Tag Archives: post-work

Dreaming of post-work utopias with Kathi Weeks on AEWCH 123!

9 Sep

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Friends,
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Friends,
As so many people face unemployment and uncertainty, many are also asking: how did it get to be this bad?
Instead of only scrambling for jobs – which many no doubt have to do in this time anyway – can we also take the time to reflect on the role of work and its function in our lives? How did we get entrenched in this insidious wage-labor relationship, where we are servants to that most repulsive of phrases, “making a living.” We have a living, we have lives, how dare tis relationship between wages and labor overlay itself onto life and pretend it is life?
To talk about all of this, I invited political theorist, feminist, author, and philosopher Kathi Weeks onto the show. Kathi is the author of two short but profound books: The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries and Constituting Feminist Subjects. The former elucidates the entire anti-work ethos from a Marxist feminist perspective, and uses a tactic to dismantle the crazed attachment we have to a “work ethic”: utopia. What if we employed utopia as a tactic against work to open new ways forward. And the latter shows how we can find solidarity and generate new tactics that we learn from our differing standpoints.
This is a great anti-work, pro-utopia episode, friends.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The way a “sick day” enforces an identity
  • The problem of “just do what you love”
  • The problem with (sex work is) work
  • Making sure we critique work without dragging everything into class reductionism
  • How post-work politics come from work
  • The uses of utopia (and where Kathi and I limit our ideas of utopia)
  • Why the demand to know the future is counterrevolutionary
  • Living in a time of critique without proposition
  • The promise and pitfalls of universal basic income (UBI)

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Kathi, here’s her great essay, “Down with Love,” on how our views of love inform our views of work; here’s Kathi’s spirited defense of universal basic income as a PDF; and you can watch her on a panel with AEWCH 120 guest Michael Hardt, Peter Frase, and Charles Mudede here.

• For more on postwork and anti-work action/theory, well, I’ve talked a whole lot about it on the show, and from many different angles: including talking about idleness AEWCH 89 with philosopher Brian O’Connor, a solo episode – AEWCH 85 – Abolish Work,” AEWCH 83 with Franco Bifo Berardi, AEWCH 69 with Sovereign Syre and Dr. Heather Berg, and briefly on AEWCH 99 with the late and great David Graeber.

• For some reason, Miya Tokumistu’s book, Do What You Love and Other Lies About Success And Happiness is not on bookshop.org, so I’ve linked to it here for you. And here’s her article, “The United States of Work.”

• For more on lines of flight, check out the work of Felix Guattari (pictured below), particularly the book entitles, aptly for your purposes – Lines of Flight.

• Here’s a short essay on the Wages for Housework campaign in the Nation. And Sylvia Federici’s great (but also for me challenging) quote is, “We want to call work what is work so that eventually we might rediscover what is love.”

• For more on problems with the family, check out AEWCH106 with Sophie Lewis!

• Here’s my essay on anti-work/sex work with Heather Berg, “The Problem with Sex Work is Work.” And here’s my introductory essay to utopianist Charles Fourier.

• I love Kathi’s quote here – “The utopian practice is…a practice of expanding time.”

• A great Wittgenstein quote about the future: “When we think of the world’s future, we always mean the destination it will reach if it keeps going in the direction we can see it going in now; it does not occur to us that its path is not a straight line but a curve, constantly changing direction.”

• For more on prison abolition, you can’t do much better than following Mariame Kaba on twitter and checking into the resources she shares.

Until next time, friends, don’t work too hard!

XO
CH

Do nothing and feel good about it! Philosopher of idleness Brian O’Connor on AEWCH!

5 Nov

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AEWCH89TitleCard
Friends,
Surely self-improvement is not a bad thing, right? Surely we should be doing as much as we can to make ourselves self-actualized beings and get shit done and follow the 7 habits of the 12 secrets of the 4 agreements of highly effective badass people with the secret to living the happiness project of our lives.
Wellllllll…maybe not. 
On this episode of AEWCH, I talk author and philosopher Brian O’Connor about idleness, and how – as Brian says in this episode, not having shitty jobs is not enough. Instead, wanting to be and do better might just be part of the capitalist trap we’re all stuck in. Brian is the author of the excellent and short book Idleness: A Philosophical Essay, a skewering of philosophical arguments against idleness. It’s not a how to be idle book, since that would be pro-self help! Instead, it’s just a good dissolving of all the reasons why we shouldn’t be just kind of lazing around enjoying life.
Since Brian is also a scholar of the great critical theorist Theodor Adorno, we talk a lot about him, too. To supplement our discussion, you should check out Brian’s very very good intro to Adorno called, well, Adorno. Adorno is a key to this discussion about idleness, because he identifies that even in a world without the same wage-labor relationship we have now, we’d still be working our asses off and trapped in the same arrangement we have now.
This episode was a huge challenge to my normal way of thinking, since I am all about self improvement. But it was a friendly challenge, and a powerful one. I learned a lot. Which I guess, um, means I improved.
In this episode:
  • Brian’s struggle with being idle
  • Why Kant got idleness wrong and right
  • Psychoanalysis and ending the perpetual cycle of productivity
  • That time I pissed off my friend when all I wanted to do was compliment her on being so chill
  • Why we lionize our own pain and struggle
  • Whether or not boredom is productive
  • How the military exploits idleness to kill people
  • How mental work and physical labor mirror mental illness and physical pain
  • How Bugs Bunny cartoons should inform our politics
  • Why good jobs are not enough
  • How sex workers can see how their jobs erode work
  • Why everything small thing deserves attention, but that doesn’t mean it’s all good. Also, why object oriented ontology sucks.
  • I nervously present Brian with my theory of phenomenology and occult critical response. But he was very very nice about it.
  • Why libertarians get individualism wrong
PS: Sorry for the breathing into the mic! I think I had Brian’s mic turned up a little too high. Anyway, just imagine him relaxing.
Want to check out the books we talk about and more? Go to the SHOW NOTES.
AH

 

Against Everyone with Conner Habib: Episode 3 – Work and Die or Be the Future Blob

16 Jul
Episode 3 of Against Everyone with Conner Habib is up!
It’s me starting a conversation about a post-work world with you. Hopefully, it will inspire an inner conversation, and maybe even a conversation between you and your friends and/or you and your everyday life. I don’t talk that much about what exactly we should imagine, because we’ll all have different visions. But I do talk about pathways to imagining post-work in the first place.Which is why I’d love to hear back from you about a post-work world, particularly any solutions or directions or visions.
Watch/listen/comment. Thanks!

In Episode 3, I Talk About

  • How having a job is deadening and deadly.
  • Why work is state-supported blackmail.
  • How work has fundamentally changed and changed us into computers.
  • Why we’re not automating work anytime soon.
  • Why both Marxist and capitalist models are challenged by wanting to be versus needing to gain.
  • Why labor isn’t the best sphere to locate political struggle in.
  • Seeking employment as infantilization.
For the show notes, with links to the books, stats, and thinkers, I mentioned, click here.
And if the show makes you think, inspires you, or starts conversation, please do consider supporting my work via my Patreon page. Thank you!
Love,
CH
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