You are on page 1of Search inside document WORK [page 1:] At any time, we could all stop paying rent, mortgages, taxes, utilities; they would be powerless against us if we all quit at once. At any time, we could all stop going to work or schoolor go to them and refuse to obey orders or leave the premises, instead turning them into community centers. At any time, we could tear up our IDs, take the license plates off our cars, cut down security cameras, burn money, throw away our wallets and assemble cooperative associations to produce and distribute everything we need. Whenever my shift drags, I find myself thinking about this stuff. Am I really the only person whos ever had this idea?
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You are on page 1of Search inside document WORK [page 1:] At any time, we could all stop paying rent, mortgages, taxes, utilities; they would be powerless against us if we all quit at once. At any time, we could all stop going to work or schoolor go to them and refuse to obey orders or leave the premises, instead turning them into community centers. At any time, we could tear up our IDs, take the license plates off our cars, cut down security cameras, burn money, throw away our wallets and assemble cooperative associations to produce and distribute everything we need.
Whenever my shift drags, I find myself thinking about this stuff. Am I really the only person whos ever had this idea? I can imagine all the usual objections, but you can bet if it took off in some part of the world everybody else would get in on it quick. Think of the unspeakable ways were all wasting our lives instead. What would it take to get that chain reaction started?
Where do I go to meet people who dont just hate their jobs, but are ready to be done with work once and for all? Far East,P. Box ,Salem, OR inquiries crimethinc. It complements a diagram of the different positions and dynamics that make up the economy that necessitates work.
Together, the book and diagram outline an analysis of capitalism: what it is, how it works, how we might dismantle it. And the book, the diagram, and the analysis are all outgrowths of something morea movement of people determined to fight it. So this book isnt just an attempt to describe reality but also a tool with which to change it.
If any of the words or illustrations resonate with you, dont leave them trapped on these pageswrite them on the wall, shout them over the intercom at your former workplace, change them as you see fit and release them into the world. You can find poster versions of many of the illustrations at crimethinc. This project is the combined effort of a group of people who have already spent many years in pitched struggle against capitalism. What qualifies us to write this?
Some of us used to be students or pizza deliverers or dishwashers; others still are construction workers or graphic designers or civic-minded criminals. But all of us have lived under capitalism since we were born, and that makes us experts on it. The same goes for you. No one has to have a degree in economics to understand whats happening: its enough to get a paycheck or a pink slip and pay attention.
Were suspicious of the experts who get their credentials from on high, who have incentives to minimize things that are obvious to everyone else. Like every attempt to construct a scale model of the world, this one is bound to be partial in both senses of the word. To present the whole story, it would have to be as vast as history. Theres no way to be unbiased, either: our positions and values inevitably influence what we include and what we leave out. What we offer here is simply one perspective from our side of the counter and our side of the barricades.
If it lines up with yours, lets do something about it. Workers Collective [I know this is a massive and ridiculous table of contents I leave it to you to figure out how to present it. If nothing else, this will make a very useful summary of contents to appear on the website.
Also, please note that part II. The Occupation i. Work ii. The Resistance Bibliography Colophon [This is a title spread, introducing the first half of the bookwhich actually comprises the vast majority of it. It should be illustrated with an appropriate photograph and look dramatic, but the text should be effortless to read. The Occupation [Illustrate this section by juxtaposing a patrolling soldier with a short-order cook or something.
Try to make both look very modern and current. I dont have images picked out for thismaybe try the Salgado book? The word brings to mind images of Russian tanks rolling through the streets of Eastern Europe, or US soldiers nervously patrolling hostile neighborhoods in the Middle East. But not every occupation is so obvious. Sometimes occupations go on so long the tanks become unnecessary. They can be rolled back into storage, as long as the conquered remember they can return at any timeor behave as if the tanks were still there, forgetting why they do so.
How do you recognize an occupation? Historically, occupied peoples had to pay a tribute to their conquerors, or else render them some kind of service. A tribute is a sort of rent the occupied pay just to live on their own lands; and as for the servicewell, whats your occupation? You know, what occupies your time? A job, probably, or twoor preparations for one, or recovery from one, or looking for one.
You need that job to pay your rent or mortgage, among other thingsbut wasnt the building you live in built by people like yourself, people who had to work to pay their rent too?
The same goes for all those other products you have to earn money to pay foryou and others like you made them, but you have to buy them from companies like the one that employs you, companies that neither pay you all the money they make from your labor nor sell their products at the price it cost to produce them.
