Why I hate capitalism and why I can't fight it

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Feb 27 2007 10:47
Blacknred Ned wrote:
Security in your old age may well be the most futile quest of all. Apart from the fact that state of the world - let alone the part of it that you live in - in several decades time will in all likelihood severely reduce your chances of sitting on your porch in a rocking chair, working your whole life so that you can die in an expensive hospital and have brass coffin furniture strikes me as pretty ridiculous. Certainly it is no excuse to become a manager.

I know. I'm not interested in becoming any kind of manager. That's one of the reasons I'm not looking for a different graduate school at the moment. I've seen how people "advance" there, and I'll have nothing of this professorship nonesense.

Blacknred Ned wrote:
It sounds to me that you are actually fairly content to work in a sector in which you can use the skills you have from your university career.

If I was content with that, I wouldn't have started up this thread.

Blacknred Ned wrote:
If so then you will hopefully drag some job satisfaction from your daily work.

I doubt that this will be possible full-time, unless I incorporate myself into the company goals, making them my own, and, in the process, becoming a full-time tool of capital.

Blacknred Ned wrote:
Of course lots of us have jumped through every educational hoop ever held up for us only to realise that there was no satisfaction whatsoever to be gained from employing the skills we had gained.

I agree completely. I'd love for you to elaborate on that. What's been your experience?

Anyway, the only satisfaction I'm really looking for is not suffering too much, and getting enough money without giving over my life. The problem is that I've been presented a bad dichotomy by my environment: either full time high-tech or, I don't know, back to construction. I'm now coming to realize that it's not so, that I've been given a false set of choices, and I've been pressured to consider them as they are. It's like I don't speak the same language as other people I talk to. Drives me crazy.

Blacknred Ned wrote:
Fortunately life rarely offers only one crossroads and you can always employ the 6 month strategy: give a job half a year and then leave before your head explodes.

I don't feel like I would like to remove myself from all my other activities for six months. Also, I've been down that road, sort of, in graduate school, and I'm not doing it again.

Blacknred Ned wrote:
You seem a little exasperated to find that your thread has provoked strong responses.

Actually, I'm surprised it's taken so long. Most of the original responses were very mild and supportive.

Look, It's hard for me to be all aloof and impersonal about things. I figured that, since people here are the only ones I know who seem to see eye-to-eye with me on many issues (as opposed to people I know, who would, for example, advise me to stick to minimum wage in order not to pay income tax to the evil state roll eyes), I could get better advice, at least on the political side of things - which I have. I also figured that my mental state is relevant, so I put that up, too: I'm weak and emotional, and that does affect the decisions I will make, now and during employment.

Blacknred Ned wrote:
I don't see why. Millenarian delusions notwithstanding, the drive to create revolutionary change is born in the everyday.

But how, dammit, how? How is it born in the everyday? How does it develop? And how the hell does it work in an industry where it's standard to sign global contracts with a salary NDA?

Blacknred Ned wrote:
Bringing up your angst about employment has raised fundamental stuff, even Lazy resorted to telling you to stop moaning..... in what I thought was quite a tender fatherly moment.

Yeah. I hope I'm a better parent to my hypothetical children, that's all I've got to say.

Blacknred Ned wrote:
Truly revolutionary politics is not about this class or that class or about the grinding wheels of history, it ain't scientific socialism man, it's getting up in the morning, every morning of the only life you'll ever have to drag yourself from your home and family to make someone else rich, powerful or pampered.

I'd think that revolutionary politics is a reaction to that situation, not it in itself.


revol68 wrote:
...this thread is an embarrasment.
Shame on those indulging it.

You mean like yourself? Yeah. An awful shame. You're losing it, revol.

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Feb 27 2007 12:27

I don't think I've ever denied being middle-class. I mean, I probably fall into that category, no matter how you define it. Is that a bad thing? If so, is there anything I can do to change it, except for revolution or death?

By the way, that still doesn't explain why you're bothering with this thread. This is your second post here.

