In the society we live in, economic power is concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority. This minority in turn controls the legislative apparatuses that form political and economic structures around the rest of us. Sometimes when opting for in-depth analysis on this we forget that these social relations between the ruling class and us have re-created themselves on almost every level going down. Every workplace is a microcosm of the relations fostered by capitalism.
What is the most horrific aspect to this? Besides the actual reality of these conditions, the normality of it all. We do not stop to consider the psycophatic nature of the fact that agencies can collective raise rent prices and we can do nothing about it. Or the fact that thousands of children are homeless in Ireland because the State is disinterested in addressing the question of housing in any real way. On a smaller way, is it not insane that in small business or large your time is micromanaged as if you’re owned? That you can be effectively set to work any time at any day? That you relinquish control over yourself as soon as you step foot into the workplace and the relationship you have, personally with your manager or business owner virtually characterizes your entire time in the workplace.
The fact that we are subjugated to the rule of capital via other workers is sinister itself. Consider your manager in a customer service center: they are probably not even earning all that much more but their responsibilities include suppressing you. Some professions and workplaces are deliberately established to ensure workplaces and workers are disunited. The owners individualize the work and reward workers individually. They speak to them in the HR office on a one by one basis and isolate their issues as something ‘they’ might be facing, rather than the collective and systemic nature of these issues.
The entire relationship between employer-employee is brutal. It is disgusting, it is horrific. You are subject to the will of another person and the wage you are paid is the maximum wage they are willing to pay while they can carve out the profit from your labour. They are effectively riding your back and once you are useless or develop a differing opinion you are let go. This happens in Cork, Ireland and the world all the time. Workers that are productive are rewarded, a little bit while those who do not meet the rigid criteria of certain workplaces are eliminated from the place. What happens to them after? Rent, life, family? Fuck em’ all is the motto of the employer, they’ve used them and they can now move on.
Given the nature of these relationships, or microrelations though, the workers are pitted against each other virtually involuntarily. They are all wage slaves who’s relationship to their labour and surplus value is the same, they just perform slightly different roles for capital. It’s worth noting here that they also differ from the police or armed forces of a capitalist state but I won’t be going into that here.
There are certain professions, such as property agents, bankers, stockbrokers, real estate agents and a few others which contain a different demographic. These professions are taken up voluntarily and they rely on the manipulation of working people for success. They rely on exploiting people in the most vicious of ways. Everything is about the raising of income and profit on a personal and company level for them so they will utilize every tactic and strategy to do so. They will despoil you of what minor wealth you have so that they can enrich themselves.
Let me bring this to it’s final point though: under capitalist, we are encouraged to turn into exploiters. We are encouraged to adopt new personas and rob others of their wealth. We are even rewarded for it. Ironically this runs into parallel with all the happy-go-lucky supposed societal norms we’re indoctrinated with. We’re told not to be greedy, when the economic circumstances of our reality are saturated with greed. We’re told not to be selfish, when everything about capitalism and bourgeois culture revolves around the cult of the individual.
We live in a paradox and as we begin to unravel it and it’s contradictions, the deceitful nature of capitalism becomes clearer and clearer.