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Why I hate capitalism and why I can't fight it

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Tojiah
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Jan 31 2007 10:19
Why I hate capitalism and why I can't fight it

I know that this post is going to provoke much more castigation than sympathy, but I'm really at my wits` end, and I don't personally know people who can help me outside of this website.

I have a personal, and yet, political question to pose: how can I, personally, contribute to the overthrow of capitalism?

My limited experience with what could be called work has been abysmal. For a short period of time (about two or three months, tops) out of the two years or so in which I was receiving an M. Sc. fellowship, I could be said to have actually been working, in the sense that I put in the nine to five (rather, ten to six) in the lab and in the office, was doing my advisor's bidding, etc. Eventually my work tapered off, and then I changed advisers, and then I dropped out. After being depressed for a while, I got a job in construction. I quit that after about a month, because I hated being bossed around and made to feel like an idiot. Note that my boss was one of the nicer ones in the contracted renovation business. I'm still applying for work since then. Just yesterday I botched a job prospect by accidentally presenting my charge sheet (two charges dropped on the day they were brought up, stupid demo arrest) along with a police “honesty certificate”. Stupid. On the other hand, I'm not sure that I wasn't subconsciously sabotaging myself, because I really got a bad vibe off of the recruiter the day before.

Other things I've done have involved freelance translation, which I liked, volunteering for an info-shop, which I'm okay with, and doing some amateur theater productions, which were fun but very emotionally draining. No serious income prospects there.

Currently, I'm back to depending on my parents, especially on the one who is definitely on the capital side of class interest. I doubt that I'll be able to get on the local equivalent of the dole, as recent legislation has made that impossible until I'm a few years older.

Thing is, it's not that I like loitering around. I really enjoy co-operating with and helping people, and I do take my commitments seriously. Hell, sitting at home doing nothing is driving me crazy, and is definitely not helping my clinical depression. But I just hate bosses. I just can't stand having someone around who can tell me what to do.

Bearing all this in mind, it seems to me, that if I ever do get myself settled occupationally, I'll probably be a kind of freelancer, or highly isolated professional wage-slave, so that my ability to take part in organized class struggle in my own workplace will be close to nil. (Indeed, if I become too successful as a freelancer, it may well become tempting to take the final step from petit-bourgeois island to bourgeois mainland, though that's not likely in my case: the only thing I hate more than being bossed around is doing it to other people.)

This poses a problem: as a communist anarchist, what other legitimate prospects of struggle against capitalism and oppression are there in which I could participate? I sure as hell don't see myself becoming some Leninist ideologue, running other people's struggles for them, while clinging to my party position like a mite. I also don't intend to become an “academic radical”, since another of the reasons I dropped out to begin with was my growing realization that academic institutions by their very nature sap the radicalism right out of whoever seeks to find a career in them.

Now, I have recently started and intend to continue publishing opinion pieces, in order to prod others towards self-managed struggle, as well as to critique the fallacies of certain mainstream leftist shibboleths such as national liberation struggles, trade unionism, and so forth; I intervene in Leninist meetings; I was involved in an aborted attempt to set up an anti-military zine for soldiers; in short, I've been acting as a propagandist par excellence, and I could just leave it at that. But it will be intellectually disingenuous of me to do so while I am not personally able to take part in those endeavors I deem worthy to begin with. Moreover, I don't find enough moral satisfaction in it.

I am in the very awkward position where I know that I would never be happy unless capitalism is overthrown, because as long as there is capitalism, there will be bosses, but this very fact makes it impossible for me to do my share in overthrowing it.

I could really use some advice, if any of you could spare it.

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JDMF
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Jan 31 2007 10:28

my advice is not worry about it, or think about it too much. Sort your life out in terms of incolme and survival first and do what you can meanwhile.

there is the saying "do radical, talk radical" no matter what you do you can implement your class politics and radical opinions and there is no formula or roles which we would need to try to fit in.

trust me, workplace organising is such painstaking and often futile that it is not worth it to organise your lifge around that. Rather live your life as you see fit and organise around that.

one more thing: you might need to fix that attitude issue of working for a boss, well, i guess you dont have to if you have your safety nets, but it might not get you very far. As an independent freelancer you will still be working for a boss or a client who holds the economic strings, its not much different from working for a hands off manager.

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Jan 31 2007 10:39

I moved this from libcommunity to organise.

