Labor Daze
A collection of thoughts about work rock piled by Tuli Kupferberg
1 Arbeit macht frei. (Work will set you free.) SIGN OVER ENTRANCE TO AUSCHWITZ

2 A laborer may withdraw from his job even in the middle of the day. RAB, TALMUD; BABA KAMMA, 116B; C.225 AD

3 A shedder of blood is he that depriveth the hireling of his hire. BEN SIRA 34; 26, C.190 BC

4 A toiling dog comes halting home. ENGLISH PROVERB, BEFORE 1732

5 After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab...Judas Iscariot was a gentleman compared to a scab...A strike breaker is a traitor to his God, his coutry, his wife, his family and his class. JACK LONDON

6 As good play for nothing as work for nothing. ENGLISH PROVERB, BEFORE 1678

7 As we go marching in the beauty of the day A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lots gray Are touched with all the radience that a sudden sun discloses For the people hear us singing: Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses. SONG LYRICS BY JAMES OPPENHEIM, INSPIRED BY BANNER OF STRIKING WOMEN TEXTILE WORKERS, LAWRENCE, MA, 1912

8 As others toil for me, I must toil for others. ECCLESIATES RABAH 2:20 (MIDRASH) C.8TH CENTURY

9 Ah, why Should life all labor be? TENNYSON, THE LOTOS-EATERS, 1833

10 Be prepared for the day when Socialism will ask not only for your vote but for your life itself. ROSA LUXEMBERG

11 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns: yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. MATTHEW 6:26

12 Better the work of the sickle than the bow. WELSH PROVERB

13 Carry away their dung; it is better than begging. MOORISH PROVERB

14 Change of work is a rest. IRISH PROVERB

15 Demonstrate before the palaces of the rich: demand work. If they do not give you work, demand bread. If they deny you both, take bread. It is your sacred right. EMMA GOLDMAN (IN SPEECH FOR WHICH SHE WAS SENTENCED TO A YEAR'S IMPRISONMENT)

16 Don't steal, thou'lt never thus compete successfully in buisness. Cheat. AMBROSE BIERCE

17 Equal pay for equal work. MOTTO OF THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT

18 Flay a carcass in the street and earn a living, and say not, I am a great man and it is below my dignity. BABYLONIAN TALMUD, NEDARIM

19 For more than five years i maintained myself thus soley by the labor of my hands, and i found that, by working about six weeks in a year, I could meet all the expenses of living. The whole of my winters, as well as most of my summers, I had free and clear for study. THOREAU, WALDEN, CHAP, 1,1854

20 Formerly the master selected the slave; today the slave selects his master. ALBERT PARSONS, EX-CONFEDERATE SOLDIER, FIGHTER FOR BLACK RIGHTS, ANARCHIST AND UNION ORGANIZER. HAYMARKET MARTYR, HE WAS HUNG IN 1887, AGED 39

21 From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs. KARL MARX, CRITIQUE OF THE GOTHA PROGRAM

22 From forge and farm and mine and bench, Deck, altar, outpost lone- Mill, school, battallion, counter, trench, Rail, senate, sheepfold, throne- Creation's cry goes up on high From age to cheated age: "Send us the men who do the work "For which they draw the wage!" RUDYARD KIPLING, THE WAGE-SLAVES, 1902

23 Go to the sluggard, thou ant, observe his ways and be wise. TULI KUPFERBERG

24 Good workmen are seldom rich. ENGLISH PROVERB

25 He who is busy with work cares little for news. CZECH PROVERB

26 Help the weak ones that cry for help, help the persecuted and the victim...they are the comrades that fight and fall...for the conquest of the joy of freedom for all the poor workers. In this struggle of life you will find more love and you will be loved. NICOLA SACCO (LETTER TO HIS SON, DANTE)

