My name is David Sugar and I am a wage slave. As a so called "knowledge worker" and scientist, this does not alter the basic reality that I too am a worker who bargains labor for wages. The fact is that almost everyone is a wage slave, and yet so many fail to even recognize, let alone acknowledge, their shared condition is part of why I think true working class solidarity has become rather difficult to achieve today.
- Advertisement -
The core problem of wage slavery is really rather simple. Capitalist society is by its very nature bipolar, that is it ultimately divides society between a limited few who have the privilege of owning the collective labor of everyone else, creating a few winners at the expense of everyone else, since it believes one must get ahead by pushing others behind. All other subdivisions, for example like "middle class", are marginal, temporary, and illusionary.
Some refuse to believe their common condition because they are given limited privileges in part to divide them from their brother and sister workers. They think because they get bonuses, or even stock options, that is, table scraps from the masters table, that, like the house slave of a plantation, they're interests are somehow the same as the masters. Indeed, as Malcolm X once remarked, it is often the house slave would try hardest of all to save the master's house when it is threatened. And yet, the reality is that the collective wealth of their labor is as owned as that of everyone else, indeed that the working class and owning class do have nothing in common, except a cruel and inhumane relationship that must be ended.
Some fear acknowledgement or consideration of our collective condition because they believe in the consumer goods and property they have managed to collect or otherwise mistakenly feel that worker solidarity is hostile to personal property. Indeed, it is the concept of capitalism itself that in reality is rather hostile to the idea of personal property, except as an accumulate privilege, for it is far easier to force people to rent and thereby continually profit. A perfect example is the music industry which believes it's privilege to perpetual copyright monopoly ownership of collective culture for extracting profit is far more important than the individual freedom and basic human birthright to share and participate in one's own culture.
As the means of production shift increasingly to that of the human mind in the 21st century, the owning class increasingly tries to own and otherwise control even what others may choose to think, let alone express. And further, as science itself and academic institutions come increasingly under direct corporate ownership, it is perhaps more clear I hope for some than at times past of all our common class interest and shared condition, of how very real that there is no difference between those who work, whether with their hands or with their minds. It is bad enough when the owning class tries to make us divide ourselves, whether by nationality, income, trade, gender, skin color, or religion. It is however far worse when we choose to do so to ourselves.
All human beings are born with equal human dignity. This is a basic human condition that the wage system and owning class it supports openly repudiates and rejects. It is also why we must come together in full solidarity, regardless of where we are from or what work we do. It is essential not only for ourselves, but for all those who will come after, that they may never have to experience the oppression and inhumanity of wage slavery, that they may have the chance finally to be born into a world that truly lives in freedom. It matters not to me how this collective solidarity is found, whether specifically through a big union like, for example, the IWW, or by other means. What is important is that it is found, and then expressed, that the cruel and inhumane tyranny of the wage system and the sociopathic owning class it enables is ended. That is what it should mean to be a human being today, and to be a worker of the world of any kind, industrial or otherwise.