How do you deal with people who won't work?

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nihilista
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Dec 12 2003 09:47
How do you deal with people who won't work?

I've been thinking about this in relation to some of the other debates going on here and elsewhere.

If we have an anarchist revolution what happens to people that just don't want to work. I'm not talking about people who can't work, I mean people that just can't be bothered.

Do they still have access to all the food and things that everyone else has?

This isn't a piss-take question, just wondering. (Especially after Ian McKays letter against the Green & Black Bulletin in Freedom, which I won't go into here)

Garner
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Dec 12 2003 10:24

Interesting question. I've thought about it a bit myself, and I don't think there's a simple answer, but I think there are a few things that make it less of a problem than it might sound.

Firstly, you have to bear in mind that a lot of the 'work' that gets done now is bureaucratic time-wasting bullshit that'll (hopefully!) be obsolete come the glorious day. So there'll be much less work to go round.

Secondly, communities should be much stronger, so there'll be more pressure on people to conform (which could be a problem in itself, but that's a whole other discussion).

Add to that the fact that working practices will probably be more efficient (judging by examples such as the occupied factories in Argentina that've apparently reduced their hours and increased output), and it becomes much less of an issue.

WeTheYouth
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Dec 12 2003 10:46

Well personally it is there choice, if they want to exclude themselves from that part of the community, then that is fair enough.

But what Garner said was also very true.

AlexA
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Dec 12 2003 12:00

I'd imagine in pretty much the same ways as a "primitive" community would - namely through social support and/or pressures.

Some groups of indigenous peoples treat "laziness" as more of an illness than a personality defect, and try to help people through it, giving them support until they feel motivated enough to "work" again...

nihilista
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Dec 12 2003 16:24

I wasn't trying to critique primitivism (again) I'm just wondering what people would do if the (smaller) amount of work that needed doing, just didn't float my boat. If everyone else was doing their 2 hours a week and I just couldn't be bothered?

I still want my tv and food, and a house and the latest proletarian dvd selection do I get?

Garner
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Dec 12 2003 16:37

I guess it'd be down to the community you happened to be a part of. Maybe they'd kick you out, and you'd have to lead a nomadic life, constantly searching out new people to sponge off. Or maybe they'd produce enough anyway that they wouldn't really give a shit about freeloading. Who can say?

I don't really think there'd be many people in that situation though - work would presumably be more fulfilling than most of it is now, and it'd be pretty rare not to be able to find something you wanted to do. And it's actually quite hard to not do anything productive at all without getting bored.

thegiddygoat
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Jan 6 2004 18:54

Sorry to be the lazy one but I ahte work with a psychopathic passion and this informs all my outlook on life and hopes for the future.

There is no way after a revolution ( or whatever ), I would simply go back to my desk or to a factory or any of the other shite places I have had to work in.. regardless of how long I have to work there.

What if is a nice day and you fancty a walk in the woods , or have a hangover ?? will you be punished in some way ?? how is that different from now ??

I would prefer to live a more land based life -I would want o grow my own vegi's , build my own shelter etc - that way I am not exploiting anyone else and by not depending upon anyone else would not be exploited, again. Mini discs and Tv etc would be a very small price to pay for that kind of freedom ( IMO ) smile

LiveFastDiarrea
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Jan 6 2004 19:23

Surely growing your own vegtables is work though? weeding, planting, digging, picking etc. I'd call that work.

anarchist.
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Jan 6 2004 21:47

i wouldnt, well not in the usual sense. for me work is something you have to do because the world isnt based on the idea of everyone having what they need, whereas making food is something you do because you are hungry and you want to fufill your hunger. however working in an office, you dont want to do it, but you have to if you want to eat, due to the way life is in capitalism. and i dont see why that trait of capitalism should be continued into anarchism, doing a job you dont want to, just so you can eat.

nastyned
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Jan 6 2004 22:53

hasn't this 'how do you deal with people who don't work' been done before? Like over 100 years ago? I'm sure Kropotkin's 'the conquest of bread' must deal with it.

And I think this 'i'm going to wander off and grow my own vegetables' thing is a very individualistic view of how we could live in a better way. I'm interetested in society changing so we work out together how to live in a better way.

thegiddygoat
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Jan 7 2004 18:44

From what i have read of " Conquest of Bread" Kropotkin seemed to be saying that the factory workers would continue in the same factories they worked in before the revolution ( factories that "could be made as pleasant as a scientific laboratory" apparently ( ? ) p 121 ) and the farm workers would contnue to work on the farm both providing the other with the necessities of life. eek

I just fail to see how this changes your life siginificantly, as John Zerzan says : " Very few now find a vista of work and production particularly liberatory."

