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(en) prol-position - bakery/fast food restaurant in sweden | mcdo

From laskalinkas <laskalinkas@yahoo.de>(http://www.prol-position.net)
Date Sat, 30 Nov 2002 10:01:16 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

These reports went online today:

everyday resistance in a swedish bakery
For almost two years I was employed at a bakery in southern Sweden, 
together with about 160 others; bakers, cleaners and mechanics included. 
 From the first day of work, I was told that the bakery was under the 
threat to be closed down, and, indeed, with time, we got dismissed and the 
bakery shut down. Of course this affected the mood and ways of struggle at 
the bakery, and may be worth to keep in mind while reading the text.

For more click here:
Everyday resistance in a Swedish bakery 


 [Varg I Verum, member of Kämpa Tillsammans/Sweden]

 For almost two years I was employed at a bakery in southern
 Sweden, together with about 160 others; bakers, cleaners
 and mechanics included. From the first day of work, I was
 told that the bakery was under the threat to be closed down,
 and, indeed, with time, we got dismissed and the bakery shut
 down. Of course this affected the mood and ways of struggle
 at the bakery, and may be worth to keep in mind while
 reading the text. For example, it meant that the turnover of
 employees was rather big, and that many of the older people
 went looking for new jobs. 

 Several of my work pals were also involved in the
 autonomous movement, or acquaint left-wing activists from
 other groups. In addition to that, we were engaged in trying
 to get more comrades inside the bakery. We also arranged
 lectures with a comrade who was working at a bakery in
 Stockholm, and one who had been active in a large nucleus
 several years ago. Together, we constituted a group of
 friends, which, in a more or less active and regular manner,
 exchanged experiences and information between the
 different sections of the bakery. It could be added that there
 existed similar groupings of other employees acting in a
 similar way. 

 The methods of struggle that we used were in most case
 things that we had learned in other jobs, or from other
 employees. It was methods of struggle that is seldom written
 about, since it doesn't appear in such a "big" way as a strike
 or an occupation. However, I hold that the direct,
 non-unionist, everyday resistance is the fundamental
 struggle, and that unionist or representative "struggle" don't
 have the ability to be successful without it. Through small,
 disrespectful steps you can transform the general mood on
 your workplace, from a place without hope to a place with a
 fighting spirit. This everyday struggle we, in Kämpa
 Tillsammans!, has chosen to call "the faceless resistance". 

 Faceless Resistance
 We chose this name because it describes the hidden mass
 militancy that is so widely spread in the workers struggles. It
 is faceless because it is digging itself underground just like a
 mole, only to reveal its face on the surface from time to time.
 It is faceless because there are no official leaders or
 representatives who can be blamed or take the credit. It is
 faceless and insidious - you are nodding and listening to the
 instructions of your boss, only to do as you self please in the
 end. A prerequisite for making the faceless resistance an
 important factor is that there are solidarity between the
 workers. It can sometimes be found on workplaces or
 sections of workplaces but for the most time it isn't there.
 And then it has to be created. 

 The "group of friends" often plays an important part in this
 effort. Some buddies begin show solidarity with each other.
 They set a general standard with an element of class
 struggle, which slowly affects others who eventually, joins
 up. You back each other up, you take extra breaks in turns
 and when the boss ask for someone that has taken a extra
 break, you say that she has gone to fetch a new ear
 protection to replace her broken pair. In the process of
 creating this kind of solidarity, the breaks are really essential,
 but not because you sit down to discuss the "ways to
 Struggle!" as because the simple fact that you are getting to
 know each other. 

 What is to be done?
 As everybody else I started at the place with numerous
 short-time temporary employment's as a "stand in", which
 all in all lasted for about a year. These were located in very
 different stations and sections, a fact that soon resulted in a
 lot of contacts inside the bakery. You quickly got an overview
 about which section was involving heavier work than others
 did or which one that had good work pals. A thing that the
 Left always kept on about was that you should handle all
 conflicts in a brave and direct manner, and that you always
 should protest if something is wrong. Maybe it works for
 someone who has a none-time limited contract but as a
 "stand in" it is pure fantasy. If you argued too much with the
 bosses (or the union-representative for that matter) and
 didn't behave, you had been forced to search for new jobs on
 the moon. Furthermore, new girls were forced to work extra
 hard on the sections of the bakery that were dominated by
 men, in order to be recognised. In this situation the thing is
 to find methods of struggle that makes the boring and
 monotonous labour bearable. Then, longer breaks are
 important. Not only to regain one's forces, but maybe more
 important, to be able to talk with your work pals. 

 The first day on job you got instructions that all breaks
 should be timed. These instructions were quickly demented
 by the bakers who'd been working there for a longer time
 than we had been. All in all, we had one hour break a day,
 and if you didn't punch out your break on the clock, the
 salary-office would take one hour from your paycheque. If
 you punched out during your break, but stayed longer than
 one hour, they would take more from your salary, but if you
 didn't punch out at all they took the hour anyway. In that
 way, you could only loose if punching out. Instead, we took
 longer breaks in turns. It worked well and everything was
 just fine. The boss couldn't argue much, because no one was
 punching out. If anyone was asked why he or she didn't
 punch out during the breaks, that person answered that he or
 she had forgotten it, or that "somebody" had told him or her
 that it wasn't needed. Then the boss would say that you
 should punch out in future, and you would say "Yes" and
 then keep on don't giving a shit about it. 

