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About our site

Welcome, and congratulations on your safe arrival. Whatever led you to this site, you can be sure it didn't happen by random chance. There are no coincidences.

This site is a joint effort of Sarah Nelson, creator of The Leisure Party, and D.J. Swanson, founder of CLAWS.

CLAWS began humbly with four people in a living room talking about how jobs and earning money had taken over their lives and deciding it was time to create some alternatives. We began speculating about the roots of the Puritan work ethic, and became more conscious of how we'd been inculcated with a sense of guilt about laziness if we didn't want a full-time job like "everyone else".

Soon our meetings attracted interest from friends and curious acquaintances, so we decided to create this Web site to answer questions. Then, through a mailing list, we connected with Sarah Nelson of the UK-based Leisure Party, and she turned over her site to us. The CLAWS site you're looking at now is a hybrid of the original CLAWS material and the Leisure Party pages.

Sarah's site was created in response to pre-election "back to work/job creation" propaganda from the UK New Labour Party when she discovered that "jobs" were and still are being hailed as some kind of salvation, rather than simply sources of income. Obviously the USA is full of such propaganda as well, augmented by the American myth of the "self-made man" and the triumph of the individual at any cost.

We have material here from the USA, Canada, Ireland and France, and we'd like to include perspectives on the work ethic from other countries as well, so feel free to contact us if you have suggestions or work to contribute.

While CLAWS is not against "work" per se, we do feel it is time to question our outdated belief in the "work ethic" and scrutinize this whole business of "making a living." People are working long hours and most are not happy in their jobs. Was this what the industrial revolution was for? Was this what we came to this planet for?

Our vision is of a world where everyone spends their days doing what they love, while all their needs are met, with ease, abundance and joy. Stress, strain, struggle and guilt are unknown and there is no concept of "work." All activity is experienced as play.

CLAWS is a vision and a support group. It is not a political party, nor is it a new economic theory. It is about self-empowerment and the freedom of the individual, as well as broader social welfare and freedom for all the peoples of the world. It is about the only real choice each of us has; to remember or to deny the truth of who we really are, and why we are here.

You'll find a variety of material here, from past and present, on the subject of work, play, idleness and more. We have gradually accumulated this and made it available as a resource for others, to stimulate reflection. We don't necessarily agree with it all.

We support efforts for social change, and we have some political perspectives here, but ultimately we are an inspirational and practical group and don't want to spend hours endlessly debating economic or political theories or analyses. These are ultimately distractions, which have contributed to our current state of acedia, or spiritual sloth (from the Greek: akedia). Ironically, our present cult of "busyness," "complexity" and "working hard" has resulted in sloth. It is time to slow down and wake up - for the sake of our souls...

Our overall message is this:

Stop! Think again. There is another way of looking at the world.

We propose that hard work and struggle are not a virtue, nor idleness and ease a sin. Did we come to this planet to struggle and toil? Or did we come here to experience JOY?

The choice is yours. You deserve a life of EASE and JOY. It is your birthright and you have the freedom to claim it, just as soon as you are ready.

May this site inspire valuable reflections and realisations in your life. May it amuse you, move you, inspire and empower you. You may even quit your job...

May it help you remember what you most loved to do as a child and give you the courage to do what you most love to do now.

Above all, may you remember you who you really are.

Have faith - follow your heart and you will always be fed and clothed.

"...a poor person forced to work a job they despise because of economic necessity is a slave."
- author unknown

"Re-examine all you have been told - dismiss what insults your soul."
- Walt Whitman

"Lukacs discovered that in ordinary life the exploitation of labor by capital is hidden from the consciousness of the worker by the fact that the terms on which goods are exchanged in the market appear to be determined by factors independent of the workers' own labor."
- Stanley Aronowitz, False Promises

"The legitimization and pursuit of tasks, projects and economic activities in general outside the bounds of the institutions of employment provide the way out of our current economic insanities."
- Denis Pym

"It is significant that in all Aryan languages those words which indicate a productive effort mean suffering."
- Camillo Berneri, The Problem of Work

"Our present joyless labour, and our lives scared and anxious as the life of a hunted beast, are forced upon us by the present system of producing for the profit of the privileged classes."
- William Morris, Useful Work Versus Useless Toil

"That a man can, under the capitalist system, start up his own business has very little to do in fact with free enterprise. Today the one-man business is only possible for people whose ambition for material success is stronger than any feeling about philosophical niceties as freedom."
- unsigned editorial in Freedom,1959