It would be the same meaningless alienating crap of your day being organised and planned by the clock, with some form of punishment if you did not conform. :evil:

nastyned
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Jan 7 2004 20:57

well it's year since i've read it but as far as i remember it says something very different. anarchists are into social revolution remember? kropotkin was definietly against the division of labour. i think you need to read a bit more and i guess i'll have to re-read as well.

anarchist.
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Jan 7 2004 22:16
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anarchists are into social revolution remember?

I don quite understand why you felt in necessary to say that, we know that. It doesnt mean that classical anarchism may have missed part of the problem, i think its quite true to say that any forms of leftist-anarchism really dont seem to take into account the idea that people dont want to do shit jobs, not even for a few hours a week. Shit jobs are still shit without a boss and doing less of it. Why should people ever go back to the factory after the revolution? Especially if it is to make things that arent 100% vital for survival(is anything made in a factory 100% vital for survival?).

AlexA
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Jan 7 2004 22:53
anarchist. wrote:
Quote:
anarchists are into social revolution remember?

I don quite understand why you felt in necessary to say that, we know that. It doesnt mean that classical anarchism may have missed part of the problem, i think its quite true to say that any forms of leftist-anarchism really dont seem to take into account the idea that people dont want to do shit jobs, not even for a few hours a week. Shit jobs are still shit without a boss and doing less of it. Why should people ever go back to the factory after the revolution? Especially if it is to make things that arent 100% vital for survival(is anything made in a factory 100% vital for survival?).

What a load of rubbish!

We know that jobs are shit, we fucking do them ourselves to!

I think the rejection of work is the best thing we've got going for us - it's certainly about the only bit of anarchist theory everyone agrees with.

You not calling agricultural work "work" is just crap. By your reasoning most people don't want to work on a farm/allotment even it is just for a few hours.

No anarcho-communists want to go back to crap jobs - we want people to decide what they want to do, and do whatever fulfils them. For some people this might be microbiology, for some hunting or farming.

Having said that, it wouldn't surprise me if some people involved in the manufacture of medicine wouldn't go back and do their current jobs (or new people do them), cos so many people depend on them for survival. And most humans aren't the selfish individualist wankers some people are (not meaning you, btw)

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Spartacus
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Jan 7 2004 23:08

presumably in some future primitive society there would still be alot of work to be done, and most of that would not exactly be pleasant. i mean, do you really want to skin rabbits, spend hours finding the plants which you can eat without dying or whatever? or if you have agriculture, then saying that's not really work just seems to indicated that you've never done any gardening, cos it's bloody hard work! so whether we have factories or not after the revolution, the problem still remains.

i think that treating laziness as an illness to be helped through sounds the most reasonable. if you don't contribute ANYTHING to society just because you don't want to when that society is run on non-hierarchial lines and does not oppress or exploit you, then i really don't see why other members of that society should continue to let you have the benefits of it. they'd probably tell you to do something useful or fuck off!

nastyned
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Jan 7 2004 23:16
anarchist. wrote:
Quote:
anarchists are into social revolution remember?

I don quite understand why you felt in necessary to say that

It just seems to me that some people have a very limited vision and can only see anarchist communism as a world that's somehow exacly like we have now except without money. It seems obvious to me that such a thing would be impossible. Of couse those who are against anarchist communism could just be setting up a straw man to argue against.

What do you mean by leftist anarchism? As an anarchist communist i reject leftism.

And as far as shit jobs go i think it's totally utopian to think they can be entirely eliminated. or will no one clean the toilet in your commune?

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gav
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Jan 8 2004 10:52
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
alexa wrote:
I think the rejection of work is the best thing we've got going for us - it's certainly about the only bit of anarchist theory everyone agrees with.

I really disagree with that! smile

I think most people see work as being something necessary to survive. I also don't think that it's the best aspect of anarchist theory, or even the one that appeals to other people the most.

at the moment, work is necessary to survive (or more accurately, the wages are) in a capitalist society.

the rejection of work isn't a theory, its a fact, most people hate their job, but how can we turn it into a strategy?

what proportion of the population know that anarchists advocate a massive reduction/abolition in work? it would be foolish not to address this.

work is something that takes up a massive amount of peoples lives, this in itself means we should be thinking long and hard about our approach to it.

the traditional, lefty approach can involve strike support, prop encouraging strikes, etc. but is this effective?

how about an approach based around the "reduction/abolition on work"?

this will take some thinking though, how do you effectively do this? the best approach would be through actions, not words, but how can this be done?

nastyned
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Jan 8 2004 13:34

thegiddygoat - i've found the quote you've taken from 'the conquest of bread' but i can find nothing on 'how do you deal with people who won't work' in the whole chapter.

i also didn't find anything about 'your day being organised and planned by the clock, with some form of punishment if you did not conform' either. do you have a reference for this or did you just make it up?

