TOTW: Anarchists Work

  • Posted on: 24 June 2018
  • By: thecollective

For most anarchists, at least in North America, work plays some role in our lives. While there are still anarchists who elevate work as a (or sometimes the) terrain on which our battles will be waged (and presumably won?), many anarchists are somewhere between critical and antagonistic to the concept of work. To be clear, this is hardly a new or groundbreaking development in the spheres of anarchist thinking, but often it comes down to conversations about to work or not to work, or what are more and less legitimate fields of employment for anarchists to enter in to. I assume the answer to the first is, “not if you don’t have to,” and to the second, “there are less but probably not more legitimate jobs.”

Instead, I am curious what are the ways that anarchists inject anarchy into your work lives? Either in your workplace struggles, or just as an effort to disrupt the normal flow of business. Do you show open hostility to the higher-ups? What are the benefits (since the pitfalls are pretty glaringly obvious)? Do you work to foster more decentralized (or at least less hierarchical) decision-making and relationships? For those who find themselves in positions where open actions are not viable, do you find ways of inserting moments of anarchist absurdity into the mix?

What happens when the boss catches on? For example, I have worked places that were very accepting of me being openly an anarchist but rigidly hierarchical, and places with strict lines of authority where sometimes the bosses thought my meager moments of resistance were hilarious, and even encouraged them. Most often, it is somewhere between those. How does your anarchy keep you sane or allow you to navigate your jobby-job?

Or perhaps maybe I should ask, does it?



taxed? yeah, i chose not to be taxed.

finding the right boss who will be willing to do this with you is hard

and also usually relegates you to grunt jobs.

I don't mind pwning all societal rules and going my own way as such.

nomad life

i feel like nobody likes loafers. so the implication is that everybody should work, yes?

Before reacting, think of it this way: what if someone just comes to hang out all day, and doesn't work, doesn't pay? Are anarchist sensibilities such that there is an implied force that everyone should have to work, and not even anarchists like loafers?

i like loafers and am an anarchist. your point is moot.

i was hoping people wouldn't just look at my question as an opportunity to poke fun at me. perhaps it's how i said "not even anarchists like loafers" -- i didn't mean that as a jab. Since 'Anarchism means destroying the forces that seek to keep us on our knees' I was suggesting that there is a human gut-level aversion to loafers, and even the most progressive of us (anarchists) do not like it

There's a lot of societal judgement that comes with not having a job, and there are reasons that some folks can't get one or can't work (mental or physical health issues, having a record, unable to get training/education, precarious status and fear of deportation or exploitation, etc.) Honestly your question seems to be rooted in that judgement. Not trying to call you out, just something to consider. Just having a job doesn't mean shit.

I think there's a big difference between working at a waged job and working hard on something non-related. My guess is that your question is trying to get to the point of a work-ethic? I literally don't care how much, how hard or how little someone works at a waged job - unless it's negatively effecting others, such as making your coworkers work extra hard to clean up after you (those convos about anarchist ideas won't go well when they're bitter at you, as well as there is often a gendered dynamic to pay attn to for those cis-men out there) or a care-giving job where people are dependent on you. I do care whether or not people are willing to put work into projects that are liberating and antagonistic to capital.

All loafers have a price, eventually you can get them to do something, like dangle something they crave for in front of them, and they'll do work at below basic wage rate up to their own value judgement. I'm not being exploitive, that's laissez faire.,.

Is this about shoes?

A gel-oberon 3 is a type of loafer!

Work work work work work
What you don't like work?

at the moment making widgets and selling them at a hardware store. We own the means of production but sell our products wholesale so our surplus value is stolen in the process of exchange. I discovered another work at home scheme online but someone smarter than me will have to analyze it and determine if it's legitimate:

Work at Home

i think that is what that pop star chick is getting at ;-)

Sleeping is our natural anti-work defence mechanism. The alarm clock destroys our peace and freedom, the deadline chains us to a treadmill. The dream police are knocking on our doors of perception.

Check out this work ethic, I know west coast anarchy has some climbers in it that might appreciate this one:

La Dura Complete: The Hardest Rock Climb in the World

your concept of work and loafing seems rooted entirely in an economic worldview that i, for one, would like to see gone from anarchist discourse.

the desire to not have a job, or feel some obligation to "work", does not equal doing nothing towards creating one's life on their own terms. if someone is hanging with others, and just taking, taking taking without giving anything, those others will eventually tell that someone to get the fuck out.

choosing not to "work" - which i have done for many years now - does not equate to being a burden on those one cares about; much less "doing nothing".

"Abolish work," I'm sure you've all heard of it, it was like real famous a few years back. But even back then, I worked for a living. I was a lawyer. But because of my extravagant PPP (pink pork pussy) tastes, that didn't pay the bills, so I did various little things for various police departments and federal authorities along the way and it certainly helped.