Theyre getting you coming and going! Our lives are occupied territory. Who controls the resources in your community, who shapes your neighborhood and the landscape around it, who sets your schedule day by day and month by month? Even if youre self-employed, are you the one who decides what you have to do to make money? Picture your idea of perfect blissdoes it bear a suspicious resemblance to the utopias you see in advertisements?
Not only our time, but also our ambitions, our sexuality, our values, our very sense of what it means to be humanall these are occupied, molded according to the demands of the market. And we arent the only territory under enemy control. The invisible occupation of our lives mirrors the military occupation of areas at the fringe of this conquered land, where guns and tanks are still necessary to enforce the property rights of robber barons and the liberty of corporations to trade at the expense of hostile localssome of whom still remember what life is like without leases, salaries, or bosses.
You might not be all that different from them yourself, despite having been raised in captivity. Maybe in the bosss office, or in career counseling or romantic quarrels, whenever someone was trying to command your attention and your attention wouldnt cooperate, youve been chided for being preoccupied.
That issome rebel part of you is still held by daydreams and fantasies, lingering hopes that your life could somehow be more than an occupation. There is a rebel army out in the bush plotting the abolition of wage slavery, as sure as there are employees in every workplace waging guerrilla war with loafing, pilfering, and disobedienceand you can join up, too, if you havent already.
But before we start laying plans and sharpening spears, lets look more closely at what were up against. Work [Perhaps illustrate these next two sections with something from Salgado? We could define it as activity for the sake of making money. But arent slave labor and unpaid internships work, too? We could say its activity that accumulates profit for someone, whether or not it benefits the one who carries it out.
But does that mean that as soon as you start making money from an activity, it becomes work even if it was play before? Perhaps we could define work as labor that takes more from us than it gives back, or that is governed by external forces.
Or perhaps we can only understand what work is by stepping back to look at the context in which it takes place. In a world of diversity, one common thread connects us: were all subject to the economy. Christian or Muslim, communist or conservative, in So Paulo or St.
Paul, you probably have to spend the better part of your life trading time for money, or make someone else do it for you, or suffer the consequences. What else can you do? If you refuse, the economy will go on without you; it doesnt need you any more than it needs any of the hundreds of millions already unemployed, and theres no point going hungry for nothing.
You can join a co-op or commune, but youll still face the same market pressures. You can canvas and lobby and protest on behalf of sweatshop workers, but even if you succeed in getting reforms passed, theylike youwill still have to work, whether in maquiladoras or NGO offices. You can go out at night in a black mask and smash all the windows of the shopping district, but the next day youll have to do your shopping somewhere.
You could make a million dollars and still be stuck with your nose at the grindstone trying to keep your lead on everyone else. Even when workers overthrew governments to establish communist utopias, they ended up back at workif they were lucky. All this makes it easy to feel that work is inevitable, that theres no other way our lives could be structured.
Thats convenient for the ones who profit most from this arrangement: they dont have to prove that its the best system if everyone thinks its the only one possible. Is this really how life has always been? Now, however, even the future of the economy is uncertain.
Forget about the EconomyWhat about Us? When the economy crashes, politicians and pundits bewail the consequences for average working families. They demand emergency measuressuch as giving billions of dollars of taxpayer money to the banks that caused the crisis by ripping off average working families in the first place.
Whats going on here? Were told that our lives depend on the economy, that its worth any sacrifice to keep it running. But for most of us, keeping it running is always a sacrifice. When the economy crashes, mining companies stop blowing up mountains.
Developers stop cutting down forests to build new offices and condominiums. Factories stop pouring pollutants into rivers. Gentrification grinds to a halt. Workaholics reconsider their priorities. Prisons are forced to release inmates. Police departments cant buy new weapons. Governments cant afford to mass-arrest demonstrators. Sheriffs sometimes even refuse to evict families from foreclosed homes.
Table of Contents
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Since the summer of , CrimethInc. Typically featuring the performances of traveling theatrical troupes, musicians, direct-action and mutual-aid workshops from individual participants, the few-days-long camping trips have attracted coverage in newspaper articles,  initiated multiple Reclaim the Streets actions, mobilized large Critical Mass events, and catalyzed many other activities. There has been a pattern of promoting convergences as festivals, reminiscent of barnstorming flying circuses and travelling sideshows. Grimy and feral-looking, the CrimethInc kids squatted in small groups around a clearing Every year a different set of policy requests is released from locals in the field, typically encouraging a sober, consensus-based space in which no financial transactions are made. The one firm rule has been "No police informants," a regulation which has been ignored by the FBI. Academic Stacy Thompson has described CrimethInc.
CrimethInc. - Work: Capitalism. Economics. Resistance
What’s Worth Dying for?