27 How much of human work is really necessary? How much is useless or degrading or harmful? TK

28 How'll we live? We'll take in each other's washing. WOBBLY WISECRACK

29 I am a friend of the working man, and I would rather be his friend that be one. CLARENCE DARROW

30 A) I like work; it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. JEROME K. JEROME B) I do not like work even when another person does it. MARK TWAIN

31 I'm too light for heavy work and too heavy for light work. WOBBLY WISECRACK

32 If a slave owner of our time has not an Ivan he can send into the privvy to clean out his excrements, he has three rubles which are so much wanted by hundreds of Ivans, that he can choose any one of a hundred Ivans, and appear as a benefactor to him because he has chosen him out of the whole number and thus permitted him to climb into the cesspool. LEO TOLSTOY

33 If you're so smart, how come you're rich? TK

34 Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey Where wealth accumulates and men decay. OLIVER GOLDSMITH, THE DESERTED VILLAGE, 1770

35 A) In all social systems there must be a class to do the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life. Its requisites are vigor, docility, fidelity. Such a class you must have, or you would not have that other class that leads progress, civilization and refinement. It constitutes the very mudsills of society and political government. JAMES H. HAMMOND (DEM. S.C) IN SPEECH IN U.S. SENATE, MAR. 4, 1858, WHO RESIGNED HIS SEAT AFTER LINCOLNS ELECTION IN 1860.
B) According to this theory, a blind horse upon a treadmill is a perfect illustration of what a laborer should be-all the better for being blind-that he could not kick understandingly. According to this theory, the education of labor is not only useless but pernicious and dangerous. In fact it is, in some sort, deemed a misfortune that laborers should have heads at all. These same heads are regarded as explosive material, only to be safely kept in damp places, as far as possible from that particular sort of fire which ignites them. A Yankee who could invent a strong-handed man without a head would recieve the everlasting gratitude of these "Mudsill advocates." ABRAHAM LINCOLN, ADDRESS, WISCONSIN AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY, SEPT. 30, 1859

36 In his work the individual is at least securely attached to part of reality, the human community. SIGMUND FREUD, CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS, 1930

37 Indeed there's a freedom in the capitalist countries, but for whom? For those who have money and consequentlyhold power. NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV

38 Industry is the root of all ugliness. OSCAR WILDE, PHRASES AND PHILOSOPHIES FOR THE YOUNG, 1891

39 Is not poor work good play? SWAHILI PROVERB

40 It has always been and always will be the same in the world. The horse does the work and the coachman is tipped. SOURCE UNKNOWN

41 It is more difficult not to work than to work. DAVID WOLFFSOHN, 1908

42 It is not incumbent on thee to finish the work. Thou shalt not therefore cease from it. TALMUD

43 It is well to add a trade to your studies if you would be free from sin. TALMUD

44 Labor is the curse of the world, and nobody can meddle with it without becoming proportionately brutified. NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE, AMERICAN NOTES, AUG. 12, 1841, (AFTER A BOUT AT THE MANURE PIT ON BROOK FARM)

45 A) Labor is the duty of all citizens of The Republic. CONSTITUTION OF THE USSR, JAN. 1, 1924
B) Work is a social duty. GRAND FASCIST COUNCIL OF ITALY, APR. 21, 1927
C) Every Egyptian was commanded by law annually to declare by what means he maintained himself; and if he omitted to do it, or gave no satisfactory account of his way of living, he was punishable with death. This law Solon brought from egypt to Athens where it was observed as a most equitable regulation. HERODOTUS

