Spring 2018

Ida Börjel:
– you cutta da pay, we cutta da shob

The Swedish poet Ida Börjel‘s conceptual poetry collection “Sabotagemanualerne” is written and edited based on a series of historical and contemporary documents concerning the workers’ struggle for better conditions, including strikes and sabotage, organisation, economic conditions, visible and invisible power, the welfare state, and more.

The book explores the concept of sabotage from the early twentieth century up to the present day. It delves into pamphlets and manuals used as weapons in the workers‘ fight for better conditions, manuals for sabotage against the occupying forces during World War II, the closure and relocation of production industries from west to east, and the transformation of the welfare state into the competition state. It also addresses Putin’s manipulation of history and power, and the world’s richest 1% who evade the welfare states’ tax systems and live in exile. In other words, the book charts a movement: from a situation where power was easily identifiable and demands were simpler to formulate, to a gradual dissolution of systems, leading to a time of uncertain structures and testimonies. It portrays the saboteur from being a worker hero and freedom fighter to a figure who manipulates and exploits the loopholes of the welfare state.

Ida Börjel employs poetry to map out these complex structures and, using the concept of sabotage, highlights the distortions and developments that welfare and democracy have gone through. The text is worn down, full of holes, graphic holes, syntactic gaps, and a cacophony of voices that speak through the text but are difficult to identify. While the original sabotage manuals clearly and simply instructed the reader to carry out everyday sabotage, the poetic and linguistic sabotage in this book offers mapping, awareness, and identification of structures and problems. It becomes a reading machine or punch card for interpreting the perforated world of today.

The book is supplemented with an afterword by Carsten Juhl, as well as a poetic text collectively written by the students of Krabbesholm’s Literature Line based on new source texts and the manuscript for this book.