Prag-Mac-tic Anarchism or MACotage
As long as we're slave-labor drones, we might as well take what we can. Following are some ways in which Mac users can appropriate software and computer use resources for their own amusement and gain:
Fun with networked printers: Since printers are tied in to computer networks, and those networks are networked, you can print on printers other than in your own office.
Fun on file servers: It's remarkable just how forgetful, careless or ignorant system administrators and other networked users can be, even when it comes to important or confidential data. Depending on your level of access, you can move things around, copy things to your hard drive, rename files, or move folders inside folders. Fun huh? Some organizations (such as universities) actually have file servers with shareware archives that anyone can freely copy.
Fun with mail and communications: QuickMail will allow you to "attach" documents to whatever mail message you're sending. If you're at a large organization or university, you've almost certainly got Internet access. Using QuickMail's "Address Book--Special Address" feature, you can create your very own address book with Internet e-mail addresses. Then you can send mail and/or attachments to yourself and your friends while at work. You could even e-mail confidential financial documents to your inside contact at a competing company. Fax software such a MaxFax will allow you to fax most any document to any fax number.
This is a short excerpt of a longer document. For the entire document, or more information, please contact: How Do You Spell It Productions, PO Box 460896, San Francisco, CA 94146-0896, U.S.A.
Majority Of Mothers "Do Not Want To Take A Job"
Two out of three mothers would choose to stay at home with their children and nor work if they could afford to do so. But 40 percent went back to work within three months of their baby being born. According to a survey, a third of working mothers feel guilty about being away from home and 60 percent say that child benefit payments are "very important"--9 percent more than a survey found last year. Only 15 percent of mothers were "very keen" to return to work, 40 percent "quite keen," 24 percent "not very keen" and 20 percent "not at all" keen. Even though a large number of women said they would rather be at home, half of all the mothers who worked believed their ability to be a parent was enhanced by the change in environment, mental stimulation and social contact.
from The Times, London
SURREALIST IMPLICATIONS OF THE GREAT FLOOD
"This isn't funny."
--Mayor Richard Daley, 13 April 1992, in his first statement to the press on the flood.
"As the offices emptied, there was little sense of the alarm or panic usually associated with major disasters. . .More typical was the humor and even giddiness with which many greeted the unexpected holiday."--Chicago Tribune, 14 April 1992, page 1
"I feel like a kid getting out of school because of snow."--a woman telephone worker, quoted in the Tribune, 14 April 1992
Any sudden end of "business as usual" ushers in possibilities for everything that is neither business nor usual. Every interruption in the "normal functioning" of government and commerce reveals glimpses of a new society that is the very negation of such sorry afflictions. Momentarily freed of the stultifying routine of "making a living," people find themselves confronted with a rare opportunity to live.
In these unmanageable situations, the absolute superfluousness of all "management" becomes hilariously obvious. Uninhibited by the presence of bosses, supervisors and other agents of hierarchical power, those who have rarely been more than exploited victims of a slave system begin to act like free human beings, relying--in many cases for the first time since childhood--on their own initiative, their own resources.
With the chains of authority broken, or at least in disuse, the wonders of solidarity and mutual aid are rediscovered as if by magic. Long-time prisoners of the insufferable workaday world revel in the inexhaustible pleasures of not working. Spontaneously and joyfully, those who have always been "bored to death" reinvent, starting from zero, a life worth living. The oppressive tyranny of obligations, rules, sacrifice, obedience, realism and a multitude of so-called "lesser evils" gives way to the creative anarchy of desire. The "everyday" begins--however fleetingly--to fulfill the promise of poetry and our wildest dreams.
"Poetry is neither tempest nor cyclone. It is a majestic and fertile river."
--Isidore Ducasse, Poesies
"I knew there were big problems when we got reports of fish in basements."
--Chicago Police Superintendent Matt Rodriguez, 13 April 1992
For an entire exalting week, with the whole world watching, the Chicago River had the city's central business district at its mercy. The rising of this tormented, much-maligned waterway revealed the fragility and precariousness of the foundations not only of a city, but of a whole society, an entire civilization. With the power off and the lights out, the unruly river showed us how much of what affects our lives is dark and underground and hidden from view. This "freak accident" demonstrated that the seemingly vast and monolithic power of this society's repressive forces is largely an illusion maintained by the ignorance and disorganization of those who are accustomed to being repressed.
In passing, the Great Flood exposed yet again the utter worthlessness of all bureaucracy and statism in solving any fundamental problem. The raging torrents of the river's murky waters thus brought only clarification in their wake.
In a social set-up based on inequality and exploitation, "natural calamities" generally victimize the poor. The Chicago flood, however, hurt only the prosperous and powerful. Businessmen, cops, bankers, politicians and officials of the Board of Trade called it a "tragedy" and a "nightmare," but just about everyone else had a grand old time. Many described it as an adventure that they wouldn't have missed for anything. Thanks to the flood, some 250,000 workers enjoyed at least one extra day off, with pay, and many of the homeless savored their finest meals in years (with refrigeration turned off, restaurant-owners found it cheaper to give food away than to pay for its removal).
From the start this "different kind of disaster," as someone dubbed it, was perceived by everyone but the ruling class as an image or symbol of their own latent urge to revolt.
In the river's subterranean fury every rebel against unfreedom has sensed a kindred spirit.
