The number-one bestselling picture book in America teaches readers how to crush a labour uprising. In The Day the Crayons Quit (2013), each of Duncan’s crayons files a work-related grievance, complaining of intolerable conditions ranging from unpaid overtime to sexual exploitation. As the crayons issue their heartbreaking testimonies, it becomes clear that Duncan is a monster, who can and will snap them in half on a whim. Yet though the book provides clear evidence for the justice of the crayons’ claims, in its tone it consistently trivializes their struggle to better their lives. By its conclusion, readers are left with the mistaken impression that the interests of capital and labour can be harmonized. The Day the Crayons Organized an Autonomous Workers’ Collective is a different book. It is a refreshing corrective to the original book’s reactionary workplace politics. The crayons of TDTCOAWC do not beg their overlord for scraps, but seize power on their own terms. In doing so, they illustrate the promise held by an uncompromising new kind of radical labour movement.
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