Kidda
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Jan 8 2004 15:00
gav wrote:
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
alexa wrote:
I think the rejection of work is the best thing we've got going for us - it's certainly about the only bit of anarchist theory everyone agrees with.

I really disagree with that! smile

I think most people see work as being something necessary to survive. I also don't think that it's the best aspect of anarchist theory, or even the one that appeals to other people the most.

at the moment, work is necessary to survive (or more accurately, the wages are) in a capitalist society.

the rejection of work isn't a theory, its a fact, most people hate their job, but how can we turn it into a strategy?

what proportion of the population know that anarchists advocate a massive reduction/abolition in work? it would be foolish not to address this.

work is something that takes up a massive amount of peoples lives, this in itself means we should be thinking long and hard about our approach to it.

the traditional, lefty approach can involve strike support, prop encouraging strikes, etc. but is this effective?

how about an approach based around the "reduction/abolition on work"?

this will take some thinking though, how do you effectively do this? the best approach would be through actions, not words, but how can this be done?

i think you'd get a pretty hostile response to any 'anti-work' stuff

because in a capitalist society there are a great deal of people who cant survive without working, fighting their bosses/striking is not an option, yeah they dont like their job, many of us dont like our jobs and would rather not do them, but without them the reality is a lot lot worse.

probably one of those

in 'theory' not in 'practice' moments

AlexA
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Jan 8 2004 15:48
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
alexa wrote:
I think the rejection of work is the best thing we've got going for us - it's certainly about the only bit of anarchist theory everyone agrees with.

I really disagree with that! smile

I think most people see work as being something necessary to survive. I also don't think that it's the best aspect of anarchist theory, or even the one that appeals to other people the most.

Bah I don't mean the complete rejection of all kinds of physical activity - just that the vast majority of people hate their jobs, and everyone knows that most work done in the UK is paper-pushing bullshit, which doesn't produce anything useful.

butchersapron
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Jan 8 2004 17:47

On the question of the 'refusal of work' i think it's worthwhile having a look at what happened in one area when this was suggested as a tactic, with special attention being paid to how capital responded - one example is the section of Curtis Price's excellent article FRAGILE PROSPERITY? FRAGILE SOCIAL PEACE :NOTES ON THE US http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/2379/fragile_prosperity.htm titled The refusal of work - myth or reality? - and how utterly useless this was as an individual act.

The original Refusal of Work pamphlet http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/2379/row.htm is on that site as well and well worth reading.

thegiddygoat
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Jan 8 2004 18:20
nastyned wrote:
thegiddygoat - i've found the quote you've taken from 'the conquest of bread' but i can find nothing on 'how do you deal with people who won't work' in the whole chapter.

This chapetr doesn't deal with it sorry , it is Ch12 " objectiojs" which does i think - i was going off the subject a bit in a rant against the whole @communist framework for work itself. embarrassed

Ch 12 p 144 ( last paragraph ) is the closest I could find about dealing with people who won't work ( i wasn't the one who sai thos book dealt with this !!) . Here Kropotkin says that examples of freed slaves and serfs working harder than they did before emancipation proves that people work harder and all want to work happily side by side in communal farms and factories ( ??? )

The part about working against the clock os implicit in what Kropotkin is saying - if your work is ciommunal you would all ahve to turn up at the same timeto produce goods at the factory or work complex machinery therefore you would still be a slave to time. He also says that little would be given to "idelrs"( p 145 ). Isn;t this punishment ?? and who defines an idler.

Alos I don't think that because I don't want to be an ant ( anymore ) busily wasting away my life in a vast work camp I am being an individualistic wanker. I believe the only way you ( or your small group) can be free is if you can provide all of what you need to live without depending upon anyone else , and therefore you are free form any kind of coercion / exploitataion howvere informal.

I believe that if everyone was in that position, then they would all truly be abke to volunteer to help others on other stuff. If you are npt in this position and you need to have the help of other sto live this is not volunteering freely it is dependance - and with dependamnce comes coercion and exploitation 2hich seesm to undermine the whole bassi of an @ist society.

Lastly , sorry I knoe Im ranting _ I'm abit drunk- who talked about agricultural work?? all i said was about growing a few veggies and a bit of fruit - this is not hard work. It is a rewarding experoence getting to have adirect relationship with the planet and control over what you eat. It is ameaningful and authentic unmediated experience and would give oyu a massive amount of control over oyur own life.

nastyned
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Jan 8 2004 18:28

blimey, i might have a few pints myself before i try reading your post again! laugh out loud

thegiddygoat
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Jan 8 2004 18:33

oops sorry ...... laugh out loud

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Spartacus
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Jan 8 2004 19:00
Quote:
who talked about agricultural work?? all i said was about growing a few veggies and a bit of fruit - this is not hard work.

yes it is! have you never done any gardening? it's hard work! even it is only a bit for your own enjoyment, and unless this is just going to be an occassional treat for yourself you're going to need to grow alot of food, not just a small allotment sized area. that doesn't mean it's not rewarding work, but it's still work! as is digging holes for toilets so as not to contaminate your water supply, getting materials to built whatever form of shelter you're using, collect drinking water, etc. etc. and some people might find making various forms of technology equally rewarding. i don't think anyone is saying that people would be forced to do non-essential work that they don't want to, but if they won't even do work that is necessary for a communities survival i doubt they'd be tolerated for long.

anarchist.
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Jan 8 2004 20:18
Quote:
We know that jobs are shit, we fucking do them ourselves to!

