Manifesto Against Work

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* Book: Manifeste contre le Travail. Krisis Group. (Robert Kurz, Ernst Lohoff, Norbert Trenkle), 1999



Michel Bauwens, 2003:

The authors are part of a working group of (neo?)Marxist intellectuals from Germany, and this manifesto is presented as the Third Communist Manifest, after that of Marx, and that of the Situationist International. It's main thesis is that both Work and Capital, are two sides of the same coin, and so, it is not Work that has to be liberated from the yoke of Capital, but human beings have to be freed from the yoke of Work.

The Krisis Group rejects the notion of class struggle as something pertaining to the inside of capitalism, i.e. different interests around Work. It also says that globalized neoliberal capital now destroys more work than it creates, and thus the system has reached its 'absolute historical limits' Krisis Group distinguishes the Marx of the Manifesto, prisoner of the 19th cy. social struggles, and th author of Capital, which clearly states that this is the logic that runs the whole of existence.

Their Manifesto starts by describing the creation of work in society as a fundamentally violent process. The absolutist state, based on a bureaucracy and a standing army, which needed a lot of money, and thus created 'work for money'. This process of destroying traditional life patterns, forcing people to sell their labour, and using prisons and workhouses to instill discipline, while promoting slavery on the outside.

Talking about the post-war boom, it describes how it was created by fictitious money, i.e. public debt (the state would invest money, on loan from the banks, invest in the social state, while paying back the interests with new loans). Until this system reached its limits and neoliberalism had to take over. By this time, as it was increasingly impossible to earn money in production, the financial speculative cycle took over. Thus the system is doomed beyond repair, with max. 50 to 100 years to go. The choice is one between a process of de-civilisation, and a process whereby a counter-society is created, that will bypass the economic machine and the state.