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Life Despite Capitalism - Workshops

Workplace Organization as Commons

Notes from the Life Despite Capitalism workshop "Workplace Organization as Commons" - 16/10/04 2-4pm


note: these notes were taken down with great gaste trying to follow the meaning of various ideas expressed more so than their precise words - not much attention was paid to grammar and so forth - hopefuly there will be time to revise them later for greater clarity. smily

workshop with Peter and Vivan:

Peter: coming from opposite angle, from almost utopian perspective - the ancient notion of commons, the loss of what was assumed to be common

PERSON: -focus on these forms of resistance: more as a socilogist or social worker looking at it - these forms of resistance are not new, and in many ways don't contain a great deal of potential within them - being slacking off their work because they don't like it - and often that might not good beyond it - solidarity also won't necessarily bring out forms of change either - trade unions are also not fixed entitees, and change constantly, and thus are not obstacles to change, but should be changed - the attitude of bosses hasn't changed - distrust/hostility - new techniques of management, new forms of control developed in the last 20 years, human resources, etc - creating forms of control that workers impose on themselves - the idea of self-management, once prominent, ad has faded from uniojs for the mst part, social partnership and so forth - empowerment and participation, but such in the service of the own elslavement

PERSON: link between everday life and work, expanding the defintion and idea of work - work encompasses more than just the workplace, how work is embodied in many different forms of social labor and repoducing of society and capital - imment conflict - "the workplace is everywhere" - the idea of the social factory

PERSON: wnats to connect everything together, problems in common we face in my job as a bus driver - for instance, the uniforms we wear - various ruses and tricks we use to manage and deflate the pressures of work - and this is common - problem is to connect these up, they are indiviudalized right now - the moment that this silence, the indivualism and isoltion is broke through, then it is possible for solidarity to emerge - in order to this, need to break through the taboos such as notions and norms of machismo - and to be able to talk about these issues and problems within the union - this possibility to speak doesnt exist anymore or in the union - this recent trasnprt strike in Geneva - the strike was won before it began, the drives said to on strike anyway - and this has transform the collectivity and mentality among the workers


PERSON: what happens wher the spaces of solidarity and communalityexist not within the workplace but outside of it - how to use these space outside the workplace to organize soldarity to occur within the workplace? ex. organizing around workplace issues from within the faith community and so forth - things that can't be dealt with traditional forms of union

PERSON: sectors where who the enemy is is less clear, working in homeless service workplace - who is the enemy? self-managed teams, desire not to sabotage what is going on - because not wanting the operation of the workaplce to stop - for instance, closing down the shelter - places where the conflict over employment need not occur within the direct confines of the workplace itself for these reasons - if one is it at work because work is inecessary to supporting onself, not because it was chosen, how to use these forms of relation as the bassi of social struggle? many people are there just because they need the job, and that doesnt provide a good basis for other forms of organizing and solidarity

-PERSON: commons as place, what is the commons in the workplace? is this is something that is experience as shared? and thus cannot be seen as a place that is a commons, or people who are alienated to different extends in their workplace experiences, and how this colors their workplace experiences - and what is the use of this motif?

PERSON: craft unions attacked by invention of fordism - working with ideas from before - when conditions are changing, coming from the paradigm of the mass worker - ways og thunking are left in the model of years ago, even the the conditions we are facing have moved on and chanegd - and does this always happen? and what form of organization would this require

PERSON: old and new forms constnatly co-exist - there isnt anything known as the traditional trade union - some people are tsuck in the 70s, but in some ways people were off better in the 70s - these organizations continue to exist - and we should choose to work with them and use them rather than discarding - major problem is the lack of viable alternative


what is the commons here? what do the workers ahre? what do they have in common? what is in common under the new conditions of work? is it just space in common at work or what are the values we share in comoon? what is the value or function of commons for precarious workers? can trade unions address the new forms of solidarity that are existing?

how do we conceive and reconceive labor from the workplace to home and cyberspace during the conditions of global capital?

how / what / for do we organize in a globalize world?

why do these conversatios so often end up in these oppositions that make further discussion and organizing difficult?

how can the question of commons at work be meaningful / relevant qo all?

notes by stevphen from Ever Reviled Records and the Greenpepper Project

Created by: stevphen last modification: Saturday 16 of October, 2004 [11:22:18 UTC] by stevphen

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