Two Kinds of Masters
How Possessors of
Your Boss is a Master
Your boss treats you like something they have paid for. They expect to get so much use out of you, as they would if they purchased new equipment or rented a new building. As an employee, you are only valued as much as any other purchase made by an employer. If you don't produce enough, you'll be fired. Why would a boss keep some worker employed who didn't make enough? You can be fired, if you do not serve the needs of the boss well enough, whether you're filing mail in an office or digging fence holes in a field. This always stands in your mind, and it acts as a threat that you must experience while working and being under employment. It is not some "far off and distant thing," but something you can see in how fast or slow your hands are working.
And what would that mean if you were fired? It would mean going back to the job market and finding a new boss. It would be under the same exact conditions, though, your body and mind being considered a purchase. You are still expected to be subservient and obedient to the wishes of the managers. The threat of being fired, then, is not simply a threat to your income. But it means struggling to find another place of employment, possibly for weeks or months. This is real work, too, since you are always meeting people, always moving. Finding a job is its own job, but you don't get paid. This is one of the additional pains that comes with the threat of being fired.
Commands that are given to you, then, are done with this threat behind it. It does not need to said, every time you are ordered to do something, whether it is changing work or to run an errand. When told to do something else, you do not need to hear the threat of being fired. Just like you do not need to hear the rumbling of your stomach, to know that you will be hungry. Or, how you don't suddenly wait until it is dark, to know that you will need some place to sleep. These are facts that are always present in your mind -- sustaining your basic needs of food, sleep, and a little entertainment. Being fired is a threat to these needs. And you obey your boss, because you think you are obeying your stomach.
Your boss is a master because they possess productive property. They have needs, like you, but they don't work, like you. Instead, they have their needs satisfied by the produce that you make, part of which feeds yourself. They can terminate your job at any time, and find someone else, so you obey, because your needs of life are all dependent upon the wage offered you for work. The boss, however, doesn't have this problem. They live off of what you make, contributing no exertion or work.
You are in a position of someone who must work, must obey orders, and must be content with only a fraction of what you make. The boss is in a position of someone who does not work, who gives orders, and is content with the surplus that you make. As a worker, you are in the position of a serf, and as a boss, they are in the position of a king. They are the masters over your right to existence in society. Wherever they assume new rights, or accept greater income, it is by limiting your rights, and taking more from what you create.
Your Politician is a Master
The politician is, like the boss, chosen. But this does not change how they are all very similar to each other. While there may be "choices," they are not choices to living a different way. They are choices of choosing someone else to impose the same system upon us. This is why there is little difference between any two bosses or any two Capitalists -- while there are many of them, they each treat their laborers like purchased cattle. Similarly, this mindset is carried over to those running for office, as sheriff, mayor, governor, or president. You are given a choice, but it is not a real choice. It is a choice between two masters, but not a choice between two different standards of existence.
Every boss tends to their domain, like they are a king. And similarly, every politicians tends to their territory, like a nobleman. The right to choice among the subjects does not change how the masters rule. Whether from this political party or that one, every ruler of state has typically attended to the same affairs: appearing like they're fighting for justice, achieving fairness in the economy, and caring for the good of the community. These are the same messages that employers use to lure in potential laborers. As both the boss and the politician are masters, they tend toward the same tactics. For all of these appearances, though, business goes on as usual.
The politician does not tend to the interests of their voters. They tend to the interests of those who can capture the voters: the media outlets, whether television, radio, or print. That means depending on wealthy investors and bosses. That means making backdoor deals with the very few who own all of the productive wealth of society, because these are the ones who control what the media delivers. The battle, then, as it turns out, is between two politicians. And not how many people they can inspire, nor how many crowds they can influence. It is about how much they are willing to let their program be determined by outside interests that oppose the people; and the more they are willing to oppress the people, the more funding they received from these outside sources.
The boss who takes as much from the worker as possible, exposing them to dangerous conditions and working them overtime, is the boss who survives in the economy. And in politics, it is the same. The politician who can take as much possible out of the citizen, in obedience and taxes, is going to be the politician who can outlive the others. These are the two systems of masters that have come to dominate the entire social in today's world. The politician exchanges their legislative power for the favors needed to obtain their position. And the Capitalist exchanges your labor power for the wealth that keeps them on top. This is not just a system that leads to economic and social corruption, but toward political corruption, as well.
Politicians act as masters over their people. They do not gain office by common consent, but by flooding television, news, and radio with their message. The stronger the message, the less opportunity to hear other messages. The strongest politician, then, is the one who is willing to sacrifice as much as possible to their financial backers, while at the same time making themselves appear useful to the public. For all the choice that you have between politicians, it is like the choice you have between bosses and Capitalists: no matter what you choose, you can't choose to change the standards of your environment. The boss will always have the power to use starvation to make you work more, and the politician will always have the power to use laws to throw you in prison.
To Live Without Bosses or Politicians
It has always been the individual's desire to become their own master -- to have all the power of decision-making within their hands when it comes to their own life. Outside control has always been menacing, and there is almost a fear of organization altogether, as opposed to simply a fear of bosses, politicians, slavemasters, and rulers. Unless born a king, the individual was never able to achieve absolute independence of self on their own. They would be able to rise from one class to another, from one payscale to another. But, they would always be underneath and obedient to a master. The individual would always be sacrificing a portion of what they produce to the insatiable appetites of profit.
No matter how much the individual seeks their own liberation, it has never accomplished their complete autonomy. It has never given them full rights over their body, their liberty, and their right to make a living. They have always had to ask masters of state and economy for these rights, only to be received in exchange for obedience and regular tribute. No matter how much the individual has fought for their right to work and to enjoy the product of their labors, there has always been a tax or a profit put on them. They have always had to give in to some demands of a coercive power. The mass of individuals, on their own, have created all art and science, all production and all knowledge, but they are subdued to these powerful systems that dominate over them.
The individual has struggled on their own for liberty against these powerful masters. But it has not been through one individual struggling that the rights of all individuals were protected. It has always required collective efforts of different individuals. It has always meant cooperation between individuals to form associations, and then cooperation between associations to form federations. This is not to condemn individual efforts at liberty, but only to point out that they are not effective enough to overwhelm a powerful, organized system. Where the revolution has succeed in gaining some rights for the people, it has been through collective and cooperative efforts of individuals. It has not been through either authority or individual efforts.
Whatever tactics are adopted, they ought to be directed at the particular social relationships that create the dominance of a few masters. The politician is an authority of politics, as the capitalist is an authority of economics. To avoid recreating this type of social organization, we should not organize with the principle of authority. We ought to organize on the principles of voluntary cooperation, where there are none who command or control others. People should be free from coercion, especially as individuals participating in organizations to free themselves.
Such strategy to liberate the individual must necessarily be anti-Capitalist and anti-Government. It could mean unionizing and striking, whether the General Strike or the partial strike. It could mean forming cooperatives and collectives, whether organized as workers or organized as consumers. It could mean direct action against the state in the form of protest, demonstration, sit-ins, and occupations. Furthermore, there is no reason why an organization should not shift between these activities. Having exerted themselves in one direction, they change to another activity where they are relaxed, just as the farmer rotates their crops.
There is no one method alone to the revolution that will throw the bosses and politicians off our backs. But we must critically analyze every method presented to us. We should accept whatever threatens the current order of bosses and politicians, while posing no possibility of recreating the social conditions of domination and authority.