The river's refusal to stay in its manmade cage will long remain an inspiration for all who reject domestication and other forms of unnatural confinement. In the rising of the river we recognize the eruption and triumph of all that is forbidden, outlawed, suppressed by the enforcers of a racist, sexist, exploitative, militaristic and ecocidal Law 'n' Order. Like the Great Snow of '67, the Flood of '92 is a grand moment in the struggle to resolve the contradiction between nature and human nature. As long as nature is enslaved, humankind cannot be free. An injury to one is an injury to all!
The majesty and fertility of the river is as irrepressible as the desire for freedom. Dreamers of the world, dream like the flood!
--The Chicago Surrealist Group
May 1992, Address all inquiries c/o Black Swan Press, POB 6424, Evanston, IL 60204.
"If there's something you've got to do and a way to enjoy it, you'd be a fool to do it any other way."
Thomas Disch, "On Wings of Song"
Hello, and welcome to the Creative Employment Opportunity (CEO) School of Employee Empowerment. The following techniques will help make it possible for you to actually enjoy a reasonable portion of the long and tedious hours you spend creating profit for other people. With regular practice and steady application of these methods, you should be able to turn to your advantage any number of work situations that at best you'd rather not be at and at worst you despise down to the very nuclei of your blood cells. Please note: None of these techniques involves developing a good attitude, cultivating a genuine commitment to the company, or taking your job seriously.
1. Have sex fantasies (if you work in the sex industry, castration fantasies may be more effective for you).
2. Go into the bathroom and masturbate.
3. Call your friends on the phone.
4. Experiment with just how much you can make a personal phone call sound like company business.
5. Make friends with the people you work with. (Many pop psychologists disparage closeness with workmates, claiming that it dissolves important boundaries or creates a confusing work environment. This is corporate propaganda and, as such, should be ignored. It may not be a great idea to actually fuck the people you work with, but having genuine friends at your job can make working there somewhat less fossilizing and perhaps even marginally pleasant. It also makes it easier to waste valuable company time).
6. Impersonate your boss. (It is essential that you complete step 5 before attempting this technique. Failure to do so may result in severe embarrassment and/or loss of your job.
7. Talk about your life. This will help you remember that you have one. It has the additional benefit of wasting valuable company time. However, for the sake of your intelligence and imagination as well as the sanity of your workmates, please severely limit the amount of time you spend discussing television shows.
8. Have more sex fantasies. (Yes, we know, we said this already, but it's an important technique and is worth repeating. If you haven't had a good sex fantasy in the last hour, it's time for another. Try the one about the 13th century French Crusader and the Arabian aristocrat.)
9. Have non-sexual fantasies. Make up an elaborate imaginary world in which you are brilliant and fearless and noble and wise and charming and passionate and gifted and graceful and hauntingly beautiful to boot; a world in which everyone you touch is changed forever, even your enemies grudgingly admire you, and anyone who ever sneered at you finally realizes just how much they've misjudged you.
10. Make faces at people you talk to on the telephone.
11. Make faces at people who are trying to talk on the telephone.
12. Make faces at your boss behind his/her back.
13. Stare blankly out the window (assuming you have access to one. If you don't, the wall will do almost as well.) Hold a pen thoughtfully and purposefully in your hand: done correctly, this will deceive your boss into believing that you're actually thinking about your job.
14. Play weird little mind games with your mindless tasks. If you slave over endless pages of essentially random numbers, try to find weird mathematical patterns in them. If you word process, see how many paragraphs begin with the letter "W." If you do data entry, play a few good rollicking rounds of Guess The Zip Code. If you empty the wastebaskets, try to imagine the personalities of the people who use them.
15. Invent time-saving efficiency working techniques to give you more time in which to fuck off.
16. Invent new ways of making your personal projects look like company business.
17. Have even more sex fantasies. (I really can't emphasize strongly enough the importance of this technique. Keeping your libido alive is probably the most fun you can have subverting the dominant paradigm. If you're bored with the Crusades, try the one about the FBI agent and the bootlegger's lover.)
18. Experiment with just how far you can push the dress code.
19. Experiment with just how far you can stretch your breaktime/lunchtime/arrival-and-departure time.
20. Experiment with just how drunk/high you can get on your lunch hour without fucking up your position. (This technique only works if you are not an addict. If you are an addict, it will most likely have very limited entertainment value.)
21. Go into the bathroom and masturbate some more. (What are they going to do, give you grief about the amount of time you spend on the crapper? Well, okay, they might. If this happens, explain that you have stress-related constipation, and issue vaguely threatening hints about workman's compensation, rising insurance costs, and/or possible lawsuits.)
22. Use the word processor to write letters to your friends. Use the postage machine to mail them.
23. Find new and ingenious ways to annoy your boss that you can't actually be fired for.
24. Computer games, computer games, computer games!
25. Have another sex fantasy. Don't be shy--you owe it to yourself! Always remember that you are a beautiful and unique human being, no matter how crummy your job makes you feel. You deserve to have dozens of sex fantasies every day of your life.
26. Plan your evening.
27. Plan your weekend.
28. Plan your next vacation.
29. Plan your life after the workers' revolution comes and you don't have to work at this stupid fucking job anymore!
30. Plot the workers' revolution.
If you feel that this lesson has been helpful but are in need of further assistance, please consult our second-level instruction manuals, How To Look Industrious And Responsible While Doing Your Own Creative Work On Company Time and 101 Sex Fantasies To Keep You Entertained During An Otherwise Tedious Workday.
Many thanks to Marian Phillips for her valuable assistance, invaluable companionship, and really weird outlook on life.