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Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that ... They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard thirty fucking years ago. They don’t want that. Do you know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And now they’re coming for your social security money. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And do you know something – they’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later ’cause they own this fucking place. It’s a big club. And you ain’t in it! You and I are not in the big club! By the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe ... what to think and what to buy. The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Good honest hard-working people ... continue – and these are people of modest means – who continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don’t give a fuck about them. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t care about you. At all. At all. At all. George Carlin, Who Really Controls America
Workers now have, through interdependence, enormous negative power to dislocate the system. Workers’ control – if it means the power to plan their own work and to hire and fire the immediate plant management just as MPs are now hired and fired by the voters – converts that existing negative power into positive and constructive power. It thus creates the basis of common interest with local managers struggling to make a success of the business and to get devolved authority from an over-centralized bureaucratic board of management now perhaps sitting on them from above. Tony Benn, The Times 5 September 1970, ‘Towards Workers’ Control’
‘I just bumped from my hotel to work and to parties, and from parties to my hotel and back to work like a numb trolleybus. I guess I should have been excited the way most of the other girls were, but I couldn’t get myself to react.’ Sylvia Plath: Inside the Bell Jar, BBC 2018
A fundamental element of human nature is the need for creative work. Noam Chomsky
If you’re working fifty hours a week to try to maintain family income, and your children have the kinds of aspirations that come from being flooded with television from age one, and associations have declined, people end up hopeless, even though they have every option. Noam Chomsky
If you are working 50 hours a week in a factory, you don’t have time to read 10 newspapers a day and go back to declassified government archives. But such people may have far-reaching insights into the way the world works. Noam Chomsky
If workers are more insecure, that’s very healthy for the society, because if workers are insecure, they won’t ask for wages, they won’t go on strike, they won’t call for benefits; they’ll serve the masters gladly and passively. And that’s optimal for corporations’ economic health. Noam Chomsky
Reuters: Noting that 81 people had just died in a factory fire in China where they had been locked in to keep them at work. Noam Chomsky, lecture Washington 1 December 1993, ‘Clinton’s Vision’
Those that work in the mills should own them. Noam Chomsky, interview Chris Hedges June 2014, Youtube 55.08
Why aren’t there more company directors in jail? … Pipa Alpha … Not one company director has been sent to jail for any of those … The Jerry Archer Wing: we’ll open one up, start shovelling in the pinstripes … ‘Are you sure this is part of the Masonic ritual?’ … The law is completely inadequate … There have been five prosecutions for corporate manslaughter since that law came into play … You have got more chance of getting justice if you are a goat in Britain. Mark Thomas Comedy Product s6e3, Channel 4 2002
300 people killed at work each year … This is a class issue. ibid.
They were going to introduce this corporate killing. ibid.
An advert in the CBI: ‘Wanted: Mug’. ibid.
Over 100 of them are occurring on building sites, construction industry, these fatalities, and part of this is down to casualisation. ibid.
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important. Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness 1930
A sense of duty is useful in work, but offensive in personal relationships. People wish to be liked, not to be endured with patient resignation. ibid.
Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid. Bertrand Russell, In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays, 1986
Man must work by the sweat of his brow whatever his class, and that should make up the whole meaning and purpose of his life and happiness and contentment. Anton Chekhov, The Three Sisters
There will come a time when everybody will know why, for what purpose, there is all this suffering, and there will be no more mysteries. But now we must live ... we must work, just work! ibid.
We just philosophize, complain of boredom, or drink vodka. It’s so clear, you see, that if we’re to begin living in the present, we must first of all redeem our past and then be done with it forever. And the only way we can redeem our past is by suffering and by giving ourselves over to exceptional labour, to steadfast and endless labour. Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard
The whole place is beyond Bedlam. It makes you want to scream for help. It’s a disaster area. It’s a nest of vipers. It’s a zoo of incurables. And the work is just the same day over and over again ... It’s monotonous. Like waves. Chekhov: Comedy Shorts: A Reluctant Tragic Hero starring Johnny Vegas & Mackenzie Crook, Vegas, Sky Arts 2010
I wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease but the doctrine of the strenuous life. Theodore Roosevelt, speech 10th April 1899