It should be clear what all these changes in the nature of work mean for syndicalism: It is difficult to organize the workplace if there is no workplace. It is even harder if there are no workers. Of course, there still are workplaces, and we are (mostly) still workers, and people have been organizing at their jobs however we (still) can. This should continue as long as these conditions of work remain—we should be organizing and rebelling in every place in which this world is reproduced, which is everywhere—but it’s no wonder that a strategy which centrally privileges the workplace as the primary site of counter-power feels bizarrely out of date and hopelessly inadequate.
I believe it is both necessary and to our strategic benefit that any sort of anarchistic social revolution attack our oppression at all points of its reproduction—this still means the workplace, but also the home, the urban neighborhood, the back roads and mountain hollers, schools, suburban developments, forests, swamps, deserts, reservations, everywhere. To state once more, in anticipation of a mountain of misunderstanding: this article is not suggesting that we abandon conflict with our bosses. It is arguing that we de-center the workplace as the primary site of such struggle, and that we understand this struggle to be gesturing towards something fundamentally more revolutionary, terrifying, and beautiful than the democratization of the economy.
It was a real struggle to limit myself to only two quotes from this excellent piece written by an anonymous author over at It's Going Down because it articulates a lot of issues that I've been struggling with as I get more directly involved in the struggle for socialism, communism, and the anarchist way. No society that fundamentally resembles the society I currently live in can truly be egalitarian or free.
Capitalism, the economic engine that powers virtually all the structural decisions in our lives, is inherently exploitative, and neoliberal capitalism and globalization has simply made it easier to hide the exploitation from the first-world petite bourgeois “middle-class.” Our societal structures were created to serve the needs and interests of capital, and perpetuating them—even with radically changed forms of democratized management—will only reinforce the legacy of constant growth, accumulation, class systems, and ecological chaos. As the author of this piece makes clear, yes, we need to be organizing in our workplaces to help meet the needs of our co-workers in a fucked up system, but we need to be organizing and building power in all places where exploitation and oppression are breeding.
A democratized version of our current economy simply isn't going to be enough of a change.