I don't think anyone's going to castigate you, treeofjudas (unless you start saying you can fight it by not eating dairy wink ), this is a situation many of us are in. With the increasingly atomised and transitory nature of work stuff is harder, and there's no point you doing a job you don't want to just to "organise." That said as an individual you can provide verbal and publicity support for struggles and self-organising (or organisations which support these, i.e. libcom organisations), and if you become self-employed later you could provide financial support possibly.

Otherwise there could be other areas of struggle you could relate to as a service user, who could try to build links with workers, such as public transport, health or other public services, etc.

If that doesn't provide you with the moral satisfaction you need, well I'd try to redefining your morals with more realistic expectations of what can be achieved by one person.

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Jan 31 2007 10:46

yo judas, are you involved in any of the groups there, like the anarchists against the wall? Or are they still going?

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Jan 31 2007 10:48
JDMF wrote:
Rather live your life as you see fit and organise around that.

word.

yeah the prospect of 40-50 years of uninterrupted wage labour is pretty depressing, i'm only getting by in my job because of the skiving opportunities.

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Jan 31 2007 11:13
JDMF wrote:
yo judas, are you involved in any of the groups there, like the anarchists against the wall? Or are they still going?

Not involved with them, frankly, though they're still at large, as it were.

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Jan 31 2007 13:05

I agree with the advise to separate the search for some kind of workplace activity from the search for a job full stop. Your priority right now would seem to be to find a job. I also agree that academic radicalism is a dead-end but that doesn't mean that you should bar yourself from working in an academic environment if the opportunity arises - it's just a question of seeing that academic research or teaching don't necessarily coincide with revolutionary politics, although one does have to try to prevent the former from completely contradicting or cancelling out the other.
I think that you underestimate the importance of the politcal positions you hold. In my experience, it is extremely rare to find anyone in Israel who has even the basics of a class position on national liberation and trade unionism. You may be opposed to what you define as 'Leninist' forms of organisation but there are alternatives both to seeing organisation as something you just do at work and as something you use to run other people's struggles: i.e. of an organisation which tries to spread revolutionary ideas, encourage proletarian debate, which has the means to speak publicly, verbally or in writing about major issues such as war and workers' struggles....The appearance of such an organisation, or even of a loose discussion circle around the issues that preoccupy you, would be a big step forward in Israel, above all if it was able to put forward internationalist positions against the whole nationalist miasma which pervades the Middle East, rather like the EKS has done in Turkey. Do you share the views you have with others? is there a possibility of making even the most modest steps towards some kind of collective activity?
None of that will solve you personal problems in themslves but they may well give you a better starting point from which to deal with them.

Lurch
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Jan 31 2007 16:48

Alf wrote:

Quote:
I think that you underestimate the importance of the politcal positions you hold.

I agree with that, and further: it's not just what you defend (which, without being patronising, really is remarkable for an individual so isolated and in an area so rife with multiple bourgeois mystifications and gut-wrenching horror and hardship): it's also the way you present your arguments: with a great deal of clarity and wit. No-one accuses you of being a robot, and with good reason.

Just think about it: on these boards, where rather too many individuals and organisations hide behind the label anarchist or communist in order to peddle their 'least worst' reformist campaign or bourgeois faction of choice, your defence of proletarian internationalism and the way you conduct yourself really does stand out.

And in defending such positions, you must surely see that you are not alone, not a crazy voice crying in the wilderness, but already joined with others who, to a greater or lesser degree, want and propose the same as you.

You are already contributing to the real movement against capital: take Devrim seriously when, on another thread, he points out that these discussions are followed widely, in many different countries. In themselves they may not change the world, but they can be part of the necessary clarification which will enable us to do so.

So take your internationalism seriously: if you can't, in the immediate, affect those closest to you, you can still reach others on the other side of the world. The success or otherwise of revolutionary activity, like the workers' struggle which gives rise to it, is not judged on the immediate effects of this or that episode in this or that location. Even if the revolution were to happen tomorrow (unlikely IMO, and anyway I have an appointment with the dentist) such activity is still a long-term project, begun by those before us and continuing after us.

There's no shame in relying your parents: as John says, it's a situation in which more and more families all over the world are being obliged to adopt through economic necessity, through atomisation. It's no consolation, but at least you have an inkling of why this is the case.