 This way of pretending getting along with the ideas of the
 boss, only to do what you want in reality, can be resembled
 by Aikido. If it isn't really necessary to stand up and argue an
 opposite view with the boss, you just simply slip away, doing
 totally different than what he instructed you to do. If it was
 important for the boss to go around believing that he was in
 charge, we let him do that - as long as we were in charge in

 The idea was that it should be as short time between
 different kinds of bread as possible. But because we all
 realised that all our arguments, about this being more
 stressful and hard for us by the troughs and ovens, and
 especially in packing, wouldn't change anything at all, we
 pretended we really tried to do everything as fast as possible.
 In practice we were saying that there were problems with the
 old machines, that it was a "wheat stoppage" (something
 that were impossible for them to investigate), which was
 sorted out after a while, or we just lagged behind and
 pretended that we were lousier than we really were. It is
 always positive not to put a full effort on the job, so that you
 have some reserves left for an occasion when they are

 "Someone" - The Usage of Mythology
 For the bread to come out as good as possible it was
 necessary to set the machines on a mode on which they had
 to be constantly supervised, something we were supposed to
 do. Since we, in addition to this, were placed on several lines
 at the same time, the working conditions became absurd - if
 the dough got stuck on one line you had to fix it, while the
 dough on the other line could get stuck as well. Which it
 mostly got, according to the law of "Everything gets fucked
 up". Naturally, the solution was to run the machine on a
 totally different mode on which the dough never got stuck.
 When the foreman discovered it, we always pretended to be
 really surprised and complained about the machines: they
 were probably malfunctioning. Or maybe some "bastard" had
 changed the settings: there were so many people who had
 been working at this post earlier on, and when they passed
 by perhaps they taught they could change the settings the
 way they wanted them. Of course, no one was pointed out
 for these misdeeds, but it went so far that the foreman
 himself went around mumbling about it, trying to figure out
 who was responsible for running around changing the
 settings all the time. 

 We used our knowledge of the labour process in a two-edged
 way. When there were bosses who knew more or as much as
 us, we referred to our lack of knowledge. At the same time,
 we were making up reasons about things they knew nothing
 of ("the dough was too sticky"), when explaining why the
 settings were changed for the bosses who lacked the right
 knowledge. And because they were the bosses they wouldn't
 ask us further. We also made usage of terms the bosses
 wouldn't understand. We, for example, called coffee breaks
 "to pencil". When they asked us how much work there was
 to be done, we would say that we just had some pencilling
 left, and then they were tricked to believe that this was the
 name of some important task. 

 Other, alien, factors of usage were bosses from other parts of
 the bakery. The fact was that our boss never spoke too some
 of the other bosses, whom he was in disagreements with,
 while we claimed that they had given us other instructions,
 and that we didn't know better than to obey them, because
 we were new. 

 The State Health Department was another great authority. I
 don't know if they would have said anything, but we said that
 they had some remarks on the way the bosses said us to do
 the cleaning up anyway (you got a lot of wheat in your lungs
 using their procedure). And because the law and the Health
 Department reasonably stood over the authority of our
 bosses we couldn't take responsibility for this way of
 cleaning up. 

 Solidarity-lacking work pals
 As in many other workplaces there was a little traitor and ass
 licking bastard in our section of the bakery. He refused to
 show solidarity with the work pals by skipping work himself
 while the others got more work to do. While we had a
 common effort for less control and a lesser work burden, him
 running away from work affected us all. Furthermore, he
 was licking the boss's arse and got the best working hours
 and holidays, and at a few occasions he was even acting as
 an informer for the boss when people took longer breaks
 than they were supposed too. Especially he had an interest of
 trying to boss around the newcomers. 

 There were many ways trying to deal with him; somebody
 threatened him, we told all new ones not to let him play the
 chief of and we refused to help him out when he had
 problems. He was almost totally isolated in the workplace
 and was disliked by everyone. He was a constant problem,
 that didn't end before he quit the job, but at a certain point
 we had developed a kind of balance. For example, he
 stopped snitching, and then we stopped controlling his
 acting and when he took his breaks. In a kind of way, we had
 a use for him, as an intimidating example for the
 newcomers: in him, they saw what consequence disloyalties
 to ones work pals brought with itself. Namely, to get
 mocked, ridiculed and totally frozen out. 

