Your job after "the revolution"

As some people on libcom may already know I write a column in Black Flag magazine called Breathing Utopia, about the ways different workers see their roles and industries changing in a communist society. I'd like to expand it to book length.

I've been doing this for a few years now and the answers people come up with, often at very short notice, can be fascinating.

A librarian for example reckoned his industry would expand to provide expert help finding and sharing everything you might need once in a while, from books to heavy machinery.

An international development worker reckoned most of his industry was superfluous or even actively damaging - but some of it would remain.

A postie decided that an industry which transcended and linked local communities would have to be under the day-to-day control of its workers rather than communities, but would need to consistently integrate their demands and be ultimately accountable to them.

This kind of thing is important I think, because it brings the direct, practical expertise of working individuals to the question of what we'd actually want to see in that warm, fuzzy, post-capitalist society of our dreams. And because it shows our ideology very clearly for what it is, rather than what others would like it to paint it as.

It shows us as human beings who want to make the world a better place, rather than as just intractable opponents of the mainstream.

So with that in mind I'm asking for volunteers to talk about their industries under the banner of a few basic questions.

- What do you do?
- How does your industry function today and how is it structured?
- What would change now if you had the chance?
- What do you think might need to stay in the new utopia, and what would have to go?
- How would this reshaped industry be structured and how would it relate to the twin pillars of local community and wider society (eg. the postal worker above talks about how workers would need to balance the demands of local groups with the needs of everyone else)?

Have a think and if you fancy writing a few answers you can either post below or feel free to PM me! What I've found is that most industries have their own peccadilloes and follow-up questions, so I'll almost certainly give you a shout with follow-up asks.

Ooh, quick plug while I'm here, the next Breathing Utopia, along with the next Black Flag, is currently at the printers. Keep an eye out at London Mayday cos hopefully we'll be selling it there...

Posted By

Rob Ray
Apr 26 2012 09:16


Attached files


Nov 17 2014 03:37

Rob Ray, you still collecting contributions for the book?

Rob Ray
Nov 20 2014 11:04

Yep, though intermittently. I've got this page bookmarked.

Nov 21 2014 01:55

If post-capitalist society is warm and fuzzy and dreamlike as the OP seems to think it will be, then forget it! If people still having boring repetitive jobs and professions they love but just want to improve, then communism starts to sound like a tarted up version of what we've got now, so forget it.

In communist society there won't be jobs and professions but people working for each other's betterment. The first thing we'd have to do is produce enough good food to feed everyone; and to provide decent housing for everyone and good quality health care for all. That should keep a lot of people busy for quite a few years. We also have to do something about the climate and save the planet. Work will have a purpose, not like now where the profit motive rules.

Somebody said earlier on in the thread: "I think 'schooling' should just become more natural human development in a society where people are free to spend their time constructively, socially and often 'idly'." I'll drink to that. The whole concept of what constitutes 'education" and the way we will all be involved in it will change. Rather than the crap we have now - pointless boring forms of knowledge being regurgitated by a lot of bored teachers to pupils who are even more bored, in schools which are there really only to enforce control - instead people including kids will be free to develop their interests and talents. (This is the opposite of what bourgeois education offers now.)

Surely it's a big mistake to use all the predictable mind-numbing crap we have to submit to under capitalism as any sort of model for the future. Communism is the negation of the negation. Don't forget that! And capitalism and all its pernicious habits and attitudes is what we will negate.

Rob Ray
Nov 22 2014 16:47

You really didn't get what was being said, did you.

Noah Fence
Nov 22 2014 19:41

There is loads of good stuff produced and well organised in Capitalism. We don't have to smash everything and start from scratch which is what Jojo seems to feel is necessary(sorry, if I'm misunderstanding you Jojo).
My point is that worthwhile work is carried out in spite of capitalism. That work should be continued post revolution. I make beautiful things with wood for very wealthy people's homes. I'd like to continue doing that for the benefit of anyone that appreciates it instead of for someone that uses my work as representative of their wealth or doesn't have time to appreciate it because they are off looking for the next status symbol.
There are loads of people to do all of the practical work that needs doing as well as the more aesthetic things that enrich our lives. There is so much pointless work that we do now that will become obsolete. After the revolution time will be abundant. I see our lives being enriched in all ways. A bleak, austere life doesn't appear on my post revolutionary radar. Nor does any sort of Mad Max bullshit. The picture in my mind couldn't be more different.
Warm and fuzzy? Too fucking right!

Nov 22 2014 20:14

I'd been wanting to say something like that, Webby, but knew I'd blunder it, so didn't bother. Thanks for coming along and putting that so brilliantly.