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Feb 27 2007 12:56

I happen to have a lot of options, which I am aware that most people do not, and I want to make use of them properly. Would you have been that flippant with me had I decided to become a cop? There are roads that should not be taken. Now, what's wrong with joining the police is easy for me to see, but other harmful roads may be out there, that my underdeveloped senses may not be able to assess without aid. That's what this thread is for.

Case in point, turns out that one of the companies I was offered to work with has set up a near-sweatshop for Haredi women, built on lands appropriated from Palestinian villages (especially Bil'in), which they call "local offshoring", about a year ago. Does this not add any ethical dimension to the question of whether or not to take that job? Considering that I do have the choice, that it's not "either take this job or die", am I supposed to just go after the money and be content with the fact that other people don't have the options I have? Honestly, you remind me of that old addage about how people in Africa are starving, so eat your porridge, dear.

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Feb 27 2007 13:07

should you not eat your porridge because people in Africa are dying?

every employer does unethical shit, or at least has to be prepared to if they want to remain an employer. about 6 months ago my bosses shifted a load of production to a chinese sweatshop, but i feel no guilt for this because i'm not responsible for it. class struggle isn't on behalf of less fortunate others elsewhere, but on behalf of ourselves, finding common cause in the fact it is capital which imposes itself on our lives (though in varying degrees, from office boredom to sweatshop tyranny).

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Feb 27 2007 13:08

What if I were offered a job programming for the police?

That aside, revol, if you don't give a shit, you really don't have to post here. I'm sure other people will be able to ignore me much more easily without you giving them reason to think that this thread is active.

Blacknred Ned
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Feb 27 2007 13:12

Ffs Revol in the hotel lobby of life I suspect you're in much more need of a porter to carry your baggage than most people.

It's no bad thing to bring up issues of work and livelihood. Like it or not there are plenty of people on here who do not believe that if you talk long enough about the working class there will suddenly be some Marxian upsurge and bingo we'll all be free.

Wtf is it with this "middle class" thing anyway? ToJ is talking about working for a living. He may be exhibiting the career concerns that dog young people in our bourgeois society but no more than plenty of kids from council estates in northern cities or from tower blocks in the East End.

Take your prolier-then-thou attitude and stick it somewhere with the rest of your baggage. As for Lazy, he has no time for anybody or anything. You have no idea what prompted him to tell ToJ to stop moaning.

The consistent attack on lifestyle choices on Libcom is just dogma anyway. We all make lifestyle choices whether we consider ourselves lifestylists or not. If you don't apply yourself at work and rise to the top what does that make you, a rebel or a fucking lifestylist. It's such bollocks to try to separate the macho, big bollocks class struggle from lifestyle. Durruti used to rob banks, was he a lifestylist? Activistoid? Or just trying to change the world in the way he thought best?

I reckon most of the don't do this, don't do that, don't discuss this cobblers comes from folk whose idea of social change is to sit back and sulk hoping that one day the great forces of history will bring a revolution along! Religious bollocks! Right I'm off to stir my soup and check the bread I'm baking 'cos I gave up my job to teach my kids at home! What a lifestylist cunt I must be!

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Feb 27 2007 13:22
Joseph K. wrote:
should you not eat your porridge because people in Africa are dying?

You shouldn't eat your porridge if you don't like porridge and can afford not to.

Joseph K. wrote:
every employer does unethical shit, or at least has to be prepared to if they want to remain an employer. about 6 months ago my bosses shifted a load of production to a chinese sweatshop, but i feel no guilt for this because i'm not responsible for it. class struggle isn't on behalf of less fortunate others elsewhere, but on behalf of ourselves, finding common cause in the fact it is capital which imposes itself on our lives (though in varying degrees, from office boredom to sweatshop tyranny).

Yeah, but, you know, there's unethical and then there's unethical. Still, no, if I had to be honest with myself, and with you, that would not be the overriding reason for me not to take that job. Or, rather, that's not the overriding reason that I am not taking that job. That's a cop-out. The real reason is that I don't like the terms, and I think I can afford to wait for a position that requires less time and dedication, while still offering enough money.