And as for working 'for the man' or working 'for yourself', you're still under capitalism's thumb. So whichever, find a job that doesn't demand too many compromises of you and work to live, to continue your struggle both locally, and collectively, on an international terrain. The orders, the insults, (or the mind-numbing bureacracy and 'having to please' whoever you are obliged to sell your labour power to, even as a freelance) are part and parcel of being a proletarian in capital. Use your anger to sustain you and don't let despair overwhelm you.

That will be $55 please.

In sympathy and solidarity.

Mike Harman
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Jan 31 2007 17:56

I agree with everything that's been said about seperating a job search from a search for political activity. Whatever job you do you're going to run into the negative effects of capital, and have some kind of boss (if only for one job at a time), so it's important to try to find something you like, or find something you don't absolutely hate. If you work anywhere for a while, you'll either find possibilities for organising, or get fed up and leave, or if you're lucky enjoy it. And as John said there's always shared experiences around health/utilities/housing/education/prices or whatever where you live which can be a starting point.

Also simply communicating information about working class struggles to other people (like your thread on here a little while back, and the one about the various leftist groups) - that does a lot to educate people about what's going on and has value in and of itself for that reason. And again, it's been pointed out by others, but you're the only person any of us has come across from Israel or Palestine holding the positions you do. I know EKS have had a lot of contact from others in Turkey due to postings on here, so it's always possible someone sympathetic to anarchist or communist ideas might come across your posts at some point and get in touch.

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Jan 31 2007 18:57
tojiah wrote:
I know that this post is going to provoke much more castigation than sympathy, but I'm really at my wits` end, and I don't personally know people who can help me outside of this website.

I have a personal, and yet, political question to pose: how can I, personally, contribute to the overthrow of capitalism?

I don't think you'll get much castigation at all concerning this thread. Your feelings and frustrations are most likely shared by many people on this forum, including myself to a very large degree. Organizing attempts that are not as effective as I desired, or flat out failed are very discourging indeed. We all want revolution so bad that when the small preludes of the battle go sour, it stings even more.

Quote:
My limited experience with what could be called work has been abysmal. For a short period of time (about two or three months, tops) out of the two years or so in which I was receiving an M. Sc. fellowship, I could be said to have actually been working, in the sense that I put in the nine to five (rather, ten to six) in the lab and in the office, was doing my advisor's bidding, etc. Eventually my work tapered off, and then I changed advisers, and then I dropped out. After being depressed for a while, I got a job in construction. I quit that after about a month, because I hated being bossed around and made to feel like an idiot. Note that my boss was one of the nicer ones in the contracted renovation business. I'm still applying for work since then. Just yesterday I botched a job prospect by accidentally presenting my charge sheet (two charges dropped on the day they were brought up, stupid demo arrest) along with a police “honesty certificate”. Stupid. On the other hand, I'm not sure that I wasn't subconsciously sabotaging myself, because I really got a bad vibe off of the recruiter the day before.

I know how you feel comrade, construction can really suck. Where I live a big housing boom is going on, and the majority of the working class are involved in some way in construction work. I myself worked for about a year as a temp (casual) laborer for many different construction jobs(nail pounding, ditch digging, house painting, drywall hanging, site clean-up). Every single one of them had some fucking asshole as a boss. Anyway, i'm just trying to sympathise with your here comrade. Just wanted to let you know that there are others out there who cringe when the boss starts ordering us about.

Quote:
Other things I've done have involved freelance translation, which I liked, volunteering for an info-shop, which I'm okay with, and doing some amateur theater productions, which were fun but very emotionally draining. No serious income prospects there.

Freelance translation? Thats sounds fun, what languages do you translate?

Quote:

This poses a problem: as a communist anarchist, what other legitimate prospects of struggle against capitalism and oppression are there in which I could participate? I sure as hell don't see myself becoming some Leninist ideologue, running other people's struggles for them, while clinging to my party position like a mite. I also don't intend to become an “academic radical”, since another of the reasons I dropped out to begin with was my growing realization that academic institutions by their very nature sap the radicalism right out of whoever seeks to find a career in them.

