‘Bullsh*t jobs’: Guerrilla posters welcome commuters back to work
London commuters were welcomed back to work Monday morning by a series of depressing posters proclaiming that much of the nation’s workforce see their jobs as pointless.
The “subversion strike” targeted commuters on the tube, who were faced with a series of posters displaying quotes from a piece of academic writing entitled “Bullsh*t Jobs” by anthropology professor David Graeber, which appeared in Strike! Magazine on August 17.
The Special Patrol Group (SPG), a little known group thought to be the militant wing of Strike!, claimed responsibility for the posters Monday morning. The “attack,” as Strike! call it, was designed to coincide with the first day back to work for many employees.
One of the signs read: “It's as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working.”
Another draws a quote from Graeber’s piece, claiming: “Huge swathes of people spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed.”
— Alexis Calvas (@Alexiscalvas) January 5, 2015
Graeber’s original piece, fully titled: “On The Phenomenon of Bullsh*t Jobs,” refers to a prediction made by economist John Maynard Keynes in 1930, who said future generations would only have to work a 15 hour week due to technological advances.
Graeber says that a 15-hour week is possible, but that instead technology has been “marshaled” in order to “make us all work more.”
“In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless,” he adds.
He says that the number of skilled industrial jobs has decreased, and that “professional, managerial, clerical, sales, and service workers” have tripled, leaving a surplus of what he calls “pointless” jobs.
— Arrun Degenhardt (@ArrunDeg) January 5, 2015
Speaking to RT, Strike! magazine said it was not about particular professions, but the way the economy was controlled.
“It's about asking why we can land on a comet millions of miles away but still haven't managed the three-day week. That's bullsh*t, isn't it?”
They further said they hoped the posters would make commuters question the system they are a part of.
— Lucy Brisbane Mckay (@lucybrisbane) January 5, 2015
“We hope that people will question a system that has them working ever more hours for ever squeezed wages – while the only people with any breathing space are the 1 percent.”
“We hope that people will focus their anger in the right direction: on our bosses and on our politicians. Demanding a Living Wage for all would be a good start, introducing a citizen's income would be a little bit better,” they added.
The bleakest poster in the series calls the employment situation “damaging.”
“The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet no one talks about it.”