-- Bob Black (pig ffffucker and the inventor of the cellphone)

Back in the day, if I had myself 500 Bob Blacks rallying behind me, I would have put the work ethic on the rubbish heap of archaic historical values and mores !!

i like loafers, shirkers, goldbrickers, slackers, and idlers just fine -- as long as they don't make more work for others. it's freeloaders i can do without, people who think you owe them something, who make the rest of us work harder to provide them with periodic support. i have no problem with people who scam the system or find some angle to manage their sustenance, but it's something else entirely to have them pull those scams on their comrades. just because i have a straight job and pay rent and taxes doesn't mean i should welcome anyone taking from me even if we're on the same page politically.

are a Workerist, Authoritarian, Totalitarian Monster! Next you'll be sending us ALL to GULAG!


to deal with bosses is to not have them in the first place. Something I took care of a long time ago. Bob Black has a good test for - Is it work?: Would you still do it if you didn't need the money? If the answer is yes, it isn't work. By that definition I haven't worked in a long time. I'm a landscape contractor.

However, this isn't good enough. As I've learned the hard way, you are NOT free from capitalism to exactly the extent that you still need to make $$$ at all. WHAT happens when there is a LONG, serious fall in demand for what you or the worker-owned/self-managed enterprise you are in creates?

Way back in 1994-99, when I was living in my truck/w camper shell and still had my beloved Land in the backwoods, I was already "reverting to savagery" and didn't even know it. I had never even heard of John Zerzan. I should have finished the job then, but better late than never.

"If the answer is yes, it isn't work." Hmm, yes, its not work, its a deep-rooted fetish, a diversion of organic desires. Could one call such psychological obsessions heavy work for the cerebral cortex?
One must get out of this materialism and physicality of labor and consider the full spectrum of human energy and its employment.,.

if food isn't gathered when the salmon run comes or the acorn drops, or the bambi dears aren't hunted? God doesn't rain SSI checks or trust funds from the sky every month. "Savages" don't have supermarkets either, or even dumpsters. Perhaps they should get out of all this physicality and become "breatherians", then they won't need to eat at all!

If food isn't gathered for some unknown reason they will do the nomadic thing which they've done for thousands of years and has saved them from drought and food scarcity,

is that the (severely hypothetical) people posited here don't want to DO anything (or become competent at the many skills) that living in the rest of nature requires. All that terrible physicality and all. No megadrought is posited here, nor would moving solve the posited problem. As many readers of this site may know, "savages" spend all of 15-20 hours a week providing for all their physical needs. The Penan (of whom I have many pictures) are severely well-fed and extremely fit. They also "rest whenever we feel like it", in their own words.

The Penan are Body Shaming the rest of us. Their very existence is Hate Speech.
This MUSN'T be allowed to go on!

"All that credible physicality" and "15 to 20 hrs a week providing for all their physical needs"
Oh right, and then I'm thinking about all the idleness, and how your other favourite tribe the Sambians use theirs. Maybe some of us DON'T want to partake in THESE types of skills whilst living in nature, that we prefer non'-carnal activities to occupy our more intellectual sensibilities!

Who I never refer to, are agriculturists with livestock, not hunter-gatherer-permaculturists.
The Sambians sure do get referred to a lot on this site by others. Maybe its all the homosexuality and war they have. Which NO ONE is requiring you to partake in.

But YOU'RE the one who introduced the link which first introduced the Sambian phenomena to this site, in defence of natural living and gender role paradoxes, almost admitting at the time that you would enjoy living in the Sambian culture because of the standardized machismo values interwoven with the sensitivities of homosexual underage sex!! Shame on you Bad Kitty!!

and need to prove your claim. Find and date the text. I don't even know how to do links, being half-"savage" and all. And I'm not interested in agriculturists or pastoralists. I think LeWay discussed the Sambia in an exchange with me a good while back. I had to look them up. I don't think LeWay is REQUIRING you to partake in Sambia practices either.

Maybe your "savagery" is your own fetish, I tried the primitivist, permaculture, anti-wage slave lifestyle, face it, it's a hobby some Westerners can afford, whereby they do casual part-time work and live a frugal existence, but they're no different to the spendthrift factory worker who over consumes, or even the wealthy CEO. Its not a quantitative call but a qualitative mental state which defines the workerist mentality. I found, as a Stirnerian, that I could do a wage job, live comfortably, enjoy capitalism's luxuries, be discerning and avoid depressing emotions with meditation, yet still maintain a radical anarch edge above the teeming sheep amongst whom I worked. I felt equal to the boss, was stress free and happier than the boss, in fact, I was the happiest worker on the whole work site yet the most anti-work radical anarch at the same time. Just shows you the power of the Stirnerian mind over matter principal huh?

So basically, you smoke your own farts and tell yourself that you're clever and special while functionally being in the exact same social role as the people you secretly consider yourself superior to? And this is a point of pride?

