Economics/Class Relations

Take This Job and Shove It!: The Growing Revolt Against Work

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

“Experience demonstrates that there may be a slavery of wages only a little less galling and crushing in its effects than chattel slavery, and that this slavery of wages must go down with the other”

-Frederick Douglass

“A worker is a part time slave”

-Bob Black

There is something very strange going on with the US economy, dearest motherfuckers, and you don’t have to look at the Dow Jones to see it. All you have to do is take a stroll down main street. Everywhere you look on every storefront and shop window from your local Wendy’s to the bank, there are signs screaming ‘Help Wanted!’, ‘Parttime and Fulltime Positions!’, ‘Jobs Available!’, ‘Seriously Dude, Fucking Work Here!’ Business’ of nearly every variety are practically begging for employees but there are no employees to be found. The bean counters in the Federal Government have taken notice too. The latest job reports from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal the sheer Grand Canyon magnitude of this thing in flashing red numbers. Over 20 million Americans have quit their jobs in the second half of 2021, a record 4.5 million in November alone, that’s fucking holiday season! This is literally unlike anything we’ve ever seen before and there’s no signs of it slowing down in the foreseeable future. Some clever motherfucker has coined this dumbfounding phenomena the Great Resignation. We have an economy drowning in job offerings, but no one wants to work, and all the experts seem besides themselves explaining why.

Far be it for me to call myself an expert. I don’t have any Ivy League degrees hanging over the credenza or a position at some smarmy Randian think tank, but I am one of these unemployed people these experts seem to be so mystified by and I do have a theory that might shine some light on their conundrum. Are you ready? Listen very carefully so as not to miss the subtle nuances of my argument. Work fucking blows! It sucks and plebian scum like me don’t wanna live like that anymore and why the fuck would we? It’s not natural and it’s not fucking healthy, spending 80% of your life stewing in traffic jams, slaving behind deep fryers, and punching numbers into computers. We’re not descended from ants. People are monkeys. God designed us to eat, fuck, fight, shit, repeat, and we’re done with civilization’s fucking capitalist zoo.

We’ve all been duped into accepting wage slavery as the natural order of existence but even a cursory glance at history tells us that this is total bullshit. The modern concept of work as we know is only a few centuries old. It’s a byproduct of the 16th Century Protestant Reformation and it wasn’t designed for productivity; it was designed as a means of social control. Those assholes taught us that working ourselves to death would bring us closer to God so they could keep us from jacking off. When the bank took the church’s place during the Industrial Revolution, the bourgeoisie simply replaced God with a dollar bill and used the death cult of the Protestant Work Ethic to squeeze every last drop of man hours out of the proletariat like a dirty dish rag. They work us so goddamn hard that we don’t even have enough free time to revolt, let alone masturbate, and that’s not just a happy coincidence.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Human beings spent 90% of our history in hunter-gatherer societies and we were a hell of a lot happier as savages. We spent no more than 3 to 5 hours a day hunting, foraging, fishing, and preparing food and spent the rest of our time fucking off, smoking dope, and inventing wheels. The great anthropologist Marshall Sahlins called it the original affluent society and it existed for thousands of years without managers, bathroom breaks, Muzak, and office Christmas parties. In the centuries since most of mankind abandoned nature, we’ve developed such smashing advances in modern technology as prisons, genocide, factories, compulsory schooling, nuclear bombs, shrinking icecaps, and islands of garbage the size of continents. This lifestyle choice known as work is an anomaly, an offramp to human devolution like monotheism, Celine Dion, and the gender binary. If the gods wanted us to live this way, we wouldn’t be choking to death on our own exhaust fumes. Climate change is a warning and so was Covid.

Whether it was the fruit of gain of function or just too many condos too close to the bat caves, the Pandemic served as a violent alarm clock to many hardworking Americans. In a matter of months 25 million people either lost their jobs or had their hours drastically cut. People also lost their homes, their cars, and their healthcare insurance. In the blink of an eye, all the lies of our statist consumer culture had been stripped naked and people didn’t like what they saw. It turns out that our advanced western society offered no real security when the shit got real, and Americans started to seriously rethink this whole work thing.

The Antiwork Movement isn’t exactly new. It’s as old as Proudhon and Marx. Anarchists and socialists like William Morris, Paul Lafargue, Ivan Illich, Bob Black, and David Graeber have been telling any working stiff who’ll listen for generations that we’ve been hoodwinked, but it took the Pandemic to make a modest movement into a monster. Since the lockdowns a once humble antiwork page on Reddit has rapidly ballooned into one of the sites fastest growing subreddits with over 1.4 million members and growing. They call themselves Idlers and they’ve made their voices heard well beyond the echo chambers of social media by organizing Black Friday boycotts and by shutting down Kellog’s job portal with a deluge of spam in solidarity with striking factory workers.

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