Back in the 1990s, and certainly both before and after, I read a number of books and articles about the abolition of work. We can argue and disagree about what work is and what it might look like under a future society, but it should be possible to agree that under capitalism work is something that is imposed upon us.
I remember a great joy during a soulless temp job reading Kamunist Kranti’s A Ballad Against Work when I was supposed to be doing whatever bullshit task I had been assigned. (A similar joy is to go to the movies during the work day on a day off or even better when you’ve called in sick: enjoying whatever pop culture distraction when others are toiling. )
A quarter of a century later, I’m still working. (although retirement looms large now). I work in a job which pays relatively well, and it’s one that for the most part I enjoy. One of the most enjoyable parts is that I work with people, but for the past year and a half I’ve been working from home. I still have contact but it’s phone, text, email, zoom, google meet or some other e-communication. Not the same.
I’ve got some holidays coming in a while and I’m certainly looking forward to them – a chance to read a book, do some gardening, get involved in unalienated activities (or at least less alienated) . Yet, I have to admit a part of me is looking forward to going back to work in the fall at my old workplace. We are social creatures. Imagine what it would be like to be engaged in activity, call it work it you must, that was free of the alienated structures imposed upon us.