This month the CPSU book club met to discuss Sam Wallman’s Our Members Be Unlimited. It’s an exhilarating read, re-telling some of the highlights of working-class history and showing how working people have transformed our world and the rights and living standards we take for granted today – through struggle. Thanks to everyone who came along and made it such a great chat!
Next month we’ll be reading the late great David Graeber’s Bullsh*t Jobs (2018). Graeber (1961-2020) was best known for his role as one of the founding members of the Occupy Wall Street movement and as author of Debt: The First 5000 Years (2011). His last book, The Dawn of Everything: a New History of Humanity was published posthumously in 2021. He tragically passed away in 2020 from complications from COVID-19.
In my mind, David Graeber sits up there with Mark Fisher as one of the best critics of bureaucratisation and capitalism’s role in the massive expansion of pointless work, something neoliberal boosters would have us all believe it was meant to eliminate. These ideas and critiques are great bolt-ons to our readings around a reduction in work days and hours.
It’s a compelling read – and if you enjoyed our recent article on why Tasmanians would benefit from a shorter work week, you won’t want to miss this! The book starts out with economist John Maynard Keynes’ prediction that by the end of the 20th century, technology and automation would see the work week drop from 40 hours to just 15. As we all know, something like the opposite has happened – more of us than ever have found ourselves battle to defend the boundaries between work and life. As Ricardo Morales notes, the reforms and victories of the past are only ours for as long as we defend and protect them.
Graeber’s book breaks down how BS jobs have helped to reinforce the neoliberal consensus and stood in the way of securing a better life for working people. He also poses some solutions for how we can fight back. We can’t wait to talk about it together.
We meet at the same time every month, so you can download our Zoom invite to automatically schedule them all into your calendar for the next 6 months!
Download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system. Monthly: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/tZAvcuyrqjgtGNdHqq-NctqeoVLPv1I1IA67/ics?icsToken=98tyKuGsrD4vGdCWtxuERpwIAI_4Z-nwiHZajY1ZtA70Tg5QdhLzOdRuAqQuOYn5
We hope to see you there.
Michael McLoughlin & Laurel Thomason