The Communist Daily

The revolution starts here!

They Own You

I quit my job today. Yes, this is a rare personal story from me on this blog. I don’t normally talk about myself, I would rather focus on the wide generalities of politics and current events. I’m not going to go into detail, but conversations with friends got me thinking about some things. The way we look at employment needs to change. I’ll admit that maybe even I hadn’t considered some aspects of labor that my friends brought up. So here are the 5 top reasons why they own you, and how to fight for your liberation.

  1. Two Weeks Notice: 
          When you quit a job, you are expected to give two weeks notice to the company or firm. Why? Well, they say, it’s just common courtesy. While that might be, why should we accept that? If a job lays you off, do they have to give you two weeks notice? If they fire you, do they have to give you two weeks notice, or two weeks of pay to help you transition to another job? No, of course not. They own the capital, they decide the rules. They own you. You are expected to defer to them in every way. Reject this premise as unequal, unfair, and wrong.
2. Disrespect
At any job, you are supposed to treat your employer with deference and respect. Ask yourself if you get the same in return? They might fire you if you become ill, and cannot work, and have to call in sick at the last minute, but many jobs think nothing of demanding you work extra hours at a moment’s notice. They’ll find a way to punish your insubordination if you don’t. This is also because they own you, they own your labor and the fruits of it.
3. What Your Life Revolves Around
We have this idea in Western society that one is defined by their job. When people ask “What do you do?” The answer is: “accounting” or “I’m an electrician” or “I work in construction.” Why is the answer never “I play with my children, I love to bowl (badly), I watch anime, and enjoy fine literature.” Why? Because your job owns you. It defines you. It defines you because you let it define you. Don’t acquiesce to this subjugation of who you are. Fight back by defining your life in your terms, not theirs.
4. Commodity
To the capitalist, you are nothing more than a commodity. Just like materials, buildings and other tools of the trade, you are a dumb animal who simply goes through the motions as you provide them with more money. They don’t care about you as a person,  they don’t care about you at all. They are interested in one thing, and one thing only. The money you can produce for them. They don’t care if you can’t make ends meet on the pittance they give you. As long as you are still working, they don’t care. They want ever more production, ever more performance, and will squeeze you to the last drop, or until you drop. You have become a mindless commodity, a cog in the wheel of another’s success.
5. Capital
And finally, the reason they own you is the same reason they own everything. They own your mind.  They know that you fear not having enough money to survive, and so you will settle for less than you are worth. They hold all the cards, the power. Funny thing is, it’s mostly psychological. They can’t control you, yet they do, because you allow them to control you. You yield to their power and wealth, hoping that if you debase yourself enough they’ll let you have a slightly bigger piece of the pie. They really won’t though, not if they can at all help it. Everything they own was built by workers like you. They didn’t do it, they didn’t have to. They own the buildings built by construction workers. They own the supplies made by factory workers. They own the raw material dug from the face of the earth by workers sweating in the hot sun, hands blistering, back aching. They own the political system that keeps the economic slavery in place, giving them the power to exploit you. You sit back and take it, because you cannot imagine a better system, because, after all this is just the way things are.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We workers, are the ones who produce wealth. We workers are the one’s who have the power to create, to innovate, to learn and to grow. We workers are the ones who hold all the potential power in the world. What is potential power? It is real power, real energy. When you grab a swing on a swing set, hold it high in the air, ready to release it, that is potential energy. All it will be is already stored in that material. It is waiting for a push.
Likewise, we already have the power to create a better, fairer, and more equal world. We have the material, we have the energy, we have the numbers, we have the technology, we have the brains to accomplish what we want, what we need. That possibility is suspended high above our heads, and we’re being told we’re powerless to release all that potential energy, powerless to turn it into a torrent of kinetic energy that will swing us to new heights that we’ve never soared to before. It’s a lie, and don’t believe it. All it really takes, is a push.
So push goddamnit.
Workers of the world, unite.

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12 thoughts on “They Own You

  1. Seattle_Chef on said:

    Well written friend. Good luck on this journey and I wish you all the best. Maybe some day I will be able to follow in your foot steps.

  2. Thelibertylamp on said:

    U RAWK!