Its not a point of pride but a state of consciousness with the least friction outside of a futile binary mindgame. I'm aloof yes, but not arrogantly, I know I'm unique but wear the distinction with humility. I mix and have friends amongst your enemies the capitalists, life goes on, I conduct my own creative insurgency within the system, I am a humble ubermansch ;)

The Internet: Allowing Complete Strangers To Disapprove of Eachother's Life Choices Since The Early 1990s.

Oh good, I'm so glad. For a second there, I was worried that my abiliy to provoke the disapproval of others was starting to wane.

I make a good test case. Would I have gotten into the, uh, habit of, well, um, snitching if you didn't need the money? The answer is yes, I am so overcome by resentment and a sense of being a failure that I'd snitch just to feel better about myself.

-- Bob Black (pig ffffucker and inventor of the blowjob)

you write some very dense books and have some very long and boring coffee shop discussions with yourself

I'm a loafer and anarchist, and I kinda like myself! I'd work only out of absolute necessity or if I find some job around that's rrally cool with me and fits with my sensitibilities. I just feel that some anarchists with jobs out there are being chumps, they have misconceptions about surviving in society that imply that "work is the only way there is". Such mentality is problematic for people who pretend at anarchy, and typically leads to conservatism.

Perhaps we could explore a bit more, here, the avenues of self-sustenance beyond wage slavery, talk less about esoteric philosphical issues that help at nothing when it comes to getting a shelter, some electricity and food on your plate?

Where were UUUU at the 7 AM picket line!? Where does your money comes from? Uh?? You thinj you get can away with not working and yet live in this work? Well huh-ha.. who's goin ta feed your kids then? Gotcha!

You lazy-asses anarchists are the reason why the Revolution's still not on its way and instead we got TRUMP.

Work is a fetish which replaces the desire to be nomadic :)

I'm a travelling shoe salesman with a foot fetish. I have the best of both worlds :)

Work isn't a fetish - I do it because I have to, not because I choose to. As a person with some strong mental health issues throughout my life and an unstable/abusive family dynamic, I do need a stable living situation and at this time, that means I have to work. I've tried the nomadic lifestyle, but it's not good for me. The trick, I think, is working enough to be stable but not working more than I need to and not making my life about working.

I suppose people don't choose their fetishes, so I guess that makes sense, but saying that work means a lack of desire to be free of those constraints is naive.

just become an oogle already dude.

We primitivist have no worries not working because we live off the fat of the capitalists society. We never go hungry in the affluent suburbs the rich have fruit trees in their gardens or we jump a train to the fertile fruit growing regions and at night gather enough fruit for a month, drying it out in the roofs of abandoned warehouses. In the winter when we crave for animal meat and fat we hunt the middle class suburbs for cats and small dogs which we befriend then quickly and painlessly,,,,,,snap. The fat tabby on the spit is a succulent feast on a cold night. Of course there's always the dumpsters but we attract security and our policy is invisibility, like the chameleon insurgency of the Neanderthal. The malls are rich pickings where we sometimes sing, juggle or do street theatre for a few dollars. Yes, if it wasn't for capitalism, I think our band of existentialist nihilist primitivists would become extinct.

You motherfuckers, I loved these two cats. You didn't know how unique and smart they were, but you destroyed them... defenseless creatures.

You could have eaten roadkills, but you're just too fucking lazy and gregarian to get bikes and find some down the road, you have to travel by bands of oogles sniffing each other's filth in cargo train cars. Let's be true antispeciest here... how about I befriend you at the punk venue and then snap the necks of those useless humans before they destroy the lives of more non-humans?

It's not like lives depend on yours... actually you aren't much needed, but on the other hand, are a weight to all the uncivilized life out there, as much as the other suburbans are. Then you'll get children, move to some trendy post-lumpen neighborhood and become "radical " artists.... Aw fuck that, there's a debt on your lives.

videos on this. The Plantation is well worth watching from time to time, just a reminder to never feel guilty or refuse to be made to feel guilty by those who dare not confront the fact their life energy has been stolen and used to fill the bank balances of psychopaths and sociopaths. The rise of bullshit jobs also makes clear the need is also one of control, not necessarily productivity

Ultimately though the life energy is voluntarily donated, not many people are dragged screaming and struggling to their place of employment. Let's face it, an alternative agricultural system must exist such as self-suffient permaculture if the model of retail supply of basics, rental, blah blah you know the rave, if independence is desired, very unlikely. Better to live as a minority within the capitalist complex, like a pilot fish/shark symbiotic relationship, which is what anarchism has become anyway.

Dude, work is not voluntary when carried through social economic constraints, and when ppl haven't been offered with other choices. Offering other choices is what anarchists have been getting busy with in places in the world where they're about something else than being academic circlejerk wannabes or activists. Things like squatting and collective lootings, for instance.

