Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Tuesday Lite: State Of The Labor Union, 2006
Of course it's traditional here in the Bucket to make an assessment of the state of labor in America on Labor Day for the greater edification of my readers and to the great joy of the theory nerds among you. Both of you.

First, let's introduce the stern glower of the Patron Saint of Laborers, Karl Marx.

That's a joke of course because Marx would see the promulgation of the idea of "saints" as part of organized religion, the "opium of the masses" he famously called it, the thing that keeps people complacent in their misery as they fantasize about an illusory afterlife beyond physical suffering.

I'm happy to say we as a people have evolved past this one concern of Marx's. If numbers reflecting Oxy-Contin use are any indicator, we've gone right past the "opium of the masses" and straight into opiates directly. Take that, bourgeoisie!

But where are we in terms of our relation to our labor, the products of our labor and the means of production? Let's look at America 2006 and see just how ready we are for a total annihilation of the socio-political status quo as dialectical materialism inevitibly shrugs toward self-realization.

  • Total cultural hegemony of one class over all others? Check. How else can you explain people still buying Sunny D? It's orange-floor-polish-flavored corn syrup mixed with water and STILL it flies off the shelves. Why? Corporations pay advertisers who convince us it's drinkable.

  • Alienation of the worker from the product of his labor? Eh, kind of. You can go on Survivor and win a game that's kind of like chess except you play with real people and instead of taking "pieces" you make them eat spiders. But at the end, you win an immunity idol you can totally trade in for a million dollars. On the other hand, someone loses a hand in an industrial coal mining machine they did not buy as they dig out coal they do not own. But they probably get to keep the severed hand, so it's kind of a wash.

  • Radicalization of the proletariat as it organizes itself into a political class straining against its chains so that, once free, it can throttle its bourgeoisie overlords and establish a worker's paradise? What, and miss American Idol? Get the fuck out of here with that mess.

    It doesn't look good, but I guess we shouldn't be so rash as to totally dismiss the idea of a spontaneous communist takeover of the United States. As early as November, we are looking at a likely Democratic takeover in Congress. I don't know if that constitutes a Worker's Paradise or not, but I'm going to stop paying my cable bill now. You know, just in case.

    I urge you all to do the same. You have nothing to lose but your chains. And by "chains" I mean the way The Man oppresses us by charging $29.99 for an hour of pay-per-view porn. What they can't suppress, they find a way to profit from. Ain't that just like a bourgeoisie?

    See you on the barricades.

    This post on the Narcissus Scale: 1.1


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