Why Socialists Shouldn't Be Afraid of Organizing Conservative Workers
Over the winter, a labour subreddit called r/antiwork exploded in size, growing from a few tens of thousands of subscribers to almost two million. I watched this happen with a lot of enthusiasm. An internet forum isn’t the same as real on-the-ground organizing, but any scenario in which a couple of million people are being regularly exposed to strongly pro-worker content is a very good thing. There was something else I really liked about it: a really large proportion of the users seemed to be new to these kinds of ideas. They weren’t leftists (yet); they didn’t talk like the online woke left or like culty Trotskyist types. They seemed to be ordinary working people who were being radicalized in real time by the absolutely abysmal labour conditions they were encountering out there in the world. They were discovering a sense of solidarity with one another as a class, and as they stayed and explored the forum, their sense of outrage at their own exploitation and degradation deepened. They posted screenshots of their bosses texting them telling them to stay at work overnight during a snowstorm so that they wouldn’t be late to their shifts the next day. They showed each other e-mails from recruiters who had offered them $18 an hour, only to bait and switch the rate down to $14 at the last minute. They commiserated about the fundamental misery of having to spend almost all of your time either working, preparing for work, commuting to work or recovering from work, with no time to actualize yourself as a person, year after year. They ranted about the barbaric American practice of tying healthcare to employment. All of this was happening organically, it seemed, with very little derailment from identitarian scolds or sectarian nerds. It was great.