46 Labor makes bread out of a stone. GERMAN PROVERB

47 Labor: one of the processes by which A aquires property for B. AMBROSE BIERCE

48 Labor produces all wealth and it deserves all the wealth it produces. TK

49 Laborare est orare. (To labor is to pray.) MOTTO OF THE BENEDICTINE ORDER, C.529

50 Labores ones (once) done be swete (sweet). TAVERNER VIA ERASMUS VIA CICERO FROM EURIPEDES' ANDROMEDA, C.430 BC

51 Lack of work brings a thousand diseases. HINDI PROVERB

52 Lice do not bite busy men. CHINESE PROVERB (CF. "NO FLIES ON ME")

53 Love, work, and knowledge are the wellsprings of our life. They should also govern it. WILHEIM REICH

54 Lucky lucky lucky me I'm a lucky son of a B I work 8 hours, I fuck 8 hours The other 8 I'm free! SONG PARODY, TK

55 May Day: the traditional celebratory Rites of Spring day, and once also the merry day of militant workers, which has (in the U.S.) been magically transmogrified by Congressional fiat into Labor Day, the day we celebrate with hamburgers and a swim (if the weather is nice). TK

56 Men of England wherefore plow For the lords who lay you low? Wherefore weave with toil and care The rich robes your tyrants wear? SHELLY, THE MASQUE OF ANARCHY, 1819

57 A) Most men would feel insulted if it were proposed in throwing stones over a wall, and then throwing them back merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now. THOREAU, LIFE WITHOUT PRINCIPLE, 1854
B) Most people perform essentially meaningless work. When they retire that truth is borne upon them. BRENDAN FRANCIS

58 Never work before breakfast; if you have to work for breakfast, be sure to get your breakfast first. JOSH BILLINGS

59 No man is good enough to be another's master. WILLIAM MORRIS

60 No one knows for whom he works. COLOMBIAN PROVERB

61 No tin hat brigade of goose-stepping vigilantes or Bible-babbling mob blackguarding and corporation-paid scoundrels will prevent the onward march of labor. JOHN L LEWIS, UMW PRESIDENT, TIME MAG, SEPT. 9, 1937

62 Not everyone can afford to waste their time working. AUTHOR UNKNOWN

63 Of uncut grass there are 900 bundles. ASSAMESE PROVERB

64 One building and another pulling down, What profit have they but useless labor? BEN SIRA 34:28 C.190 BC

65 One may work like a slave, but to the one who looks on it is always little. GERMAN PROVERB

66 One is more likely to get hunchbacked than rich through work. RUSSIAN PROVERB

67 One never tires of working for oneself. RUSSIAN PROVERB

68 Our first work must be the annihilation of everything that exists. MIKHAIL BAKUNIN, REACTION IN GERMANY, 1842

69 Peter Jarvis, who will head Blair's Commission to set the new British minimum wage, had last reported annual wage "earnings" of over $1,500,000. Assuming he worked a 40 hour week, this works out to about $800 per hour, or over 120 times the proposed wage for the least among us. FREEDOM, LONDON, JUNE 7, 1997

70 People who work sitting down get paid more than those who work standing up. OGDEN NASH, 1938

71 Pity the poor bastards who do other people's work all their miserable lives. TK

72 Prices take the elevator, but wages take the stairs. AUTHOR UNKNOWN

73 Property does not hesitate to shoot. G. B. SHAW

74 Q: Who gave landlords (Lords of the Land) the right to own land?
      A: God?? APOCRYPHAL

75 Q: Do you consider $10 a week enough for a longshoreman with a family to support?
      A: If that's all he can get, and he takes it, I should say it's enough. J. P. MORGAN, TESIMONY BEFORE THE U.S. COMMISSION ON INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

76 See-saw, Margery Daw, Jacky shall have a new master, Jacky must have but a penny a day, Because he can't work any faster. ENGLISH NURSERY RHYME

77 Seventy-five cents a day and all the beer they want. TERMS OFFERED BY SIR JOHN CARLING, CONSERVATIVE CANADIAN MP AND BREWER

78 Slave of the wheel of labor, what to him Are Plato and the swing of Pleiades? EDWIN MARKHAM, THE MAN WITH THE HOE, 1899

79 So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work. PETER DRUCKER

80 Social like is [now] a individual [is] a buisness enterprise. LIONEL TIGER, THE MANUFACTURER OF EVIL, 1987

81 Some Southerners claimed the Northern Industrialists treated their workers worse than slave owners treated their slaves, because Plantaion Owners supported slaves at all times, while the industrial capitalists threw their wage slaves into the streets when there was no work for them.

