SI terms, I'm surviving - I'm not living a full, human life.

So that's what the slogan 'Never work!' is about - not never labour, but never do this alienating shit that we call work.

Making 'those things' you mention, in a way that doesn't make others miserable, is certainly on the cards.

Peter -- Peter van Heusden <pvh at> NOTE: I do not speak for my employer, Electric Genetics "Criticism has torn up the imaginary flowers from the chain not so that man shall wear the unadorned, bleak chain but so that he will shake off the chain and pluck the living flower." - Karl Marx, 1844

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