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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

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Jun 12, 2019

Many of us find ourselves frustrated with our 40-hour work weeks, wondering about the purpose and practicality of our jobs, and even whether or not work is necessary. We find ourselves questioning our capitalist society’s conception of work—that it’s normal and necessary to commit massive amounts of personal time and emotional energy to our jobs.

To conduct an inquiry into the activity we least like doing, Kathi Weeks, Michael Hardt, Peter Frase, and Charles Mudede came together for a Red May panel discussion on the value of work in our society. They conceptualized modern civilization without a population committed to lives in the workforce, and weigh benefits and hurdles of alternative models for our society. Sit in for a conversation on the possibility of conceiving, creating, and sustaining a world without work.

Kathi Weeks is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at Duke University. Her primary interests are in the fields of political theory, feminist theory, Marxist thought, and utopian studies. She is the author of The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork ImaginariesConstituting Feminist Subjects; and a co-editor of The Jameson Reader.

Peter Frase is a writer and organizer in New York, studying topics including technology, labor, and eco-socialism. He has written for Jacobin, Commune, In These Times, and other publications. He is the author of Four Futures.

Michael Hardt teaches at Duke University. With Antonio Negri he is author of the Empire trilogy—Empire, Multitude, and Commonwealth—as well as Declaration. Hardt and Negri’s new book, Assembly, was published in September 2017.

Charles Mudede was born near a steel plant in Kwe Kwe, Zimbabwe. Mudede is a filmmaker whose films have appeared at Sundance and Cannes, and he has written for the New York Times, The Stranger, Cinema Scope, Ars Electronica, and others.

This event is part of Red May, a month-long festival of radical art and thought. Our motto is: take a vacation from capitalism. Click here for a full schedule of events.


Presented by Town Hall Seattle and Red May. Recorded live at The Forum at Town Hall Seattle on May 23, 2019.