Anyone who has ever worked in the food service industry know that restaurants are, generally, dens of misery. Abolish Restaurants doesn’t shy away from this. The short book is riddled with personal experience and it is the uncompromising vision it presents which makes its arguments so compelling. The work is split in two, the first half dealing with the operation of the restaurant as a business and the second concerned with how restaurant workers can fight together to improve their lives.
Much like a later work on housing, prole uses a key feature of modern life, that of the restaurant, to explore broader topics, such as the rise of modern capitalism, the production process and the division of labour. The second section of book makes the expected suggestions common to anarchist thinking: a rejection of co-ops working within a capitalist system, emphasising the need for horizontalism and the expression of solidarity through mutual aid. However the critique of traditional bureaucratised unions appears even more relevant considering the triumphalist attack on the powers of traditional unions from the newly elected Tory majority of despair. (Indeed it is more important than ever to join and organise with revolutionary anti-capitalist unions such as the IWW or the Solidarity Federation.)
Abolish Restaurants is at its best when it illustrates the everyday experience of working in the food service industry – not just degradations but also the small solidarities and coping techniques that workers use to get through their shifts. The cartoons are great and break up the text just enough to mean a reader flies through the 60 or so pages. You’ll want to pass it on as soon as you’ve read it.
Prole.info’s archive of work is available here.