First of May, Against Work

Originally published on May 1st, 2019 by Chilean comrades at Comunidad de Lucha. What follows is our translation.

Another May 1st arrives and those of us on the side of anti-capitalism newly find ourselves confronting State & Capital propaganda, which would like to make of this day one in which we would celebrate our servitude.

Though we would not expect anything less from the defenders of domination, what worries and concerns us as anti-capitalists is to find ourselves, ever year, with the same demand for work by part of the Ultra-Left and ‘anti-capitalists’ in general. For them, the problem of work always arises from the appropriation by the bourgeoisie of the fruit of activity and their ‘revolutionary solution’ consists of snatching from the bourgeoisie its exclusive power over this ‘fruit’ or the instruments of work. Although in practice, these movements are only dedicated to disputing with the State, employers and union bureaucracies over improvements of the system of wage exploitation, improvements that, by the way, Capital needs to comply with to ensure its progress and survival over time.

But in reality work, as we commonly refer to it these days, refers to a precise activity, which pertains to a specific historical stage: that of capitalist civilization.

The triumph of the bourgeois revolution intensified and expanded wage labor and commodity production to every corner of the globe, dispossessing persons and communities of the Earth, sending them off to factories. Deprived of everything and obliged to satisfy their needs by way of the consumption of commodities, these persons are then obliged to sell their own activity as labor power to those who dominate us, and are thus converted into the proletariat; the class whose life is reduced to a commodity along with everything else under the dictatorship of the economy.

The problem is that both for the defenders of order and those who pretend to oppose it, work assumes a naturalness that it would appear that the differences that sometimes sets groups in opposing camps, are actually just differences in how to manage the system of wage-labor exploitation and the Capital which reproduces it.

Sine money is the absolute social mediator, whose absence is equivalent to death with capitalist society, we proletarians are frenetically thrown everyday into the tasks necessary to obtain it. Thus, whether working for a wage, self-exploiting via the informal market or even in domestic work (work this is unpaid and historically assigned to women, without which other forms of exploitation could not be sustained) this obligation takes us out of bed everyday so that we then rush off to packed public transit and thus comply with asphyxiating schedules of an activity that many times is alienating & tedious, and which is only united by the need for economic remuneration to then satisfy our commodified needs. This makes stress, mistreatment, humiliation, illness, isolation and madness the usual tone of productive activity and, therefore, the habitual tone of proletrianized humanity. In this way we earn a living at work, as life escapes us.

If this were not enough, the null guarantees of security [social welfare] which still pretend to justify the existence of this miserable order fall apart because of their own progress: the work of every human being (which is to say, their time) is worth less and less because capitalists are forced to find increasingly elaborate ways to lower production costs to obtain profits and stay active in competition, which promotes the constant precarization of work. In the territory dominated by the Chilean State, an image of an economic power in a bee-line towards abundance schizophrenically coexists with the reality of a society that is falling apart due to a lack of work and an excess of it: whoever is not unemployed and desperately trying to find a way to make a living, is then running around like crazy between work, home and consumption; spending their life in a spiral of ever-increasing alienation.

The problem is that both for the defenders of order and those who pretend to oppose it, work assumes a naturalness that it would appear that the differences that sometimes sets groups in opposing camps, are actually just differences in how to manage the system of wage-labor exploitation and the Capital which reproduces it.

A radical anti-capitalist perspective instead supposes doing away with all the pilars which form the base of Capital, including the activity which gives Capital life as it takes away our own. It is us, proletarians, who set the capitalist machinery into action with our alienated activity. It is also us who can put a stop to it: if the proletariat is the class whose activity sets capital into motion, then the revolutionary suppression of capital necessarily implies the self-suppression of our class, along with all classes, the State & money.

DEATH TO WORK, THE STATE & MONEY!
PROLETARIANS OF WORLD, LET’S ABOLISH OURSELVES!

 

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