Activism, Society, Politics & the Media

Activism, Society, Politics & the Media

We believe that individual approaches to escaping wage slavery go hand-in-hand with social change. We are a practical group, and our main focus is in changing attitudes - freeing people who feel trapped by the wage slavery mindset. But if you, like us, are passionate about the possibilities for a new kind of sustainable society where we learn to value ourselves for who we are rather than what kind of job we have, social action may be a calling for you. We at CLAWS have found that the more we explore the ramifications of our individual choices, the more we find ourselves feeling inclined toward social reform and filled with a desire for a future worth living, as Chaz Bufe's pamphlet puts it.

We suggest that you start by learning more about how our capitalist economy works, particularly in regard to the unprecedented power wielded by corporations and the tax breaks they get, paid for by working people. This is often referred to as "corporate welfare". This may lead you to make your purchases at small community businesses or independent bookstores, once you realize how your choices as an individual can keep you trapped in wage slavery.

As a next step, consider the role of education and how our schools are often set up as training grounds for the world of work. Many of us at CLAWS grew up with the idea that the primary purpose of government-sponsored schooling was to prepare us for jobs. We think the purpose of learning is freedom, not preparation for wage slavery, and we encourage you to consider self-directed learning.

For more food for thought, you could explore how the mainstream media is influenced in ways that maintain the status quo and give us biased perspectives on the world. Noam Chomsky has done some excellent work as a media critic, and there are many wonderful books available (for example, The Media Monopoly by Ben Bagdikian) that explain how things work in the media world. The mainstream media are controlled by the people in power, advertising, and increasingly, by corporate interests. We suggest you ferret out reading and entertainment material that supports, challenges and expands the way you think rather than catering to the interests of those who want to sell you something or purchase your time and your life in exchange for a wage.

We at CLAWS know we have a biased perspective as well. We are biased toward thinking for yourself rather than blindly following the dictates of the environmentally devastating, dehumanizing work-consume-debt cycle. We would like to see society wake up and take a look at where our attitudes have taken us, and consider what a healthy future might look like. We put together this site as an essentially political act - we want to get the word out as widely as possible about better ways of thinking on the subject of work.

Other ideas to consider:

Check out the Blue Collar Review -
the Journal of Progressive Working Class Literature
Here's a sample poem we like:

RHYME AND REASON

"Get a job!" I am told when I'm out in the street
by a well paid executive in the noon day heat
who'll soon be out with me when his job is complete
and the big boss tells him to "vote with his feet"
and for a pittance we'll be forced to compete
for a roof over our heads and a bite to eat
'cause we're all in the same boat, so don't think you're elite
we're all working class and when we all meet
the bosses they tremble and they call out the heat
'cause they know that united we just can't be beat
and without us to trample, to exploit and cheat
their whole greedy system will go down in defeat!
- by A. Markowitz
(used by permission of author)

See also our book recommendations and links for more on this topic.

"I don't want to say everybody has to take action. There are points in our lives where we have to withdraw from the world and reflect and be contemplative. Each person has to discern what's appropriate for herself. But it's very important that we don't become overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems and simply despair. We need to generate courage equal to the size of the difficulty."
- Linda Johnsen

" when the hacker work ethic opposes capitalism's work-centeredness, it also opposes the same feature in communism. One must remember that despite their major differences, both capitalism and communism are based historically on the Protestant ethic, as sociologist Peter Anthony has reminded us in The Ideology of Work."
- Pekka Himanen, The Hacker Ethic, p. 61

"...governments usually represent the people who fund their election campaigns."
- Brian Dean, Anxiety Culture

"When fascism comes to this country [the USA], it won't be wearing jackboots; it'll be wearing sneakers with lights in them, and it'll have a smiley face and a Michael Jordan T-shirt on. They learned the mistake of overt control. They've learned how to be much subtler."
- George Carlin