Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Proletarians! Walking Like Capitalist?

Most anyone living in the United States has a friend or family member in retail. If not then you have at least had someone try to sell you something you don't need for way too much money.

One thing I have noticed about my proletarian brothers in sisters in my personal experience is that at work and even after work they seem to pride themselves on how much they know about the money of the business they work for. For example one of my friends who made minimum wage would always brag about knowing how much money the restaurant made in a night, week etc. Because the bosses told him this small bit of information he would bend over backwards for the bosses no matter what. He would call people in for them do inventory for them and never asked for a raise in wages because he was their "friend" (aka a worker who did everything except ask for a raise). But because his bosses would tell him stupid information about the company and let him eat sword fish when he would work fifty plus hours a week he felt important to the company. I say felt because he was threatened at work by a co-worker and the bosses told him to deal with it. So he had to quit.

Another friend of mine was bragging to me that she had sold people some things they didn't need and got them to buy three hundred dollars worth of shit they didn't need. She was saying this like it was some kind of accomplishment. You would have thought she got all of the three hundred dollars. But she doesn't even make commission, she gets paid seventy cents over minimum wage. But yet she is proud and happy to have exploited these average everyday people for the mass benefit of her bosses and exploiters.

It drives me crazy to see this behavior specially by the poorest class in the USA. In the first example I gave you, the person is now homeless because he did the same thing at his new job and started drinking 12 year old scotch and smoking seven dollar cigars and just generally acting like he was of a higher class. But we see how much his capitalist friends helped him when after two years of breaking his back for them and never getting one raise they fired him.

What I have the hardest time understanding is where this behavior comes from. I don't understand why so many workers care about the business side of the company they work for let alone want to act like they have a steak in it. I'll never understand why someone in sales who doesn't make commission would care about selling people things they don't need. In fact I'm sure that makes them a horrible person.

The last thing I would like to rant about is the poor proletarians who complain about the Unions. That same guy Ive mentioned said on many occasions "why should one person get paid a days work everyday for three days for a job that takes one day""a non-union could probably do all three jobs on one day for one days pay." This baffled me and led to almost a strangle match. But the serious question is; why are proletarians feeling this way? Why are they acting and talking/walking this way? What has labor, communist etc failed to do so much that the proletarians of this nation think they are some mystical "middle class" and aspire to be the new bosses? Maybe it is time to do some self reflecting in the movement and make a huge change.


  1. I think Gramsci's concept of hegemony (itself a thinking-through Marx/Engels concept of ideology in the German Ideology) is useful for explaining this way of thinking. If the ideas/values of the ruling classes are the ruling ideas then, under capitalism, people consent to these values because they become a sort of "common sense" mirror. If you're poor then, because bourgeois ideology is "common sense" (and you can see all these rich people doing things that you want to do and having the life you think you should have because it's promoted everywhere), you really want to aspire to that ideological way of seeing the world.

    I remember working a shite job where the majority of the workers were really into drinking with upper management and got super into going to work parties and believing that "we're all a family"... Even though I was an anarchist then I was still political enough to refuse to participate in this way of being (which led to me, at one point, being called up to the owner's office and told that I had a "bad attitude").

  2. Yeah I really think that this is a major problem. Because no class enemy is your friend. But these people mentioned in this post just confuse me. I guess it is like you say bourgeois ideology is "common sense"