Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey

12 March 2010

The not so illustrious history of work

By Jan Lundberg

The dominance of work, like so many aspects of Western Civilization and its economy, is seldom discussed openly beyond disorganized griping. For we are asked as good citizens to not question the idea of work. Indeed, we are required not to question it. Jobs are sacrosanct. However, that belief may be part of the old paradigm that is being ushered out as the pace of change keeps up.

Hard work has been relatively recently been enshrined as a natural obligation, while it conveniently maintains the state and its ruling elite. For the vast majority of people, work invariably confers no equity stake in the enterprise or product. Whether it's called civic participation or a right, or whether it is as Nazi Germany depended on it (Arbeit), work as we know it is an acquired trait and a recent phenomenon in human experience -- that is, when it is a form of evolved slavery for the masses of people. Perhaps 99% of our time on Earth has been as hunter–gatherers, habitually spending on average much less time on what could be called work, compared to members of agricultural and industrial societies. 

By recognizing work as forced, and not particularly kind for the body, spirit, or the Earth, we can regard work as linked to overcrowding -- or overpopulation. A large, hard-working population produces surpluses, fueling more population, especially with technology to help. We are now overdosed on technology applied regardless of consequences. Doing more work isn't going to help if it's to cater to endless growth or to further technology for its own sake. It's like digging a hole deeper for no good purpose. To differentiate between such work and purposeful, voluntary activity that benefits the whole community, we can create a designation that means the work is vital and widely appreciated: “Chosen Work.” Chork, anyone?
In general I try not to copy and paste the words of others on my blog. But Jan Lundberg's words above are so perfect and resonate with power, that I did not want to even attempt to precis them. The full article is available on The People's Voice:
http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/TPV3/Voices.php/2010/03/11/is-more-jobs-sustainable-or-necessary-in#more10463

11 March 2010

FIFA looting South Africa?

Here's an alternative view of the world cup and its impact on South Africans by an outsider:

The South Africa World Cup: Invictus in Reverse
You see it the moment you walk off the plane: a mammoth soccer ball hanging from the ceiling of Johannesburg International Airport festooned with yellow banners that read, "2010 Let's Go! WORLD CUP!" If you swivel your head, you see that every sponsor has joined the party ...

By the way, if you are in Durban you can join the author Dave Zirin ata seminar:

The University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society Seminar welcomes you to a seminar on Friday:

Topic: Fifa's Looting of South Africa
Speaker: Dave Zirin
Date: Friday, 13 March 2010
Time: 12:30–14:30

Venue: Memorial Tower Building F601, Howard College (NEW LOCATION: CCS's new quarters atop Durban's highest building)

Dave Zirin is one of the world's greatest social commentators on sports, and has authored four books, including A People's History of Sport in the United States. He writes for The Nation, Huffington Post Sports Illustrated, and many other outlets, and is a regular television and radio commentator. His visit to South Africa is sponsored in part by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and Harold Wolpe Trust, and on 11 March he appears twice at the UKZN Centre for Creative Arts Time of the Writer festival honouring his late friend Dennis Brutus (noon and 5:30pm). Zirin will comment on the new documentaries "Trademark 2010" and "Fahrenheit 2010", and describe his experience with "Bad Sport", i.e. when commodification and commercialisation destroy the grace and art of sport - and how civil society can resist.

01 March 2010

British govt's outrageous plan to create “marine park” on territory which is not its own

Look what they've done to what was once a beautiful jungle atoll. This is Diego Garcia, one of the Chagos Islands near Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. First they removed the local fisherfolk. Then they destroyed the non-human animals, birds and most of the landbase. Now they want control of the surrounding ocean as well.

View Larger Map

I don't believe any land belongs to a government, but when a government does what the Brits are planning on Diego Garcia, I am outraged. It's bad enough that half the once verdant island has been converted to a US airbase and military outpost, but now they UK wants to "improve on" (sic) what Nature once provided and build a marine park! Fook.

I wonder if they are going to make the dolphins jump though hoops during airbase lunchbreaks?
Read the article here: http://links.org.au/node/1527

Greenpeace has once again backed the wrong side and is supporting the plan. I suggest you read the comments at the bottom of the article as they are very revealing, especially the one by Mauritian journalist Yan Hookoomsing: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/oceans/help-protect-chagos-20100202 .