  3. Best wishes to you, Tim. Solidarity, and push well.

  4. I really liked this article because it touches on some of the irritating superstructual aspects of capitalism which strikes close to home for most people. I’ve been living in Russia for a long time now, and despite many problems it still retains a few leftovers from the Soviet era which seems like luxuries to an American worker. In this case I am talking about the issue of calling in sick. I had to train myself to get used to calling in and simply saying, “I’m too sick to work today, I’ll see you on…” Basically you feel bad, you tell them and you stay home. Back in America, you may have a serious headache or sinus problems, but you have to be sure your employer thinks you are seriously, contagiously ill. If it’s for more than one day, you had better say you are going to see a doctor.

    In short, what I hate about being a worker in the capitalist system is the constant distrust and intimidation. The lack of trust is particularly annoying since we have absolutely no reason to trust our employers, while the whole time they treat us like possible drug addicts, thieves, liars, and lazy bums.

    Just one more thing that might sound like a nitpick, but when it comes to Marxist theory a good rule of thumb is “aim small, miss small.” Under capitalism, it might seem like you are a commodity, but actually it’s your labor power that is a commodity. It’s the only thing you have to sell so as to get what you need. A slave would be a commodity, as would a prostitute or debt-slave(of which there are many in the world today). This distinction may not seem so important but it’s good to have a handle on the issue of labor power vs. labor and so on, so that opponents can’t try to trip you up in the details.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Interesting hearing what the labor life is like in Russia. About your point, you are right, but I use that phrasing because I want people to understand that they are wage slaves. Tied down by the necessity of selling the only commodity they have, they are enslaved by their wages. As well as the huge majority of Americans who are debt slaves.

  5. The thing that is most striking to me about everything on this page is anger, and sweeping emotional platitudes that culminate in victim thinking. If you see yourself in a cage, then you will live and speak and act like you are in a cage. Being a conservative or a capitalist or a socialist is not the answer. The answer lies in the one thing that seems absent from everything written here. Love. There is a kind of love that allows you to love the people you live among and work with and even for. It is what defines the good of humanity (which is not from humanity). There is a kind of love that shows you that every breath is a gift. This life will never be completed by power. It will never be improved by man’s grand designs. Love is what sets the human heart free from all chains. And with this love comes the power to see yourself for what you really are. The power to resist oppression. The strength to wage war against the hatred in this world. And never tire. And never lose heart. Weep when your enemy weeps and pray for your enemy when he is in pain. The power to forgive. Letting go of wrongs. The power to wage war on the darkest parts of ourselves. Not others. Vengeance does not belong to us.

    You are not a victim. You are totally responsible for everything in your life. Don’t ever give your enemies the victory of hating them. Hate destroys only the hater. Joy and sorrow and gratitude are the power of the human heart. When you hand these things to your captors, only then do you become a prisoner. When you love those who imprison you, their power over you is banished.

  6. I love my kids. I love my wife. I love my job. Most days. I love you guys and gals as best I can. I know that every single person that reads this post has been through unbearable pain. I know you have all suffered. And many of you are suffering now. I know that there are things in life that cut you when you touch them. You try to hold onto them and before you know it, your hands are flayed to ragged bloody sheets, but you won’t let go, no matter how badly it hurts. Because you have grown to need that pain to know who you are. Some would call that despair.

    Don’t be that way. Realize that every second is a gift and you can fight a good fight, without misery and hatred. Part of love is hating the right things, but not being overcome by evil and becoming evil yourself. You think you are enslaved by the wealthy ruling class? Maybe that’s true. But would you enslave them in return if you could? Or would you rather their hearts change?

    Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil. Hold fast to what is good.

    • So does everyone here, I’m sure. No one cares what you think about the attitude of this blog, or your condescending know it all stupidity. Anger is an emotion, it is as valid as any other emotion, and used correctly as motivation, can spur people to great things. So take your pseudo-psychological bullshit, and shove it back up your ass, ok? Ok now.

  7. You..saying we sound “trite”. That’s a laugh riot. And your comments about ego and being humble are ridiculous. The rich flaunt their ego and pride all the time, but when the workers do it it’s suddenly negative. Nope, sorry, that’s the ideology of the ruling class. And yes, we are throwing your private property rights under the bus. We want a world where people receive compensation according to their work, not some piece of paper that says they own something.

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