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Feb 27 2007 13:28
Blacknred Ned wrote:
The consistent attack on lifestyle choices on Libcom is just dogma anyway. We all make lifestyle choices whether we consider ourselves lifestylists or not.

the critique of lifestylism isn't about having a lifestyle, which we all do, but about imbuing every detail of your lifestyle with political significance. internalising the myth of consumer sovereignity in fact.

I mean ToJ is by no means the worst example of this, but worrying if you should boycott an employer because they're 'unethical' would fall into this category.

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Feb 27 2007 13:31
ToJ wrote:
You shouldn't eat your porridge if you don't like porridge and can afford not to.

so ... the porridge has nothing to do with the africans then? tongue

ToJ wrote:
The real reason is that I don't like the terms, and I think I can afford to wait for a position that requires less time and dedication, while still offering enough money.

that's my boy wink

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Feb 27 2007 13:38
revol68 wrote:
no i don't care about your oh so pertinent ethical dilemna what I do care about is the fact you post it on a libertarian communist board, this isn't the Green Party forums.

If I had wanted a Green Party perspective, I would have posted this message there. As it stands, I couldn't care less about what Green politics has to say: I always brush away Greenpeace recruiters when I happen to run into them, for one. I wanted to see what a libertarian communist perspective could offer, and what personal advice people could give me that is informed by libertarian communism.

What I manage to distill from your diatribe is that you don't think that there is any significance, beyond the personal one, to whichever job I choose to take, so long as I don't stand in direct contradiction to working-class interests (or, hell, maybe you think I'm middle-class anyway, so I'm already opposed to the working class, so it really doesn't matter what I do). Joseph K. seems to agree with you, and it's a valid position.

I'll remind you that I opened this thread before I even knew that I had positions available to me. Now I get to pick and choose, which makes it less interesting for the reading public, and for that I apologize. I don't feel guilt-ridden, though, which is another symptom of what a poorly-adjusted middle-class individual I am.

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Feb 27 2007 14:00
revol68 wrote:
...now if only you could grasp how pathetic your initial posts sounds...

I was feeling quite pathetic at the time, for various reasons, and I guess it showed through with my posts. So I was, probably still am, maybe always will be pathetic. Not everyone can be stone-cold awesome like you, putting pathetic middle-class tossers in their place at every turn, laboring by day and bashing lifestylists by night and bringing the Man down while hog-tied and distracted by shiny marbles.

petey
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Feb 27 2007 15:05

shut up, revol.

ned wrote: Millenarian delusions notwithstanding, the drive to create revolutionary change is born in the everyday.

tj wrote: But how, dammit, how?

start by daily taking small decisions, and occasionally big decisions, which benefit anything anti-hierarchical, co-operative, libertarian. by absenting yourself from the opposite of these. (this is lifestylism if applied only to purchases, but you should include purchases in these decisions.) but really, like i said, job security and a decent income are better than the alternative. don't sweat it to the point of paralysis.

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Feb 27 2007 15:59
newyawka wrote:
shut up, revol.

I don't mind his hassle. I mean, I can see where he's coming from: I'm sure he's had about enough of ponces like me whining about their lives while others strive for the very bread that would stave off starvation.

newyawka wrote:
ned wrote: Millenarian delusions notwithstanding, the drive to create revolutionary change is born in the everyday.

tj wrote: But how, dammit, how?

start by daily taking small decisions, and occasionally big decisions, which benefit anything anti-hierarchical, co-operative, libertarian. by absenting yourself from the opposite of these. (this is lifestylism if applied only to purchases, but you should include purchases in these decisions.)

I'd appreciate it if you would elaborate on that. Examples from your own life would be nice, for that personal touch.

newyawka wrote:
but really, like i said, job security and a decent income are better than the alternative. don't sweat it to the point of paralysis.

Yeah. Sweating it to the point of paralysis is my (rather cumbersome) middle name.

