It often happens that some of the more interesting political questions get raised almost exclusively in person or on places like Facebook—too often disappearing into the background noise of parties or becoming immediately obscured by the posturing of anonymous digital avatars. I’d like to take a moment to draw one of those questions out of that context and address it here more completely. I encourage those who posted on the original thread to take their more substantial responses and repost them here as well.
The other day, Natalio Peréz, a fellow Kasama member, posted this comment:
When I say that I am in support of having labor discipline in a new socialist society, it means that I believe people will have dedicated--if reduced--work tasks to fulfill as their contribution to society as a whole. This will require--to varying extents depending on the nature of the work--being at one's position on time, on a set schedule, and meeting certain productivity requirements. I really don't understand how this could possibly be controversial to anyone who wants to live in a place with electricity, waste disposal, potable water, material goods, and all the other labor-intensive necessities for the reproduction of human life.
The statement immediately sparked a minor Facebook shitstorm, which then settled, producing a relatively interesting discussion of labor discipline (hierarchical, collective, and self-discipline) in the Zapatista communities of southern Mexico.
Despite how interesting that discussion was, however, it still seemed to perpetuate and ignore many of the unspoken presumptions behind the original statement—despite these being very much core questions for communist reconception. Let’s take some time to draw those questions out.