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(en) US, Portland, UNFINISHED BUSINESS* #2 Eleven Points to Initiate a Discussion of the Working Class By Chris

Date Tue, 09 Aug 2005 10:09:44 +0300

1. Capital is based on the separation of produc-
ers from the means of producing. It breaks apart
social relationships, fragmenting our activity. Our
lives are dominated by objects that are apparently
beyond our control. It is these objects, rather than
our own social relationships and activities that
appear to be responsible for the production of
social life.
2. Capital is based on the production of "value".
It is based on the creation of equivalence, on mak-
ing everything the same, an abstract equation that
transmits signals from our pay stubs, bank
accounts and credit cards precariously poised at
the borderline of debt, to some distant point,
where? Where does all our money go?
3. The wage relationship is at the core of the
"value" relationship. We are compelled to sell our
time and energy to someone else; we are com-
pelled to relinquish control over our lives because
we do not have direct access to the means of pro-
duction. We work to consume, in order to bring
home bread, cheese, and beer. At work, we are
separated from other people. We are objects. The
discipline of the workplace is designed to capture
our activity, milking our time and energy to the max-
imum extent possible. We are tried, tested, and
4. The immediate point of production, the work-
place, where our goods and services are actively
transformed into commodities provides an especial-
ly vulnerable locus of struggle. Action on the job,
from strikes, slow downs, and occupations to extra
cigarette breaks and absenteeism directly under-
mine the production of value. Every minute that we,
as workers, take to directly satisfy our own needs,
to step outside the program that has been cleanly
laid out for us in our job description, two fifteens and
a half hour, is a minute lost for capital.
5. The value of capital is established through the
active devaluation of other areas of life. Unwaged
labour provides the hidden foundations of the value
relationship. In order to get by, we depend on net-
works that have been constructed with our family,
friends, and neighbors. We work together in order
to get by. Our labour demands an intensifying
process of socialization. We are weaned into our
roles as producers. Our education provides the
infrastructure for the production of value. In unem-
ployment, we provide gristle for the production of
value. Unemployment generates discipline. We
are compelled to work for less, to put up with more
bullshit, to accept wage cuts and longer hours in
order to avoid the unpleasant alternatives.
Our struggles constantly break the
bounds of value laid out by capital.
Our struggles are not restricted to
our roles as workers, but rather
encompass all areas of our lives.
The working class is defined
through autonomous
ments were weeded out, drawing on existing preju-
dices to justify the boundaries drawn. Workers'
struggles were put down while at the same time
making the working class the motor for economic develop ment.
9. The traditional institutions of the left--trade
unions, social democratic parties, and NGOs--have
been complicit in this process. They have been
actively incorporated as a means of mediating class
struggle. These institutions are separated from the
daily experiences of the groups and individuals that
they purportedly "represent", thickening the avenues
of appeal that precipitate in hopeless lobbies and
backroom discussions that go nowhere. Under
certain circumstances, when they manage to
connect with our everyday struggles, trade
unions can certainly be used in order to defy
this logic; however, through state interjection,
pressures mount that demand conformity.

10. The traditional institutions of the left have proved to
be inadequate in curtailing or even slowing the process of
subsumption. Our jobs are getting shittier. When
someone is fired, retires, or quits, their position is
"restructured", broken down into several part time
positions without benefits at half the wages, or elimi-
nated. When new contracts are negotiated by the
unions, there are always sacrifices--mass layoffs or
more plentiful but crappier jobs. When we move out
of our apartments or bungalows, our rent goes up.
When a social democratic government is elected, as
exhibited by the BC NDP government through the
1990s, welfare is slashed, contracts are ripped up,
sacrifices are made at the altar of production.
11. We refuse to acknowledge any amelioration
with capital. Our incorporation under capital can only
mean one thing, our own disempowerment. In seek-
ing to directly satisfy our own needs, we constantly
seek to destabilize and destructure the value rela-
tionship at its roots. We are necessarily separate,
and we will assert our autonomy whenever we can.
Chris is a member of the Victoria Anarchists
Collective, a member collective of the Northwest
Anarchist Federation.
* Unfinished Buisness: Agitational publication of the
U..B.. B U P.o. Box 112 Portland, OR 97232

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