Originally published on May 1st, 2019 by Chilean comrades at Comunidad de Lucha. What follows is our translation.
This is an essay first written in 2015 and published in 2016 for a now-defunct project. Here is an revised version by the original author who now works on this project (which we had shared previously in zine format).
In Los Angeles to be against Capital typically presents itself in a pro-work/worker position. The problem is never work itself, the nature of work or that work is waged but instead what is desired is extending a sphere of work that is unionized and bolstered with higher wages. Take for instance the CLEAN Carwash campaign, where carwash workers (whom are mostly immigrant men) have been unionized under the representation of United Steelworkers Local 675. Though this move one is that brings much needed betterment of working conditions and wages for these workers, what is ultimately not brought up is that the work of a car wash workers can and has already been automated. But the fading labor movement seems to be no longer concerned with the overthrow of capitalism nor the abolition of work. That dream is a dream that has been lost along with the labor movement itself.
As part of the Liberation School of Los Angeles summer 2018 set of classes we will be facilitating a study/discussion group on anti-work. We are sharing a guided reading list. We cut things into excerpts because the class will be soon, next week on July 12th. But links to whole texts are in the reading list.
Anti-work is a topic which has re-gained interest in the broader radical milieu though it is an idea that is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. With this class we hope to shed light on the historical and theoretical origins of anti-work. We will see how anti-work arose as a part of the broader anti-capitalist movement, with its own post-left anarchist and anti-state communist variations. Link to .pdf below.
Here is a flyer for the event:
Any questions? Hit us up: email@example.com
This text was originally published by Antagonismo, a Mexican anarchist project, on May 6th, 2018. What follows is our translation.
This text was distributed on May 1st, 2018 in Mexico City, at the end of the usual union procession, celebrating Worker’s Day.
No, we don’t love work;
We hate it.
It is not our liberation,
It condemns us!
It does not raise up or free us of vices;
It beats us down
And morally annihilates us
To such a degree
That is leaves us incapacitated. (1)
What follows is a long essay by the French communization theorist, Gilles Dauvé. It is a long read, a read which varies in content and tone but a text which masterfully summarizes the communist critique of work. The original can be found here at Troploin. He also dutifully notes that without the abolition of work there can be no communist revolution or communism. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed translating it. ¡A la chingada con el trabajo!
False construction sites
In 1997, in the French department of Sarthe, some 20 workers were constructing a section of highway under the direction of an engineer employed by a large company, BTP. After two months the engineer was arrested: no one had ordered the work that was partially done, which with an initial financing, the false construction site manager had successfully hoodwinked both banks and public organizations. Between 1983 and 1996, Philippe Berre had been convicted 14 times for ordering false construction sites. In 2009, “The Beginning,” a film inspired by this whole adventure was released, displaying a population struck by unemployment which briefly found work and hope. Phillippe Berre was not motivated by personal gain, but rather by the need to do, to be of use, to reanimate a group of workers. In 2010, once again, he took on this role while helping those affected by Cyclone Xynthia.
Bruno Astarian has published a translation of his own work, noting errors in the edition we published.