Again, i sympathise greatly with you here. In my town there is a very small group of anarchists, and an even smaller group of ones willing to do anything, and naturaly a large group of punks who constantly deface the name of anarchism with their ignorance on the subject. So this leads to the inevitable question, "what can we do, we are so few?" First step is to think about your livelyhood. I keep a steady job, and food on the table. This sets the stage for activity (its hard to get any "revolutionary" work done when all you can think about is your next meal.) Then, just like you, i got started on individual projects (opinion pieces, showing up at demos to spread the word, propaganda in general.) After a bit a few anarchists found me, and I found a few anarchists. Since then, we've generally failed really bad at organizing attempts, most recently the oppostition to the fifth round of the South Korea/United States Free Trade Agreement talks that were held in Big Sky (30 miles from where I live). We held meetings, participated in broad demonstrations, held our own demonstrations, spread the word, but the result didn't met our expectations. This was discouraging, but it did show that with more focus and effort maybe we will be able to achieve more. Sorry i'm rambaling on Tree, but I think you and I are in a similiar situation. We live in places with few anarchists, and its easy to start to feel alone and isolated.

Just keep up your propaganda work Tree, planting the seeds of revolution is what has to be done first before we can harvest its wonderfull fruit.

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Feb 3 2007 13:37

Some of the posts here have been very encouraging and touching.. (don't mind your rambling much, bozemananarchygrin)
I find it hard to settle the alleged frigidity attributed to members of the ICC with the warmth I find in the responses by Alf and Lurch.

I wish I could respond to the lot of you properly, but the wireless internet node I was consistently abusing at my place disappeared, and I won't be getting a steady connection until after I get a job and can afford my very own. Which may take a while, obviously.

So, rain-cheque?

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Feb 3 2007 14:04

Hi

Quote:
the alleged frigidity attributed to members of the ICC

Alf is especially randy. A hottie too, if you like that sort of thing.

Quote:
how can I, personally, contribute to the overthrow of capitalism?

Have as much sex as possible before your libido declines.

"Love"

LR

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Feb 21 2007 02:35

I should be getting a good night's sleep for yet another high-tech job interview tomorrow, but I'm feeling edgy, so I'll just post a proper response to this thread, instead.

Like I had said, you all have been very encouraging.

I have done some soul searching, and I realize now what was really bothering me about being bossed around in construction: the fact that I was being treated like an idiot. Since it was my first month in construction, I was very inexperienced, and along with some innate clumsiness on my part, I had little to go on. Also, because of the very atomized way contract construction work operates, I could find very little solace in any coworkers. The few good moments I had there were when a coworker taught me new things; mostly there was a boss to order me about, then complain when I wasn't doing something right that I had never done before.

In a way, it was the same thing in the laboratory. I had very little experience, it was a completely new field for me, and my advisor was much more knowledgeable. Again, I enjoyed learning new things from colleagues, but hated having to look up to someone who ordered me about.

There are, in fact, fields in which I am competent: languages (Hebrew and English mostly, bozeman, though I know some rudimentary French and Arabic), programming, mathematics, philosophy, etc. If someone starts speaking nonsense to me regarding these things, I have this competence to provide me with self-assurance as I argue with them. If I am to find a job which I will enjoy, it'll be one where I am using skills that I have already developed, so that I don't constantly feel so inferior to my employers.

But this brings up a problem. I've been to seven high-tech job interviews, having to do with programming/development work. The hours are crazy, and you're expected to be fully committed to the company's aims. You're supposed to feel that the product is yours, just because, say, you wrote some of the code, when most of the profit goes to someone else. The thinking there is so foreign to working-class consciousness, they do so much to make you believe that you are on the side of capital, and they pay you so much money in relation to other wage slaveowners, that hardly anyone there even conceives that they are exploited, that they are, in fact, the most highly exploited workers in modern capitalism (though not the most oppressed, a very important distinction).

On a more personal level, I have theater, I have role-playing, I have things I want to do, and working in that kind of job will make it very hard to keep up with these things. I mean, when will I finish my critique of the Geneology of Morals?

Unfortunately, it seems that with my academic background (computer science, mathematics, physics), it's hard for people to imagine why I wouldn't want to work in high-tech, to the point where non-high-tech-places hardly ever respond to my job applications. Nevertheless, there was one place which I did interview for, and which offered me a supplier rep. kind of job; it has decent hours (though lesser pay). I might go for it if I'm positive that I won't find decent hours in high-tech. I mean, a QA position could, theoretically, have lighter hours, with equivalent pay.

It was a pleasant reminder of my abilities to find myself programming competently (after at least two years without having typed up a single line of code), doing maths, etc. The pay can be very good. But the hours suck, and the politics downright reek. Especially in that financial counceling firm I went to, where they wanted me to do front-end financial modeling for hedge fund stock-brokers. Brrr..

