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Welcome slackers!

August 1, 2011

And aspiring slackers… which I suspect is plenty more people than might admit it. Most of us love freedom and wish to escape the daily grind so that we can live the lives we know we’re capable of. If we only had the time.

As many of you know, hours of work in the U.S. have increased dramatically (and remain far higher than those in most rich countries) while wages and salaries have stagnated overall. Our families, communities, politics, and most important, our dreams, are crippled terribly, in ways this blog will attempt to demonstrate. There is, however, another possibility.

Americans at the moment understand clearly that corporations dominate and regular folks don’t have much power (in a recent Gallup poll, 67% agree that corporations have too much). However, we’ve lost our sense of power to shape a world dominated by transnational corporations, and have retreated into a desperate hustle just to stay above water (work harder! get another degree! multitask better!) My aim here is to remind folks that there is a radical tradition in American politics — the labor movement demand to restrict labor supply — that workers once knew would both increase their power with respect to employers and deliver the free time that is the constitutive element of fun, of relationships, of social and political engagement — of life.

Long ago, most unions abandoned the popular demand for shorter hours and traded the language of freedom for the discourse of “jobs, jobs, jobs.” This profoundly uninspiring discourse — combined with capital’s relentless 40-year attack on the American working class — has been a tragic failure, for the unions and for workers overall. Now that unions have, for all intents and purposes, been decimated, we have a chance to rebuild a workers’ movement on a different foundation.

My aim is to do my small part to remind folks of a radicalism in which freedom from work — the collective restriction of the amount of labor supplied to capital — is both a means to worker leverage over global capital, and the goal — working less.

Thanks for reading!

Kristin

 

 

 

 

 

 

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