Something Positive: Why I'm Not A Doomer
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I truly believe that within our lifetimes, we will either see the end of the planet or the end of capitalism. And because I’m not a doomer, I’m truly excited to see the end of capitalism as we know it.
Recently, I’ve been both watching my tongue and having a blatant disregard for what companies think of me. It was during my tenure at my former employer that I decided that I would present myself fully honestly at work. To truly be kind, you must be honest, and professionalism is the opposite of honesty.
I was fired in November of last year, potentially because of that honesty, and it was a genuinely traumatising experience. I signed a severance agreement for the money in exchange for my honesty, and I was distraught, to put it lightly. However, in March, the NLRB ruled that such agreements are in direct violation of workers’ rights, and I was finally able to heal and be honest. In June, many more were fired from that company, and I don’t blame them for not being fully honest about how they felt.
You see, a commonly unstated fact about the latest mass-firings is that Corporate America is terrified. The pandemic was a catalyst, for sure, but workers have known for a while that their employers not only don’t have their best interests at heart, but harbour active contempt for their best interests. Spending every waking hour of your life trapped in an office is just one of the many facets of corporate control. The pandemic made it clear as day that these structures can easily and abruptly be removed. And yet, those clawing for control still wish to convince us that the pandemic is over, that these walls must be rebuilt, and that those who have literally died to uphold these structures would have died without them.
Companies know that it’s the workers who have control, as history has proven. Every industry needs a large pool of unemployed workers to make the threat of firing employees hold weight. As more and more workers aim to organise and fight against their employers, companies have tried to keep us desperate to avoid a true uprising. And it’s failed.
Sure, when unemployed, you can lose your livelihood and potentially your life. But during the pandemic, even those employed could lose their life to a blood plague, and it wasn’t worth it. Now, as we reach a critical point where a majority have become conscious of the power they wield, the pre-existing unions in the country have already started fighting for their rights. More and more workers are fighting to unionise. The last ones not yet fighting are those already in comfortable positions, but as they see companies toss them aside for petty cash, they too are radicalised.
And even those employed see the cost of their exploitation. The planet is heating up at an ever-accelerating rate, and this year’s summer is the least brutal of those to come. The beloved tech industry is wasting resources at an unfathomable rate, with magic beans, unfungible tokens, and chat bots. These industries too rely on an immense supply of undervalued labour, and it’s clear as day that they must be destroyed.
Every company is unsustainable. To save the planet, we must destroy them. And we’re winning.
Already, large unions like WGA, SAG-AFTRA, and Teamsters have their boots on executives’ necks, and there are many more on the horizon. Some companies have already yielded to their demands, but the rest are worried.
I know that the end of capitalism isn’t going to be a sudden affair. But exactly what we need to accomplish that is already in motion. Before we know it, every industry will be unionised. Those industries themselves rely on their political power to fight back, but once workers control those industries, that power is gone. It’ll no longer be possible to convince the masses that pure capitalism is the way forward, since those who aren’t in favour of unions just don’t have one yet.
With the technology we have today, it’s more possible than ever to imagine a society run by people and not companies. For example, did you know that the same systems used by companies today could fix the global supply chain for good?
Sure, the planet will suffer, and so will its people. But companies will suffer more. And I can’t wait to see it happen.
When I initially wrote this, I was still unemployed and making preparations to sustain myself and my partner in case I can’t find a job before the end of the year. I’ve since been hired for a 2-month contract and also braced for what might happen after. I also saw an incredible video by Sophie from Mars that encouraged me to just, stop waiting and post this.
It’s truly awful that I need to mention this in this context, but I’ve decided to finally be honest about everything in my career, and that means being explicitly pro-union. Unions are flawed like any bureaucratic system, but they’ve certainly lasted the test of time, and they’re going to be how we finally end this capitalist hell.
Celebrating unions is a legally enforced right in the U.S., but plausible deniability is all companies need to ignore me. However, I’m tired of keeping quiet about the genuinely exciting news as more and more unions take control for the people. I’m taking a gamble in assuming that by the end of the year, either unions will be discussed more and more in the open, or I can just brush these comments aside and get a job anyway.
I have the privilege to be more open about my support, since many can’t afford to burn so many bridges, but I feel it’s my duty to be open about this. And like I said: I can’t wait.
Links for me:
Links from this article:
- NLRB General Counsel Issues Memo with Guidance to Regions on Severance Agreements (press release from NLRB)
- Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (interactive view of collected data)
- Line Goes Up – The Problem With NFTs (2.5h documentary by Dan Olsen / Folding Ideas)
- On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots: Can Language Models Be Too Big? (paper by Emily M. Bender, Timnit Gebru, Angelina McMillan-Major, Shmargaret Shmitchell)
- OpenAI Used Kenyan Workers on Less Than $2 Per Hour to Make ChatGPT Less Toxic (article by Billy Perrigo for Time)
- WGA Contract 2023 (official website for WGA strike)
- SAG-AFTRA Strike (official website for SAG-AFTRA strike)
- “We’ve Changed the Game”: Teamsters Win Historic UPS Contract (press release for Teamsters’ latest victory)
- Planned Economies And Artificial Intelligence: A short rant (30min video by Mia Mulder)
- The World Is Not Ending (2.5h essay by Sophie from Mars)