I may be over-dramatizing things, though, so if you think I should be put in my place, go ahead.

As for spreading the Good Internationalist News, remember that evil Leninist website, the one which refused to publish my anti-nationalist OP back in January? It just posted an article by a Gazan professor, apologizing to international supporters of Palestinian national liberation for how Palestinians are killing each other in Gaza. He then proceeded to blame Israeli occupation, to demand the re-establishment of foreign aid, and to call for immediate negotiations for the setting up of an independent Palestinian state.

I replied by saying that if an apology is in order, it's by those supporters to the Palestinians: having propped up the national liberation myth, they have helped bring about the Gazans` current plight.

As for foreign aid, only they, the Palestinians, could rid themselves of their oppressors: international solidarity will help, of course, but they cannot trust outside charity to initiate liberty.

Finally, as for his proposed solution, it is absurd to think that any agreement between the Hamas and Zionist warlords will benefit them in any way. Moreover, the "independent state" is a myth, one that may have held true in the mid-eighteen hundreds, but which no longer applies in our period of true global capitalism; that they may gain independence from American influence, but only at the expense of being puppets for the Europeans, the Russians and/or the Chinese. I cited the example of Israel, that paragon of national independence, which has been a puppet for various factions of global capitalism ever since its inception. As if it could be otherwise.

I don't know if he'll read the talk-back, but hope springs eternal.

petey
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Feb 21 2007 16:34

well toj it's really impressive how seriously you have examined your dilemma. i was going to agree with others that you should guiltlessly separate your job life from your political life, but this

tojiah wrote:
The thinking there is so foreign to working-class consciousness, they do so much to make you believe that you are on the side of capital, and they pay you so much money in relation to other wage slaveowners

hits home and leads to 'cognitive dissonance'. at least, it has done to me. but i've been poor and job-insecure, and i've been comfortable and less-job-insecure, and the latter has its benefits. [/class enemy]

you say you're competent with languages. is there a chance of taking on piece translating, or even full-time translating? your time is far more your own, tho' the work can be less steady.

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Feb 21 2007 22:52

The problem is that it's very hard to get translation work in Israel, especially when you don't have formal prior experience.

This supplier rep position has some translation in it, though.

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Feb 21 2007 23:12

One other thing:

newyawkaw wrote:
...you should guiltlessly separate your job life from your political life...

But wouldn't that mean that, theoretically, there should be no ideological problem with me enlisting with the army or the police, going to work for a political party, etc?

petey
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Feb 22 2007 14:56

well i mean, there are limits. i was echoing alf and catch, tho' perhaps stating it more starkly than they meant.
are the cops unionized? maybe you could join as a salt tongue

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Feb 22 2007 16:20

I know you were echoing others, but I figured it would be a good opportunity to raise the question.

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Feb 22 2007 18:53

Not sure what's being echoed here, but I certainly wouldn't say that a revolutionary can get a job in the police force. There are ways of 'earning aliving' which are in direct contradiction with our principles and the security of our comrades. So there can never be a total separation between our politics and our 'professional' work, even if the necessary distinction does have to be made.

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Feb 22 2007 19:23

What would you say that the criteria should be? And what about working in some political party's staff?

Work update: Okay, I've been provided with a draft contract, and I have further misgivings. It's not that I was expecting to like the IP portion, but it covers prestige, ideas and literary works! And something called "moral rights"! That's insane. I think I'll call the HR person about it tomorrow. Are any of you people familiar with such contracts?

petey
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Feb 22 2007 19:23
Alf wrote:
Not sure what's being echoed here

this:

Alf wrote:
I agree with the advise to separate the search for some kind of workplace activity from the search for a job full stop.

the bit about the cops is mine.

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Feb 23 2007 13:00

The point I was making is when choosing a job from which to earn your daily bread, you can't necessarily factor in the opportunities for workplace agitation. Some jobs may be quite isolated and offer precious few such opportunities, for example. This is quite separate from the question of whether the job itself is incompatible with our political commitment

Tree asks for the criteria; I think they can only be quite general and we have to look at specific cases. The general criteria is that they are incompatible with being a revolutionary militant and/or expose yourself and your fellow revolutionaries to danger. Joining the police force and being a professional drugs dealer or thief both fit into this category.

Glad to hear that you seem to be in better spirits, Tree.

