‘Common Sense’ Revolution and Revolutionizing ‘Common Sense’

I hate my job. I am treated poorly at my job and I am denied basic rights that are actually printed and posted in our ‘break room’ (in quotations because I actually don’t get any breaks during my 10 hour shifts).  Despite this I am constantly told  “At least you HAVE a job”

At work, I am  told by people cashing $200 cheques for a weeks work that “the cheque isn’t a lot but at least I HAVE a job, its a rough market out there”

I would nod in agreement until I actually digested this morsel of ‘common sense’.  This is so backward.

I come from the school of thought that selling your labour so that others can profit from it is not our life’s purpose (cue: Marxists nodding in agreement), although perhaps necessary to keep the wheels of our society turning (cue: Marxists ripping out their hair- your time to shine is now).

There once was a man named Gramsci who noted that upper echelons of labour (head office, corporate etc) create a ‘common consensus’ that convinces the regular working people that their interests and corporate interests are not only the same, but obvious and common sense. We then SYMPATHIZE  and align our opinions to that of corporate, as if they are natural and the norm for all of society to adhere too; as if it serves to our interests as well.

Example:

Ashley’s manager gloats that head office sent her an email congratulating her for cutting costs by cutting her staff’s working hours. “It’s good for the company” she notes “we’re saving money and being proactive against the recession rather than REACTIVE”.

Ashley looks at the 8 hours that has been cut weekly. She can react in a few different ways. Here are two

1) Well, it sucks but at least I have job and at least I’ll be bringing home SOME money. There is a recession, I should be glad with what I get. Its good that they are being proactive by cutting hours so that I don’t get laid off.

2) I don’t get a living wage, I work my ass off with no breaks. This company’s existence RELIES on the people in my position and PROFITS from it. Despite the recession this company’s profits are GROWING but they are being “proactive” by cutting hours, being stingy on raises, increasing work loads and eliminating bonuses for those at the bottom. This is wrong.

If no one worked production would stop, consumption would stop and society would end. The less people work, the less production, the less consumption.

It seems to me that working, therefore, is not a privilege granted to us, it is necessary, and the owners of production need us to work just as much as we need them for pay cheques. Yet we take the horrible pay, increased work loads and the cut hours because “its good for the company” and our employment relies on it.

When a group of people (eg. union) recognizes this and demands to be treated proportionately to their labour (eg. striking) it is common for people to blame the group and tag them as ungrateful, greedy, whiney, perhaps manipulative and probably communist. In other words, they sympathize with the interests of corporate. It is not common, however, for people to think “you know what, this company makes serious profit, this profit is redistributed to the managers and CEOs but not to the people that actually produce the profit, ya they have a cause”.

I know there currently is a recession, but lets not fool ourselves into thinking that this occurence has changed the nature of corporate interest, which is to accrue as much profit and cut as much excess cost as possible- recession or not.

Our labour is valuable, and needed.  Our anger and frustration at our wages, hours and over all treatment is valid and needs a voice.

Don’t cut your self short. Know your value.

(cue: Marxist’s singing ‘the internationale’)

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About Ashley Drake
Don't cha wish your girlfriend could blog like me

4 Responses to ‘Common Sense’ Revolution and Revolutionizing ‘Common Sense’

  1. Nicolas says:

    Well Ashley, the issue is that average working class people assume, via hegemonic discourses and actual material incentives, that the interests of capital are their interests. Your manager, because of her non-monetary incentive of ‘recognition’, which is an important feature of furthering exploitation, feels tied to the corporation, and what is in the interests of the ‘corporate’ as you so call it, is her interest.

    Capitalism, as a system of class power has two functions, firstly it is a system of consent creation; secondly, it is a system sustained by the invisible hand of coercion that, once hegemony has collapsed, quickly becomes one of iron i.e. Chile, 1973. The consent creation is done through the reification of the capitalist system, by making it into a ‘natural’ system and ignoring how it is a socially created and socially sustained system. Once capitalism has become natural, and it “fits” into human nature, and not visa versa, it becomes a very hard discourse to dislodge. However, it is not impossible.

    What is disturbing is that Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek states that we can imagine the end of humanity via global warming, before we can imagine relatively minor changes to the capitalist system. I also have a fear with class consciousness without a mass movement. It is that when a worker, like you, has shown to recognizes her class position and recognizes her exploitation, whilst cognizant that she is unable to change things could end up more depressed than otherwise she would be. If this can be amplified on a mass scale, where more people demystify the very complex capitalist structures of exploitation, then and only then can we change things. This is where academics have to come out of hiding from the universities to communicate to the masses.

  2. jensorlie says:

    @ Ashley: You are as wise as you are beautiful, which is why I will post your blog wherever I can.

  3. deraquel says:

    Ramona was mad because I hired someone she doesn’t like for admin, stuff, and told me “well Raquel, I’m just going to need some time to think about weither or not I will choose to continue to work for you”
    apparently news of the “recession” hasn’t reached her, and she also seems to be forgetting that her big skill is….. knitting.

    Which reminds me, do you or any one you know, want a 107 knit pouches?

  4. Pingback: How do they sleep? « *JENlightened~

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