What's voluntary? It's something you do because it wasn't the only option for a life thrown at you. What we got here is wage slavery, which is a lighter yet still consistent form of slavery, where people are caught in the net of consumerism. Most bosses aren't dragging workers to the job? Duh, obviously. That's not how the system works. But go guess what'll happen to you if you DARE not paying a rent for having a shelter or feeding yourself, you WILL get dragged violently out of it.

Weeeeeeell my idea of voluntary is a liiiittle bit different to yours. Involuntary to me is chain-gangs, the whip, etc. Sure, process work is boring and repetitive, but I don't see 2 billion Chinese complaining. Oh, you might say that they are coerced, okay, half of them are also coerced by the boredom and filth of primitive villages without power and tv, so I think a more thorough investigation of the workers own feelings about why they work and if they enjoy work. You'd be surprised how many love the money and comforts of routine and security. It's a subjective call, you won't win over people by banning wage slavery, there are alot of masochistic workerist out there.

Ultimately though the life energy is voluntarily donated, not many people are dragged screaming and struggling to their place of employment. Even Chomsky sussed we are coerced, manipulated, work or starve. If you realised, there is a huge infrastructure brainwashing people with adverts, ideology, destitution, prison and guns at the ready! People don't freely subscribe to what is happening.

But they still line up to dooooo it, often with smug little comfy smiles on their faces and exchanging light humorous banter with their fellow workerist friends, talking about their latest fetish, which is what keeps it all bearable, the psychology of fetish worship,,,,,,Strange isn't it, how an obsession alters ones per eption of reality, making pain and discomfort bearable? .,.

Do you know how hard it is to wake up at 6 or 7 to go to work every god-given day of the week? Industrial workers gotta build their manly manly might in order to challenge Capitalism when the time comes. In a few hundred years.

Poor little workerist sheep moaning about their herd mentality. Just get over it, life wasn't meant to be easy street!.,.

I take it you don't have any dependants such as people with disabilities? I take it you live in the West? I take it you have children?

Having children (on purpose!) or allowing yourself to be saddled with dependants of any kind is a terrible idea and if that's how you roll that's on you and no one else.

happy wage slaving.

This whole thread makes me depressed and nihilistic and want to put all the workerists, bosses and machinery against the wall and end all the misery work causes once and for all, and regurgitate all the junk food processed cancerous crap inside me, a total purging Nihilo- Luddite Neanderthalic Zerzanian Stirnerian Dystopia FTW

@2:50- i find that work gives me the same sort of feeling, unfortunately i still have a job. In my current job (unlike the one I wrote about previously) I show solidarity to my coworkers and keep my head down, except when the boss tries to pull some shit and saddle us with more work/ restrict what freedoms we have on the job. Then i start to find ways of both acting against them and my own job as well as exposing thwir bullshit ideas as, well, bullshit.

I'm no syndicalist, and indon't dream of some worker utopia, but i do work, and i try to make that part of my life the.least unpalatable i can.

Srsly get the fuck out, Nazi shitstain. You just confused the Unique with a rule of the strong, fucking ableist alpha wannabe.


And you, little boy, have confused the Unique with disgusting humanist values of altruism and a fetishization of the weak. Go figure. Anarchists are always trying to recuperate stirner to breathe new life into their stale and shitty ideas.

It's morons like you who choose to have children (as if there weren't already enough putrid fucking humans to begin with) and are forced to resort to wage slaving who then turn around and complain to the rest of us that they're no longer free to be their own masters, as if you were expecting me or anyone else to make it our concern.

People have children largely because they're afraid of growing old and dying alone. Sooner or later, this fear overrides pretty much everyones desire to be free. Pretty much everyone harbors this fear deep down in their heart of hearts it's just that so few have the fucking guts to admit it.

Not I, however.

Because I know something you don't. Namely: everyone dies alone. Period. When you go into oblivion, you go in on your own. End of story. I'm one of the only ones prepared to accept the reality of existence for what it is and act accordingly. Therefore, I'm smart enough to realize that having children or dependants is not an option for me and, further, that it would only be an exercise in futility.

There is no escape.

Look, you fucking cunt. All I said earlier is that if you CHOOSE to have kids, or freely allow yourself to be saddled with dependents (because it's the 'right' thing to do or some shit?) that it comes with some pretty easily foreseeable consequences. How the fuck do you not see them coming or understand how they will conflict with being free? Your myopia is entirely on you, i.e: your own responsibility and no one elses.

I point this out, and somehow this makes me a nazi?

Go fuck yourself.

Welcome to the cold lonely world of the Stirnerian reality!

counsellor if you need it or do you feel better after your misanthropic rant? Poor teenage angst. Maybe there is no oblivion and you have no choice because you were created by The Almighty and The Almighty makes the decisions, not you?

