Abolish Restaur…

Abolish Restaurants: A Worker’s Critique of the Food Service Industry

This zine is a very insightful look into the life of a restaurant worker – specifically, one who literally wants to abolish restaurants.  I have worked in the food industry for years, and a lot of what the author writes about life in a restaurant is something I think most restaurant workers would find to be very true.  For somebody who has never worked in a restaurant, this would be a very interesting and enlightening read on a topic they probably haven’t thought too much about.  The zine looks a little more professional than most, and even has a table of contents.  It is divided into two categories, how a restaurant is set up, and how a restaurant is taken apart.  Under the first category, the topics are: what is a restaurant?, the production process, division of labor and the use of machines, intensity and stress, tips, customers, and coercion and competition.  Under the second category, the topics chance to more socially-conscious ones such as: what the worker wants; work groups; workers, management and worker-management; unions; and a world without restaurants.

This zine starts out pretty informative in content and somewhat neutral in opinion.  It gives a brief history of restaurants, and explains the economic principles that are seen in the everyday happenings of a restaurant.  The author portrays all bosses as evil and rich, and throughout the zine starts to focus more on its main purpose – to spread awareness of the injustices in the food service industry and gain support for the movement to abolish restaurants.  Although I sympathize with much of what the author writes (like the fact that usually a restaurant worker is in one of two modes – boredom or stress), I think it is a little extreme to want to abolish restaurants completely.  Although it is not my ideal job, I did not hate working in a restaurant.  I like to take pride in my work, and even if working in a restaurant was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I made the best out of it.  I believe every experience gives you something valuable, whether it is a life lesson, a networking opportunity, inspiration, new knowledge, or a good friend.  I just don’t think that most restaurant workers share the same ideas as this author.  The job may be bad at times, but it is unreasonable to think that the world can be perfect and everybody can have their dream job without working for it and having a few “bad” jobs first.

While I was reading this zine, I was curious about the identity of the author.  Was it a waitress with a background in economics or history or art?  The zine had a lot of information about supply and demand, profits, prices, and explanations of how the economy works.  It also was very intricately illustrated, and I really liked the drawings and graphics and the comic book style of this zine.  I also found it interesting that all of the people in the zine were drawn without eyes.  The illustrations were very good, and look like a professional artist drew them, but this unique characteristic really made the art stand out to me.  When I went on the PM Press website (www.pmpress.org) and looked up the author, known only as prole.info, I found some information that fit with the tone of this zine.  The author seems to actually be a group, and the author info page states that “‘Prole’ is short for “proletarian” a word used by Karl Marx to describe the working class under capitalism. We are all the people in this society who do not own property or a business we can make money from, and therefore have to sell our time and energy to a boss–we are forced to work…”  In the zine, Prole.info says that they are part of an international class war, and ultimately wants to change the system.  Although a lot of what this zine portrays would be supported by the majority of restaurant workers, I do not think that the anarchist ideas and the statement that “the struggle of restaurant workers is ultimately a world without restaurants or workers” are things that most food service industry workers would agree with.

-Sentaniz Palmer

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