Hello Out There

Submitted by ludd on January 20, 2010

This is the first issue of Processed World. We hope it will serve as a contact point for office workers who are dissatisfied with their lot in life and are seeking something better. The current situation of most clerical workers, secretaries, and "processors" of various sorts is our starting place: meaningless work with little material reward in a deteriorating and self-destructive social system.

The opening article offers a compelling description of the individual mired (but not hopelessly) in Corporate Office Land. From there we go to the Blue Shield strike, which is still going on as we go to print. This trade union-based attempt of office workers to improve their situation has run up against institutional and strategic constraints.

The following article, "New Information Technology: For What?" has undergone intensive discussions among the writers and editors of PW. After a brief economic analysis of automation in the office it broaches the touchy subject of whether or not computers-- and high technology in general-- are inherently oppressive. Also discussed are some of our ideas of how a society based on free social relations can put new information technology to use.

Next is a short story about insurrection in San Francisco in 1987, beginning with the occupation of the Bank of America buildings by the workers inside. A review of the movie 9 To 5 concludes our first issue. Hollywood's attempt to address the reality of office work gets lost and distorted in improbability and easy laughs.

We hope these articles (and those in other issues to come) will begin to challenge the assumptions upon which this society is built. At the root of this effort is our desire to live and take part in a radically different social system, a society which as yet exists nowhere on Earth.

These new forms of social existence begin with communication, with breaking down the barriers that isolate us and finding different ways to express our feelings and thoughts. With a shared understanding of the fears, desires, and pleasures of our daily existence, we can counter the false images and stereotypes encouraged by those who want to keep us in our "place."

In a world where so much of our time is wasted on boring tasks or ridden with anxieties, it is important that we experiment with ideas and activities that are in themselves enjoyable. Rebellion can be fun, and humor subversive. Only by cultivating our imagination and talents will we be able to find ways to shatter the existing order.

Write to us. Tell us about your situation-- where you work, what conditions you work under, what kinds of resistance you are already involved in, how you coordinate your activities with coworkers, etc. And write to us about your dreams. What kind f a world would you like to live in? What would you do with yourself if you could do what you enjoyed instead of what you've been forced to do to make a living?