I know the early Burzum's great, but like some edgy teen macho dudes tend to get high on it. They could rather go burn cars, maybe, and come back telling us about how humanism is still the roots of all social enslavement.

Dependents aren't always from producing more children... Some people have parents or siblings or friends or lovers who are unable to provide for themselves. Sometimes they're born with physical or intellectual disabilities and sometimes it happens due to injury or illness. Some people have family in faraway places and they migrate to wealthier nations in order to provide for family back home. Some people don't choose to become pregnant or for their lovers to become pregnant and even still there are times and places where abortion is not a safe option. There's a pretty shitty assumption here that anarchists should use the capitalist logic of not giving a shit about anyone else and let only the strong survive. I have a shitty family and so its easy for me to go it alone so I kinda get it, but seriously, it's pretty authoritarian and judgey as fuck to assume that everyone can live without any real connection to other people and choose to not support anyone else.

Fair enough.

I prefer to deliberately surround myself with strong 'interdependents' instead of 'dependents', but that's just me.

As for the 'rule of the strong'. Idk what your problem is with that. The strong and smart have and will always prevail over the weak and stupid. It's just the way it is. I didn't invent the rules to this game of the world, I just play it like everyone else. Sheesh. It's a descriptive assessment, not a prescriptive social program or wtv.

The bottomline is: if you wanna be free, Truly free; you have to be fucking strong and fucking smart or you will fucking fail. Simple as that.

Look, the thing about the examples you listed above is that you can always choose to walk away from those dependencies. Always an option. I mean, just how loose is your moral compass?

Is moralitys hold so strong on you that thats not an option? Ok.

Look, I don't really care one way or the other how you live your life, but if you're committed to those relationships AND committed to freedom then you have no other option than to become extra strong, smart and resourceful.

I'll even cop to it: one of the reasons I can't afford to allow Dependents into my circle is precisely because I'm not yet as powerful as it would be necessary to account for those weaker than me while upholding my commitment to raise myself above the stupefying fetters of wage slavery at all costs. Most people aren't, unfortunately.

In a non-nuclear family dependents are all of the extended family or clan members who share a common purpose to your own.

And you get your food, water and clothes and whatever else from taking that worked on by others: the wage slaves? So, are you a free rider akin to the money masters? Do you contribute in anyway? Are you a parasite? Do you 'steal' from the wage slaves akin to the boss who steals but even most bosses have to wage slave also. Are you a breathairian?

I am none of these morally bound fools, I am a bold unique Stirnerian who takes what one desires and expects everyone else to do the same. If everyone else was bold and amoral, things would self-regulate into a creative spontaneous happening, and an inventive novelty would return to our daily experiences.

Thus person prescribes this and that throughout this comment and cites spontaneity!!!??? The kids today, eh. Do this. Do that. But spontaneous about it, sort of like you're free to do as your told.

Contribute to what, exactly?

he's just running a new age cult and extracting money from people

A rather interesting thing came up at a FERC blockade and protest today: some people work but are not employed, while others are employed but do not actually work in any real sense of the word.

Another activist (not an anarchist) was surprised I was doing a considerable amount of effort I was expending "for nothing" by preparing DC Indymedia and video coverage, and doing this on what used to be a chromebook I had set up myself with Debian and a lot of code I've edited or modified(and yes, pushed back upstream for everyone's benefit). This is work I do for reasons that are not concerned with money, and not being considered "employable" due to Aspergers et all I have the time for it. As an activist I get my "pay" in victories when we win something important. I said that I was "a warrior but not a mercenary." The only work for money that ever worked for me was sex work and a 4 year stint as a bike messenger from 1998-2002.

Contrasting to this was the (mostly absent due to the blockade) FERC pipeline permitting agency employees, whom I would argue are employed but do no actual work. In fact, most of the highest paying jobs produce nothing of value whatsoever, or even (as with FERC's fracked gas pipeline permits) return negative value.

On a more general level, the migrants who mow the CEO's lawn work, the CEO himself does not work, he just runs his mouth and orders others to work in his place. Instead he collects the value of the work done by wage laborers for himself (like a pimp does) while also collecting big, fat checks from whatever government subsidies are available. Thus the boss gets more in welfare than the combined total of everyone in the city who is actually poor, while Trump voters buy that bullshit blaming "welfare recipients" for taxes that feed everything from baseball stadiums to fucking casinos.

Hey Luke, Activism is work, or the picket line is a plea for the right to work under better conditions, for reformist purposes mostly?

Reformism is work, but revolution is real work.

always work when they yell at you. That's what i did at the first job i worked. Then i just promptly ignored them when they gave me speeches about getting the bosses to like me more, and then one time when the guy with the suite came in and asked me to wash something that wasn't a dish i just bitched at him and he apologized later

Kill the boss inside your own head first.

