‘The goal of the future is full unemployment’ – Arthur C. Clarke
On Saturday April 16 at the People’s Assembly March for Health, Homes, Jobs and Education, join us in marching for a future without work as we know it.
Technology is removing jobs at an incredible pace, from factories, supermarkets, from offices, soon even from the roads. The left should recognise the mobilising potential of a call for a world which allows us to work less, and still be able to live comfortably.
We support the People’s Assembly‘s demands to scrap the Trade Union Reform Bill, to stop insecure contracts and end the pay freeze: but this is nowhere near enough. Even with these changes, we will still be struggling under a neoliberal capitalism that forces us to work long hours in pointless jobs that destroy our mental health. And we will still face harassment by the state and media if we are unable to work.
Instead, we will be demanding:
- FULL AUTOMATION of the economy. Massive public investment in developing technologies to replace human labour.
- REDUCTION OF WORKING WEEK – to 21 hours or less.
- BASIC INCOME FOR ALL at a generous level, with no means testing.
- END THE ‘PAID WORK IS GOOD FOR YOU’ CULTURE. Refocus on valuing activities such as caring and voluntary community work, creative expression, and lifelong education.
Whilst automation is removing jobs, this is only negative whilst remaining work is not being equally distributed, and we continue to have to work to survive. If automation were accelerated at the same time that the working week was reduced and a generous basic income was introduced, we could begin moving to a world with vastly less suffering in poverty, and much more time to live how we wanted to. And by strengthening workers against capitalism, it would give a platform for further radical demands, such as common ownership of these new technologies.
For these demands to succeed, we also have to challenge the idea that 9-5 work is inherently good. We have to show how the idea of ‘hard working families’ is nothing but a tactic of divide and rule for justifying benefit cuts and attacks on disabled people.
But this can not only be a British struggle, nor even a European one. We cannot untangle capitalism from imperialism, and so these four demands must be placed amongst wider struggles: against borders, against police and state violence, against racist and imperialist narratives, and against the destruction of the environment. We have to support and show solidarity to those fighting for improved conditions across the globe, particularly in the global south. That is why we demand not more jobs, but a future free from work, for all, across the world.
Join us! Register your interest on the Facebook event.
If you’re attending from outside London, the People’s Assembly are organising coaches.
The groups joining the callout for this action want to contribute to the debate around these demands. We are not necessarily uncritical of the demands, and there are many aspects of them to be debated, refined and rewritten. But we feel that whilst this conversation is still in its infancy, putting forward these concrete statements as they stand is a powerful way to bring more people into the debate. We need as many people as possible to join this discussion, with all the diversity of their perspectives. Only that way we will be able to move the conversation beyond merely resisting austerity today, towards the building of the society of tomorrow.
Radical Assembly is operating a fluid action generating process and has no central committee. RA events are the responsibility of listed affiliate groups only. What is the Radical Assembly?
Art by Michelle Tylicki