On the Future of Our Labour

Today, we find ourselves in crisis. Our enemies, the enemies of the working class, seem to daily score victory after victory against us. They have given us debt, depression, and desperation, and in return we have given them still yet greater profits. They consolidate their holdings and their power, signing treaties with one another that permit them to freely move their ill-gotten profits around the world where we cannot have at them. But the greatest indignity of all has laid in the way they have kept on attempting to convince us, sometimes successfully, on the ideology they promote which they would have us see as a natural order. If we are, as a movement, to overcome this crisis, we must learn to reject the terms of the discourse they would force upon us and fashion in its place a new discourse entirely of our own making. It’s a tall order, but if we pledge ourselves to the task then we, the working class movement, can and will overcome.

Since the dawn of the current order, which I refer to as post-industrial finance capitalism, we have seen wages stagnate, personal debt skyrocket, and despondency as each of us resorts to ever-increasingly desperate means to get by. At the same time, our wealthy paymasters have seen their wealth amass in quantities not seen since the Great Depression, our poverty and our despair in parallel to their increasingly firm grip on power and their immersal in a newly-deepening vat of ill-gotten wealth. These two competing realities are, naturally, related: the wealthy class has devised the post-industrial finance capitalist order as a means of extracting wealth from us. In the rising of these opposite realities, the groundwork is necessarily laid for the fusion of them into a single, unified reality, one which can encompass both and in so encompassing pave the way forward to the future. In this future, we will see the emergence of an opposition to this new, unified reality. This opposition has been anticipated, of course, and in some futile attempt to pre-empt history the wealthy class has begun a new campaign, which we live under at this very moment.

Critical in their campaign has been the emergence of the post-Cold War international order, structured around the free trade agreements that have become so ubiquitous in these times. Naturally, these free trade agreements began to come into existence while the Cold War still raged; it’s only since the dismantling of the Soviet bloc that this campaign has taken its decisive turn. With the removal of that last critical barrier to the expansion of the post-industrial finance capitalism, it has become possible for the wealthy class to all but freely remake the international order according to their wishes, so that they might move their expropriated capital anywhere in the world. With the ability to transfer their ill-gotten capital to wherever they should so choose, they effectively hold the state hostage to their demands, and in so holding they have made the political apparatus of the capitalist state and the politicians who wield it into agents of their own. The political apparatus which arose from and in turn laid the groundwork for the capitalist phase of historical development becomes subsumed within it. This permits a transition to post-industrial finance capitalism, and the expropriation of wealth beyond national boundaries in ways that the working class movement cannot legally arrest.

All this is made possible not by some pre-existing legal framework  nor by some change in the political order, even if these have been the mechanisms by which this campaign against us has reached its new apex. No, like all victories in this arena, theirs is made possible by the dissemination of the post-industrial finance capitalist ideology not as an ideology per se but as the natural way of things, the default order in the sphere of economic relations. They convince us on the supposed scientific character of their ideology, with every new scheme to extract further profits from our labour there coming some new justification, some new term to categorize what is plainly made up to service their needs. We see this most aptly demonstrated in the stock market, investors trading imagined points and exchanging money, the cumulative effect of this supposedly a great deal of economic activity even as nothing of value is produced and no useful service is performed. The nigh-infinite complexity of the derivatives market, by all accounts responsible for the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008-2009, is an example of this, only appearing to be so complex and indecipherable to the working man precisely because it has been made up in a haphazard, mostly arbitrary manner, conceived by and for a small group of investors out of the need to continually furnish their greed with the pretense of scientific and intellectual rigor. The laws and rules which grew to permit these acts of greed were neither scientific nor rational, and served not to restrict the expropriation of wealth and its reinvestment but rather to facilitate it. But it’s all lies.

The solution to this crisis, or at least the first critical step in reaching for a permanent solution, is elegant in its simplicity. We, the working men and women of the world, must emphatically and explicitly reject the terms of the discourse that has been foisted upon us by they who would deem themselves our masters. In rejecting first the present order itself, second the physical means by which they have enacted and enforced their current order, and third the ideological terms under which they have fashioned their current order, we make possible the overthrow of post-industrial finance capitalism, and capitalism writ large. In turn, this will permit us, when the time is right, to fashion a new order, the socialist order, and in so fashioning usher in a new era of democratic-industrial relations. This late period of post-industrial finance capitalist development may yet represent the final stage of the current period of history, which means the advent of the next stage must be not far off. We may even be so blessed as to live to see it.