I don't try to inject anarchy into my work life, I totally divorce the two in my life. Work is terrible but injecting anarchy into it would make it worse in my opinion. Perhaps, because I work for a county government, injecting anarchy into the situation would change/ maybe make better an institution I don't want to exist. The only open hostility is making snarky, sarcastic comments that people usually laugh at but because it's a joke, even a hostile one, my boss/coworkers don't take it seriously.

"with smug little comfy smiles on their faces and exchanging light humorous banter with their fellow workerist "
Yes, we understand snarky sarcasm at work.

I personally like to be in the position that the boss trusts me - I lie to their face, steal at least something every day, undermine their authority by discouraging snitching and encourage collective worker activity (I'm not a syndicalist) and they give me access to the safe and etc. They trust my opinion if we need to kick someone out (abusers, cops, etc). I don't talk about anarchist ideas around my bosses because it's pointless. I also don't suck up to them, I speak my mind and critique their actions (such as pushing to allow anyone to use the bathroom whether or not they pay for something) and somehow it builds up trust with them because they think that I'm honest with them. Somehow throughout many different kinds of jobs I've had this experience, idk why and obviously this is not a super common experience for everyone. But it works for me, I can talk with my coworkers about my life as an anarchist when it makes sense (obvs not always safe) and keep other things quiet. I also consistently have had to remind coworkers to not work for free (off the clock), not pay for things, take breaks, and stand up for themselves. It doesn't take away the fact that we are wage-slaves and it's not disrupting the work itself, but it helps.

I totally disagree with those who say that working is a choice - it's called the Velvet Glove of capitalism for a reason. Whips and etc. tactics of outright force were shown long ago to not be profitable and capitalist practices adapted accordingly. Social pressure, legit issues of living on the streets (risk of violence from cops or if you are not a white cis-dude is absolutely legit a reason to not be "nomadic"), supporting family/friends that depend on you, are all reasons beyond mere consumerism that make work a necessity - at this point, while capitalism still reigns. Being able to grow your own food depends on having a consistent space and having a couch or space to share when people need it are not ways to perpetuate capitalism, but ways to subsist and which I'm sure that most nomadic folks are going to benefit from.

Besides casting judgement on others for working or not working, what are things that people are doing to move beyond capitalistic practices? For instance, I have some skills that I use for trade - hair cutting & styling, making art, cooking, etc. and I trade them for food or massage or whatever. I do that as often as I can. What other things can/should/do happen to subvert capitalism?

Ahah yes finally! A good comment about Machiavellian insurgency and work place tactics, excellent.,.

Late peanut gallery! Maybe it's a recent phenomenon of the "intellectual economy" that so many office wage-slaves and "online entrepreneurs" seem to think they have some special insight about how capitalism coerces all of us. (hint: unless you've made millions, there's very little difference between you and the factory workers of old! In fact, you're a lot weaker in terms of bargaining power)

The only real difference is how obvious your misery and servitude is, which some oligarchs had the wisdom to smokescreen a bit in the last century or so. They (the capitalists) cut this deal with people who still remembered what it was like before the smokescreen, people who were considerably more ferocious than most of us are today. They aggressively bargained for better table scraps or else bloody revolution wasn't far off and everybody understood this.

Today, the ancestors of those oligarchs are much more complacent, having grown up for generations in elitist bubbles BUT they're still just as arrogant, gambling that the masses are permanently pacified as they drop the smokescreen and turn the clocks back a century or two.

All of which is to say, FUCK WORK but spare me your sanctimony if you've managed to convince yourself that evading this coercive process is SO EASY. There's a slim chance you're very lucky, even slimmer chance you're also very clever, BUT the big chance is you're just bullshitting yourself and actually moreorless at the mercy of the same powerful economic forces as the rest of us.

magpie once said that brutal honesty=brutal people, but there are only 4 types of honesty:

-brutal honesty

-little white lies

-omissions of information

-vague aphorisms that point towards something other than what the speaker is trying to say (lao tzu might have done this the best...)

in other words, max stirner wrote the book on living as an anarchist, "days of war nights of love" also did just as well.

I'm waging, pun intended, that it's a case of being very smart, which in capitalist society can be translated as very illegal, because that's freedom from work basically, illegalist, and why not be happy at the same time. Stirner in a nutshell, go about and do your aggressive ressentiment venting rev as much as you like, it doesn't effect me, and in the 21st Century, the days of putting people up against the wall is a sociopathic fantasy of a toxic bygone era.

I'm "waging" that you're Le Way and nothing you say means anything :)

The politics of capitalist work is below my level of discussion, there is only blood, sweat and tears and finding ones own balance in the relational dynamic. It helps to identify all the fantasies that are foisted upon ones mind during the process.

