Introduction to the “Work! Buy! Die!”-Dossier
How much an individual can develop herself or himself in a society depends great deal on the way this society organises its productive activity – work. In the capitalist societies work has been either privatized, or taken over by the state and therefore we are in a situation, where to survive we are forced to look for work that private companies or the state are ready to offer us, rather than freely create kind of work we would like to do. Of course, the critics will say, there’s always a possibility to open an own business. Of course, but, even ignoring the fact than only those who already have capital, can have a real access to more capital, even then the calculation of a person opening such a productive unit must take into account demands of the market, «what’s possible to sell», much more than individual wish to create things. What’s more, the capitalist economy isn’t an economy of free producers, but an economy which is based on a use of paid workforce. That’s why unemployment, a situation when a person can’t sell his or her workforce to anybody and therefore finds himself or herself at the margin of society, is only possible in capitalism.
While the numbers of unemployment grow steadily in the whole Europe, why not start thinking of building a counterpower to the system which is giving social stability, indispensable for any social development of an individual, only to a small group of people? The perspective of paying for the caring work instead of the military, the right to unconditional income and housing, are powerful ideas which must be turned into strategies of actions. You will find articles, which might be a strating point for this thinking.
The protest against 5611 shows how important this issue becomes in Luxembourg. The ruling classes willingly accuse young people of lack of mobility and flexibility required by modern capitalist economy, but what they don’t want to see, is the fact that the private sector is not anymore interested in creating employment, prefering either to replace people by technical solutions, or ask the still remaining workers to work more. The state, instead of making efforts to create a counterpower to capitalism, grants the private sector more and more privileges, begging for new working places. Massive mobilisation of young people, whose social situation is getting more and more instable, can push back decisions of politicians, as the struggle against the CPE in France shows. But much more and much more massive actions are needed. Paraphrasing Marx, if the politicians and bosses don’t want to listen to the power of the arguments, they will have to face the argument of power. In the dossier you will find articles about both mobilisations, in Luxembourg and in France, to compare.
And what about work done by women and some men in the household, which has never been paid by the capitalist system? In the interview with Selma James, a founder of the powerful Global Women Strike network, the fundaments of our societies are called into question. Why do the society continue to pay for killing and doesn’t value caring work? Prioritising caring over killing is a subversive perspective, which has a potential to destroy the fundaments of capitalism. It means caring for the development of every individual, not in the frame of institutions, but in contact with real people: parents, grandparents and community members, who will have time to share thoughts, knowledge and experience, not in order to make out of their children good market products, but to help them realise their dreams and develop skills to care for others. It means, therefore, a world where everybody is equally valued and people can control their own lives and freely create life of the communities they live in.
And, finally, Créer, Echouer, Vivre, seems to be much more interesting option for life than the one offered to us by those who try to rule…
Have a good lecture.