David Graeber’s On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs first appeared in our Summer 2013 issue; nearly a million people have since read the article online, and it’s been translated into over fifteen different languages (at last count). We can say it struck a chord.
Last year we turned the article – and accompanying Exploited Ape image from award winning illustrator John Riordan – into the first of our Little Pocket Pamphlets. Wanting to get it into the hands of the people on their way to those Bullshit Jobs, STRIKE! hit London Underground’s Northern Line with a little intervention during this morning’s rush hour…
“This is one of the secret strengths of right-wing populism. You can see it when tabloids whip up resentment against tube workers for paralysing London during contract disputes: the very fact that tube workers can paralyse London shows that their work is actually necessary, but this seems to be precisely what annoys people.”
“It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working.”
“Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul.”
“This is a profound psychological violence here. How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labour when one secretly feels one’s job should not exist?”
“Twenty-volume folios will never make a revolution. It’s the little pocket pamphlets that are to be feared.” – Voltaire.
“The achievements of Labour in the years after the Second World War should never be underestimated, but they are now history.” – Bob Crow (1961-2014)