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(en) UK, Direct Action #28 - Wage Slavery - Killing for cash

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 2 Oct 2003 10:35:36 +0200 (CEST)

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According to the International Labour Organisation, 2 million
deaths every year are caused at work. That is more than in the
terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, every single day. The
workplace has become a weapon of mass destruction.
So, after 6 years of broken promises and several public disasters,
Labour has finally come out with the bombshell. It has caved in to
its fat cat friends, and it is not going to make company directors
responsible for killing their employees through corporate neglect,
after all (Corporate Killing).

New Labour are making wage slavery worse, and yet, their stated
aim is to ‘cure’ poverty. The stark fact is that wage
slavery and poverty are hard-wired together. The worse wage
slavery gets, the poorer we all are. Today’s widening
inequality is not only bad for the poorest; it creates desperation
and living for today, and social problems stacking up for tomorrow
(those of us who lived through Thatcherism found out where
short-termism gets us). To pretend, like Labour do, that you can
worsen wage slavery and cure poverty at the same time is nothing
less than lassez fairyland.

So, this issue, we take a look at wage slavery. Next issue,
we’ll tackle lassez fairyland, although there is a taster here
(The dark side of the boom).

We are all wage slaves - since we all have ‘profit’ of
some sort extracted from the work we do, or we depend on those
who do. If you work for a business, your boss profits from other
people’s labour (most likely yours). If you work for the state,
since it relies on taxing private work, you are also in the wage
slavery chain. If you rely on other family or friends for cash, then
you are equally chained in. Some of us work for nothing –
bringing up kids, caring for others, etc., but we are still in the
chain. The only other option is you are loaded and have a
‘private income’ (hee hee), in which case you almost
certainly live off the backs of wage slaves through banking,
investments, etc... Thought not.

Our conditions of slavery are worsening. Most of us work with
others to produce goods and services, but we get only a fraction
of the value we create. The rest goes to pay overheads, such as
rents and interest payments to wealthy owners of property, or
direct into government coffers or bosses’ and
shareholders’ pockets. Labour have spearheaded the drive for
casualisation and privatisation of public services, and these
trends inevitably cause worsening health, safety and slavery at
work. Some of the mass of evidence for this is scattered amongst
these pages. However, the emphasis is less on sitting around
getting miserable about wage slavery, and more on fighting
against it.

For example, you can equip yourself with quick facts on the
STUFF YOUR BOSS does not want you to know (Know your
rights). Next up is organising, after all, working alone against
wage slavery has limited scope. Unfortunately, the history of the
Left and the trade unions is largely one of selling us out. Still, at
least we now know that trade unions and party politicians are
basically useless – the only way to effectively defend
ourselves against wage slavery is to organise ourselves
democratically at work (Workplace militancy).

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, even Big George W must have
noticed when that spiritual home of wage slavery (the US
‘free’ market) brought hot darkness to a big chunk of the
‘homeland’ in the “worst power cut in history” (as
the papers said). Meanwhile, in Baghdad, 6 million people had
already had months of power cuts, causing hundreds of children
and ill people to die from heat and lack of basic services (the
papers said nothing).

Bush has also been told all is not well with war plan Iraq. If only
that secret CIA convoy taking in weapons of mass destruction to
plant on Iraq hadn’t been wiped out by US ‘friendly
fire’, things would have been fine.
Since the ‘end’ of the war, over 1,000 Iraqi children have
been killed or injured by unexploded US/UK cluster bomblets,
which are indiscriminate, illegal weapons. The US forces have
ruined Iraqi society and its infrastructure, created millions of
unemployed, and denied any responsibility for security and safety
of the people.

The Iraqi Women’s League summed it up: “We fear the
threat of fundamentalist religious movements, which an occupying
army inspires. The Iraqi people have not been liberated by the US.
We have been subjected to a barbaric attack... Reconstruction is
a euphemism for the daylight robbery of our resources.”

US troops aren’t exactly over the moon either, as one
reservist in Iraq said; “US officials need to get our arses out
of here… I say that seriously. We have no business being here...
All we are is potential people to be killed and sitting ducks.”
He has sadly missed the point. The US can’t just leg it out of
Iraq like it did when it cocked up in Afghanistan. There’s too
much at stake, as a closerlook here reveals (Mindgames and

Slavery and barbarism - at work or war - is Capitalism showing
cracks of weakness. With a 2.8 trillion dollar debt, the US
economy is desperate and dangerous. What comes next depends
on whether we are prepared to get together and end wage slavery,
or stand by and let bunches of religious zealots, or even reformed
fascists (The changing nature of fascism) get a look in. It is up to
us all to make sure that, rather than ‘out of the frying pan into
the fire’, it is more a case of ‘out of the frying pan into a
decent future'.

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