Commodified Rebellion for the Wage-Slave
Commodified Rebellion for the Wage-Slave
By Kevin Carson / c4ss.org
Feb 10, 2013

Via Ross Heckmann on the Distributism yahoogroup. A quote from the Agrarian Wendell Berry’s book What Are People For?

Women have complained, justly, about the behavior of “macho” men. But despite their he-man pretensions and their captivation by masculine heroes of sports, war, and the Old West, most men are now entirely accustomed to obeying and currying the favor of their bosses. Because of this, of course, they hate their jobs–they mutter, “Thank God it’s Friday” and “Pretty Good for Monday”–but they do as they are told. They are more compliant than most housewives have been. Their characters combine feudal submissiveness with modern helplessness. They have accepted almost without protest, and often with relief, their dispossession of any usable property and, with that, their loss of economic independence and their consequent subordination to bosses. They have submitted to the destruction of the household economy and thus of the household, to the loss of home employment and self-employment, to the disintegration of their families and communities, to the desecration and pillage of their country, and they have continued abjectly to believe, obey, and vote for the people who have most eagerly abetted this ruin and who have most profited from it. These men, moreover, are helpless to do anything for themselves or anyone else without money, and so for money they do whatever they are told. They know that their ability to be useful is precisely defined by their willingness to be somebody else’s tool. Is it any wonder that they talk tough and worship athletes and cowboys? Is it any wonder that some of them are violent?

A related phenomenon is the manufactured “rebellion” of teens in high school and college, who know that forty or fifty years as docile “human resources” looms ahead, as surely as Thanksgiving looms for the condemned turkey. How many frat boys pose as Blutto Blutarsky as a way of pretending they won’t be a brown-nose Darren Stevens in five years? Likewise the “alternative” culture adopted by young adults as an over-compensation for their working life as white collar drones.

This insistent denial, this clutching at any psychological defense against the sheer repugnance of a “job,” this desperate need to believe that “this is not really us, this is not what we really do,” is quite understandable. We don’t cut loose our values, our priorities, our judgment, and our dignity, and leave them at the door when we enter our homes; but that’s exactly what we do in our existence on the job. For the majority of people throughout history, for the majority of Americans until around a hundred years ago, “work” was something we did on our own turf: the farmer or tradesman planned the order of his tasks as he saw fit, and carried them out from beginning to end in accordance with his own judgment and sense of workmanship. A “job,” on the other hand, amounts (as Berry said) to being somebody else’s tool. And the main reason for the change, a dead horse I’ve spent a considerable amount of time beating in this blog, is: We Was Robbed!

What’s more, it’s utterly unnatural. As a commentator on the local public access channel recently pointed out, we’re biologically designed to respond, when somebody won’t stop following us around and bugging us, by either kicking the crap out of them or getting away from them. But for eight hours or more at a time, we’re put into a situation where we’re expected to smile and nod, instead. No wonder so many people who get tired of smiling and nodding show up on the six o’clock news.

But less dramatically, it’s no wonder so many people drag themselves to their jobs every day with a sense of dread, and spend their lives in the real world attempting to prove that those jobs have nothing to do with who they really are.

It’s not by accident that the main lesson taught in the publik skools is the skills necessary to survive and advance in a hierarchy: to identify the person in a position to benefit us, identify what that authority figure expects and then do it, to feel a temporary easing-up of our permanent state of unfocused anxiety whenever that gold star is stuck on our paper or that extra item is added to our resume. Those are exactly the skills a job calls for. A job, as opposed to work, involves infantilization: a man with a job is, while on his employer’s turf, a glorified third-grader trying to win Teacher’s approval.

The sooner we restore a society where work is something we do, and not something we’re “given,” a society where we’re in control of our working lives, the sooner we can do away with fake machismo, commodified rebellion, and going postal.

4.0 ·
2
Trending Today
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 16,844 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State
George Lakey · 11,962 views today · Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over.
What Happens When You Rebel Against the Herd
Sofo Archon · 9,394 views today · Are You Truly Living Your Life? You live, but are you living the way you want to live, or the way others want you to live? You choose, but are your choices based on...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 5,952 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
Everything We Think We Know About Addiction Is Wrong
6 min · 5,591 views today · What causes addiction? Easy, right? Drugs cause addiction. But maybe it is not that simple. This video is adapted from Johann Hari's New York Times best-selling book 'Chasing...
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 4,844 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
Artificial Ethics and the Search for Intelligence
5 min · 4,147 views today · How to stop a robot turning evil.  It's 2027 and Mental Endeavours Ltd has a problem with their flagship robot Günther. How do you program an intelligent machine not to...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 2,646 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Two Ways to Build Global Community
Dan Hind · 1,529 views today · A platform co-operative approach to information, rather than the models of Facebook and legacy media, provide reason for optimism, writes Dan Hind.
Philippine Vigils Against Vigilantes - The Reign of Terror in the President's War on Drugs
7 min · 1,385 views today · The war on drugs waged by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has taken more than 7,000 lives since its inception. It took the killing of a South Korean businessman by police...
The Coming War on China
John Pilger · 1,357 views today · A major US military build-up – including nuclear weapons – is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China. John Pilger raises the alarm on an...
Murdoch and Trump, Sitting at the Tee, S-C-H-E-M-I-N-G
Frankie Boyle · 1,103 views today · Say what you like about Donald Trump but he's already done things people said were impossible, like made Twitter worse. Looking back, the Harambe situation is the closest...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,064 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
System Change Will Not Be Negotiated
Nnimmo Bassey · 1,064 views today · We frequently hear calls for system change, at public mobilisations, in conference halls and even in negotiation halls. The calls come as slogans, they come in anger and they...
Films for Action's Public Film Screening Guide
Tim Hjersted and Matt Toplikar · 1,041 views today · This guide will give you step by step instructions on how to host Films For Action sponsored film screening events in your city. It is intended primarily for people who have...
Real Underground Kingdom That Has Existed for Millions of Years Went Unnoticed, Until Recently...
Kid Krunk · 1,019 views today · 28 Stunning Photos Of The World’s Largest Cave
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 983 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 682 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 639 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 562 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Commodified Rebellion for the Wage-Slave