Inside my unique mind there is no factory floor or work ethic, nor time and space, only the Now. Muscular action is merely a motion towards food and warmth, the commands or maps, the orders or demands are hollow signals which guide me towards sustenance without ressentiment or bitterness. I glide effortlessly through the corridors of petty workplace politics with a stoic vacant cheerfulness endearing myself to the tea machine and the big boss with sarcastic remarks to entertain my own boredom. I am the superworker who produces the least but obtains the most from the capitalist system, with my creative aesthetic insurgency into the bowels of the system.

Good subject to see debated and so on. ACAB was somewhat eye-opening since I have sworn off mind-altering substances and it was definitely affecting my performance at work. I guess pot made me think less about my professionalism at work (small-time carpentry stuff) and ultimately the ex-marine sniper bossman just said "I don't need you, go home, goodbye." So I stayed really sober, found another crew w/ 10x better bossman and cried like hell when he wouldn't hire me after a week. Not his fault and showed me a goal to strive for.

I've always disliked work for the most part and when I did find something I really enjoyed (EMT-Paramedic work) I was kicked out of the program mid-way through Paramedic school (a 1.5 year course) in a bizarre character assassination that included some fair criticism of my student skills (I was already a working EMT) but also a ton of crap that was worse than a fruitcake you love to hate. I was sober 4 years straight at that point, way back in 2011. Capitalism and the professional sheen you usually must have to maintain favor is a shit-stain I've always felt hatred toward. Its hard to not be self-critical and upset at people although reading comments I guess I'd say misanthropy is frowned on and who wants to hire one anyway? No one likes a party pooper. All the people who dressed up and showed up at ACAB, thank you. It reminds me I need to create and learn to take initiative.

Wrapping up, opening up and talking to folks never goes the way I think it will and I'm very isolated, so I'm always fantasizing about talk-as-therapy. Talking at work has rarely been an outlet either (mentally unstable, over-sensitive, interested in things people have never heard of, potty mouth, etc...).

Late peanut gallery FTW

"so I'm always fantasizing about talk-as-therapy"

that's the worst thing about work, is it's alienating in nature, everyone smile all the time or else it's stupid drama and gtfo, and then of course if you survive you better have internet AND beer when you get home.

out of all the books i've fantasized about writing, the "ideology of production" was pretty high up there

Basically what the commenter who "so I'm always fantasizing about talk-as-therapy" sees is as an alternative to aggression-as-therapy, thus alienation. To NOT become alienated, because that's the modern equivalent to talk- and-assimilate-or-the-gulag.
Yeah, one finds oneself unwillingly contemplating production sometimes, at least it's not a 24/7 obsession, one is not indoctrinated by work and production entirely.

two words bro: gig economy

gigity gigity gigity

Back when I worked with homeless youth, i attempted to create a somewhat more anarchic, or at least less authoritarian, wasy of relating to the volunteers i managed, between my coworkers and colleagues, but especially with the youth themselves. This had mixed results.

On the one hand, it did lead to some of my client relationships being either empowering or developing into more than a mere client/provider dynamic. Some of those are friendships to this day, almost a decade later, which is awesome. Where that fell down is that i still was the one with the keys and who had to make the final call on things, including when someone crossed the line and needed to leave my program. I was trying to act according to my principles, but i was in actuality playing the role of benevolent dictator.

And that's the ugly truth in the end, democracy and equality are fantasies, one has to put one's boot down to get anything communal happening. Unless one is an autonomous individual, collectives are fated to an eternal hierarchical game of rivalry and discontent.

weighing oneself against an ideology of anarchy just creates a new authority above one's head, being an authority is an extra burden no matter how much of an asshole you are. If you are self conscious about it, it gets even worse. No wonder so many people choose to believe in a "God", it's such an easy escape from personal responsibility, it was an okay fantasy until martin luther and atheism had to screw with them!

then there is the whole thing about american arrogance that people on this forum are always complaining about, trying to seek out and kick its shins, but overall american arrogance is a fantasy that pretty quickly degenerates due to the diffuse nature of it, would degenerate even faster without IT jobs. In the end i always find the show "it's always sunny in philadelphia" to be a good satire of the american power game.

"...but overall american arrogance is a fantasy..."

Oh, you think so, do ya? You've obviously never tried to carry on a conversation with an american before.

when up against the brutal sunshine of criticism

Well then don't back, man. Let's see some of this "brutal sunshine of criticism."

*Should read: "don't hold back"

an anarchist never "listens to" or "believes" anybody!

So then, in other words, your "brutal sunshine of criticism" is merely to say that you don't "believe" American arrogance exists? I dunno, man, you're leaving me pretty underwhelmed here. How is this any different than the Christian fundamentalist who adamantly maintains that God exists because they "believe" it to be the case? Pious belief and pious *non-*belief are opposite sides of the same coin.

