54 Victoria St. (cnr. Lygon St.)
Carlton South, Victoria.
Monday - Sunday 8am to late
Saturday 15th May, 3pm
Speaker: Adam Bandt, on "The secret life of the commodity: Labour, rates of pay and the value of 267 hours, 49 minutes and 5 seconds of work."
Adam Bandt's paid work is in the Industrial, Employment and Public Interest Unit at Slater & Gordon solicitors as a lawyer representing trade unions. He is also completing postgraduate study in social theory, focusing on ideas of law and legality under contemporary capitalism.
In 1856, Melbourne workers won an eight-hour-day agreement. Positioned beneath the eight-hours banner in this bastion of working people is an unlovely display case. In it, a completely erased copy of Vogue Hommes from September 1986 is opened about midway. In pencil at the top of each page is the time taken by the "labourer" to rub it out, and also an hourly rate of pay. This collaborative project has taken five years and involved more than 250 people between the ages of 10 and 80, mostly Melburnians. As a monument to labour, the double-page spread looks strangely like a pencil drawing of a smudgy pane of glass. "All that is solid melts into air" - as Marx said of the modern experience.
Penny Webb, Deconstruction writ large, The Age, May 21, 2004 (includes image).
Adam delivers his talk at the Victorian Trades Hall.