percival goodman

anonymous asked:

When I first realized I was an anarchist I was excited to have finally discovered a political ideology I identify with. The problem is that now I have become acutely aware of the vast breadth of injustice and suffering in this world caused by those in power & I don't feel like I fit...well, anywhere within "society". I haven't had a job in almost 12 months, largely because I don't want my labour to contribute towards supporting the state. How do I live without feeling like a hypocrite? :/

I suggest you reading The abolition of work by Bob Black.

“No one should ever work. Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you’d care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working. That doesn’t mean we have to stop doing things. It does mean creating a new way of life based on play; in other words, a ludic conviviality, commensality, and maybe even art. There is more to play than child’s play, as worthy as that is. I call for a collective adventure in generalized joy and freely interdependent exuberance. Play isn’t passive. Doubtless we all need a lot more time for sheer sloth and slack than we ever enjoy now, regardless of income or occupation, but once recovered from employment-induced exhaustion nearly all of us want to act. Oblomovism and Stakhanovism are two sides of the same debased coin. The ludic life is totally incompatible with existing reality.

I disagree. It is now possible to abolish work and replace it, insofar as it serves useful purposes, with a multitude of new kinds of free activities. To abolish work requires going at it from two directions, quantitative and qualitative. On the one hand, on the quantitative side, we have to cut down massively on the amount of work being done. At present most work is useless or worse and we should simply get rid of it. 

On the other hand — and I think this is the crux of the matter and the revolutionary new departure — we have to take what useful work remains and transform it into a pleasing variety of game-like and craft-like pastimes, indistinguishable from other pleasurable pastimes, except that they happen to yield useful end-products. Surely that shouldn’t make them less enticing to do. 

Then all the artificial barriers of power and property could come down. Creation could become recreation. And we could all stop being afraid of each other. I don’t suggest that most work is salvageable in this way. But then most work isn’t worth trying to save. Only a small and diminishing fraction of work serves any useful purpose independent of the defense and reproduction of the work-system and its political and legal appendages. 

Twenty years ago, Paul and Percival Goodman estimated that just five percent of the work then being done — presumably the figure, if accurate, is lower now — would satisfy our minimal needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Theirs was only an educated guess but the main point is quite clear: directly or indirectly, most work serves the unproductive purposes of commerce or social control. Right off the bat we can liberate tens of millions of salesmen, soldiers, managers, cops, stockbrokers, clergymen, bankers, lawyers, teachers, landlords, security guards, ad-men and everyone who works for them.

There is a snowball effect since every time you idle some bigshot you liberate his flunkeys and underlings also. Thus the economy implodes.”

Full text is here.

PAUL AND PERCIVAL GOODMAN

COMMUNITAS, 1947

“Communitas is explicitly organized as a tree: it is divided into four concentric major zones, the innermost being a commercial center, the next a university, the third residential and medical, and fourth open country. Each of these is further subdivided: the commercial center is represented as a great cylindrical skyscraper, containing five layers: airport, administration, light manufacture, shopping and amusement; and, at the bottom, railroads, buses and mechanical services. The university is divided into eight sectors comprising natural history, zoos and aquariums, planetarium, science, laboratories, plastic arts, music and drama. The third concentric ring is divided into neighborhoods of 4000 people each, not consisting of individual houses, but of apartment blocks, each of these containing further individual dwelling units. Finally, the open country is divided into three segments: forest preserves, agriculture, and vacation-lands. The overall organization is a tree.”

(in: CHRISTOPHER ALEXANDER, “A CITY IS NOT A TREE”)