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Publication Details

Reference
Waterman, Peter  (2005) From ‘Decent Work’ to ‘The Liberation of Time from Work’. Centre for Civil Society : 1-23.

Summary
Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number -
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.

(P. B. Shelley, The Mask of Anarchy, 1819)

A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it
leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity
lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the
realisation of Utopias.

(Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, 1891)

The Future Is Not What It Used To Be
(cited Sousa Santos 1995:479)

I want to here comment on a number of historical and contemporary understandings of work and workers, represented in the quotations below. I want to comment more particularly on the utopian ones. Utopian ideas have always been central to or lain beneath emancipatory movements, particular labour and socialist ones in their emancipatory moments (Beilharz 1992). I want, even more specifically, to comment on this problematic in relation to the World Social Forum (WSF), or to the Global Justice and Solidarity Movement (GJ&SM) in general. Because, at least with the Forum, we are confronted with the problem of an event largely dominated by a position on work that is quite literally pro-capitalist, whilst so far providing little hearing for any specific utopian (post-capitalist) position on such.

Given the limits of my own reading or understanding, I would like to see this paper as some kind of Wiki document (an internet invention, documents repeatedly edited or added to, thus being a contribution to collective thinking rather than claiming some unique individuality). The paper is actually already some kind of personal Wiki, given its origin in an incomplete one of similar title, presented within the ‘Life after Capitalism’ programme, organised by the US-based Znet at the World Social Forum, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2003, http://www.zmag.org/watermanwork.htm.
If any reader knows how to truly convert it into a real (i.e. virtual) Wiki, they should go ahead and do so, preferably informing me either before or after doing so.

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