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Feb 27 2007 16:13
ToJ wrote:
I mean, I can see where he's coming from: I'm sure he's had about enough of ponces like me whining about their lives while others strive for the very bread that would stave off starvation.

i choose to read that as a deftly self-aware joke. excellently done grin

Blacknred Ned
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Feb 27 2007 17:51

I didn't say most Revol, I said plenty. And I didn't say that career worries in general have anything to do with strategic challenges to capitalism. But plenty of kids do agonise about what jobs to take and plenty of people do have to make choices about which direction to go in.

As for failing to live up to your exacting standards of originality and polemic, you generally don't exhibit any substantiated arguments yourself. ToJ's question to you is spot on, why did you feel the need to intervene in this thread at all? You come in here like some angry little commissar and then start having a go as per usual.

Do you realise that it is possible to disagree with someone without trying to put the boot in? Can you grasp that we will come no closer to the libertarian communism you claim to be in favour of until we show a little tolerance and, dare I say love? That's not born of a middle class guilt trip, it's born of good anarchist ethics. If your attitudes prefigure the new society Revol then you can keep it!

I have seen very many young people who in their youth subscribed to revolutionary or radical ideas get swept into conformity and surrender by the stream of life. I suspect that a great majority of them faced exactly the kind of situation that ToJ faces right now. This is important stuff and being an intolerant bastard about it does not help. There are loads of people in their 40s and 50s and older who can say that they were once involved in this or that but aren't any longer, that is our loss and theirs.

Now I have made my choices and do my very best not to conform in very many ways. This doesn't mean that I condemn others for their lifestyle choices but it does mean that I recognise lifestyle to be an important element in the construction of both one's individual politics and in social change. There's no strawman here, I recognise a fundamental difference between different posters on Libcom. This difference does not make some of us better libertarian communists than others and disrespect and bile get us nowhere fast in the direction I assume most of us would like to be going.

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Feb 27 2007 19:17
revol68 wrote:
you really think most people have the kind of previlege where they can pick and choose emploiyers like ToJ was discussing?

What the fuck has this got to do with anything? So most workers don't have the privilege of earning £30,000 a year, but that doesn't mean that FBU or RMT members (for example) shouldn't have our support in going for it. This is precisely the same as the argument you were using on the Scottish Parliament employees/IWW thread - but it is bullshit. (Even though I may agree with other points you made on the thread.) It's totally reasonable for someone to want a job that they feel fulfilled doing, or which gives them some opportunity to do some politics, if that's something that makes their life go better for them. Tree appears to be in a position where he can achieve that - or, more importantly for him, it sounds, a good work/non-work balance. Which is totally legitimate. It's not the same as the class struggle writ large, but this is libcommunity for fuck's sake - so lighten up, or fuck off. Or should we not care about any of your work related concerns, because hey - at least you're not in an EPZ in Haiti, so should just get some fucking perspective!?

revol68 wrote:
what I do care about is the fact you post it on a libertarian communist board, this isn't the Green Party forums

Leaving Tree's apparent commitment to libertarian communism aside...

This board used to have an 'introductory' forum. I guess that the point was for non-libertarian communists to find out more about those politics, which necessarily involves having people post from different perspectives. The introductory forum has now been subsumed within the others. So non-libertarian communists are totally welcome to come and debate on the boards. That's absolutely fine - assuming they're not trolling, but engaging in real debate - and may be a way for people to be persuaded to different politics. Which I presume is one of the aims of the site. The idea that you've got to pass some test before posting is horseshit.

revol68 wrote:
stop this snivelling poor me bollox

Yes. All those experiencing depression (which obviously includes no working class people at all) should keep it under wraps, so they're not an embarrassment to those much cooler than themselves. Depression is a bourgeois disease! Viva la suppression!

Oh, and the point raised in the original post had nothing to do with 'ethical choices', or what have you, and is a totally legitimate problem to pose. Relatively few libcom posters, as far as I can work out, are located in 'mass worker' industries - and most can do better than getting jobs on the fringe of the economy, where radical industrial struggles are most likely and most needed. But most posters are also more or less workerists (British sense). So what to do? You can salt or organise from outside - but (as previous threads have shown) both of these are problematic. So there's a debate there.