 Not being on the level (or "No pure wheat in the bag")
 At the same time as our work team produced about 3000
 breads a hour, that was sold for 15-20 crowns (about 1,5-2,0
 Euro or US-Dollar) a piece, the bosses were walking around
 with the misconception that we should have to pay for the
 bread we brought home. Kindly enough, we were only
 obliged to pay half the price. But luckily enough, the people
 on the floor saw it with a bit clearer perspective. Everyone
 improved their economy by bringing bread and cookies to
 their families, friends, neighbours, collectives and people's
 kitchens, or to sale/exchange with the small stores. In theory
 we were supposed to write everything down in a book, but
 this was forgotten when you were on your way home.
 Anyway, you could just get a key to open the box yourself
 and take whatever bag of bread you wanted, when you were
 supposed to buy something. After a while, it went so far that
 we even provided ourselves with bread when a boss was
 around. This was motivated with the notion that labour itself
 was something that were depriving us workers, and anyway,
 the bosses were probably also stealing. When an angry
 placard appeared, with the announcement that something
 big and expensive was missing, and that the boss of that part
 of the bakery demanded it to be returned, it wasn't a long
 matter of time before somebody had written "You could
 always check in your own garage!" 

 "Stop making a mess, ooooooooooor else the Boss will
 come!" - To communicate and to ridicule For those who
 didn't have a permanent contract it was, as I mentioned
 earlier, somewhat hard to protest. Then a more anonymous
 form of communication got an important function, especially
 scribble on the toilets. There were some brilliant examples of
 working class culture, for example in the form of poetry,
 limericks and drawings. Following is a poem, written by

 Blank lottery ticket

 When I got a job I was happy
 But probably couldn't have been unluckier at all
 For as soon as the next day
 The boss came and said
 "Toil on, you big bastard,
 you have to make more profits"

 Yes, the owners get rich and fat
 Without being obliged to work themselves
 But when the business go back
 Then the General Manager attacks
 Cuts a couple of thousands of jobs
 Just like a fucking snob 

 And you can hardly trust the employment office
 When we at the bakery is forced to quit
 No, when we got sacked
 Our sole chance is a bingo lottery ticket! 

 This poem was so popular that other bakers printed it and
 spread it in the bakery. Another pearl was a drawing showing
 the bakery as a concentration camp, with foremen sitting in
 machine gun turrets. After a while, I started to go too
 different toilets, just for the fun of looking at the writings on
 the walls, the mock drawings and the political debates that
 went on. 

 Another important aspect of the scribbling on the toilets was
 how they made fun of the bosses. With the help of this, their
 authority was undermined and our mood was improved.
 Instead of asking if the boss had done his daily inspection
 route, you were instead saying things like: "Has the old
 bastard shown his fat arse yet?" Once, when I was called
 down to the boss's office for some reason to have a yelling,
 some anonymous hero had put in a screen saver that said
 "The Boss and the foremen = Suckers!" (The boss was no
 ace in computers and couldn't change it.) This ruined the
 grave mood that was meant too be prevalent in this particular

 Work morals - a two-edged sword
 For keeping your job you better had to learn as much in the
 shortest time possible. At the same time, it was hard keeping
 the balance between "showing your feet" and pure arse
 licking. No sane person wanted to smile his way in to the
 bosses heart, increase the work pace or to get work
 assignments that you barley mastered. But at the same time,
 the older employees were better listeners, when you were
 talking about your opinions, the better you were (if you
 weren't cocky that is). Many of those who presented
 themselves as loyal too the management, and preached
 themselves warm about work morals, still acted in a totally
 opposite way. The confession of the lips can be used as a
 defence mechanism, a smoke curtain and facade for saving
 one's own skin, making it easier with getting away with
 things and to be spared from getting shit from those on top.
 The bosses encouraged the "work morals" and were talking
 about almost mythological former bakers, who could feel the
 difference between dough 28,5 degrees Celsius and dough
 29 degrees, with their bare hands. The answer was simply to
 try to show that you could do your job without it affecting
 anyone else through an increased work pace. If we
 youngsters would have worked hard, we could have made
 others unemployed, by opening up the "sacking
 people"-alternative for the management or the one where
 they wouldn't have to hire stand ins. 

 Like a fucking kindergarten... The labour itself was rather
 boring and also, in many instances, quite physical
 demanding. You could be standing on the same spot,
 packing bread or laying tins on a production line, all day
 long. Too stand this there was a brutal sense of humour and
 several kind of pranks. You were warmly poking fun with
 each other and in a not as warm manner with the bosses
 ("Let's call the customs and tell them that he has half a kilo
 amphetamine in his arse!"). Once, when we had many
 people on learning, we cleared away the dough pots, made a
 ball out of tape and then had a soccer game with three
 players in each team. Sometimes we had daily battles with
 dough as projectiles (of course, we didn't use that dough for
 bread). Besides being fun, it was hard for the boss to put his
 foot down, when you are just fooling around and playing all
 the time. 

 Nontenured employees as shields
 After a while, the comrades that had a nontenured
 employment or that was educated with a fixed assignment
 were given the task to act as "shields" for the others. They
 had too take demands too the boss and could argue more
 openly against him, because they couldn't get sacked just
 like that. 

