Sunday, May 04, 2003

Grand Jubilee
Hakim Bey

In the ancient Hebrew tradition, Jubilee was celebrated every fiftieth year. It was supposed to be a great festival of social leveling, a time when all debts were cancelled, lands were returned to their traditional inhabitants, slaves and prisoners were set free, all taxes were suspended, fields lay fallow, gleaning rights were extended to all, people quit their labors and joined in all manner of feasting and revelry.

Those with a mundane and practical turn of mind will protest that the feasting could not have gone on for long, with no one in the fields or the kitchens.

We will complicate your distress. Since Jubilee was proclaimed for one year every fifty, and since there has not been a proper Jubilee in the five hundred years since the European invasion of the Americas began, we are proclaiming a Grand Jubilee of ten years duration.

And now, regarding your mundane concerns, we refer you to Charles Fourier's theory of "attractive labor," which suggests that in a convivial and harmonious social environment many of the activities we tend to think of as hard labor become a kind of playful celebration for those who are inclined towards them. We don't pretend to have solved all of the problems of alienated labor, particularly in a world which appears to have lost even imaginative alternatives to the planetary work machine. But we think things may yet find a way of working themselves out. We all certainly feel worked out.

Of course, there may be people quite unable to hear and heed the trump of Jubilee, unfortunates so damaged by the machines of work and war that they mistake the ticking of the time-clock for the beating of their own hearts. They might go on working, oblivious to the good times rolling on around them. Much of the work they continue to do is quite useless - often even very harmful. Perhaps they can be subtly steered toward more suitable machines.

In any case, full zerowork is what is called for, and we're not backing down from that goal. A Jubilee is a Jubilee. The Bible said it! We believe it! That settles it!

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