82 Take not from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. THOMAS JEFFERSON, INAUGURAL ADDRESS, MAR. 4, 1801

83 That work is not hard that pays enough to release us from it. SPANISH PROVERB

84 The American Beauty rose can be produced in the splendor and fragrance which brings cheer to its beholders only by sacrificing the early buds which grow around it. This is not an evil tendency in buisness. It ismerely the working out of a law of nature and a law of God. JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER

85 The American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it Capitalism, call it what you like, gives us each and every one of us a great opportunity, if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it. AL CAPONE, 1929

86 The better classes are tired of the insane howling of the lower strata and they mean to stop them. WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN

87 The boss soon finds work for idle hands. TK


89 The best cure for sorrow is work. ENGLISH PROVERB

90 The best manure falls from the peasants' boots. SWEDISH PROVERB

91 The Calvinists interpereted success in the world as a sign of their being The Chosen of God. Therefore the harder one worked and the greater one's success, the stronger the sign. Some are chosen but some are more chosen than others. Voila: "The Protestant Capitalist Work Ethic." TK

92 The conditions of your life, even what you eat and drink, where you go and with whom you associate- it all depends on your wages... Yet they speak to you of your dignity, of "the dignity of labor." Can you think of any greater insult? You slave for the masters all your life, you serve them and keep them in comfort and luxury, you let them lord it over you, and in their hearts they laugh at you for your stupidity- and then they talk to you of your "dignity." ALEXANDER BERKMAN, WHAT IS COMMUNIST ANARCHISM

93 The desire of one man to live on the fruits of anothers labor is the original sin of the world. JAMES O'BRIEN

94 The easiest work is to fail. WELSH PROVERB

95 The German and Irish millions, like the Negro, have a great deal of guano in their destiny. They are ferried over the Atlantic and carted ocer America, to ditch and to drudge, to make corn cheap, and then to lie down prematurely to make a spot of green grass on the prairie. R. W. EMERSON, 1860

96 The golf links lie so near the mill That almost every day The laboring children can go out And see the men at play. SARA CLEGHORN, 1915

97 The hours are long, the pay is small, So take your time and fuck 'em all. IWW STICKER

98 The house of Oudh does not appreciate trade, buisness and politics. It is better to be in the grip of death rather than in the grip of a job. PRINCE ALI RAZA, SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, OCT. 5, 1986

99 The intelligentsia ...was kept busy embroidering white stitches on the philisophical and ecclesiastical vestments of the bourgeoisie-that old and filthy fabric besmeared with the blood of toiling masses. MAXIM GORKY, 1932

100 The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. CLAYTON ANTI-TRUST ACT, 1915

101 The labor movement's higher object is to overthrow the capitalist system of private ownership of the tools of labor, abolish wage-slavery and achieve the freedom of the whole working class, and in fact, of all mankind. EUGENE V. DEBS

102 The labor we delight in physics (cures) pain. SHAKESPEAR, MACBETH, 1606

103 The masters of the government of the United States are teh combined capitalists and manufacturers of the United States. WOODROW WILSON, 1913

104 The men and women who do the hard work of the world have learned...that they have a right to pleasure in their toil, and that when justice is done them they will have it. WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS, CITICISM AND FICTION, 1891

105 The more you work, the more they'll find for you to do. UNKNOWN AMERICAN WORKER

106 The Moor has done his work, The Moor may go. FRIEDRICH SCHILLER

107 The only kind of labor which gives the workingman a title to all its fruits is that which he does as his own master. POPE PIUS XI, QUADREGISIMON ANNO, 1913