 When new persons came, the foremen liked to say to them
 that we were their "bosses", because we had been on the
 bakery longer than they had. We tried to take this notion out
 of them, with the quite good argument: we had the same
 salary as them. The fact that the foremen called us the
 newcomers' bosses could easily be turned against the
 management. When they new employees were assigned to
 do meaningless shit-jobs, we told them that they could do
 something else, funnier, or take a coffee break instead. And
 if the foremen complained the new workers could just refer
 to us - the bosses. 

 Collective strength
 In the final days of the bakery there were not very much to
 do there, so we wanted leave with a full paycheque before
 the working day had ended. The boss refused, and told us to
 do the cleaning up in an extremely minute way instead. Most
 would think that it would get a proper cleaning when the
 whole building would be turned down... Some days after they
 had told us that we couldn't go home before the working day
 had ended, there was an big breakdown on an other bakery,
 and the whole of southern Sweden were risking a stoppage
 on some types of our bread. When the boss declared this, he
 said that it probably would mean five-hour overtime for us
 workers. We just nodded in reply, while we all agreed
 afterwards, to go home by the end of the regular working
 hours. Soon people began titling-tattling about that we
 shouldn't finish all the bread, because we had told them in
 packing, that it would be no overtime when they asked us for
 how long we should work. Grown-up men, twice as old as
 us, ran around looking either worried (the bosses) or giggly
 (the bakers). When the boss of our section of the bakery
 called to ask us what was happening we just told him that we
 had quit working for the day and just had do the cleaning to
 go home. We were expecting the yelling of the year, but
 instead he got all worked up and all he said was "Ok". It was
 a wonderful feeling going home that day. 

 At one occasion the management wanted to change the
 working hours for some of us, adding three more hours, a
 three hours earlier working day once a week - something we
 were absolutely opposed to. The union wanted us to have
 more salary during that time, the company wanted us to
 have the same salary as we had, while we demanded extra
 paid vacancy if we were to accept this at all. When we arrived
 at work one day we found out that the union
 representative-bastard had signed papers without our
 approval (they could and can do that legally - he had right to
 negotiate even if we didn't want it). When he came to work
 we went to the room were we had our coffee (were else...)
 and confronted him. He told us that he had accepted the new
 working hours, but that he and management wasn't in an
 agreement (hmm...). All this grew too an argument of
 gigantic proportions and we got so excited that we didn't
 notice that more and more workers came along. Anyway, we
 told him that we refused to show up before our regular
 working day began - something another worker happily
 remarked was a wildcat strike. In answer, he suggested that
 we perhaps were in the wrong business if we couldn't handle
 this kind of working hours. Others, newly arrived listeners,
 half-joking began to nominate a new union representative.
 Finally we left him with the words that he could approve
 whatever hours he wanted to, but that we would come and
 go in accordance with our regular hours. It never came any
 instructions on new hours, so I guess he ran to the boss and
 that they agreed not to carry it trough. Well, then we agreed
 not to carry trough the project of painting his car in the
 yellow colour of the class traitor. 

 Closing down
 Finally the decision to close down the bakery came. It came,
 as a relief for many who had been walking around waiting
 and who just wanted to know. Because of the fact that the
 same company had closed down so many other bakeries in
 other places without meeting any resistance, there was no
 one who was ready to pick up the fight for keeping the place.
 In general we thought that it was a shitty job, and it that
 case, we could take any shitty job. 

 Some conclusions
 The faceless resistance is very much about small everyday
 conflicts, and is a form of struggle that anyone can be
 involved in. Because of this, this way of struggle can also
 combat the hierarchies within the working class - it gives
 practical possibilities for struggling together. Instead of
 waiting an eternity for some big red union guy that will fix
 everything, you can just get it started yourself. It could be a
 question of you gaining from it, of acting in solidarity with
 one's work mates or other workers (for example the workers
 who bought the bread we were producing), of being driven
 by a burning political conviction, of wanting to have a
 vengeance on the management or individual bosses, of
 simplifying the labour process, or simply because it is fun! 

   prols | 11/2002
struggle against value in a swedish hamburger restaurant
My last job was at a private owned hamburger restaurant. Although the 
restaurant didn?t belong to any multinational company like McDonalds or 
Burgerking, it was rather big and was open every day in the week only 
closed between 7 and 10 in the morning. Most of the people who worked there 
were teenagers or people like me in the twenties, and there were mainly 
girls. The majority had another job or went to school the same time as they 
worked at the restaurant. It came and went people all the time at the 
restaurant, people didn?t cope with the work conditions or they thought 
that the wage was too lousy. The majority of the staff was employed 
illegally and one had too work more than a year to get an ordinary contract 
and an ordinary wage.

