When Republicans went to class-war during the election, they made lots of speeches, for example at their national convention, about how it was better to have a job, to know the value of work, and be "self-supporting", than it was to be a government dependent on welfare. Many Republicans, including Newt Gingrich, argued that eliminating child labor restriction laws would be a good tool to help poor kids begin early to appreciate the value of a job cleaning toilets. And that way, Gingrich argued, you could fire a lot of higher-paid, unionized, adult workers.In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed—a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piece-meal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.—Marx, Engels, The Communist Manifesto
In fact, working at a job of any sort in the capitalist marketplace, i.e. being a dumb cog in the profit-making machine for some capitalist asshole, is considered a fundamental, defining, aspect of self-worth in the eyes of most Americans. Or at least, that's what the pols and the pundits tell us.
But, if this is true, then how do you explain the fact that a job which is given to you is nothing but another form of dependency, upon capitalist job owners? After all, as Marx and Engels correctly pointed out a long time ago, if you don't own the job you're doing, if the capitalist owns it instead, he can (and will) take it away from you as soon as he can.
For example, during the election, capitalist job owners began threatening employees with economic retribution—the loss of "their" jobs—if they failed to vote for Mitt Romney. And now, since the result was instead that the American people reelected Barack Obama, these job owners are following through on their threats. It is not even necessarily the case that these capitalists operate in this manner from a rational assessment of the economic necessity. But they have the power to harm their employees regardless. And to do so purely retributively.
For example, on C-Span, a job owner who would only identify himself as "Stu", who claimed he operated a business down in Georgia, explained that he was "forced" to cut back on hours on all his parttime employees, and had to lay off two fulltime employees, so he would escape having to offer healthcare insurance for his employees under Obamacare. In Stu the capitalist's view, punishing his employees was the first order of business in coping with the fact Mitt Romney (the guy Stu voted for) lost the election.
As Stu put it, trying to sound like he was being fair and all:
"I tried to make sure the people I laid off voted for Obama."Is that legal?
Yes, it is.
Political beliefs are only protected for employees in government jobs, not in private businesses.
So, yes, when it comes to the political retaliation threatened and now perpetrated by capitalist job owners, their war against workers extends to the most base coercion, intended to afflict the political function of the nation.
Well, what did you think was going to happen in our current capitalist dependency state?
The one who feeds you, houses you, supplies you with the means to exist, orders you around too. And yes, that could be a government, abusing its powers. But in our system, it is usually the capitalist job owner who presents the biggest threat to liberty.
Your freedom of speech, religion, political belief, are meaningless, if they can be threatened so easily, by capitalists—whose only concern is their personal welfare and the profit of their businesses.
We need two concurrent movements in this country to destroy this capitalist dependency state:
1. Collective Opposition To Capitalist Dictatorship: We should understand that collectivism is not the problem. Corporations after all are collectives (of owners). That is where Mitt Romney got off calling them "people". The problem is the monopoly of power retained in the capitalist system is solely in the hands of owners. Workers must once again declare solidarity with each other, as they did a century ago, understanding their collective power is the only balance they possess against the predatory monopoly over the job supply (among other issues) owned by capitalists. Further, workers must not only protect themselves by collectively bargaining against this capitalist monopoly, but must realize that human employment is actually the bane, not the purpose, of business. Job owners see human beings in their employ as regrettable costs, a means to obtain theoretically commensurate but temporary aids to profit. In short, if there is any way a machine can replace you and your job, you will be fired. If there is any way your termination will add more to profit than your continued employment, you will be fired. In that circumstance, any job you have is in constant peril, as is your ability to sustain any life, or that of your family. And the peril you face is not merely out of your control, but reduces you to the role of constant victim, even when employed, in the capitalist system. The capitalists themselves, playing by a completely different set of rules, can utterly fail, and will then expect and indeed demand to be bailed out by the system they own. The reasonable reaction to these unjust circumstances is not merely a call for collective unionization of workers in various trades and skills, but also a call to remember the correct understanding of the values of power: that capitalist job owners are the natural enemies of workers. Regarding the general peril faced by workers and their families in an increasingly competitive and harsh economic and labor environment, the state must provide a bigger and better, not a diminished, safety net to protect workers and their families from the outrageously unequal impact of capitalism.
2. Individual Opposition To Capitalist (And Other) Dependency: The only job that is truly yours is the one you own. And that is not a job a government or a business owner gives you. Americans need to again develop the means to obtain self-sufficiency, in a 21st-century context. This is a movement that should be concurrent with, and not in any way in opposition to, collective efforts to protect all workers, including those who own their own jobs (self-employed), from being abused by the capitalist dictatorship. Once again, obtaining the means to power, and cheap power ideally, is the means to personal liberation. By power, we mean all forms, but fundamentally electrical power, since that is what powers our technological lives. As we have recently seen again, with the damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy, the loss of electrical power, caused by the dependency of individuals linked into a deficient electrical grid, can quickly send citizens reeling back in time and circumstances by two centuries. Electricity is yet another quality of 21st-century existence that should be a basic human right. In part, there should be a collective addressing of this issue, by the state building a better and more reliable electrical grid, which is centralized and less vulnerable to all kinds of threats—from weather emergencies to terrorism. Further, we should work towards true energy independence for each citizen, by developing technologies that will enable each person to have a reliable primary or secondary supply of self-generated electrical power. This is just one idea that is relevant to the general concept of encouraging a return to a truly independent American experience.
It is increasingly clear that all our institutions, rooted in ancient and medieval ideas, many founded upon a faith in a comic-book character, God, are crumbling. They must be amended or replaced to make them beneficially useful to all citizens once again. Depending upon the archaic political and economic systems themselves to effect these changes is historically a vain hope. Power structures work to protect themselves—eventually even from the people they are supposed to be serving. And that is the situation in the USA, where the political system is paralyzed by deep divisions between partisans of the past and those of the future. Such a situation is going to produce a revolutionary change in any case.
The American people need to take charge of the dynamics of change, or those dynamics will take (or actually maintain) charge of them. This is a time of great peril for freedom, but also great opportunity to expand it meaningfully in a modern context.