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Nature of Our Work

Nature of any labour varies from time to time and based on geo-cultural situational conditions. Time and Spatial parameters continuously keep influencing each other and thus also changes nature of labour.

Understanding one's nature of work in the changing world is essential to situate themself for sustaining within a dominating network of systems all the while keep dissenting and acting against it. Acting against the hegemonic institutes, anti-socialistic forces (capitalistic, profit seeking, power seeking, monopolies, governments etc…) includes actively slacking, speaking, and collectivizing (unionizing, cooperating) socially and economically so that local pockets of alternatives, networking among each of them becomes a progressive diaspora of collectives that calls of action - thus creating a channel for new labourers from reserve army of labourers (ignorant/oppressed populace).

Labour, Art, Science - Craft & Alienation

Process of {Production, Labour, Creation} : We accept and agree that every labour process have a degree of creative property, where standardization of creativity becomes invalid. Creative process and the labour required in the process cannot be compared with one another. Moreover, every labour that we expend contains some degree of creativity, which most often were taken for granted, but actually imbibed in the work done. Conscious recognition of such creativity in each of the individual labour requires learning the skill, and questioning it why along the way of learning. While learning the skill, one must be able to acquire political-economy dynamics associated with ones own nature of labour.

Craftness - Routine & Art : With that line of thought, we understood that every labour (physical or intellectual categorization is unnecessary except for concrete conceptual discussion), comprises of both science and art, and varying degrees of overlapping skill set from both. Every mechanical labour routine cannot be denounced just because it is a mechanical routine. Political consciousness, and awareness of their labour is a vital (regardless of how small quantitatively measured) makes the mechanical routine filled with unique signature as a mark of that particular labourer making them an artist or master craftsmen. Attaining such level of mastery requires scientific method, scientific tools, instruments, management, organizing skills, attending to details, intricacies, - holistically attaining a 'T' shaped personality - i.e, getting both broad consciousness as well as deep expertise in their own field.

Reduction : Industrial manufacturing process have manipulated such a dynamic, engaging creative labour process into a “highly efficient” production oriented management rules and protocols where high quality, high quantity - high demanding products are rolled out every second (high throughput transforms into high profit by controlling supply demand, supply chain of the market). Thus every labour process is actually alienated from the creative process and replaced with a set of highly productive protocols that reduces creative labourer and labour into intelligent machinery. This argument actually tries to communicate that Artificial Intelligence in a sense is not new to the industrial manufacturing but actually just a reduction of creative process into protocol based assembly line jobs.

Enclosure : Nevertheless, the alienated creative process from the existing craftsmenship, always been enclosed by capitalists or other hegemonic forces to own them as property (intellectual property in particular), while having a labour market (a market for purchasing labour, where supply is unlimited from education industry) in their favour because of synthesized unemployment with basic learning and reading skill enough to consume the protocol and become highly efficient artifically intelligent machine - with inferiority complex, depression, lack of gratification, self hatred, social shyness, etc… leading to a unhealthy behavior pattern occuring in all instances of production in the industrialized society. This gives rise to socially stratified class based on economic status (affordability, accessibility factors), and skill (privelege, affordability, accessibility factors to attain it).

Market & Transparency

Market is omnipresent. As long as it is unregulated by collective power (say state), anybody has the liberty(free enterprise) to bend it to their will. It demands political & financial power to influence the available network to pull required strings so that the supply demand curve as dictated by the Keynesian economics in their favour, such that they can put a mark on the graph which favours their position so that the entire market agents and factors shift towards it, bending the supply and demand curve - which for a layman or any expert feels like something strange is happening and everything gets over before anyone realizes and shouts (if at all anyone has the power to speak up).

