These perspectives are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employers.
I work for a living. I don’t think that’s some great sign of character or integrity. Personally I think work is for chumps, and any day I don’t do my part to undermine the regime of wage slavery, I feel extra chumpish. The managerial class already knows that being a worker is like laying face-down on the ground while brick after brick of a pyramid scheme is laid on your back. That’s why they focus on climbing. Meanwhile, the rest of us are occupied trying vainly not to be crushed under the dead weight of Pharaoh’s dreams of immortality.
A proletarian is a worker that can see the pyramid for what it is, but refuses to use their peers as rungs on a ladder. Americans recognize the term from the Black Panther Party’s use. The word comes from the ancient Roman census to describe those with no property to their name except for the future laborers they could birth and raise. Like our mirror image, management is also class conscious. The difference is we seek out a life, and a future world, independent and autonomous from the class interests of Pharaoh and his court.
I go from sun up to sun down and miss the day
You been sayin’ for months that you gon’ fix my pay
While the hours of my life get pissed away“The Stand,” by the Coup
Growing up I was expected to labor at school learning how to regurgitate information on-command. Not just any knowledge that I might find interesting. Schools only value what’s deemed useful to ruling class interests. We lived in a suburban tax shelter so that I could grow up to reproduce the middle class wealth of my white family. I preferred staying up late watching Star Trek, going to metal shows and protesting U.S. imperialism.
Odd enough my job prospects out of high school were next to nil, besides door-knocking for the newly-chartered Connecticut branch of the so-called Working Families Party. Their Director, John Green, stole our wages through ‘independent contractor’ misclassification. Unsure of what else to do with myself besides trying to build the movement against Pharaoh, I enrolled at Capital Community College. I again performed poorly but had a handful of cool instructors.
I was 28 when I began the vocation I eventually decided to study at Capital, and in the years prior and since I’ve filled the hours of my life with more stupid, draining and oppressive jobs than I care to list off. Some places tasked me with better or worse things to do, but what always made the job good or bad was my peers. People who understand the difference between collectively slacking-off and making others pick up your slack; who know how to look the other way sometimes and look out for each other at other times; who have proletarian sensibilities and will have long conversations about the state of the world. Those jobs are common enough, though the better people come and go. Inevitably you have to put up with ass-kissers and other losers.
I like what I do now. A comrade recently described it as my ‘dream job’ because I’d been applying to it for well over a decade. And truthfully there are moments where I do feel the rare notion that I’m doing something worth my time. I guide my neighbors and friends through navigating the world of information, I read, and I shoot the shit with whoever’s around. But even in this so-called dream, class harmony is nowhere to be found. The loftiest permissible idealism is kept tightly under the pyramid’s capstone, where the most dangerous and onerous work is heavily racialized and pays poverty wages. Management polishes the rough edges of the edifice by paying outside consultants to purportedly help make the organization more ‘Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive.’ In reality it’s nothing but another management tool of persuading us to not make demands.
I don’t have a dream job because I do not dream of labor. I’ve trained myself to open my eyes whenever my resting mind wanders back to places that already get my waking hours at bargain basement prices. I dream instead of undertakings that merge play with the endless self-directed process of sharpening my skills and crafts, broken only by long stints of leisure and travel, underwritten by the bounty of a post-capitalist ecological social balance. I dream of an end to fabricated scarcity, the abolition of social class, stigma and oppression. I dream of a democratic communal society in harmony with the Earth, because the alternative is no future at all.