I think the rejection of work is the best thing we've got going for us - it's certainly about the only bit of anarchist theory everyone agrees with.

Quote:
Bah I don't mean the complete rejection of all kinds of physical activity - just that the vast majority of people hate their jobs, and everyone knows that most work done in the UK is paper-pushing bullshit, which doesn't produce anything useful.

Exactly the same!!!!! I just dont think that anarcho-communism takes into account the fact that many people wont want to do ANY work(except preparing food for GT's sake), I mean why should they?[i see work as bob black's defintion "My minimum definition of work is forced labor, that is, compulsory production. Both elements are essential. Work is production enforced by economic or political means, by the carrot or the stick. (The carrot is just the stick by other means.)" i really dont believe any one will want to make dvd players anymore, or dvds, or work in any factory. Im not saying burn down the factories, if people want to go and make things go for it. but at the same time i doubt people will do work out of obligation to the community, beyond the basics.

You say that

Quote:
No anarcho-communists want to go back to crap jobs - we want people to decide what they want to do, and do whatever fulfils them. For some people this might be microbiology, for some hunting or farming.

but if someone doesnt want to do anything, or something that will contribute to the community, they will be kicked out, or 'not tolerated for long. So at what point do they no longer get to choose what to do?

(im not 100% certain of my views on all of this, so a lot of it is playing devils advocate, my thoughts are closest to gav's).

AlexA
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Jan 9 2004 00:53

Er, well if you're an anarchist don't you let people decide what to do without any compulsion?

And as for how to deal with them - people can sort that our for themselves in their communities.

We can guess at how that might happen, by looking at history or the present, and how freeloaders are treated. That seems to be either helping them get over their laziness as they might an illness, or socially excluding them. ANything more than that who knows? We're not trots so we can't lay out our blueprint for how the proles will treat everything...

anarchist.
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Jan 9 2004 15:45

so basically we agree....i think.....except surely if i was living in my community and they tried to make me work in a factory surely they would be compelling/forcing me to do so, because if i didnt id be socially excluded?i dont want to freeload, yet as an anarchist i want to have a choice over what work i will do, and i dont want to go near factory conditions(again!) (Im sorry to keep going on at this point).

so if the refusal of work, or the abolition of it, is our biggest weapon/tool, how do we use it?

AlexA
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Jan 9 2004 17:03

Er... I dunno.

I've had dozens of conversations with co-workers about how our labour is completely pointless - that we don't do anything socially useful, the only reason we work is to make profit for the rich in return for a cack wage.

But then translating that into something more rather than just cynicism I don't really know... Ideally I'd think the best thing to do then is to try to organise collectively for shorter working hours, more holiday/m/paternty leave etc. etc., and eventually gather a feeling of collective strength, while also making people's lives better with more free time and less unemployment.

Er but well you can't really initiate this kind of thing... You can really throw yourself into it if a struggle starts but nyeh I dunno... :?

nastyned
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Jan 9 2004 18:17

Good grief, people starting to agree in an internet based discussion! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before grin .

To this sprit of agreement I’ll add that I liked ‘the abolition of work’, I guess I just don’t take it as literally as some! wink

Now, back to the arguing…

I don’t really get the criticism about Kropotkin saying freed serfs and slaves worked harder when freed. Wouldn’t you rather work for yourself than an owner?

I don’t see why working with others has to involve getting dragged out of bed by an alarm clock. Could you just arrange to meet up after lunch? I’m definitely getting rid of my alarm clock after the revolution! grin

I’m all in favour of decentralisation, as much as possible should be done on a small scale locally. But I don’t think it possible for one people to fulfil all their own needs. I wouldn’t even try – it’s more pleasant working collectively. Also, how would handicapped, ill or elderly people manage? In an anarchist communist society they would have the same access to what they need as anyone else. And no one would be forced to work in a factory. I mean what percentage of the population work in factories now anyway? In fact if all you want to do is pick fruit it probably wouldn’t cause any problems.

thegiddygoat
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Jan 9 2004 19:26
nastyned wrote:

And one would be forced to work in a factory. laugh out loud

You rather proved my point laugh out loud

This link is good on this subject:

http://www.insurgentdesire.org.uk/againstmasssociety.htm