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Feb 23 2007 13:13
Alf wrote:
The point I was making is when choosing a job from which to earn your daily bread, you can't necessarily factor in the opportunities for workplace agitation. Some jobs may be quite isolated and offer precious few such opportunities, for example. This is quite separate from the question of whether the job itself is incompatible with our political commitment

Ah. I see.

Alf wrote:
Tree asks for the criteria; I think they can only be quite general and we have to look at specific cases. The general criteria is that they are incompatible with being a revolutionary militant and/or expose yourself and your fellow revolutionaries to danger. Joining the police force and being a professional drugs dealer or thief both fit into this category.

How about being a software developer? For example, the IP handover agreement seems, on the face of it, to preclude me writing OP's or agitating, since the company retains the rights to any "ideas and original literary works".

Alf wrote:
Glad to hear that you seem to be in better spirits, Tree.

Thanks. I'm irritated by the fact that these better spirits owe something to the approval of some high-tech hiring personnel. sad But it's better to feel better. Much better to feel better and have my own expropriated internet again. smile

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Feb 23 2007 14:23

I guess your most original work would be contained in your agitation, but whether the company would be interested in owning it is another matter....their first line of defence in repressing agitation in any case is not so much what you say, but the fact that you say it on company time, because you are a lot more vulnerable on that ground. For example at my previous educational establishment I got in trouble with senior management for speaking at a meeting of support staff prior to them going on strike. I was reprimanded not so much for saying we all needed to meet together across union lines or because I am not a member either of the union in question (NUPE) or of the teachers' union (indeed, with a delightful ignorance of left communist politics, the head teacher tried to butter me up by saying that "I too am a trade unionist you know"), but because I did it while I was responsible for a group of pupils in the library where the meeting was held.

petey
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Feb 23 2007 14:52
tojiah wrote:
Much better to feel better and have my own expropriated internet again. :)

oh yes. expropriated internet is da bomb.
but yet i've come to feel that it's not expropriated, it's a thing i ought to have because it's part of a whole life, and everyone should have it on that basis, not as a benison of the employer.
red n black starfree and available internet at all workplaces as a human right!!red n black star

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Feb 23 2007 15:24
Alf wrote:
I guess your most original work would be contained in your agitation, but whether the company would be interested in owning it is another matter....their first line of defence in repressing agitation in any case is not so much what you say, but the fact that you say it on company time, because you are a lot more vulnerable on that ground.

Actually I re-read it, and it only refers to IP that relates to my employment. So I suppose off-hour agitation wouldn't be covered in any case..

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Feb 26 2007 20:07

Update:

I have two job offers. Both in the same locale, for some reason. High-tech full-time. And I have to decide by tomorrow evening.

Just went to a demo today. Not very energetic, but I enjoyed helping out with the sign-writing, and it reminded me of what I liked about activism. And I won't really be able to do things like that if I'm working five days a week full time + occasional weekends, forty minutes at least each direction, etc. And what with theater, and roleplaying.. I'm considering dropping the offers unless they can guarantee a 80% job. Which they won't, which means that I'll be dropping them.

I could get a possible interview for a 80%-time job, but I haven't been able to get enough information from the placement rep.

It will be almost impossible to do workplace organization in any of those places. There's just no working-class consciousness among programmers and software designers. Nil. So that means I have maybe the weekend for politics, if I do take full-time. (Especially if I'm expected to work the 10-hour day, plus there and back, plus sleep, FFS)

Then again, there's the money. Money, money, money... that could go to the AATW legal fund, or to the Palestinian political prisoners, or to other places... Dammit.

Blacknred Ned
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Feb 26 2007 22:35

If you are having this much of a hard time deciding whether to take a job or not just imagine how bad it's going to feel after 6 months or ten years.

The world of ten hour days and commuting is hardly conducive to having any other kind of life but if you need to do it then you need to do it! Be thankful that you're not picking over rubbish heaps on the edge of Mexcio City or Manilla to survive.

And if you don't need to do it then why exactly are you intending to do it? Why choose a job with professional hours, responsibilities and remuneration? What are your motives?

