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subrosa OP wrote

Rousing Conclusion: The Meaning of Anti-Work

The waning power of unions over the past half century is not simply the result of a failure of will. There are structural reasons why union organizing has produced diminishing returns. When we set out to stand up for ourselves, it’s always tempting to try to replicate the models we are familiar with from previous generations—even though it was the failures of those models that put us where we are today. New conditions demand new strategies.

Such strategies could take many forms. For example, using the internet, we could build networked movements extending far outside the workplace to defend workers in particular industries through pressure campaigns, boycotts, sabotage, and other tactics that anyone can participate in, employed or not.

For people outside particular sectors of the economy to have a stake in such struggles, however, these movements will have to address the needs of the unemployed and precariously employed, as well, not just preserve the status of workers who are still fortunate enough to retain relatively stable employment. The power of the George Floyd uprising and similar movements outside the workplace offer a point of departure. Drawing on the high point of the Occupy movement in 2011, we can imagine that the most powerful labor movements of the future will be anti-work uprisings that take place outside of particular workplaces, in a common space that all can share. In a follow-up to this article, we will explore what the general strike could look like in the twenty-first century and how our movements could become capable of catalyzing such strikes.