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Discussion on 'The Heroes of Capitalist Labor' by Saša Uhlová

Prague City Theatres, Prague/Czech Republic
Discourse | Czech with German or English subtitles | 34 min

With: Michal Hába, Kateřina Smejkalová and Saša Uhlová

Acclaimed Czech journalist Saša Uhlová worked in various jobs—full-time, part-time, and temporary—under an assumed identity. For months, she monitored what wages employees were really receiving and whether the Labor Code was being upheld, exploring what life was like for the people working in the lowest-paid jobs in the Czech Republic. She worked in a hospital laundry room, a chicken processing plant, a supermarket, a razor factory, and a waste management plant.

In his play The Heroes of Capitalist Labor, which is based on Saša Uhlová’s investigative series, Michal Hába and his artistic team focus on the invisible people and jobs that our society overlooks, despite their utmost importance for its functioning. Czech political scientist Kateřina Smejkalová, Michal Hába and Saša Uhlová will discuss the central themes of Saša Uhlová’s book as well as an actual list of requirements, There is no immunity without solidarity which were formulated during the coronavirus crisis and submitted to the government:

The economy must be there for the people, not the people for the economy.
Ecology is the foundation, not a luxury.
Not every technological development is progress.
“Equal” taxes cause inequality.
The state must not be a prison for debtors.
Public support for all instead of having to beg for low benefits.
Healthcare, education, and culture are the backbone of society.
Housing is a right.
Arms spending is not an inviolable priority.
Power corrupts, power without control restricts freedom.
Europe must be cohesive and stand in solidarity without centers or peripheries.

Credits
Video: Barbora Johansson
Realization: Crew of Komedie theatre

A coproduction between Prague City Theatres and Volksbühne Berlin

Funded by Capital City of Prague
Supported by: Ministry of Culture of Czech Republic, German-Czech Future Fond, Czech Centre Berlin

 

Saša Uhlová is a Czech journalist. She graduated with a degree in Romani studies from the Department of Philosophy at Charles University in Prague. After her studies she worked as an anthropological field researcher in socially excluded communities. From 2009 to 2016 she was an editor at the online monthly magazine Referendum. In 2011 she worked for ROMEA as an editor of the monthly magazine Romano Vodi. She received recognition at the 2015 Journalist Awards and has been working as an editor for the online journal A2larm since 2017. In the same year she worked for a month at a time in a hospital laundry, a poultry factory, and in a supermarket as a cashier, as well as working on an assembly line and at a waste disposal plant on a weekly basis. She recorded her experiences in the essay The Heroes of Capitalist Labor and in her documentary film The Limits of Work.

Kateřina Smejkalová (born 1986) studied German studies and political science at Ruhr-University Bochum on a scholarship from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. Since 2014 she has worked as a research assistant at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Prague and as a journalist. Her primary areas of interest are work, the social dimension of technologies, and fundamental political issues.

 

> The Limits of Work (Film), available for 24 hours from 24.06., 18:00