Modern methods of production have given us the possibility of ease and security for all; we have chosen, instead, to have overwork for some and starvation for the others. Hitherto we have continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines; in this we have been foolish, but there is no reason to go on being foolish for ever.
Can one live without working? We can only live without working.
In Conversation with Raoul Vaneigem, The Idler 34 (2004)
"Arbeit macht frei" is a German phrase meaning "work brings freedom" or "work shall set you free/will free you" or "work liberates" and, literally in English, "work makes (one) free". The slogan is known for being placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps.
Like Christ, the doleful personification of ancient slavery, the men, the women and the children of the proletariat have been climbing painfully for a century up the hard Calvary of pain; for a century compulsory toil has broken their bones, bruised their flesh, tortured their nerves; for a century hunger has torn their entrails and their brains. 0 Laziness, have pity on our long misery! O Laziness, mother of the arts and noble virtues, be thou the balm of human anguish!
The Right to be Lazy, Paul Lafargue (1883)
No one should ever work. Workers of the world... relax!
The Abolition of Work, Bob Black (1985)
Ali G: "unemployment is wicked because you get money for doin' nothing" Tony Benn: "What do you mean? This idea that you're unemployed because you're lazy is rubbish." Ali G: "Me ain't saying that it's cause you lazy, me saying you wanna chill, whatever, y'know?"
Ali G interview with Tony Benn
I find even the thought of work unbearable. Masters and workers both are peasants. There's no difference between a hand holding a pen and a hand pushing a plow. An age of hands!- I'll have no part in it.
Bad Blood, Arthur Rimbaud (A Season in Hell, 1873)