Not really that big of a deal IMO: anarchy isn't supposed to be about pretending power doesn't exist, it's about being extremely aware and critical of it. You were mindful of that shitty power dynamic and did your best to negate it, when you could. If you just give the keys away, you get fired and that's the end of an experiment with power dynamics. hah!

^Reply to ingrate's OP

i wish i had got in on this earlier because it's been very pertinent and on my mind lately. i just sort of hate these and don't comment here a lot.

but here's my situation. i used to be a criminal, scammer, scavenger, squatter/drifter what have you. legally or quasi-legally employed in short bursts. thats all in the past now. i have fallen away from that world and anyone i was ever close to in anarchism. the same health, family and general life issues that led to that also make it really difficult to speculate on living off the grid the way i would probably ideally like to, farming, or starting/joining a commune of some sort.

aside from being in my 30s with no references or marketable skills because of all that - i'm at a point right now where i have some options about which way to try to go and what to do. in some ways i know i'm really fortunate but they also all seem like unbearable options. i dont want to do anything activisty like a lefty professor or professional organizer it's just too social in a way i;m not cut out for and a lot of the politics of that are too reformist or just too public, and it's just, no, i can't really do that. i am tempted to do the whole academia thing and just study stuff that i'm interested in and eventually teach but even without being super political about it the same sort of problems apply - even just the fact that i'd still be producing knowledge that would help this horrific system to function somehow, or else why would they be paying me...capitalism makes everything and everyone evil inside it, and life outside it nearly impossible, i mean i guess that's the whole thing huh. but i also don't really see doing something i don't somehow feel strongly about because i've been down that road, i've worked in kitchens and warehouses and it usually isnt long at all before there's a day i just cannot make myself go in. plus again even just picking up "normal" work is a somewhat tricky proposition for me at this point. i have lost the ability to lie convincingly if ever had it.

so what am i missing? what do i do? can anyone relate? what would you be looking into if you had some time and resources to take a new direction in life, assuming some non-trivial limitations?

i would love to do off-the-grid if there were others interested in doing it. The only thing that would destroy me about living in the woods is the by-my-self part, i think it was amazing that TK basically did that at the same he was making bombs!

really, the only thing that works is looking at everything with complete egoism, and being honest with oneself about what would help or break them to pieces.

I'm coming from a slightly similar thing myself, same same but different you know?
Struggling with doing work for any prolonged time, it just senseless the whole deal and I end up with something of a depression doing it.

Have invested time in getting to know subsistence skills, but as much I think ridding myself of my own way of approaching it. No form, no abiding or something like that I suppose. I don't see why it needs to be something done far removed from everything, nor why it should be an all or nothing deal. And lets face it: Find each other is a self help slogan. Or at the very least in this context it is perhaps starting in the wrong end.

If I could rewind and do it again I'd approach it much more pragmatically and less from a perspective of opposition or whatever. Learn basic gardening skills - horticulture - on a small scale. Write up a 3-5 year plan of progression. Within 2-3 years you should be able to grow most your own stuff, which would mean that the pressure of the economy would certainly be less.

Don't need to go to some far as fuck location. Don't need a commune or a 'land project'. Don't need to be all consuming. Don't need much land, nor the best from an ag perspective. Some untended land can be put into good use. Just outside any urban area there usually are plenty to use. Which means you get a little of both. Just check for heavy metal contamination ;)

Then perhaps you could fit the pieces together as good as they come. Study some if that takes your fancy. I realized that I approached things in a very self defeating way, and speaking with others have made me realize that it might be quite common. I find it takes time re-skilling but most time and effort ridding myself of all the bullshit and the good servant syndrome which it seems to me that the whole politics of opposition attempts to masquerade.

Well that is how it is/has been for me. Dunno if it relates to your situation...

the two-masters problem. So you have your desires: they're often vague, and anyone who cares for philosophy, anarchism, etc., knows that they're huge and important for well-being. Then, there's money, it's necessary for connecting with society, and necessary for most homesteading projects (at minimum the property taxes).

the law could be thought of as a third master, but i have found in today's day and age it can be mostly ignored, and does each one of us good to contemplate when the police, institutions, and individuals have an interest in controlling us, and when they don't.

Overall, i'm just happy that over the years, i have mostly figured out how i can avoid stress and live the way i want to live. But it's always a work in progress, and i will probably only get "there" when i die.

about being unemployed and life being shit on the dole/welfare! Yes, punks wanted to work! Chelsea had a 7" single 'Right to Work.'

It is funny how many baseline anarchists indirectly do this.

They're the ones who have a vulgar testosterone driven anger rumbling in their conscience, which I admit I had during my adolescence, but quickly grew out of. Some folk remain perpetually tied to a binary notion of morality and label everything accordingly. The old values of the Enlightenment are still branded into the minds of those who absorb the curriculum of the Western education institutions, even the Monday to Friday grind of school attendance mirrors the work ethics devotion to service.

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