I disagree with various things Tree has said on this and other threads, but revol, you're being a total tosspot. I don't know if you need to just not drink coffee, or get more sleep or something, but you come across as spitting with rage - it makes you sound totally fucking nuts.

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Feb 27 2007 19:48

Hi

Can everyone just please stop moaning.

Quote:
All those experiencing depression (which obviously includes no working class people at all) should keep it under wraps

Right. Chemical imbalance aside, feeling bad is nature’s way of telling you you’re a loser and should kill yourself before you do too much damage to the working class project. Cheer up or get lost, I say

Love

LR

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Feb 27 2007 20:14
revol68 wrote:
the thing is he wasn't talking about what job is more fufilling or better for him ... it's when they start coaching it in terms of which is better for being an anarchist

I'm not going to speak on Tree's behalf, but my sense of his posts was that that he was talking about how fulfilling he would find the job - and wasn't falling into lifestylism. I can see how if all you're looking for is keywords, you might think that, but I think you should read closer - though like I say, I don't agree with every sentiment expressed. Also, it can be perfectly reasonable to take a job due to the opportunities for struggle. This is what salting is. It is even less controversial to blankly state that you're pissed off that your (prospective) job doesn't have that opportunity (because you're dedicated to the struggle), which is what Tree actually did. It is fine to be pissed off at that. It's even fine to tell other people.

revol68 wrote:
And i'm not in a rage at all, I just posted to say Lazy was right for once.

No you didn't. You made a vicious little attack, and followed it up with a serious of snide little insults of absolutely no political value.

revol68 wrote:
Regarding workerism well you do realise that most posters on here see the working class as ar wider than negir's 'mass worker', a historical entity that was always of dubious value anyway.

Yes, me included. Well... I think that the 'mass worker' is still useful as an ideal type. Obviously I wasn't attempting to rigorously introduce another debate on class and the changing structure of capitalist prodction here. Go for another thread, if you're into it.

petey
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Feb 27 2007 20:33

shut up, lazy.

i wrote: "start by daily taking small decisions, and occasionally big decisions, which benefit anything anti-hierarchical, co-operative, libertarian."

tj wrote: "I'd appreciate it if you would elaborate on that. Examples from your own life would be nice, for that personal touch."

i teach. this term i'm one of three teachers teaching a fifth grade (10/11 y.o.) "reading club." each teacher directs his/her own group. this isn't english lit, it's more seeing if they can read with attention to punctuation, making sure they get the allusions, other basic stuff. each teacher can run the book club to taste. i might have directed the discussion, viz, picked the passages to discuss, asked the questions i want asked, cut maundering kids off. so i decided to see if they could run themselves. it's taken a few weeks, but now they have devloped a method for choosing the daily leader, who directs the discussion. each student brings in his (they're all boys) own comments and questions for discussion. each day's leader is responsible for keeping the discussion on pace. they've decided that no-one can be leader twice before everyone has had one chance. the toughest part is that they're learning how to corral peers when they hog the time. when they get bogged they reflexively look at me, and i keep throwing it back to them (unless it's a real impasse)

so, i thought i saw a chance to get kids to self-direct, and took it. now they'll have had the experience of it.

in teaching you get lots of opportunities. i had to cover a 6th grade (11/12 y.o.) history class once for an absent teacher. they were doing late 19th c/early 20th c. labor problems so i taught them a few lines of the internationale, hee-hee.

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Feb 27 2007 20:43

Nice. Though wouldn't it be better if you oppressed them so hard that they'd revolt and tear the school down? wink

Have you managed to get other teachers in on this pupil self-management deal?

petey
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Feb 27 2007 21:10

the other teachers in this course are doing roughtly the same thing, but not as strictly as i'm doing it. i'm nutso about autonomy, and they're on the right track anyway, so i don't butt in.

i could go meta and say that the kiddies are only doing this becuase it's what the teacher wants, but they're ten years old and this may also be the first time they've done a self-organization bit. i'm just hoping they retain the fact that things can be done like this.

