On May 1st as the rest of the world is actively recognizing International Labour Day, the media is fulfilling its duty of maintaining rigorous debate within a narrow spectrum of safer, establishment-friendly issues. Today, both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal failed to acknowledge a single working-class issue or represent one of the many vibrant social groups fighting to build a better society. We are not surprised. The WSJ, “America’s most trusted newspaper,” even went out of their way to print a “special report” on small businesses which appeals to the petty-bourgeois elements of society.
Back in 2012, despite the fact that the majority of Americans supported a universal single-payer healthcare option, the issue was complete avoided throughout the Romney and Obama campaigns. Similarly, the idea of worker control of industry today is nowhere near the table of discussion despite the fact that it has been a common thread in the fabric of working-class consciousnesses for centuries. This “democratic deficit” between the government and the people is maintained by a system of “necessary illusions” propagated through corporate-influenced media which sets the agenda.
We are not fooled. As the class of tyrannical corporations continue to expand its experiment on global neoliberal exploitation of labour, the world’s governmental leaders “preside” over peoples’ continual march to growing inequality and ecological destruction.
Recall that during the mid-19th century, the “factory girls” of Lowell, MA knew that the people who worked in the factories ought to own them and democratically elect their managers from among their own ranks. They tacitly understood that forced submission to the commands of an arbitrary manager arbitrarily appointed from above who has nothing to do with their community or families was an affront to human dignity.
Even a child is equipped to correctly identify her right to pursue independent happiness in a classroom in which she finds herself performing arbitrary and menial tasks on command. When she refuses to fall in line, the teacher has to outsource discipline by threatening to call the ones who hold legitimate authority over the child [her parents]. When she grows up, instead of with the wrath of her parents she is threatened with starvation and other forms of social decline.
As it were, the establishment would have us select [the narrow spectrum of] two options; rent yourself to one of the trans-national corporations leeching resources and value from your community or starve! Therein lies the basic [necessary] illusion of choice and freedom. Indeed, capitalism offers 1,000,000 ways to individually consume and waste commodities produced by exploited or veritable slave labour.
Workers of the world, pull off the wool from over your eyes! There is so much political terrain to engage. Recognize that every corporation has to earn a charter from the government to do business in your state. Hold your elected officials accountable by refusing to sell labour to a company that plan not to make your community its beneficiary and primary controller.
Again, let’s look to the mid-19th century: In Abraham Lincoln’s America, the Republican party took for granted that wage-labour was little different from slavery. The people understood that renting oneself to the dictatorship of an unaccountable private corporation was a fascist attack on those certain inalienable rights. All that changed during the right-wing backlash against the pressure applied by the civil rights and “New Left” movements of the sixties, but more on that another day.
Today, the entire debate has disintegrated into which “minimum wage” the slaves ought to rent themselves for. People who work for a corporation ought to be entitled to a portion of the profit raised by the industry and veritably run the place themselves through syndicated organized self-governance. Picture the deck-hand on a crabbing vessel who engagement the full employment of his spirit in his work because he knows his reward is directly proportional to fruit of the collective labour of the crew. The chemistry and solidarity of the crew and the extent to which the individual directly applies his faculties within the nature of work increases the portion of the product shared by all.
Know that in America alone there are dozens of at least partially worker-owned businesses including King Arthur Flour, Publix Supermarket, Avis Rent-A-Car, Terracon and others. There is also the Mondragon corporate federation of workers’ collective located in the Basque region of southern Spain with democratic control over wages and other major functions of the industries therein. These systems are far from perfect, but they carry with them elements of systems of communal economic organization we plan for the cultivation of sustainable social formations in the future.
Something powerful needs to be transfused into the blood of the working-class until we realize the liberating potential of our collective power. An unaccountable and opulent minority will never run society in a way that protects the rights of ecosystems, the poor, oppressed minorities or women. Certainly there is a false skein of legitimacy spread across the width of this parasitic species of political-economics which is draining the spirit out of humanity and crushing the life of the world. Smash it to pieces.