Thursday, May 7, 2009

Workers and their Situation this 1st of May, Part 2

The capitalist crisis and the reform; everything changes but the subordination of work

Note: This article consists of three parts. Part 1 can be found below this article.
Translated by Zinnia Cintrón

Crisis arrive when the fashion in which capital organizes the conditions to exploit workers becomes ineffective; the same necessities that workers keep creating, forces the system to handle too many problems as to maintain capitalists' profits This is a typical problem of any imperial system as it tries to superimpose the necessities of one over the necessities of many and this position cannot be kept intact for a long time. The one in the power position becomes careless to the necessities of the majority which, simultaneously, grow and become more complex. Consequently, reforms need to be done periodically. Work (subordinated to the capitalist market as salable labor power), progressively achieves political and technological developments in accordance to capitalism's requirements. However, as time goes by, unavoidable problems arise which have no effective solution within the fashion in which capital organized society originally. At those times, capitalists have to engineer a reorganization of society without altering the foundation of capitalism: for workers to be forced to sell their labor and to buy everything that she needs in such a way that capitalists can employ them, pay them for the cost to reproduce her labor power and keep the total value of what is produced (refer to the last paragraph of Part I).

The wear and tear of the ways in which capitalists organize global production becomes more complex as capitalists find a way to reproduce capital (take the accumulated money, buy tools, materials and labor for production, and sell to have even more money) as fast as possible and, frequently, accumulated capital has no exit, especially if they have managed to impoverish workers to the point that they cannot buy even a negligible part of all the wealth produced. They then find, within financial, risky acrobatics, a way to stay in the reign of money and to avoid dealing with what pertains to this world, to work, specially with workers that sweat, get tired, get sick; that want other things besides merely making money; that refuse to march to the monotonous sound that money plays.

Under the usual rhythm of life within capitalism, given that production is achieved primarily to increase capital, noxious necessities arise and people lead lives full of frustration and dissatisfaction. In their daily lives as waged sworkers, workers cannot be creative in their work, learn almost nothing, and harm themselves. Furthermore, they usually cannot buy what they produced; if they can buy it, it is usually of poor quality, and, if at a certain moment they can get what they could not buy, they produced more wealth that (at this point) they cannot afford. Being that they are not able to control what they are creating, but still have the necessity of creating, they frequently find obsessive distractions. Many of these are packed and sold by capitalism sooner than later. When crisis detonate, capitalists demand more and bigger sacrifices from workers and, in the worst case scenarios, they fire these people and close their factories and shops for the sake of saving their capital until the situation improves. Because workers cannot buy, it is senseless for any capitalist to put their capital “into production”. In the meantime, the things that workers need are not being produced and the ones that are already produced (including the tools and materials to produce) are kept under lock while workers go through extreme misery.

At this point, capitalists do not waste any time to mobilize the rest of society to come to their rescue. This is not too difficult when, indeed, the immense majority needs capital to circulate. It cannot be forgotten that, under this arrangement, the only way to satisfy personal necessities is by satisfying the necessities of capital itself. For this reason, intellectual reformists have almost all the work done since people notice that if capital does not circulate to employ them, their quality of life will worsen.

Reformists that are more empathic towards workers and that are aware of the system's logic, recognize at this point that even when capitalism exploits people and leads us to another crisis, we need to save it because we cannot achieve a dramatically different society if the immediate problems are not solved beforehand. Certainly, but the way to attack the immediate problems cannot rely entirely on capital exploiting us. We need to solve the immediate problems by establishing basic conditions that imply the society that we want: one where work is not subordinated to its creations. The same applies for any project. For example, if one wants to build a round table, one does not collect the tools, materials, techniques, and plans that would be used to build a bench and then say: “at least we can eat on it”. If the conditions available provide only the means to do the usual things, one must modify them to fit the purpose pursued.

The course that the reorganization of the crisis will take or even if it will be successful (or not), will depend on how well organized workers are. As soon as their intellectual leaders limit themselves to use the plan based on capitalism, it will not matter how well organized they are; it will only be an issue of getting concessions – that the leaders generally enjoy more than anybody – and then wait for the empire's time, the cyclic movement, the return of the pendulum or the eternal return that will supposedly bring another advance. This story is told in every crisis and here we are again. If there are pendulums, cyclic movements, and eternal returns, it is mostly because of the implementation of those stories. When, on the contrary, leaders and intellectuals who take very seriously the plan for a new society develop – a plan that having work at its core, is not monolythic as capital is, but dynamic –, not only concessions that solve the immediate problems are granted, but also the structures that announce a new society commence to emerge

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