For more click here:

Struggle against Value in a Swedish Hamburger


 [Marcel, member of Kämpa Tillsammans/Sweden]

 This text has two goals. The first one is to try to create an
 interest in the daily ongoing class struggle that is waged
 everyday in every workplace. I will try to show that
 something so completely unglamorous and ordinary as
 working at a restaurant, or rather the small hidden struggles
 that are waged against capital there, is part of the communist
 movement. The other goal is to show that theoretical notions
 like capital, communism, use- and exchange value not are
 something abstract and academic, but rather something
 concrete that influence our life and which we in turn

 To make hamburgers
 My last job was at a private owned hamburger restaurant.
 Although the restaurant didn?t belong to any multinational
 company like McDonalds or Burgerking, it was rather big
 and was open every day in the week only closed between 7
 and 10 in the morning. Most of the people who worked there
 were teenagers or people like me in the twenties, and there
 were mainly girls. The majority had another job or went to
 school the same time as they worked at the restaurant. It
 came and went people all the time at the restaurant, people
 didn?t cope with the work conditions or they thought that the
 wage was too lousy. The majority of the staff was employed
 illegally and one had too work more than a year to get an
 ordinary contract and an ordinary wage. Before that, you
 were an apprentice with a much lower wage. Being an
 apprentice also meant that the boss could give you the sack
 whenever he felt liked it. Most of the people who worked
 there chose not to work at the restaurant for more than a
 couple of months. We were all constant looking for other
 jobs or other ways to get money.

 Many people believed that it was better for the employees at
 that restaurant than at McDonalds for example. They
 thought this because the restaurant was not owned by a big
 company but by one man and also because there were
 rumours that the owner gave money to football teams and
 benefit organisations. We who worked there knew better. My
 leftist friends even dared to tell me that it was good that I
 worked at the restaurant because it wasn?t a multinational
 company and also because the rumours about the owners
 philanthropic personality. They didn?t understand that the
 conflict between proletariat and capital is on all workplaces,
 whatever it is a restaurant or a factory, a small or a big
 company, owned privately or state controlled. As long there
 is wage labour there will be capital, and, as long there is
 capital there will be resistance to it. This resistance, the class
 struggle, not only shows itself in dramatic forms of
 resistance like strikes, occupations and riots, but also in the
 small escape attempts from work and the hidden struggles
 directed against value like theft, sabotages and work to rule.
 This small and hidden resistance against wage labour has
 been depicted as termites that slowly bite themselves
 through the foundations that capitalism relay on. We in
 Kämpa Tillsammans! call these struggles ?faceless
 resistance? because one of theirs characteristics is that they
 are faceless and invisible, something that often also makes
 them invisible to so-called revolutionaries.

 Communism as a movement
 Wage labour is always exploitation. The work conditions are
 of course much better for a Swedish restaurant worker than
 for example a child that works in a shoe factory in China.
 The problem is that there is only one world where the
 conditions and the exploitation of the workers in Sweden and
 China are connected with each other. If one is serious about
 changing the world, one must attack the very basis that
 capital is dependent on, namely wage labour.
 The central problem for capital is to put people in work so
 that they can create value. Under capital work as a human
 activity and the means of production is appropriated from
 men and we are thus forced to sell our labour power to
 survive. Our human activity is abducted by the economy,
 which separates it from us. This makes us neglect that it is
 in fact we that through our own social relations to one
 another, by our own actions, that creates the world. Capital
 is a manmade monster, not a mysterious ghost that floats
 over our head beyond our grasp. The widespread belief that
 people can?t change the world or even their own daily life
 comes from this separation. The feeling of meaninglessness
 and dullness can also be traced to the fact that our activity is
 separated from us and turned against us like an alien force.
 As someone has said; Marx notion that humanity realise
 itself through work has been so strange that it belongs to
 another world.

 That world ­ communism shows itself in all the struggles
 and activities that are waged against capital in the
 workplaces, at the schools, on the streets and in the homes.
 If communism is a movement that show it self right before
 our eyes, then we must open or eyes and look for it. If we
 even are to blind to understand the importance for the small
 daily class struggle however weak and isolated, then we will
 never really understand that the dynamic behind these
 ongoing struggles and activities is in fact communism itself.
 This everyday resistance is in the worst case even
 disregarded as something that isn?t interesting at all. For the
 people who have this perspective it is only the glamorous and
 heroic struggles like big strikes and occupations of the
 workplaces that count. Either they don?t care about its
 importance to working people or they just don?t understand
 it. That the ?faceless resistance? that is waged day by day
 against capital and wage labour sometimes even can be more
 effective than these open struggles is something that they
 don?t grasp, and they are also the first important steps to a
 wider and larger community of resistance to capital. That
 communism hides its face behind these struggles is
 something they don?t even would believe in their wildest
 dreams. For them communism is an economic system that
 one builds. Not a movement that is born from the womb of
 the old society, not an activity that fundamentally changes
 people relationship to the world, to one another, to life itself.

