CAN WE SURVIVE CAREER ? CAN WE SURVIVE WORK ? CAN WE SURVIVE CIVILIZATION ?
Lecture and Workshop Tour in February 2012
Main Speakers and participants : John Zerzan, Faridabad Majdoor Samachar, Vilas Sukhdeve, Rabbi Shergill and Gangadin Lohar
1. Can We Survive Career? In the 1950s, children were heroes if they secured 50% marks in their high school and secondary exams. In the ’80s, they were well set for life if they secured 80%. Today, securing even 100% can be meaningless. We are creating entire generations stalked by despair and fear of failure. There is no mistaking the signs: the number of children committing suicide in India is growing at a rate of 30% every year. What explains this collective madness if not the twin sceptre of increasing knowledge-load and time-poverty? If not the fear of slipping down the social and economic hierarchy and remaining unemployed: what else is the driving force behind the economy as we know it? Has not the growing pressure to outcompete other job-seekers in the job-market, accumulating over time, turned generations of parents and teachers into natural enemies of the younger generation?
2. Can We Survive Work? In the 1950s, one male member with an 8-to-10-hour day job was somehow able to provide for a family of four or five children and extended family members. In 2012, both spouses work 12 hours, which equals a combined 22 to 24 hours each day. Add to that the share contributed by ageing but ‘economically active’ parents: 3-4 working hours, wherever possible. In total, our shrunken domestic unit spends 28 to 34 hours working every day. We slog three to four times more at the workplace today. Still, the ruling ideology never tires of telling us how much more hard-working and motivated we should be. The old hierarchy has given way to a new hierarchy. What else but our existence as workers and wage-workers explains our misery? The more we work, the more it turns against us and robs us of our humanity in our relationships — with our family, community, society and with ourselves. Who is the real thief of time? The workplace, or our friends, relatives and community?
3. Can We Survive Civilization? What the elites called civilization was always work for (in the true sense: against) us. After all, what did civilization do to the planet, to nature, to people? What was it if not a destruction machine wreaking havoc on the nature? Was it not just a labour camp for the majority of the human population? Civilization and work atomize and alienate everyone and everything from each other: humans from animals, animals from humans, humans from wilderness, wilderness from humans, individuals from community, community from individuals, individuals from individuals, mind from body, body from mind, and finally, one part of the self from another part of the self. And turn each of these against the other.
If we want to become normal with ourselves, with other members of our species, and share the earth with its other inhabitants together : the abolition of our existence as workers and wage-workers is a precondition. This is the central question that should be raised and discussed together. We want our relationships with nature, human beings and other living beings at the centre of our life. Not career and work. We want to live our life, not just spend it !
3. Searching for the Way Out, Together: At the end of our workshops and talks in Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram, we would like to share ideas and experiences from history and contemporary societies about various attempts made to overcome work, career, representation and civilization. We would like to establish a non-hierarchical coordinating centre to pool our resources at the South Asian level, as a part of similar attempts everywhere else. Everybody is welcome to join in.
The Programme *
|Tuesday, February 07||11:30AM||Gupshup with workers and students||Majdoor Library, Autopin Jhuggi, NIT, Faridabad 121001, Haryana|
|Wednesday, February 08||3:30PM||SSS-I Auditorium, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi-67|
|Thursday, February 09||3:30PM||SSS-I Auditorium, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi-67|
|Friday, February 10||3:00PM||Lecture Hall, Second Floor, Faculty of Social Science Building, University of Delhi (North Campus), Delhi-7|
|Saturday, February 11||5:30PM||Gandhi Peace Foundation, near ITO, Delhi|
|Sunday,February 12||2:00 PM||Seminar Room, Indraprastha College, DU, Delhi-7|
|Tuesday, February 14||3:00PM||University of Hyderabad|
|Thursday, February 16||3:00PM||Osmania University|
|Monday, February 20||3:00PM||National Folklore Support Centre , Chennai-42 (Talk)|
|Tuesday, February 21||3:00PM||National Folklore Support Centre , Chennai-42 Workshop)|
|Thursday, February 22||Vyloppilli Sanskriti Bhavan, Thiruvananthapuram|
|Friday, February 23||Vyloppilli Sanskriti Bhavan, Thiruvananthapuram|
February 24 Thiruananthpuram
*Date and time of programmes subject to change. Visit our website for updates and texts on key concepts like work versus human activity etc: www.anhilaal.com Coalition against Work, Career, Representation and Civilization in South Asia ( CAWCRC).
Contact Central: Vilas Sukhdeve +91-9822880834
Disclaimer: All the members of the coalition agree on questioning Work, Career, Representation and Civilization as new and relevant points of departure. However, they might attach different meanings to the same key terms.
The title of this post is inspired by Aniket Alam’s recent comment on facebook.