Destroy capitalism— end the fetish of working!

Destroy capitalism— end the fetish of working!

“Every night, we sleep, and destroy capitalism. Then, we awaken, and rebuild it.”

John Kawakami

The fight of the left cannot be in the fight for production, nor can it be the fight for violent revolution. 

The fight of the left must be the one where the objective is the freedom of the people. 

The left has taken on many of the ideas of socialism, and to many, that has simply come to be defined as the people owning the means of production. Unfortunately, ‘Means of production’ is people owning the work they are forced to do, but that is not the ultimate goal of socialism. 

There are very few people who would choose to work a 9-5 job. 

I can imagine very few scenarios where I want to work, even if technically “I own” my place of employment. I am a taxpayer, and the school is paid for with my taxes. When I was a school teacher, I technically owned my means of production, yet I did not enjoy it. 

The goal of socialism is cooperation, the elimination of socioeconomic classes, and the elimination of oppression.

Production alone will not free people, nor will it end oppression. 

Production loaded on the backs of those who are exploited will never lead to freedom. Seizing the means with the perspective that food, shelter, and clothes is the end goal of humans’ needs will not free people. 

The labor market in the United States is run in the best cases on exploited labor and in the worst cases on enslaved labor, e.g., such as prisons and underground criminal economy. 

The exploited and the enslaved cannot negotiate. Begging for your life is not negotiating. That is staying alive. The US worker is no longer negotiating for quality of life. They are negotiating for life itself, so they do not die.

And what about those who are unemployed and unemployable? Do they not also deserve freedom? The whole freedom paradigm that centers work and the economy has failed.

Work will never be the tool that will free people in the United States.

Our history of slavery, which is always in the background, has assured that. 

“The planters, having lost the war for slavery, sought to begin again where they left off in 1860, mere substituting for the individual ownership of slaves, a new state serfdom of Black folk.”

“Black Reconstruction” WEB Du Bois (1935)

That is still happening. Owing to racism and nationalism, the United States population will never gain freedom through work. An organized labor continuously acts racist, ignorant, and thus is broken in the United States. 

The liberty of labor is not freedom but an obligation.

And even this obligation will seldom be accessed fully and with pay comparable to an exploited white man by African descendants of the US South. 

In addition to their racism, the left in the United States has never been organized enough to seize the means of production. They are too tired to organize, because they are working, to either not die or they are working to preserve their whiteness. 

That is the one of the clever structures of employment, to make you too tired to do anything else. 

The best universal movement that the left currently has going for the public is the 15 dollars an hour movement. 

And 15 dollars an hour in New York and California? Remember, there are about 2000 work hours in a job (40 hours a week times 50 weeks if you get a vacation).  After taxes of about 25%, your take home pay will be about $22,500 or less than $2000 a month to pay all of your living expenses.   Places where this movement has had the most traction, even at 40 hours a week, will not get you easy access to housing, healthcare, food, education, nor leisure. 

Free people have easy access to housing, healthcare, food, education, and leisure. The vast majority of labor, has at the most, struggling access to two out of five of those items.

And during COVID-19, we see labor cannot keep us safe. It, in some cases, appears to be endangering us. 

Regardless of what fascist right-wing politicians exclaim, free time is essential. Leisure is a necessity for biological beings. 

“Downtime is an opportunity for the brain to make sense of what it has recently learned, to surface fundamental unresolved tensions in our lives and to swivel its powers of reflection away from the external world toward itself.” 

 Scientific American‘s Ferris Jabr Review Mary Helen Immordino-Yang’s study Rest Is Not Idleness

The left cannot continue to run on the puritanical idea of sadistic suffering. 

The right is run on suffering, not because it is moral or believes in God, but because it is an effective way of keeping people from asking for anything beyond not being killed. 

The left is misguided in its overemphasis on labor. 

Parts of the left have become dangerously right-wing, sadistic, and authoritarian in their goals for the US public. 

Most people do NOT one want to work 40 hours a week, and no one should have to for less than $45 an hour, telling people to work inhuman hours for a negotiated slightly higher rate than slavery and fighting for people to have the right to sleep on a park bench or in a tiny house is setting the bar dangerously low for the people and is training the people to accept a moderate amount of oppression. 

These half-hearted and incompetent fights for the means of production support exploitation and enslavement.

Production alone isn’t going to free people.

Violence will also not free us. 

Another perspective of the left is Trotskyism. Trotskyism is a continued revolution with continuous disruption using the threat of violence or actual violence. 

Violence will not free people. Violence is the power of colonialism and imperialism. 

Violence will not lead to the freedom of the poorest of the poor in the United States or any other country. Violence will lead to dead people in the professional working-class aka middle-class. Violence will do nothing, but lead to more dead people, more imprisoned people, more oppression, and more power for the wealthy.

No one wants to live in a current state of panic, which will be Trotskyism’s result.

A portion of the left feels that this system needs to be destroyed because it cannot be reformed. They believe that this system is working as it is supposed to be working, and they are correct. 

The reactionary elements of this system are working exactly as it is supposed to. And it is ready for you to try to violently overthrow it. In fact, it is begging for you to try to do just that. 

This system is very efficient at oppressing, exploiting, and killing people. This system is designed to kill you immediately if you are violent. This system is designed to crush directly any element that is violent against the country, and use that momentum to oppress more people. 

There is also, as Chomsky stated, the saber-tooth tiger of capitalism that is waiting outside the wall of this well oiled machine of oppression.

The public in its current state is defenseless against capitalism, because the public is not organized, and the public generally has no idea the extent to which is being attacked. Sometimes it’s not just about the money; sometimes, it is just about hegemony. 

But in some ways, this is also the unorganized left. Anyone can get in the left with the appropriate costume.  

The examples of successful violent revolutions that were successful in freeing people through violence have never had a left that has been as unorganized and fractured as the left in the current United States. 

Recently grumblings are that Senator Bernie Sanders is not the real left and neither is US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez —fine. So the left the “real” left is referring to is the same left that thought Trump winning another term wouldn’t be so bad, because it would cause a “disruption” and wake everyone up.  The “real” left would also include the accidentally ignorant who think COVID-19 is “a hoax” and the new vaccine is designed to kill us.

The group that THINKS it is the true left are not ready —and whatever they are prepared to do will be mean, violent, and will ultimately fail. 

It will fail in bringing any semblance of freedom to the people. 

Our path to our free world can be a peaceful one. 

It can start with education, cooperation, and a goal that is focused on building and not destruction.

We know what freedom is not.

The bare minimum is not freedom. Oppression is not freedom. Suffering is not freedom. Violence is not freedom. 

Freedom is the right to be happy, the right to live, the right to be creative, the right to be comfortable, and the right to educate yourself as you choose to.

And we can start our freedom by letting go of the idea that work or labor has anything to do with freedom. 


Teka Lo, Public Intellectuals

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