“I am free, I am free, I am free…” Just maybe if I repeat that to myself enough I’ll start believing it again, but I know better. Every day I have to wake up and work for the gain of another I am not truly free. Every day I spend trying to show scoundrels and thieves how to be better scoundrels and thieves (although they prefer the title businessmen) just to survive and provide for my family, I am not truly free. I cannot just choose to walk away, not without consequences.
My master is a cruel and capricious god called capitalism. Because another man paid for the office building I work in, the computer I sit in front of all day, the servers that provide the company’s service, that other man owns everything I do during the time I labor for him. “I am free, I am free, I am free….” All he has to give me in return is a pittance, a fraction of the “value” I have created for him. All this in service to the god that is capitalism. In many ways he is no more free than I am, but he is shown more favor by the god we serve.
The one commandment that we both must follow, if monetary value can be extracted from something then extract as much as possible. In that statement, I, of course, am the thing value must be extracted from. So each morning I walk to my job to serve the god. I spend the bulk of my day trying to create enough value above the amount of my daily salary to retain said job. I am acutely aware that the day this does not happen is the day I rejoin the ranks of the unemployed. So it is day in, day out continuing ad nauseum. So I continue my daily march in service to this god. I have been told that this is my ultimate purpose in life, a cog in a machine to extract value and thus continue in the service of the god. I have been told the the best that can be achieved is maybe, if I work hard enough and scrimp and save enough, just maybe I can join the sacred priesthood called “the capitalists,” and therefore cease my own labors because others now labor for me. Yet, that is a gambler’s hope because the odds will never be in my favor.
If I begin to realize those odds are against me and that I’m playing against a stacked deck. I’m told that I cannot win because (*insert name of minority group here*) has prevented me from doing so. Yet the truth is the “capitalists”, the high priests of this capricious god, do not allow others to join their ranks. If I point this out I am told “Hey look, we screwed you over but look at this other person, they have a law preventing us from screwing them over, doesn’t that piss you off?” Of course, the reality is that whatever group has the legal protection was already screwed over to the point that such action became necessary. The group I should truly be angry at is the capitalists themselves. But they will do everything in their power to distract me from that, and I am bound by many chains not to take action against them.
Every bill I have to pay is another chain holding me to my servitude: monthly rent – another chain, electric bill – another chain, student loans – another chain, health insurance premiums – another chain. If ignore these chains, they will strangle me, and those who depend on me, so I must keep serving the system that oppresses me because to do otherwise is to risk homelessness, starvation, jail, or death. This system is not going to change for any individual unless we join together to change it for all individuals. We cannot let them divide us. We must join forces to work for the collective good and the collective benefit. “An injury to one is an injury to all.”