a particular anarchist's breakdown and explanation of theory and thought.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Wage-slavery is what is wrong with capitalism. It deprives a worker of who she is, and what she could become. Workers are always at odds with eachother, competing to sell the only resource available to them (us), their labor. This is why wages can be so small, and struggles are made to survive on them, particularly in 'the third world' where labor law is pretty much non-existant and unions have been eradicated along with what semblance of a republic was remaining there. Wages are only as high to allow for the worker to still be a worker, that is to keep her alive and docile to serve her master, the capitalist.
Mean while... As the worker suffers from the plight of political disenfranchisement, an absence of economic liberty, a continual drop in her focus by the charade of the mass media, and ultimately a humiliating defeat for her dignity, the capitalist who owns her, reaps the benefits of her labors as a capital, and enjoys the luxuries of that capital through economic subsistence, political power, a decent education, and an elevation of his status. In this setting, we see the likelyhood of the persistence of class, that is the inheritance of the class a child was born into. The child of the worker has fewer chances of a decent and excellent education than the child of the capitalist.
Surely someone will respond alike Milton Friedman and attempt to quote Adam Smith out of era (18th century, and 21st century are different centuries) to say that the worker has as much freedom as the capitalist and has the option to quit her job from the capitalist if he treats her unfairly. Regarding the former, to consider the material conditions of the worker, and the wealth of the capitalist, this is a ridiculous and condescending lie. Regarding the latter, Bakunin said it best,
"Easier said than done. At times the worker receives part of his wages in advance, or his wife or children may be sick, or perhaps his work is poorly paid throughout this particular industry. Other employers may be paying even less than his own employer, and after quitting this job he may not even be able to find another one. And to remain without a job spells death for him and his family. In addition, there is an understanding among all employers, and all of them resemble one another. All are almost equally irritating, unjust, and harsh." (Bakunin)
So it is seen that the worker is always in a sort of serfdom to her masters, the capitalists. No matter the turbulance of the economy, the worker suffers more than the capitalist.
Someone may say, yes I see that capitalism can be oppressive, but is it true to call it 'slavery'? Again, Bakunin says it best,
"M. Karl Marx, the illustrious leader of German Communism, justly observed in his magnificent work Das Kapital2 that if the contract freely entered into by the vendors of money -in the form of wages - and the vendors of their own labor -that is, between the employer and the workers - were concluded not for a definite and limited term only, but for one's whole life, it would constitute real slavery. Concluded for a term only and reserving to the worker the right to quit his employer, this contract constitutes a sort of voluntary and transitory serfdom. Yes, transitory and voluntary from the juridical point of view, but nowise from the point of view of economic possibility. The worker always has the right to leave his employer, but has he the means to do so? And if he does quit him, is it in order to lead a free existence, in which he will have no master but himself? No, he does it in order to sell himself to another employer. He is driven to it by the same hunger which forced him to sell himself to the first employer. Thus the worker's liberty, so much exalted by the economists, jurists, and bourgeois republicans, is only a theoretical freedom, lacking any means for its possible realization, and consequently it is only a fictitious liberty, an utter falsehood. The truth is that the whole life of the worker is simply a continuous and dismaying succession of terms of serfdom -voluntary from the juridical point of view but compulsory in the economic sense - broken up by momentarily brief interludes of freedom accompanied by starvation; in other words, it is real slavery." (ibid.)
I admit that times have changed, and that technological advances and class mobility has increased, but it must not be forgot, that class mobility in one country, is at the expense of class mobility in another.
Hopefully I have helped to clear away the delusions of liberty and equality in Capitalism. But what hope does the worker have in achieving her liberties and rights? A Social Revolution would be most appropriate in gauranteeing the rights of all, maintaining that it is led by the people and not a vanguard (such as a militia or a party).

Bakunin, Mikhail. "The Capitalist System." Anarchy Archives. Pitzer College, 28 oct 2001. Web. 9 Dec 2010. .
The Capitalist System by Mikhail Bakunin

1 comment:

  1. {After the Fact}
    [But for now, since there is no momentum for a Social Revolution, even more for a fascist one, what is important to focus on is the building of a real labour movement, one that inspires passion and democracy, like we had in the 30's and 20's.]