 The escape attempts from work
 As I said earlier people came and went all the time at the
 restaurant. Most of the people only worked there for some
 months then they quit, often they had got another job instead
 or they have just been fed up by the place. When I worked at
 the restaurant there were only the boss, his son and the sons
 close friends that have worked at the restaurant for more
 than two years. The conflict between the ?new ones? (the
 majority who worked there) and the few who had worked at
 the restaurant for a long time, was obvious from the first
 work day. This showed itself very clearly because it was the
 boss son and his friend that did the work schedule and
 therefore always got the best work shifts. Not only we that
 just have began to work there but also people who worked
 several months or up to a year get the bad work shifts,
 mainly nights especially Friday and Saturday nights. They
 also told the boss everything we did and said, therefore they
 soon became regarded as the boss spies. It was also these
 people who told us the rules at the restaurant for example
 that one wasn?t allowed to talk about the wage and compare
 it with another. This of course led till the first we question
 we asked a new work mate when we met him or her was
 how much he or she earned.
 The ?new ones? (the majority who worked there and who
 hadn?t worked more than a year) didn?t identify with their
 work or their workplace. We were there because we needed
 money and we were open to each other about this, the new
 ones were rather open to each other that we all in our ways
 tried to escape from work.

 Two work mates and I created something that can be
 compared with an affinity group. This was not something we
 had planned, of course had we talked about that we didn?t
 like the job, that we thought the pay was to bad and stuff like
 that. But we have never talked about trying to create some
 activities against work. This happened almost spontaneously.
 The first things we did together was that someone of us
 punched in the other two at the time clock. I can?t remind
 who did it the first time, but this small escape attempt from
 work was something we continued with but now planned
 and together. This meant that two of us come could very late
 to work and we were paid for the time we weren?t there. It
 worked also very well for the person who worked alone for at
 the beginning of the work shifts there were often nothing to
 do. We had to be quite careful so that the boss or his little
 ?spies? didn?t catch us. After this we began to take money
 from the cash machine so we could play pinball or listen to
 music from the jukebox, or sometimes take the money
 home. One of the bosses rules were of course that we
 weren?t allowed to listen to music or play pinball at work
 (even if we paid with our own money) which we of course
 didn?t care about. If one didn?t take to much money from
 the cash machine then the boss didn?t notice anything
 because he had a small marginal because it happened that
 people pushed in the wrong price in the cash machines.
 Another thing we did to get money, was to type in the wrong
 price in the machines then the boss could not even notice
 that money was gone. When we played pinball or just were
 lazy we had to see that the customers were not neglected too
 much, because many of the people who used to go to the
 restaurant were friendly with the boss. 

 If you were an apprentice you worked with two others on the
 evening shift, but when the boss thought that you had
 learned the most important stuff, then you worked with only
 one other person, that meant a lot of more work. To counter
 this we made a lot of small ?mistakes? so that the boss
 didn?t believe that we were mature to work in pair yet. It was
 of course very important that we didn?t make too big
 mistakes, in that case we would just have lost the job. We
 had to be careful. This escape attempt from work were
 actually created by a mistake, one evening we had a lot to do
 so we were not ready with all the things that we should had
 done before the night shift started. We had to work over
 fifteen or twenty minutes and do the last dishes, fill the food
 supplies and so on. The boss worked every night shift so we
 did these mistakes quite often, which meant that we worked
 over maybe fifteen minutes or something but we could still
 work three at the evening shift, which made the workday
 much more fun and easy.

 All these small attempts to do the workday more fun and less
 alienating was something that we tried to spread and
 circulate to other work mates which we usually didn?t work
 with. Not by first talking open about that how to flee work.
 Instead we tried to let the activities speak for themselves,
 after that we could be more open about these activities.
 Many people of course did these things already, we shared
 tips and everyone had there own way to do the workday less
 boring and more fun. For example I shared our small
 ?affinity groups? experiences how to delay the working day
 with other people that I worked with, so the boss thought
 that they had to be three people at the shifts. Most people
 thought that it was better to finish a bit later than to have to
 work harder all the day. One of the big weaknesses (despite
 that they all were very defensive) with our escape attempts
 from work was that we didn?t even try to involve more
 people and especially the ones who have worked at the place
 longer than us. We simply assumed that they all were loyal
 to the boss and the workplace.

 Communication, community and play
 Talking to each other, communication, were of course
 important means to have it better at the workplace. It grew
 more important to me personally when the two guys in my
 ?affinity group? stopped working at the restaurant. My work
 situation changed dramatically because I didn?t knew which
 people I could trust and rely on. Of course as I have
 explained most of the people did similar things like my
 friends and I did, but there were some people who told the
 boss and his son what people did against his workplace. One
 of the best ways of finding out if I could trust a person or not
 was of course to talk about the things we weren?t allowed to
 talk about. Like for example comparing our wages or ask if
 you worked ?illegal? (didn?t pay any taxes) and if you did
 how much of the working day was illegal. When one talked
 about this you always showed which ?side? you were on.
 Those who didn?t talk about these things weren?t reliable. If
 answered the question you could continue to the next step.
 For example I dared to steal money from the cash machine
 something that I before mainly had done in my ?affinity
 group? with a lot of other people. Doing these small illegal
 and secret things created a sense of community and
 solidarity between us. One form of resistance that
 strengthened this feeling of community and bound us
 together was the question of who should organise the work
 and how it should be organised. The boss usually used to
 come in to the shifts and tell us how we should do the work.
 He wanted to split up the work, so one was in the kitchen,
 one did the dishes and one made the hamburgers. This led
 till that we all were isolated from each other and did our
 things for ourselves. Fortunately there were almost no one
 who obeyed this rules, as soon as the boss had went, we
 organised the work activities together and helped each other.
 These things may not be seen as something important, or
 they even could be seen as a seed to a future
 self-management of capital. But that was not the case, it
 created a community between us that were important and it
 also did they workday more fun and easy. It was a resistance
 against boredom and alienation, it was a means to work less.
 It was a means not a goal. If we could have found a better job
 or got money from another place, or if we could be part of a
 more general and open movement that aimed to abolish
 capital, then I think we should have left the restaurant, not
 tried to organise the work ourselves.