Mike Harman
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Feb 28 2007 00:44
tojiah wrote:
Nice. Though wouldn't it be better if you oppressed them so hard that they'd revolt and tear the school down? ;-)

Been trying that at my job. Doesn't work sad

wangwei
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Feb 28 2007 01:36

I have done some soul searching, and I realize now what was really bothering me about being bossed around in construction: the fact that I was being treated like an idiot. .. I could find very little solace in any coworkers. The few good moments I had there were when a coworker taught me new things;

Dude, welcome to the proletariat. The bosses are always going to boss us around so long as the primacy of capital gets to subsume labor to its needs. But, learn not to try to find solace in your coworkers, but to be the solace for them. The good moments tht you get with them will arise as they see you put communist values into practice. When they see that they can trust you.

But wouldn't that mean that, theoretically, there should be no ideological problem with me enlisting with the army or the police, going to work for a political party, etc?

I hold the posistion that we, as revolutionaries, need to join the army to build revolution within the bosses' army. But, I don't know if it would be the best idea for you in your situation.

I would suggest getting a job that can keep you eating, and working with an anarchist communist organization. I think your politics are great, and you just need to make sure that you keep on eating and having struggles with fellow revolutionaries.

petey
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Feb 28 2007 15:21

join the cops instead, and find out what solidarity looks like

nighthawk
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Mar 1 2007 15:54
revol68 wrote:

lol, well we all know why you would have a problem with my posts on this thread. What union is it you're a full time organiser for? Is that what you meant by a job that offers you a chance to do some politics?

I don't know mate, I think posi's made it fairly clear why has a problem with your posts:

posi wrote:
You made a vicious little attack, and followed it up with a serious of snide little insults of absolutely no political value.

The fact that you've indulged in another ad hominem attack instead of engaging with the content of his post underlines his point.

nighthawk
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Mar 1 2007 16:29
revol68 wrote:
secondly considering my post was made in annoyance at what i perceived as approaching the class struggle as something you insert yourself in rather than something you are already in, I think his job as a union organiser is pretty damn relevant.

I reckon posi would be very open to critique and discussion of the role played by organisers and unions, but I don't see how his job explains or accounts for his reaction to your posts here.

revol68 wrote:
Also for someone with a post count of two it seems a very strange topic to delve into straight off the bat.

Maybe. I use the library and read the forums here a lot even if I don't post, and I know posi outside libcom.

petey
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Mar 1 2007 16:43
an insecure poster wrote:
stop using latin you muppet

os claude, aut eo utere ut ...
EDIT the rest of this i removed, to avoid accusations of insensitivity to revol's feelings

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Mar 1 2007 17:08
Mike Harman wrote:
tojiah wrote:
Nice. Though wouldn't it be better if you oppressed them so hard that they'd revolt and tear the school down? ;-)

Been trying that at my job. Doesn't work sad

It really doesn't. But you can raise your job satisfaction by letting people off fines if they're reading interesting books.

nighthawk
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Mar 1 2007 17:10
revol68 wrote:
I think it has everything to do with it, as my post was me venting about people treating the class struggle as some sort of external arena, the class as something outside them and people choosing jobs on the basis of which is more ethical or politically right on. Don't you think such a position puts me at odds with full time organisers? I think it does.

Yeah definetely. In fact I agree with you up to a point - that was why I suggested you engage posi in a discussion about it. But I still don't see how that is relevant to this thread. So far as I can see, posi called you out for the way you were engaging with treeofjudas, and pointed out that its perfectly legitimate for someone to want a job that leaves them with time and energy to pursue their own interests. I don't see why it matters if people want to spend that time 'doing politics' or collecting stamps (maybe they're both equally relevant to class struggle wink ), the demand is still sound. And you were being a bit of a dick to treeofjudas.

posi
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Mar 1 2007 21:39
revol68 wrote:
And i'm not in a rage at all, I just posted to say Lazy was right for once.

revol68 wrote:
i might have been abit harsh in tone with ToJ but to be honest the tone of his post and the way it viewed class struggle just pissed me off

I think this is what social workers call 'progress'.