Bridger or Isolator ? Market as viewed by traditional Capitalists or Neo-liberal economists acts as a bridge between producers and consumers. This bridging only acts as a supplier and distributor of packaged outcomes of production houses where the means of production is owned by capitalists. Thus the product themselves are under the ownership of capital alone which in-turn is owned by a single entity (a person or a group of person). Market attitude has reduced each individual to think themselves as consumers by devaluing their own production capacity - by hating it through socio-psychological factors like depression, mechanized job, self hatred, absence of gratification thereby looking it as just a means of survival, which in turn is patched by new neo-liberal tactics like workspace liberty and perks of achievement through hierarchical evaluation called “apprisal” and so on and so forth.

In such space, market becomes actually an isolator between the producer and the consumer. The consumer evaluates the product and not the production or even the labour process less about the creative work involved, leave alone the injustice imbibed in the process by the oppressive or ruling class. The consumer of any products appreciates the labour only from the end product point of view. Thus blind romanticizing leads to false popularity of production process involved ignoring the alienation and exploitation from consumers' scope. This eventually created a market demand for a product that may or may not be from a craftsmanship (opaqued as secrecy).

Rapid automation of highly specific routines involved in craft are being owned(IPR, Patents, Purchase of know how) and deployed in production to a certain degree frees artists and saves time but also alineates apprentices and learners from the history of why and how the technology is deployed in first place. With such ignorance accumulated in the production process, reduction of craft to specific set of protocols becomes easier. In several art and design studios, a pseudo craftsmanship is followed using several of such ignorant apprentices practice the art without consciousness about the craft, thus again making them an intelligent machinery orchestrated by the pseudo master or the real production protocol.

Realization & Learning

  1. Retain practice of Craftsmanship in Labour
  2. Build Relationships other than Market exchange between producer and consumer
  3. Prove craftsmanship not through product but through sharing the creative process
  4. How is coding being alienated? How to reduce alienation of creative process from coding ?
  5. How did building knowledge based relationship between consumer and producer other than market helped artisanal practice ?
  6. How to empathize labor process through scientific transparency and participation in development ?
  7. What is the market hegemony in free software communities ?
  8. What is the dignity of labour for a coder / programmer ?
  9. Should coding be only seen as craft? Can someone code only to earn their daily bread ?
  10. What is the influence of market hegemony in school and college education for CS and engineering? How does this change the craft ?
  11. Why business models are becoming contradictory threat to the communities ? Is there a solution ?

Culture of Scientific Transparency : Internet represents Social Relationships. So it fabric has contributed both negative and positive feedbacks. One of such is self respecting labour feedback is organizing communities and building projects that has a degree of social impact either through economic democracy or facing social injustice. More prominent with respect to dignity of labour is reinvention of collectivizing labour through knowledge sharing on scientific basis using collaborative instruments and global cooperation that stands against the at-least few of the factors that are actually pillars of dominant capitalism and other allied forces. This probably did yield to meaningfulness in work.

Emergence of Commons based Peer production, happened as a cumulative effect because of emergence of hackers, designers, programmers, organizing movements that are politically inclined again with respect to science and art. Both Free Software, Hardware movements & Hacker/Maker/Crafter spaces supported Creative Commoning by establishing platforms that channeled knowledge sharing between peers and communities that encouraged DIY on personal level and Local production on collective level. It has to be noted that Create Commoning, does not necessarily mandated deep technical knowledge but have created spaces for contribution with whatever skill the individual is interested in. This diverse association has created more useful projects amidst noise generated in the creative space. Instead of traditional craftsmanship model for making masters of craft, a slightly different approach - loosely coupled but engaging constant communication & support, quarrel, criticism and dissent - encouraged self taught not only as a learning means but as a proudful means to acquire knowledge, in addition to practicing it.

Common Threat : This argument matches the “T Personality” formation in individual and at community level. Thus enabling network of communities creating discussion and action networks. The downside is that it is only a fraction of whole population who engage in Internet. Monopolies and other internet based business models using algorithms as weapons rapidly encloses this free spaces from commons, such that the shallow exploration of internet reveals only windows of super markets to purchase products thus reducing internet to few big corporates selling products without any labour accountability in first place. Internet has become a launch pad for such enterprises and with nobody to regulate this practice feedsback to the materialistic society creative possible irreversible changes to global, national and local economy.

