Labour day or the modern slavery day

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Happy labour day! It is a controversial title especially for jobless people out there and for grateful workers who still have a job in spite of the lockdown. In fact, digging deeper to the concept of labour, one can tell that the alteration of labour in our understanding had led to an alteration in the concept of freedom. How did we become modern slaves?

The word freedom comes from libertas. In Ancient Rome, a liber meant a free man who is not a slave. So, back then, slavery and freedom were legal statuses. Fast forward many centuries later, with the outcome of the Industrial Revolution (19th century), labour became a social, legal, political and philosophical theme. Therefore, labour is a recent concept, born with the evolution of society. Since then, with the progressive abolition of slavery and monarchies in Europe, everybody was working. Freedom as a concept was understood as financial independence.

Alongside the new concepts of both labour and freedom, capitalism (especially in its industrial form) encouraged ambition conceived as wealth which was not a bad thing. The bad thing happened later, when capitalism turned to become consumerism and a financial capitalism. Simply put, loans and massive production turned the world population into forever indebted to banks and states. Freedom as a concept  both in its old and new understanding, became an illusion. Adding to this, the new virtual surveillance of online work.

Charles Bukowski said it better:

How in the hell, could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 am by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where you essentially made lots of money for somebody else and asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?

in Factotum, 1975

Happy labour day everybody!



9 thoughts on “Labour day or the modern slavery day”

  1. Great article and coming from Germany, the home of work-dogma I totally agree.
    In essence what society around the earth lost is to educate children to find theirself instead of training them to be perfect robots, something which won’t work in the longrun anymore when real robots will soon do it better.

    Here are 3 things related to work:
    1. I actually came over in the first place only to send you this 2-min-vid about Lybia’s lockdown which does fit in here, because it is about work also:
    2. What I also found to be an interesting analysis of societie’s work-future was Yuval Noah Harari’s book: “21 lessons for the 21st century”, and finally
    3. Here is a movie which you as a french damsel without distress can watch straight away out of the box: It illustrates in a funny way how the way out of all of our madness is by not playing along anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How funny is the french damsel without distress? It made me laugh so much! will watch it. I know the book of Harari, he’s interesting. Thank you for your recommendations

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “The book of Harari” sounds like some cult-bible 😀 Anyway, the only point I wanted to make abut his book was the same Elon Musk made: That in the near future automatisition will have stipped away so much work from us humans that we need to resort to some kind of universal basic income.
        (…and that the problem then will be that people will not know what to do with their time, which is the reason why your and my work is so important!)
        After a bunch of severe experiences my attitude did shift 180° around from the German cliché of someone who put literally everything into work to someone who now explicitely exercices passive resistence against that flawed system which merely is designed to destroy the planet and people’s souls.
        I like the french etymology of “sabotage” which comes from the wooden “Sabot” shoes
        workers threw into the mechanics of the factories.
        Putting aside all suffering associated with it, there is some sense of satisfaction of the way the coronavirus does sabotage capitalism by forcing it to hold still for a while. (That’s why I wrote the space-alien article.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bon idée, you can accelerate my french further by recommending more french news channels like arte
        (mais no boulevard presse s’il vous plaît, it’s too painful for my tender soul)

        Liked by 1 person

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