Re: Essay for Labor Notes


Farans Kalosar
 

This article as it stands is a well written motherhood statement with which it is impossible to disagree. Will it be useful in persuading workers to become more radical?  Maybe. The devil is in the details.

I detect a distant echo of, perhaps even a  reply to, David Graeber's IMO shallow, smug, and offensive diatribe against "bullshit jobs," with its ignorant attack on computer programmers, systems analysts, line managers, process analysts, etc. ("flunkies, goonsduct tapers, box tickers, and taskmasters")--all boring workaday disciplines about which Graeber, having AFAIK never held down a non-academic job, knew nothing directly and which he treated as being adequately addressed in some kind of apodictic theorem.

Distracted by the recent flurry of slanderous and vitriolic attacks on Ukraine supporters on Marxmail, I still haven't read Work, Work, Work, so perhaps my concern is answered there.  

But I think it would be interesting to see Graeber either stood back up on his feet or turned on his head, whatever,  so that the central question of necessary labor for useful production and the cruel managerial obsession with control at any price could be approached from something more substantial than the airy-fairy fantasist vulgar anarchist perspective, spawned as a popular movement in large part by Graeber, which loses all interest the minute the brilliant Graeber himself is removed from the equation. 

Occupy. I think, is all too dead--and its recent echoes during the demonstrations over the national police campaign of extermination of black people--has run its course and neither can nor should be revived.  The IMO abject long-term failure of this anarchist movement perhaps can only be redeemed by the radicalization of the workplace, which in turn can be helped along by a legitimate understanding of what work actually is and what is really contained in the vast catalogue of products, processes, and procedures that mere academics like Graeber dismiss with outrageous and actually stupid insults against workers (characterized, as noted, as "flunkies, goonsduct tapers, box tickers, and taskmasters").  Graeber's utopian ideal is based in large part IMO on contempt for the working class, a perspective all too clearly illustrated by the mostlypetty bourgeois "anarchists" who turned up at occupation sites to set stuff on fire and then disappeared into the white workaday world (or Mother's basement).

If the Occupy thing still has "mindshare," it represents a false alternative to organized labor action, as pernicious and destructive in its way as the red-brown breakdown products of Stalinism and the narcotic illusions of "free enterprise" and just as irrelevant--nay, destructive-- to the imperatives of the times in which we are living.

Join marxmail@groups.io to automatically receive all group messages.