No Jobs in the news

Prior to the march John Harris wrote in the Guardian about universal basic income, saying:

Inventing the Future… is the key inspiration behind what Radical Assembly have planned for this Saturday. The No Jobs bloc, in fact, echoes the slogans printed in bold type on the book’s cover: “Demand full automation, demand universal basic income, demand the future.”

realmedia.press ran our piece on ‘Five reasons to march for No Jobs on April 16’:

The Huffington Post featured the “You don’t hate Mondays, you hate capitalism” banner…

… As did the Mirror.

… As did this piece on thecolumn.net entitled ‘Whistle while you work: Rihanna and the new work songs’, which said:

A recent anti-austerity protest in London saw the first ‘No Jobs bloc’, a subsection of the march for those demanding a world without work. Reinventing Guy Debord’s slogan: “Ne travaillez jamais,” “Never Work,” this kind of ‘post-work’ politics breaks from a traditional leftist position that mistrusts automation and demands full employment, by embracing technology as a means of liberating us from a whole host of tedious jobs.

And a cloud of purple smoke outside Downing Street leads off this video report on newsflare.com.

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The art of demanding the future: Metamorphosis

Artist Michelle Tylicki discusses her inspiration.

“In this metaphoric illustration I attempt to show how, with the aid of proactive design and technology, humanity can work towards the development of a life of freedom, productivity and wholesome collective evolution. The integration between technology and living organisms, stylized in the bio-mechanic transition of the butterfly’s metamorphosis stages, represents the four demands in a timeline.

If we all work towards having an equal starting point (the nourished egg) and sustainably implement automation of menial tasks (the industrious caterpillar) we will have enough time (the incubating chrysalis) to further our personal and collective growth (the liberated butterfly). This would then allow for laying the groundwork for a regenerative culture (the formation of the next egg) and the cycle continues.

My choice of an insect life cycle was a reminder to let go of the anthropocentric approach as the current system does not only affect human lives, but impacts and is interconnected with all living things on the planet. The conscious biomimicry of balanced natural processes has many such systems solutions for us all.”

Michelle blogs about art activism at proactive-art.org

The art of demanding the future: automate now

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“The cross-piece is laser cut 6mm clear perspex. The shaft is constructed of size 1 timber Full Communism Bricks (FCB). Robots can easily slot these into each other to make anything we desire, generating complexity from a set of standard bits. A metaphor for a society creating ad hoc solutions (meeting an infinite diversity of needs) from a shared infrastructure.”

Thames Valley Plan C support the No Jobs bloc

Statement from Thames Valley Plan C on why they’re supporting the No Jobs Bloc:

“Thames Valley Plan C originated from a series of discussions between socialists, anarchists, feminists and communists about how economic changes were impacting on the ways the left traditionally organised it’s resistance to capitalism. Our collective understanding of ‘work’ expands beyond the things we do in return for a wage to also include the labour that goes into reproducing life itself, such as care and house work. This work is disproportionately done by women but is devalued under capitalism and often unpaid.
Over the last four decades, changes in the organisation of production and class composition have significantly weakened working class organisations like trade unions, thereby undermining our previous sources of class power. In addition, the withdrawal of social benefits and services has made it increasingly difficult for people without a job to get by; regardless of the work they are doing in the ‘domestic’ sphere. In order to swing the balance of power back in our favour we need to reinvigorate old organisational forms and develop new ones that facilitate mutual aid and disrupt the circulation of capital. However, to build a world beyond capitalism the left also needs an alternative vision of the future and a set of demands that can mobilise people to fight for it.
The No Jobs Bloc demands point us in the direction of a post-work future, in which necessary labour is significantly reduced, we have more free time and autonomy to pursue our unique interests and we place greater value on caring for each other. They hold the potential to unite different social groups around a political project to challenge neo-liberalism.”

Sisters Uncut North London support the No Jobs bloc

Here is Sisters Uncut North London‘s statement on why they are supporting the bloc:

“Why do we support NO JOBS BLOC?
Women and non-binary people make up 73% of carers in the UK, who earn a disgusting 4p per hour from Carers Allowance for caring full-time for a loved one.
55% of people working on zero-hours contracts are women, disproportionately they are our migrant sisters and sisters of colour, who face discriminatory and exploitative conditions and the constant threat of poverty through unemployment.
Less than half of our disabled sisters are in paid employment. We believe that is due to ableist, sexist and classist capitalist structures that aim to divide, disempower and devalue us.
North London Sisters Uncut seeks a world where women and non-binary folks are safe from violence. Part of this would include having the economic freedom to escape gendered domestic and state violence regardless of where in the world we live.”

DPAC support the No Jobs bloc

DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) statement on why they’re supporting our NO JOBS bloc on Saturday 16 April:

“DPAC are proud to support the No Jobs Bloc. We want a society where disabled people are valued as equals and free to explore every aspect of themselves. We want a society which doesn’t just account for our lives purely as either profit or loss in someone’s ledger account. While we live in a society collapsing under the pressures of capitalism, none of this is truly possible. In turn, none of us are ever truly free.
The institutional, structural, environmental and attitudinal barriers required to keep this failing system together completely exclude disabled people. This will not change without a radical re-thinking of how we organise ourselves – including our relationship with paid employment.
At this moment in the UK, the in-work poverty rates are higher than out-of-work poverty rates; the time for that radical re-thinking is now.
We urge all disabled marchers who are able, to join us on Saturday April 16th, assembling on Gower Street at 1pm.
Or alternatively join the short march route at 2pm on Charing Cross Road, outside the Hippodrome. See the map and details at http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/access_info

No Jobs bloc, People’s Assembly march, London, 16 April 2016

‘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.

Supported by:

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