File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0106, message 15

Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2001 17:02:01 +0100
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Weeping in a Rolls-Royce]


Bread and Roses - directed by Ken Loach - one of the great authors of british
cinema - as for unionisation it has worked everywhere else in the world to
increase workers rights, standard of living - if it hadn't "they" would not have
worked so blatently against it in this neo-liberal post-modern world...

What has the release of Bread and Roses been like in the USA - its Loach's first
USA directed and based movie...



hugh bone wrote:

> Eric, Steve and All,
> In the context of Eric's message (below) see the new movie, "Bread and
> Roses", which is flagrant propaganda for unionization. and read "Nickel and
> Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich, which may persuade that unionization hasn't a
> ghost of a chance.
> Hu;gh
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> > Steve and all
> >
> > I'd rather be driving in a stolen Rolls Royce
> > Powered by untaxed liquor from Satan's still
> > On the lam from the interplanetary work machine
> >
> ____________________________________________________________________________
> ________
> >
> > Are we working more today and enjoying it less?
> > Have things gotten better or worse?
> > Is a women beeped from work at a mall on the job or not?
> > Is a man shopping at a mall on the job because he is being a good,
> > dutiful consumer?
> > Are children in kindergarten on the job?
> >
> > These are only a few of the questions the subject of work raises.
> >
> > These questions are difficult to answer because they cannot be answered
> > in empirical ways for the simple reason that work is no longer simply
> > measured by the clock, but has become more seamless and pervasive
> > throughout the culture?  There are also the implicit questions of who,
> > what, where and when. So, rather than directly answer your question, I
> > merely want to provide some very generalized historical context.
> >
> > I am struck by a reading of history for the period of the last fifty
> > years (and Steve, I apologize in advance for its American slant) that
> > sees it as composed of (very loosely speaking) two social contracts.
> >
> > The first emerged during the Post-World War II era, as a response to the
> > crisis that had been brought about by economic failure and the rise of
> > Fascism and Nazism in Europe which was in turn a response to this crisis
> > and which the war itself had merely put on hold, but not fully resolved.
> >
> > In America, national legislation was passed that tended to constrain the
> > right of labor to organize itself in more radical ways, but, in
> > exchange, management acceded to certain demands of labor for higher
> > wages, more vacation time, shorter work weeks and greater benefits such
> > as insurance and pension.
> >
> > There was also recognition of the value of education in promoting the
> > new society and social investments were made in education, such as the
> > GI loan and funding for colleges that made their tuition more
> > affordable.
> >
> > This led in the fifties to the emergence to a more expansive
> > middle-class.  Social critics of the time talked of a diamond shaped
> > society as opposed to the more traditional social pyramid.
> >
> > However, this contract came at a price.  Women were seen by and large as
> > unpaid workers; housewives who needed to maintain workers by providing
> > them with a home as well as being given the task of reproducing future
> > workers.  African-Americans and Hispanics by and large were not included
> > in the contract.  They continued to work in the underbelly of the
> > American dream.  Youth were forced to remain in school for a longer
> > period and faced the paradox of being biologically adults who were now
> > dominated by the passive roles of an extended and enforced childhood.
> >
> > Thus, the sixties brought the rupture of the contract as those who were
> > excluded began the assert their autonomy - the civil rights movement,
> > black power movement, free speech movement, student rights movement, the
> > protest over Vietnam and the rise of feminism and the women's movement.
> > Their demands for inclusion and refusal of authority tested the limits
> > of capital's hegemony.  Unchecked, their forces threatened social,
> > political and economic revolution.
> >
> > Thus, in the early seventies the foundations for a new social contract
> > were laid. A number of factors emerged to make it possible.  First, the
> > oil crisis created upheaval and the rise of "stagflation".  Next,
> > animosities emerged between men and women, whites and black, workers and
> > students etc. that allowed these groups to be co-opted against one
> > another.  Finally, space-time compression made a global market fueled by
> > cheap labor a realistic possibility.
> >
> > This led in the eighties and nineties to a new social contract, one that
> > has been termed Neo-Liberalism, the New Enclosures and various other
> > names.
> >
> > Here, the role of the state is strengthened in its militaristic and
> > policing aspects in order to become more effective at social and
> > economic domination.  Social programs such as those in education,
> > health, welfare and the environment are greatly curtailed and now seen
> > increasingly as matters of private consumption.  Through the IMF and
> > other financial institutions, these standards have been imposed in turn
> > upon developing nations in order to receive loans and economic
> > assistance.
> >
> > The curious paradox of this emerging situation is that many people do
> > extremely well, (knowledge workers, senior management, celebrities, the
> > ruling class of small nations and the assorted pimps and whores who have
> > pandered themselves around these economic elites) but at the cost of
> > moving the world towards greater division and greater hardship for those
> > others who cannot crash the party.
> >
> > The specter that emerges from this is that of a new social contract in
> > which a certain standard is maintained so that politically enforced
> > poverty is no longer perpetuated in order to maintain elite privilege.
> > The job economy as the pious and sacred means of economic legitimization
> > would then be eliminated.  Instead work could be radically reduced and
> > concrete freedom could become an actuality.  The demands of a job need
> > no longer define one's existence. The fetishism of commodification
> > (which perversely mirrors the job economy) would also be undone as a
> > result of the same process.
> >
> > That seems to be the real question.  Not whether I work less today than
> > my dad, but whether enough people can join together to resist this
> > imposition of work as a form of social and economic domination and
> > create a social and political movement that will make manifest what in
> > the sixties was only a vague promise, an opium pipe dream.
> >
> > In order to accomplish this feat, the Protestant work ethic would need
> > to be replaced by a new ethic, a new social contract, one for which
> > Michel Serres among others has eloquently argued.  Perhaps, it would
> > also require a new religious understanding such as that provided by the
> > Epicurean ideal of ataraxia. (but that is a topic for another time.)
> >
> >


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