There are common coping strategies for what working life demands:
1. Drugs and/or drink whenever time and funds allow
2. Taking your frustrations out on family, friends and pets
3. Rationalising one's position and coming to believe that there is no alternative for the sake of security - the full on lower middle class route
4. Selling one's soul entirely to the company or the organisation and trying to rise as high as possible until you poke your nose above the shit that everyone else is mired in

Whilst there are some kinds of work that would obviously be beyond the pale it is clear that all jobs contribute to the daily recreation of the state we are in. Nevertheless, you have to eat. Do you have an escape plan other than death?

Here's the thing: wanting to contribute to the overthrow of capitalism sounds fine as a coping strategy when your in your twenties and feel immortal, it's not so great when you're older and have really come to terms with your mortality. My best advice would be to try to find something that puts food on the table but allows you a modicum of happiness. The Revolution is not going to come like some red steam train bang on time to save you from your job, but you might just be able to play a part in the long term cultural and social changes that need to take place if you manage to hold on tight to your humanity and get involved in liberating activities.

ToJ, you an ecologist aren't you? You know about Permaculture? I am confused that you think that some, frankly old fashioned, workplace with "working class" consciousness would be more fulfilling if you could find one. What do you really want? A steel mill? A shipyard? Some idealised working class community from the 1890s? You're chasing a dream. If you want to change the world then go and change it, don't subscribe to workerist fantasies on the one hand or sacrifice yourself on some awful middle class professional altar on the other.

btw: interested to read that you are a fan of role-playing, it's been one of my passions these past 25 years. Good escapism on a Saturday night, unfortunately it doesn't forestall the arrival of Monday morning.

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Lazy Riser
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Feb 26 2007 22:45

Hi

Quote:
how can I, personally, contribute to the overthrow of capitalism?

Try and seagull the Queen.

Love

LR

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Tojiah
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Feb 27 2007 07:03
Blacknred Ned wrote:
btw: interested to read that you are a fan of role-playing, it's been one of my passions these past 25 years. Good escapism on a Saturday night, unfortunately it doesn't forestall the arrival of Monday morning.

Then again, working 80% does (if you take Mondays off). wink

Jesus, I was just sharing my frustrations. Since 80% (and even lower) high-tech jobs are potentially on the table, I can get enough money without having to take up any of 1-4 that you gave, so I'll probably look at that other contract today, kindly tell both of them to shove it, and give myself a few more weeks to find a less taxing job, now that I know that it is theoretically possible, and now that I've really looked into the full-time high-tech market, have been made some offers, and can make a learned decision.

As to why I'm taking the professional direction, I did go to all that effort in undergraduate and graduate school (though I dropped out from the latter), so I want to apply my skills in order to get more back for an hour's work, and, if possible, to use that to work less (emphasis used to remind myself). The real problem is that I'm too easily sweet-talked and pressured. If I let that dynamic continue, it's really going to make me miserable on the job, and less effective off of it.

I don't have grand workerist delusions about the "real working class." Any that I may have had quickly disappeared during that month when I had the opportunity to work in construction. Nevertheless, if I had thought that there were organizing opportunities on the job, it might have gone into consideration.

Old age, yes. Nothing much to safeguard my octogenarian future unless I strive for management, professional or otherwise. Either that or start reproducing.

Blacknred Ned
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Feb 27 2007 08:51

Security in your old age may well be the most futile quest of all. Apart from the fact that state of the world - let alone the part of it that you live in - in several decades time will in all likelihood severely reduce your chances of sitting on your porch in a rocking chair, working your whole life so that you can die in an expensive hospital and have brass coffin furniture strikes me as pretty ridiculous. Certainly it is no excuse to become a manager.

It sounds to me that you are actually fairly content to work in a sector in which you can use the skills you have from your university career. If so then you will hopefully drag some job satisfaction from your daily work. Of course lots of us have jumped through every educational hoop ever held up for us only to realise that there was no satisfaction whatsoever to be gained from employing the skills we had gained.

Fortunately life rarely offers only one crossroads and you can always employ the 6 month strategy: give a job half a year and then leave before your head explodes.

You seem a little exasperated to find that your thread has provoked strong responses. I don't see why. Millenarian delusions notwithstanding, the drive to create revolutionary change is born in the everyday. Bringing up your angst about employment has raised fundamental stuff, even Lazy resorted to telling you to stop moaning..... in what I thought was quite a tender fatherly moment. Truly revolutionary politics is not about this class or that class or about the grinding wheels of history, it ain't scientific socialism man, it's getting up in the morning, every morning of the only life you'll ever have to drag yourself from your home and family to make someone else rich, powerful or pampered.