108 The order of things should be reversed; the seventh day should be the day of toil...and the other six his Sabbath of the affections and the soul, in which to range this widerspread garden, and drink in the soft influences and sublime revelations of Nature... THOREAU, A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS, 1847

109 The ploughman has no time for mischief. UKRANIAN PROVERB

110 The poor man must neither defraud nor steal from the rich, though the acquisition might be much more beneficial to one than the lose could be hurtful to the other. ADAM SMITH, THE THEORY OF MORAL SENITMENTS, 1759

111 The pride of great men is now intolerable, but our condition is miserable. These abound in delights and compassed with the fulness of all things, and consumed with vain pleasures, thirst only after gain, inflamed with the burning delights of their desires. But ourselves, almost killed with labor and watching, do nothing but sweat, mourn, hunger and thirst... ROBERT KETT, ENGLISH REBEL AGAINST ENCLOSURES, HANGED 1549

112 The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains, they have a world to win. Workers of the World, unite! MARX AND ENGELS, THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO, 1848


114 The rights and interests of the laboring man will be protected and cared for, not by labor agitators, but by Christian men to whom God, in His infinite wisdom has given the control of the property interests of the country. GEORGE F. BAER, PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIDELPHIA & READING RAILWAY, 1902

115 The sleep of the laboring man is sweet. ECCLESIASTES 5:12

116 The sluggard says: "There is a lion in the streets!" PROVERBS 22:13

117 The State rests on the salvery of labor. If labor becomes free, the State is lost. MAX STIRNER, THE EGO AND HIS OWN, 1845

118 The value of any equal to the quantity of labor which it enables him to purchase or command. Labor therefore is the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities. ADAM SMITH, WEALTH OF NATIONS, 1776

119 The ways in which most men get thier living, that is, live, are mere makeshifts, and a shirking of the real buisness of life-cheifly because they do not know but partly because they do not mean, any better. THOREAU, LIFE WITHOUT WITHOUT PRINCIPLE, 1854

120 The wisdom of a learned man comes through leisure, and he who has little buisness shall become wise. BEN SIRA 38:24, C. 190 BC

121 The workers are the saviors of society, the redeemers of the race. EUGENE V. DEBBS, SPEECH IN NYC, DEC. 10, 1905

122 The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. Between the two a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possesion of the earth and the machinery of production and abolish the wage system. PREAMBLE TO THE INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD (IWW) CONSTITUTION, CHICAGO, 1905

123 The working class cannot be left wandering all over Russia. They must be thrown here and there, appointed, commanded, just like soldiers. Deserters from labor ought to be formed into punitive battalions or put into concentration camps. LEON TROTSKY

124 They go but faintly to work, as they say, with one buttock. MONTAIGNE, ESSAYS, 1595

125 Rich men have no right to their property, for they are not rich because they work a lot but because a lot of people work for them; and poor men have a right to rich men's property, for they are poor not because they work little but because they work for others. Indeed poor people almost always work long hours at duller jobs in worse conditions than rich people. No one ever became rich or remained rich through his own labour, only by exploiting the labour of others. NICHOLAS WALTER, ABOUT ANARCHISM

126 This is a world of work, the next a world of reward. TALMUD (OR AS JOE HILL PUT IT: "YOU'LL GET PIE IN THE SKY WHEN YOU DIE")

127 To crush, to annihilate a man utterly, to inflict on him the most terrible of punishments so that the most ferocious murderer would shudder at it and dread it beforehand, one need only give him work of an absolutely completely useless and irrational character. FEODOR DOSTOEVSKY, 1862

128 To volunteer for work is worse than slavery. HANSA PROVERB

129 To the extent that the working class has power based upon class consciousness, force is unnecessary; to the extent that power is lacking, force can only result in harm. EUGENE V. DEBS

