Interns Built the Pyramids

July 4, 2013 at 2:58 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

OK, true confessions: The title of post is not original. I stole it from the Baffler, but it was such a great line, I carry no shame.

Years ago, when I was first coming  around to the left /council communist milieu, the discussion of work and no work was a hot topic. The Indian group Kamunist Kranti had just published its  Ballad against Work (I was quite pleased with myself that I read it at work when I was supposed to be working)  and were engaging in a spirited debate with the Communist Workers Organisation on the topic. Collective Action Notes reprinted much of the correspondence along with other articles about resistance to work. 

Soon afterward  I came across two other publications: Processed world and Temp Slave . Processed World was a San Francisco based anarchist-left libertarian journal focusing on office workers (some of the PW members were involved with Red Eye which first published Dauve’s famous critique of the Situationists) . Temp Slave was a zine which collected stories of abused temps. Less political than PW, but just as funny.  

So I was reminded of all of this when I was listening to Q on CBC radio this morning hosted by ex-Moxy Fruvous and former IS contact Jian Ghomeshi and caught part of a debate on whether or not interns should be paid. It was fairly interesting to hear one of the panelists argue that unpaid internships provided an invaluable opportunity. Another countered that the opportunity to work without being paid shouldn’t really be considered an opportunity. Another example of capitalism’s creative capacity to put a spin on even the shittiest situation.


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