Strangely enough work became something utmost attractive for our social status. If we would be able to tell this to the ancient Greeks or not so long ago to a Russian or English aristocrat of the 19th century, they would think that we are crazy.
Working we feel superior. Those felt superior not working.
They did not want to work – even if we would have paid them. Instead they were involved in more important things in life. The Russian aristocrat enjoyed his leisure time while administrating his wealth and keeping an influence in political matters and military interests, the Greek citizen was busy negotiating the matters of the polis.
When we refer so blindly euphemistic to every task as work, we forget that nowadays everything that is paid is called work – the janitor as much as the doctor work. Among the different fields of work we find all kinds of tasks that the ancient Greeks would have never called work, but politics. On the other hand we find many tasks that the ancient Greeks would have consigned to slaves, but we expect that someone who works enjoys his or her work, that someone who cleans the streets enjoys his work as much as someone who consults the president.


Racism is not based on reality. It rather creates its reality of “real” differences. It is not the actual presence of people from different origins immigrating to Europe that triggers racism. Racism existed also without immigrants. Racism just takes on ever new forms of existence. There is always someone who is invented as other, stranger, and fundamentally different, and therefore needs to be excluded. Jewish history gives numerous examples, how people can be constructed to be the other even though they have been our close neighbour for centuries. And we should not believe that the society of the 19th Century was more unified, because there was no one with a different skin colour living in Europe. There was always someone black enough: Workers for example. Working in the polluting surroundings of plants or carbon mines their skin colours were probably often not white indeed.


Hoping for workers struggels in China.
How far is China? “We” thought it is far away, far enough, and tried to push it even further away. China was to be an exotic other for centuries ­imagining mysterious beauties in secret places of the forbidden city.
But exotic as it was deemed to be, it was soon to be associated with the other side of the medal of the exotic label, a “dark power”: At the end of 19th century an expression was born, which comprises a fear of chinese masses migrating to Europe: the yellow peril.
Nowadays China grew close in a very different way than expected, not as an exotic other, and neither as a ‘yellow peril’. Although for sure many would love to draw a continuity of this resentment up to now. But there is no uncivilised hordes breaking into Europe from China.
China advances in fields, which have been western connotated. It seems to overtake ‘us’, know and practice capitalism better than we do, without compromise.
What do we do? “We” are still hoping China is far, far enough. But I think we should rather hope it gets ever closer, closer to the people instead of the ideology.
Solidarity with the workers in China is more profitable for us than fighting against them ­ caught in the logic of capitalist competition.