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Does Your Boss Do Anything For You?

Or Is Your Manager Just An Obnoxious Tyrant Trying to Dominate and Control You?

By Punkerslut

Image: Photograph by den_of_thieves, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 License

Start Date: August 26, 2011
Finish Date: August 29, 2011

Workers Work, But Only Bosses Boss

"Poverty, the existence of the poor, was the first cause of riches. This it was which created the earliest capitalist. For, before the surplus value, about which people are so fond of talking, could begin to be accumulated it was necessary that there should be poverty-stricken wretches who would consent to sell their labor force rather than die of hunger. It is poverty that has made the rich."
          --Peter Kropotkin, 1920
          "The Wage System"

     The majority of people work, and that means that the majority must take orders and obey some kind of boss. It might be some impersonal array of supervisors, or it might be the owner of the business. Maybe it's just a manager, who organizes the business for a single individual who owns the workplace. Or, it could be an entire management team, responsible to a corporate board, who in turn, were elected by tens of thousands of shareholders. The person in charge of your work could by a very definite human being, or it could be the average of the majority votes from thousands of faceless investors. But wherever you work as an employee, you will have a boss, or someone on top of you giving you orders.

     The defining aspect of the relationship is that of authority: a single person, or a group of persons, demands that you do something, and you do it. The result is necessarily submission toward what is demanded of you, and you accept this just to get your paycheck. Recognition of authority, attentiveness to commands, and even predicting your master's needs, this is the basis of employment, no matter how low or how high. We may not all be servants, but servitude is the common element running throughout every job.

     As a worker, you must work, and this means paying attention to your supervisor's endless flow of details and descriptions. It means understanding that a significant portion of your day is just being told what to do and doing it. And it means keeping this understanding within your mind five days every week, fifty-two weeks every year, until you're old enough to retire. The best years of your existence are spent being in the emotional position of a child, until you are used-up and spent. Obedience -- that is the constant basis for all Capitalism.

The Standards of Living, the Conditions of Work

"...in capitalist society the wealth goes to one sector, a sector which does not labour, while the work is heaped upon another whose needs, in matters of consumption, are not met. That is, we have a situation precisely the reverse of what one finds in nature, which always supplies more sustenance and more blood to the member or organ which does the work."
          --Isaac Puente, 1932
          "Libertarian Communism"

     You're obedient for your wage, or your salary. Essentially, you obey the tyrant of your workplace because you depend on the money. You depend on a piece of paper that gives you permission to part of society's collective wealth, though with great restrictions and limitations. This is what keeps you obedient to an earthly boss: your dependence on the productions of the earth, from food to shelter to the amusements of social interaction. You don't just work for your wages. You work for the things your wages can buy, or your standard of living.

     The conditions of your work, then, are built upon your dependency of society's goods. You accept submission to a lord of the workplace in exchange for the right to live at a decent rate of existence. Your dependency on what humans can produce when working together is what establishes your chains to the workplace. To the single individual, aware of the others, the acceptance of these terms is a logical response to these personal desires. But this is until you feel the pains of domination by someone probably less honest and less hard-working than you.

     Everyone needs things to live, no matter how idealistic you want to be. And how you live, the quality of your life, from the softness of your bed to the number of books you have, all of that depends on how much you earn. What you decide to plan for eating is standardized by how much you expect to be paid. Whether or not you have enough money left over after work to learn and educate yourself depends on that simple phrase take-home pay.

Image: Photograph by Mayu ;P, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 License

There's No Time Like Working Time

"The time has come when the injustice, irrationality, and cruelty of the ownership of land by those who do not work it has become as obvious as fifty years ago were obvious the injustice, irrationality, and cruelty of the ownership of serfs."
          --Leo Tolstoy, 1905
          "To the Working People," Section 6

     Just like your standard of living, the amount of free time you have to yourself is decided by your workplace. Most people would accept their working hours being halved, on condition of doubling of the pay. The take-home earnings would remain the same, while freeing up a good portion of time for the worker. The lowness of your pay, though, dictates that you need to give more of your time to your boss. More of your moments are to spent taking orders and interpreting the will of some workplace tyrant, rather than being free to your own impulse and desire.

     How much time you have for laying out in the sun and reading, relaxing and enjoying the company of friends, or for simply following whatever desire comes up -- this is determined by the terms your boss offers. Not only is pay so low that working less than the standard eight-hour day is difficult, but most employers refuse to hire anyone who only works two-hour or four-hour days. Personal time, whether it's for rest or for recreation, for a hobby or for an art or for a form of music, that is sapped by the terms of your subjection. Not only must you submit to orders, but this submission is the basis that excludes you from the material and time needed to indulge in society and culture.

     People can feel validated and justified in their existence by their work, but it is not the end-all of being. An individual's true nature needs liberty to realize itself. The inner parts of their mind that have not been developed enough, the strivings of the soul that haven't been given free expression -- these are parts of the mind that decay under the subjection of work and rot under the monotony of long work hours. There is no way for individual development when all of the attention and time of each worker is on the orders of their master. Those good parts of the mind cannot be truly developed unless they are willing to disregard all borders and restraints.

Individual Self-Rule is Only Possible in a World Without Bosses

"The self-conscious organization of the labor class in itself is the expression of the historical fact that humanity has reached a unique level of civilization. On this level the lower classes can no longer be made the passive footstool of the higher. They will be a self-conscious, active member of the entire organization."
          --Gustav Schmoller, 1914
          "On Class Conflict in General"

     Does your boss do anything for you? Yes, they perform a thousand functions they consider essential, from taking the profit that would've been your pay to only allowing you to work obscenely long hours. But have they ever done anything for you? Have they ever done anything that lifts you up out of your miserable standards of existence, into one where you are dependent upon nobody but yourself? Have they ever provided the means that will allow you to fully develop and be rewarded for your unique individuality and personal ideas?

     Their lifestyle is paid for by the dividends of your sweat and blood. Their bank accounts are filled by the terms of your subjugation and control. Their right to the world is your obligation; their control over industries is your responsibility. You are the laborer, and you produce everything needed in the world, but you will have no decision in controlling how that social wealth is distributed or the terms in which the workplace is managed. Your obedience to an earthly tyrant, the miserable wages you're paid, and the time you'll never get back in this life -- these are the things that all bosses will do for you.

     You will only be free when these three conditions are lifted off of you. When you don't take orders, when you don't depend on others for your standards of living, and when your whole day isn't spent in building the castles of the aristocracy -- then you will be free. That doesn't mean becoming a boss by climbing to the top over the skulls of your friends. That means organizing with all members of the working-class to build a world where every worker manages their own terms of work. That means building a world without bosses, without orders, without subjugation. The world without bosses is only possible through Revolution.

"Man is the product, the expression of his environment. Show me a majestic tree that towers aloft, that challenges the admiration of man, or a beautiful rose-bud that, under the influence of sunshine and shower, bursts into bloom and fills the common air with its fragrance; these are possible only because the soil and climate are adapted to their growth and culture. Transfer this flower from the sunlight and the atmosphere to a cellar filled with noxious gases, and it withers and dies. The same law applies to human beings; the industrial soil and the social climate must be adapted to the development of men and women, and then society will cease producing the multiplied thousands of deformities that to-day are a rebuke to our much vaunted civilization, and, above all, an impeachment of the capitalist system."
          --Eugene V. Debs, 1905
          "Industrial Unionism"


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