Knee Bend : With that downside, it is essential to know that free software movement along with other information/inter-network based movements have created legal instruments and cultural practices that have commonized the means of production to a significant degree - to a level - where the capital have created new business models as a response to capitalize from new grounds. This is a fundamental property to the capital itself. This property has been used to openup the means of production not owned by a single entity, but by non-restrictive association of communities, where even the corporates participate, inturn devising mechanism to gain popularity and enclose resources that endlessly generated from it. Is it a win win situation ? May be !. But in the software domain means of production have seen a cultural shift and now anybody who has basic affordability to purchase a laptop computer, and internet can easily build all the necessary instruments required to produce a software that can mostly suit the niche market demand.

Community Markets : It does not stop there, and communities have created their own market and payment methods clearly differentiating affordability and accessibility. In both ways any individual or community has to pay a cost either interms of money or interms of time to build the tool or use it with limited capacity when purchased free of cost - all the time with access to source code, of the software transparently sharing the proof of work of craft by the individual or the community and bidirectionally allows the reader (user/creative commoner) to contribute back to the knowledge repository/software repository through a social collaborative process.

Tyranny of Structurelessnes

While engaging in this trial-and-error process, there are some principles we can keep in mind that are essential to democratic structuring and are politically effective also:

  1. Ordered List ItemDelegation of specific authority to specific individuals for specific tasks by democratic procedures. Letting people assume jobs or tasks by default only means they are not dependably done. If people are selected for a task, preferably after expressing an interest or willingness to do it, they have made a commitment which cannot easily be ignored.
  2. Requiring all those to whom authority has been delegated to be responsible to all those who selected them. This is how the group has control over people in positions of authority. Individuals may exercise power, but it is the group that has the ultimate say over how the power is exercised.
  3. Distribution of authority among as many people as is reasonably possible. This prevents monopoly of power and requires those in positions of authority to consult with many others in the process of exercising it. It also gives many people an opportunity to have responsibility for specific tasks and thereby to learn specific skills.
  4. Rotation of tasks among individuals. Responsibilities which are held too long by one person, formally or informally, come to be seen as that person's 'property' and are not easily relinquished or controlled by the group. Conversely, if tasks are rotated too frequently the individual does not have time to learn her job well and acquire a sense of satisfaction of doing a good job.
  5. Allocation of tasks along rational criteria. Selecting someone for a position because they are liked by the group, or giving them hard work because they are disliked, serves neither the group nor the person in the long run. Ability, interest and responsibility have got to be-the major concerns in such selection. People should be given an opportunity to learn skills they do not have, but this is best done through some sort of 'apprenticeship' programme rather than the 'sink or swim' method. Having a responsibility one can't handle well is demoralising. Conversely, being blackballed from what one can do well does not encourage one to develop one's skills. Women have been punished for being competent throughout most of human history - the movement does not need to repeat this process.
  6. Diffusion of information to everyone as frequently as possible. Information is power. Access to information enhances one's power. When an informal network spreads new ideas and information among themselves outside the group, they are already engaged in the process of forming an opinion - without the group participating. The more one knows about how things work, the more politically effective one can be.
  7. Equal access to resources needed by the group' This is not always perfectly possible, but should be striven for. A member who maintains a monopoly over a needed resource (like a printing press or a darkroom owned by a husband) can unduly influence the use of that resource. Skills and information are also resources. Members' skills and information can be equally available only when members are willing to teach what they know to others. When these principles are applied, they ensure that whatever structures are developed by different movement groups will be controlled by and be responsible to the group. The group of people in Positions of authority will be diffuse, flexible, open and temporary. They will not be in such an easy Position to institutionalize their Power because ultimate decisions will be made by the group at large. The group will have the Power to determine who shall exercise authority within it.

– Jo Freeman (

nature_of_work.txt · Last modified: 01/06/2020 11:53 by ganesh