130 Too much labor deadens the soul. SENECA, C. 50 AD

131 Wages is a cunning device of the devil, for the benefit of tender consciences, who would retain all the advantages of the slave system, without the expense, trouble, and odium of being slaveholders. ORESTES A. BROWNSON, 1840


133 "We are ruined by Chinese cheap labor!" And he went for that heathen Chinee BRETT HARTE, PLAIN LANGUAGE FROM TRUTHFUL JAMES, 1871

134 We have fed you all for a thousand years And you hail us still unfed. Though there's never a dollar of all your wealth But marks the workers' dead. AUTHOR UNKNOWN

135 We need some imaginative stimulus, some not impossible ideal such as may shape vague hope, and transform it into effective desire, wo carry us year after year, without disgust through the routine work which is so large a part of life. WALTER PATER, 1885

136 Weary not yourself to be rich. PROVERBS 23:4

137 What is the present day union leadership? Pie cards, timesavers, racketeers. Capitalists whose commodity is labor and the workers they are supposed to serve. AUTHOR UNKNOWN

138 What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever. ECCLESIASTES 1:3


140 When an artist sells a painting for $100,000 or a prima donna is payed $5000 for one evenings performance, these ammounts do not represent the price paid by the mass of people as the legitimate and voluntarrily proffered reward for individual exertion. They are the mathematical demonstration of the fact that a small number of millionaires are living in the civilized world, with no means of judging the real value of any work, because their riches are not the result of their own labor; they satisfy every one of their whims without regard to its cost and fight among themselves, willing to pay any price to satisfy their caprice. MAX NORDAU, CONVENTIONAL LIES OF OUR CIVILIZATION, 1895

141 When foes are o'ercome, we preserve them from Slaughter, To be Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water. JONATHAN SWIFT, A SERIOUS POEM, 1724

142 When the union's insparation through the workers blood shall run There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun. Solidarity forever Solidarity forever Solidarity forever For the union makes us strong RALPH CHAPLAN, SONG: "SOLIDARITY FOREVER"

143 When white collar people get jobs, they sell not only their time and energy, but their personalities as well. They sell by the week or month, their smiles and their kindly gestures, and they must practise that prompt repression of resentment and aggression. C. WRIGHT MILLS, WHITE COLLAR, 1951

144 Where wilt thou go, ox, that thou wilt not have to plow? UKRAINIAN PROVERB

145 Who plows will sing. [except maybe the ox in the above proverb] UKRAINIAN PROVERB

146 Who washeth an asses head loseth both soap and labour. JOHN FLORIO, FIRST FRUITS, 1578

147 Who works for a living is greater than he who fears God. ULLA, TALMUD, BERAKOT, 8A, C. 400 CE

148 Woe unto you who build your palaces with the sweat of others! Each stone, each brick of which it is built is a sin. BOOK OF ENOCH, 2ND CENT. BC

149 Work and you will be strong; sit and you will stink. MOORISH PROVERB

150 Work at a feast is like the stabs of a dagger. MOORISH PROVERB

151 Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. MARK TWAIN, TOM SAWYER, CH. 2, 1876

152 Work is good provided you do not forget to live. BANTU PROVERB

153 Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter: second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid: the second is pleasant and highly paid. BERTRAND RUSSELL

154 Work is the curse of the drinking classes. OSCAR WILDE

155 Work is not a hare, it wont run away. LETTISH PROVERB

156 Work makes one wise. MOORISH PROVERB

157 Work thou then for pleasure: paint or sing or carve- The thing thou lovest, tho the body starve- KENYON COX, WORK, 1895

158 Workers are like lemons: when the rich have sucked out all the juice, they throw them in the garbage. RICARDO FLORES MAGON, REGENERACION, APRIL 1911

159 Workingmen have no country. MARX AND ENGELS, THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO, 1848

160 Ya dig 16 tons Whatta ya get? Another day older And deeper in debt. TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD, SONG: "16 TONS"

161 You show me a capitalist, I'll show you a bloodsucker. MALCOM X

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