"We move not onwards We float zig-zag Between the tear gas bombs And vain analyses That we should be realists"
...the police play their role of maintaining this set of affairs by force, by reminding those who suffer under it that it could always be much worse. The daily injustice felt there holds a functional role: those who are willing to calmly undergo a police checkpoint so that they do not lose their job will be also willing to do an extra unpaid hour of overtime to keep it.
[Originally published in French by Lundi Matin on Feb. 14th, 2016. Translated into English by ediciones ineditos. Translator's note: "banlieue" is translated as "suburbs" in this piece but in France, the "banlieues" on the outskirts of Paris carries a connotation closer to "the hood," often accompanied by xenophobic and racist stereotypes of its racialized residents.] … Continue reading “Our neighborhoods are not political deserts”
There persists a certain confusion around the notion of anti-work. "On the Origins of Anti-Work" (Echanges et Mouvement, 2005) did not escape this fate as well. The confusion consists in not sufficiently specifying the notion of anti-work. On one hand, it consists of placing in the same category as anti-work certain behaviors like worker laziness, which looks to do the least amount of work, or the preference for (compensated) unemployment or living life on the margin. These resistant acts of work refusal are as old as the proletariat itself and do not define modern anti-work. On the other hand, the confusion consists of placing in the same category as anti-work resistant practices against exploitation which are indeed pro-work, like Luddism for example. However, I believe that we should rather keep the term anti-work for the struggles of our time (since '68) that show that the proletariat is no longer a class which affirms itself in revolution as hegemonic labor and is neither a class which will make work obligatory for everyone, nor will it will replace the bourgeoisie in directing the economy.
"State racism and institutional or police negrophobia are never identified, questioned or even less stigmatized. Everything carries on as if no one among journalists, intellectuals, politicians, all whom are predominantly white, were incapable to articulate the reality of these negrophobic attacks, which are growing ever more frequent in Europe. Obviously they have no motivation to do so. For negrophobia, the tool of racial hierarchies and domination, organizes the different [State] authorities just as it makes the media indifferent so long as the ghettos do not burn."
Quite simply and soberly, we continue to do what we have always done... But we do so with this subtle shift, so subtle that it has been the blindspot and ruin of empires every single time: the only thing we expect of this world is its end. And each one joining in on this truth finds themselves within this whisper: "let's be done with it."