Against work, against labour - GCI-ICG

Excerpt from the Theses of Programmatical Orientation by Internationalist Communist Group.

Submitted by Joaos on March 8, 2018

[Note: Excerpt from the Theses of Programmatical Orientation by Internationalist Communist Group, originally published in 1979]


Work is the living negation of human activity, life, satisfaction and enjoyment. Work makes man a stranger to himself, to what he produces, to his own activity and to the human species. Work is nothing other than human activity imprisoned in the framework of class societies and the concretisation of the necessity for the dominant classes to appropriate surplus production by exploiting and crushing the other classes. Capitalism, in liberating (in separating) the exploited from their means of life and production and in destroying old forms of production, has imposed wage labour and generalised free work on the whole of the planet. It has thus reduced man, everywhere, to the condition of labourer, a tortured person ("travail" is derived etymologically from the Latin "traepalium" meaning "instrument of torture" 1 ).

In work, the proletariat is universally dispossessed of its product, estranged, lost to itself, denied its essence, its life and its enjoyment and rendered a stranger to the product of its own activity.

As well as pouring its sweat, its blood, its life into an activity in which absurdity competes with stupefaction, it is separated from all immediate links with other people as human beings and is thus separated from its own generic life, from the human species.

It is only in the struggle against work, against the activity that they are forced to carry out and against those who make them do it, in the generalisation of this struggle and the consequent calling into question of the totality of society that proletarians reemerge as human beings and take the first steps towards a communist society where the activity of people will finally become human, for the human being.


Capital has made work the most important activity to which everyone is subordinated, man's essential activity. (We are not considered for who we are but for "what we do in life", which in this society means "profession", "job"). It thus couldn't be more coherent that all the ideologies of bourgeois society make work the essence of the human being and that this ideology is reproduced and supported by the hundreds of millions of citizens who waste their lives every day to "make a living".

Consistent with this, all the ideologies of Capital are based on sacrifice, renunciation, the internalisation of emotions, feelings, sensations... To work corresponds sacrifice, and to sacrifice, religion (including the Marxist-Leninist religion of the state!) as justification for the repression of every manifestation of passions and human, physical and bodily enjoyment.

From the apologies of the left and miserabilists of the poor proletarian to the dogmas of priests of every kind, they all offer us "the afterlife", "the society to come" and death as the recompense and place of realisation for men who, in the "present life", must live in sacrifice, renounce all enjoyment and repress all pleasure.

[Excerpt from the Theses of Programmatical Orientation by Internationalist Communist Group]

Another text from the same group with a detailed critique of the work: Human Activity Against Labour

  • 1Note: In English too. Before acquiring the modern meaning - that is, urban, industrial, and capitalist - the word labor meant activities that were exhausting, unhealthy, and painful. Today, its meaning is more extensive and diffuse. What characterizes labor is precisely the fact that it becomes increasingly abstract, since it no longer refers to this or that activity, but to activity and effort in itself. We no longer plant, weave or shepherd, nor do we operate equipment; simply, we work.