Weaning Production Off Of Bosses

Here are the outlines of a presentation given entitled, "Artisanal Retro-Futurism and Team-Scale Anarcho-Syndicalism".

Wow! That's the tag list for my perfect blog post!

K, but besides that, it is an interesting little bunch of tidbits about promoting the ideals of anarcho-syndicalism in an office workplace. I don't really understand what the reference to retro-futurism is, because the full presentation is not available, and I haven't read Infinite in All Directions, which I take this element of the presentation to heavily relate to.

Nevertheless, I find this quite interesting, because you rarely hear those lovely words, "anarcho-syndicalism" brought up in appreciative context by anyone with an actual job. Of course, anarcho-syndicalism could itself be a retro-futurism, or just another utopian scheme, if you choose to view it that way.

However, being the good atemporalist I try to be, I think it is important to realize that despite the plodding narrative of history's victors, there are many things that are no longer done, but are still relevant. Furthermore, history has a way of surprising us. There have been a few factory takeovers in this economic recession already. Why not some more? Don't want the federal government taking over your bank? Why don't you do it? Funny how despite the death of organized labor, labor can still... well, organize.

It's kind of a nice component to the lean production material I've been reading lately. In all of it there are some small homages to the workers, mostly talking about the importance of them being on board for lean production changes, and some small murmurs about profit sharing as an incentive to do so.

But of course I, who wears the ol' anarchist hat as well as my metaphysical time-travel hat (if my head wasn't so damn big I could never fit them all on), reads lean production from the bottom-up approach. You know what could be easily cut out of most production processes? Management. All office-based cartoons and characatures aside, there are few production environments that could not be managed by the people actually working, if these workers took the responsibility upon themselves. Of course, responsibility is the thing we all try and escape at work. But this is why anarcho-syndicalism flips all of this around. You don't need a union representative to organize. You do it every day. So instead of just shrugging your shoulders when the boss comes round, messing stuff up, why not boot him/her out? You don't have to do it literally. Rather than conform to the crappy break schedule, why not make your own schedule with your fellow workers, one that actually works, and then say "this is the way its going to be." You don't have to strike. You don't have to threaten. You just take the responsibility back for yourself, and then let management enjoy the results. First the break schedule. Then the training schedule. Then the work schedule. Then the production schedule. One step at a time, and you'll be your own boss.

And then, when the boss is staying home every day, reaping the benefits of your labor-run facility, you stop sending the checks, change the locks, and have a good, hard talk with the bank. It's easy to eliminate waste. You just isolate it from the production process, and production continues. Once the waste gets dusty, and all use for it is gone, you just take it out to the curb.

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