 All who work there had different personal ways to create a
 more exciting and fun workday and to try to create some sort
 of community. Often people did things that didn?t seem to
 have any purpose or meaning more than they were fun. But
 often these things were an indirect attack direct against the
 workplace. People tried to play and use the commodities at
 the workplaces for themselves in stead of selling them. For
 example some young kids used to amuse themselves by
 deep frying the food that weren?t supposed to be deep-fried,
 they thought it was fun to play with the stuff. A girl used to
 juggle with the food and do a lot of circus stuff with it, it was
 actually quite impressive.
 Another one experimented with the sauces and used a lot of
 spices in them, often so much that it had to be trashed
 (when the boss found that out, he went really mad.) All
 people tried to use the commodities at work for themselves.
 Instead of selling them, people used them and had fun with
 them in their individual, strange and often very child like
 ways. This was a small attempt to get control over the
 activity that had been stolen from them and to lighten up the
 workday. It was acts against the alienation and boredom at

 The struggle against value
 In the capitalist society a hamburger is like every other
 commodities not valuable because it can be used but
 because it can be sold. A hamburger is not worth anything
 because one can eat it, but because one can sell it to a
 person who is hungry. Under capitalism things not only have
 a use value (like that a hamburger can be eaten) but also an
 exchange value (the hamburger like every other commodity
 can be sold). This is nothing ?natural? that capitalism wants
 us to believe, in fact there is a big conflict in society around
 these two conditions.
 Communism is an activity that among other things tries to
 suppress exchange value. It means a creation of a human
 community where the activities of men will among other
 things see that things are use values and not exchange
 values as under capitalism. This shows itself clearly in the
 workers struggle.
 The class struggle is directed against the commodity and
 exchange value. On the restaurant this was clear when we
 tried to use the things that we could find at the restaurant
 direct without meditations for our own needs, how strange
 these needs however might seem to be. For example the
 young guys who liked to deep fry food till it was destroyed or
 the girl who juggled with the groceries. But maybe the most
 open and visible times when we tried to use things as use
 values and not as exchange values were when we stole food
 or other things from the workplace. This was rather risky
 because the boss had a very strict control on the groceries
 and he knew how much food people bought per day, but
 thefts did occur from time to time. Sabotage at the restaurant
 was also directed against capital transformations of things to
 commodities and exchange values. One time we destroyed a
 lot of food (commodities, exchange values and in that case
 also use-values) because the boss had been very annoying to
 us. Another guy and I were very mad not only at the boss but
 at the whole situation, because we hated the place, so we
 went in to the fridge and took at a lot of boxes of food out
 from it and destroyed them. This could be seen as rather
 irrational and meaninglessness but for us at that time it felt
 very good and relieving. After we had done that we placed
 the destroyed boxes in the fridge, and put other boxes and
 stuff on them, so it would take some weeks before the boss
 or others would notice it, and then no one could notice who
 it was that had done it. Sabotage and destruction of
 commodities were uncommon more than other things like
 for example thefts. But every time it happened we noticed
 that the boss were very intimidated about it and behaved
 more ?properly? towards after someone had destroyed
 something. Other things that happened and which were
 directed against value, was that people deliberately wrote in
 the wrong price on the cash machines. We didn?t do this to
 annoy the boss, but because we thought that it was too
 expansive to eat there and because it was another way of
 creating a small community between us. Not a community
 of workers but rather as proletarians who are tired of being
 proletarians, a community, however small and isolated, of
 activities directed against work and value, against the very
 conditions that make humans proletarians.

 The struggle against value is something that can be seen in
 all parts of society; from the thefts from work and the looting
 of shops to house- and work place occupations.
 Communism is an activity, which aims to be so powerful
 that it destroys value through humankind?s appropriation of
 her work and the means of production that have been
 isolated from her.

