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#498#499#500#501 Episode #502 - Is Employment Compatible with a Free Society?
(Is Employment Consistent With a Free Society?)


"What fools these wage slaves be!"

Sun 7 February 2010  Jaron Browne, Steve Williams, Mark Ames (reading), Bob Black (reading)
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2This week we look at whether 'freedom' is actually possible under capitalism. We start with an interview by C. S. Soong of two members of P.O.W.E.R. about the development of capitalism. Then, a reading about the stresses of working life which underlie the modern phenomenon of 'going postal'. We conclude with a reading of Bob Black's classic "The Abolition of Work".
This show is a rebroadcast of 280 and covers a question that never goes out of style. The unemployment numbers are a regular feature of reporting and debate these days, which centers around "how to create jobs" but does not address the question of whether we really want a society that requires most to have "jobs" created by other people as opposed to work they do as they deem necessary and desirable. What is the result? One can go to a store and see a whole aisle of vile smelling laundry detergents that are all the same except for the packaging, but no one can "afford" to clean up polluted lands and waterways.

The words 'freedom' and 'democracy' are often heard as part of the official dialog to describe what our society is and has and what others lack. The meanings of these words are generally undefined, and their application to what actually happens in this society is considered too outré for mainstream political discourse. The unmentioned elephant in the parlor is that our putative American freedoms accrue to individuals in proportion to their position in an economic hierarchy that dooms most to a life with very little freedom indeed - if freedom means the ability to amply meet one's physical survival needs with dignity so that one may spend one's time and effort in an meaningful and emotionally satisfying way. Is our economic system based on employment compatible with a free society or with self government?

In our first hour, an interview with 2 of the 4 co-authors of Towards Land, Work and Power which looks at the development of capitalism, the associated legal and social arrangements needed to allow a few to profit from the labor of the many. Then we hear an excerpt from Mark Ames' Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond - the sad story of a people who 'went postal'. Are such people merely defective individuals, or are they canaries in the social coal mine? We conclude by reading The Abolition of Work, by Bob Black.
Music: Pretty Boy Floyd by David Rovics
Thanks to C. S. Soong from Against The Grain, Audioanarchy for the Bob Black reading.
This episode rebroadcasts content from 280 (Complete).
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