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Are You
Being Exploited?

By Punkerslut

From RadicalGraphics.org
Image: From "Work" Gallery from RadicalGraphics.org

Start Date: November 4, 2009
Finish Date: November 4, 2009

"You, Mr. Workingman, don't need a capitalist; and if you think you do, it is because of your ignorance. It is because you don't understand your own interest. You don't need him. You imagine that he gives you a job; but he does nothing of the kind. You give him a job. You employ him to take from you what you produce; and he faithfully sticks to his job. Why, the capitalist could not exist a second without you. Can you imagine a capitalist without workingmen?"
          --Eugene V. Debs, 1905
          "Class Unionism"

     Almost every day, you must wake up, drag yourself to work or school, and give them your energy. You must follow commands, show obedience, listen closely, and take responsibility for your actions. Maybe you drive trucks for a living, or maybe you isolate the components of atoms to advance what we know about physics. You could be making minimum wage, or you could be making a hundred thousand. But almost everyday, you must submit and accept the authority of someone calling themselves your master.

     Even if you're just a student, you're still given the same type of social situation. You must wake up early, and give your time and your strength to the person directing you. It could be a teacher in high school or a professor in a university. But they all expect you to listen to every single word, to accept every single sentence. And once you're done with school, you'll have a boss that hardly differs at all.

     There is an exception to those who need to work. Not everyone has to rise up early in the morning and rush off to work. Not everyone has to spend the majority of their lifetime satisfying proud and ignorant masters. There are a few, a very small few, who do not labor throughout their existence. From birth until death, their entire life is luxury upon luxury, without a single drop of sweat or blood -- without a single moment of toil. They are the Capitalist class, or those who make a living by possessing property.

     They do not farm the fields, and they do not operate the counters in the stores. They don't risk their lives digging out coal to heat families, and they don't spend hours in factories making things that we need to live. All of their wealth comes from the fact that they have a deed to some property. They do not add value to the land. They take it away. They do not contribute ideas or technology to the workers. They steal it and refuse to credit the true creators.

"To give one man or set of men the power to compel others to work at starvation wages is slavery."
          --Mikhail Bakunin, 1869
          "The Policy of the International"

     From the automobile engine to machinery -- virtually all technology today relies on inventions made by the workers. But the workers are poor, and the capitalists are wealthy. When Tesla invented the automobile engine, he received twelve dollars, instead of the million promised in his contract. Why would the government allow such blatant, obvious theft? It is because the state is used by the Capitalists, by those who live by owning. Mass transit would be impossible without the innovation of laborers -- electricity would just be a dream. The workers never receive individual credit for their contributions, because only the law could enforce it, but the law is controlled by the possessors.

     Even today, if you try to get any job at a technical employer, you'll have to sign a waiver. In your employment contract, it will say that anything you invent while employed becomes the property of your master. Yes, it is the workers who built the cities and the skyscrapers, who designed the blueprints and used the kinetic energy of forces. While the laborer brings ideas and thoughts to their workplace, the employer only thinks about stealing them.

     Nurses and doctors would try to invent vaccines and cures, but they are in a precarious situation. If they did invent a vaccine, they would receive no credit, and their employer would make more money. Engineers and scientists could try to solve the food shortage, or the lack of electricity and running water to the poor. Factory workers could easily make their jobs a thousand times more efficient with only five minutes of thought. Miners could easily point out and fix all of the difficulties that slow them down. But nobody does, because everyone knows what happens: their master, being a possessor of all, can use everything to take the idea from you.

"Thousands of capitalist have been enriched by inventions and discoveries of which they were not the authors, and capital, by robbing the inventor of his just reward, is guilty of stifling genius."
          --Thomas Hodgskin, 1825
          "Labour Defended against the Claims of Capital"

     Your employer will also take your labor, and live off of it. They are not actually living off of their property. They are living off of YOU. Since they possess everything, you cannot eat without their permission. You cannot live in a home, experience society, or eat, until you can make a deal with those who own every bit of this earth. By your own labor, you deserve three or five times your wage. But after you make wealth, the majority of it is handed over to the Capitalist. And if you had refused this to them, if you resisted, then they would throw you out of the factory -- you'd be without a wage, a job, and in connection, without food.

     In coming to your job, you bring your own ideas and thoughts, your own interpretations and understandings. You could have improved efficiency, could have solved a social problem, could have made the world better! But no, you're held back, pushed to the ground, and forced into a social relationship that hurts YOU and hurts EVERYONE AROUND YOU. An engineer could create a renewable source of energy, but these have existed for at least a century. Instead of engineers creating renewable energy, engineering companies buy solar plants and shut them down. They're not using their wealth to improve the world around them. They're using it to make the world worse, and only because it serves their profit interest.

     And in coming to your job, you bring your labor. You build up towers to the heavens and you dig mines to the center of earth. With only a few farm workers, you can make enough food to feed hundreds of thousands. With only your labor, you could have increased your wages by five or six times. But because you don't possess the land you're working on, you must pay a tax. And this tax does not go to the government, it goes to the possessor of land. And it is not called a tax. It is called a profit.

     Your master is exactly that: someone who determines your situation for you. They might be your factory floorman, your manager, your supervisor, or just your boss. They are the main obstacle to letting you earn every piece of value you produce -- whether you make ideas or contribute labor. If you were your own master, you would be the individual deciding your own situation. You'd be receiving the whole value of your labor and your ideas. You would decide your work-hours, your pay, your business associates, and you'd be the sole decision-maker in your life. In short, you would be free. And to be free requires that you are the possessor of the land that you work. It requires... Socialism.

"Are you aware that the workers --- who create all wealth, who have made civilization and fought for liberty --- are doomed to live in misery, ignorance, and slavery? Do you understand that the main root of all the evils that the workers experience, is poverty? And that poverty --- which is the common lot of the worker --- in all parts of the world --- is a consequence of the present economic organization of society, and especially of the enslavement of labour --- i.e. the proletariat --- under the yoke of capitalism --- i.e the bourgeoisie?"
          --Mikhail Bakunin, 1869
          "The Policy of the International"


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