Level 10

Homogenised light, homogenised life. Under communism everything will look the same. Everything looks the same. Do we now have communism? The light washes out the day, this light washes out my soul. I forget where I was, that I live part-time, what seems like a whole life inside this corporate environment.

These are the hard days at the end of 2021. Money saturates everything, a fine mist that gets into the eyes and the ears and corrupts conversations and interactions between people. Things become commodities. Words are measured for their money worth. People are weighed up for what they might bring. Value is a characteristic of a building but not of a human life on a fragile dinghy in the cold water of the sea in late November days.

Up above the ground, in the capitalist world, inside the power of capital, like Jonah in the Whale. But there is no escape. Food banks, poverty, desperation, the sucking of life from the soul, these are not found here, not within the whiteboards and the Teams meetings and the powerpoint presentations.

A representation of what might be life, what could be life, in policies and arbitration; the mediation of class conflict under the neon lights; or instead, the attempt at mediation under the neon lights.

Class interests sneak and shimmer and shiver in the cold. Their side is so powerful. Look what they have; how much concrete, glass and stone, how many computer networks, banks of servers, ethernet connections.

They have the means of production, the means of communication, the means of distribution. They have land power, money power, right wing media power. They have ideological power.

I had an intense dream of something, perhaps someone, once so close and now so far away in time and space. Nothing really happening, in a room, so familiar, so like nothing else. Thorns and branches growing up the walls, huge red flowers, red roses there too. A golden frame, a picture, too vague to see.

The dream dissipated in the early light. Getting ready for work. So mundane. So important, to pay the bills, to pay for housing. On the train half dreaming, trying to bring the dream back. Throughout the day the dream permeated my thoughts, in between technical meetings, in between meetings about network issues, in between meetings about data systems. I wanted to escape once more into that dream but harsh realities, factors of production, instruments of production, modes of production kept intruding.

Aware of the oppressive spaces and topography of production. A wage relation to keep me there throughout the day.

These spaces of production are replicated from London to Berlin to New York; St Petersburg, Shanghai. The roll call of revolutionary cities is represented in these tall buildings. Within them, a global proletariat. Within that global proletariat so many dreams.

In London alone, a block like this will contain workers who originate from London, a thousand places of the United Kingdom, United States of America, Bulgaria, Italy, India, Spain, Poland, Latvia, Ghana, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iraq, Germany, France, Brazil, Chile, Serbia, Australia, South Africa and on and on.

No network without network engineers. No databases without database administrators. No habitable offices without cleaners. No office buildings without document controllers, building labourers, steel erectors, banks men and banks women, office administrators, electricians, tower crane operators, facade specialists, pile drivers, lorry drivers, cement factory workers, seafarers, glaziers, interior designers, microchip factory workers.

This global proletariat is growing in breadth of place and depth of experience. And yet it remains hidden, or rather, it is hiding in plain sight.

How can it be revealed; or rather, how can it become a class for and in itself?

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