 The boss
 Although most of us who worked at the restaurant didn?t
 like the boss and his ways of getting us work harder, we
 couldn?t stop feeling a little pity and sympathy for him. He
 worked every night at the week, and only took vacations
 once a year for a week or two. We all worked with him
 sometimes and he used to hang out in the restaurant, so
 whatever we wanted it or not we all got a personal
 connection to him. For a few people this created a feeling
 that they must help him and they started to identify with the
 work places. They felt that the restaurant was their places as
 much as the owner?s place. The restaurant didn?t go that
 well economically and it was really the owner who worked
 hardest of us all. We often asked ourselves why he did work
 so hard and so often. It was not necessary for his survival to
 work every night. We even wished that he spent more time
 with his family that he used to talk about at the nights. In the
 beginning I only saw these things as some kind of
 bourgeoisie ?slave morality? and thought of it as an obstacle.
 Which in ways it of course was, we were all bound to him
 emotionally. But after a while I understand that this only
 affected our activities against wage labour marginally. We
 were driven by our own interests and needs, which didn?t
 mean that we didn?t feel sorry for our boss and wished him
 another life. Our disgust and our resistance were direct
 against the workplace it self instead of the boss. The essence
 of the conflict was about that we had to be there to get
 money, we wanted to do other things, be with our loved
 ones, play at the beach or do other more meaningful things.
 We did not want to exchange our time and our life to get
 money. We did not want wage labour. Of course the boss
 weren?t popular but the conflict was never ?we? against
 ?him?, it was rather ?all? against the relation that imprisoned
 us at the restaurant. Of course some activities were directly
 aimed at him, but these were very few. Most of us thought
 that it was a sad consequence that the boss had to suffer
 from our activities that were against the social relations that
 imprisoned us there. There weren?t any winners at the
 restaurant - neither the boss nor the workers.

 Like a small capital
 The restaurant could be viewed as a small capital. The
 conflict in capitalism is about much more essential things
 than the difference between those who posses the means of
 production and those who are dispossessed from it, or
 between the rich and the poor. There are of course real
 conflicts and differences between those who own and those
 who don?t and between rich and poor. And when the
 proletariat wages its struggle against capital, both hidden and
 open ones, it will necessary clash against the functionaries of
 capital. But it is not the capitalists that control capital, it is
 capital who controls the capitalists. Not only are the
 proletarians changeable but also the functionaries for capital.
 In capitalism humans are not worth anything as humans.
 The only thing that is important for capital is the role that
 they fulfil in the society, a role, which another one can take
 over if a person don?t fulfil it. The class struggle is not a
 ?robin hood? project and the proletariat is not only the poor.
 To say that the conflict is between the rich and the poor
 hides the real contradiction namely that between
 communism and capital. And it also gives people a false
 solution on how capitalism can be destroyed namely, that we
 just have to have to finish off the rich. This is a formulation
 that stands on its head, it is not the rich who creates
 capitalism. It is capitalism that creates richness and therefore
 also poverty. We will be rid of this difference if we get rid of

 If it is not the rich who are in control, then who is it? It is the
 ?law of value? that governs capitalism and forces everyone
 rich as poor, to a hunt for more and more money. This ?law?
 can not be tamed, all the attempts of doing so has either
 failed or been crushed. Value must be destroyed if not
 everyone shall dance after its pipe. This was something that
 showed itself in a very open manner at the restaurant. Of
 course our boss earned a lot more money then us (and we
 wanted more money) but as we, his employees had to work
 for survival, he was forced to accumulate value or be
 bankrupt. In small companies the owner often have to work
 for himself with the employees, sometimes even both more
 often and harder than the workers. That he owned the
 restaurant and earned a lot from our work created a real
 conflict between him and us, but if would had been fooled if
 we thought that all the problems we faced would been solved
 if we only get rid of the owner. Even if the restaurant had
 been state owned or if we who worked there had managed
 the place for ourselves, we would still have had to obey the
 tyranny of value and follow the laws of the market and the
 economy. That would also mean that most of the problems
 that existed when the restaurant was private owned still
 would exist if the ownership had changed. As I said earlier
 capital rules the rulers and it tries to reduce everyone, both
 rich and poor, to something that is useful for capital. It
 tolerates only people who obey capital and are passive
 followers of the economy. Class struggle whose dynamic is
 communism is a radical break with this inexpressiveness,
 this passivity, and this lack of activity.

 The conditions of capital are simply that humanity?s activity
 has been separated from her and that it is we ourselves that
 uphold this separation through our own social relations. If it
 is in fact we who create capital, then we can also destroy it.
 Capital survives mainly through our own passivity but it has
 also institutions like the police, military, morality, and
 hierarchy who protect it. Even the left and the workers
 movement support it directly or indirectly. The left program
 is mainly about HOW people should manage production.
 Social democrats and Leninists want state owned
 production, libertarians and councilists want that workers
 themselves shall own it themselves and they both want to
 distribute the profit fair and equal. Communism is of course
 about self-government but it is mainly directed at WHAT
 people shall and can manage.

 If capital is passivity where our activities don?t belong to us
 and where people don?t believe that they can?t change their
 own situation. Then communism is activity and movement.
 A movement that is present in the class struggle, in the old
 society, that it tries to abolish and an activity that will mean
 the end of separations and meditations and therefor the
 destruction of value, economy and work. This is a world
 without money and profit. Which doesn?t mean any earthly
 paradise or that man would have been turned to angels. It
 only means a world where humanity?s activity belongs to
 her, something that surely creates new and unforeseen
 problems, conflicts and contradictions. If this mean there
 won?t be any junk food restaurants is all too early to answer.

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