The Union of Time Thieves Local #00
Why Time Theft? Isn't That Illegal?
Time theft is common enough on most jobs. When we come to work late, leave early, extend our breaks and lunch hours, conduct "personal business" on the clock, we expand the time dedicated to enriching our own humanity. At the same time we make off with bits of creative human energy, stealing it back from the all- devouring machine of The Economy.
To The Economy, most of us are no more than employees of companies and consumers of goods. The premise of this arrangement is that during our time on the job we will help create wealth in excess of what we are paid. This additional wealth is the profit that The Economy demands, in fact requires, and it is stolen from us by design. The circle is completed when we buy back the goods that we contributed producing in the first place. Of course we then pay more than the goods "cost'' to produce, because the companies that pay people to make, ship and sell them, to keep track of the money, pensions, taxes, and so on, all have a "right" to make a profit. Somewhere between the bottom and the upper-middle echelons of business life almost all of us are toiling away in this web of absurdity, while our right to a good life is buried beneath more powerful "rights."
During the last century there's been an incredible increase in the productivity of human labor, to the point where we are almost in sight of self-reproducing robots. Since 1948, labor productivity has more than doubled, yet today we are working an average of five weeks longer per year than we were in 1972. WHY IS THIS?!?
It is widely recognized that the system needs an "army of unemployed," both as a pool of cheap and eager labor to draw on in case of a business upturnor a strikeand as a terrifying example to hold up to the still employed. In spite of this, the Economy is actually an incredible work creator. The Economy is a self-perpetuating way of "life" that depends on growth and profit. Human goals like good relations between people, deep and satisfying emotional and sex lives, or anything not reducible to economic numbers, are at best incidental to our work lives. Having thoroughly streamlined industrial production, reducing humans to animated machine parts in the process, economic logic is invading every part of the globe and our lives. From the search for cheap biogenetic materials in the deepest tropical jungles to the emergence of new products and services such as "career counseling" or new variations on fast food, less and less human activity goes on outside the realm of the marketplace. Paid-for "professional services" medicalize family and personal problems that often have their roots in the overwork, financial stress, and hopelessness produced by The Economy.
Time thieves recognize this dynamic and combat it every way we can. The most direct resistance available to us is to take back as much time as possible from the logic of the marketplace, beginning immediately on our own jobs.
We need to alter the pace of work to suit our own needs. Sometimes we can secretly eliminate unnecessary activities; other times we may pull a slow-down. Psycho-wars between groups of workers and their managers are essential to gradually (or abruptly) changing productivity expectations.
we control our worktime, we can structure our activities to increase free
time, hiding our efficiency to retain its benefits for ourselves. Why
should our ingenuity strengthen The Economy? When such efforts
become organized across the boundaries of workplaces, occupations, industries,
and finally national borders, we will be approaching a new way of life
in which people freely choose and creatively pursue the work that together
they decide they want donethe only work worth
TIME IS MONEY!
STEAL SOME TODAY!
Union of Time Thieves Local #00