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Wage Slavery *gasp*

Wage Slavery

Wage slavery. Watch out, that's a Marxist term. I'm taking a huge risk by even breathing such a term; I bet my FBI profile will reflect that I'm a "communist sympathizer" after I post this. After all, we have a non-oppressive government that allows for the freedom of different political ideals without fear of consequence. Right? RIGHT? Ha, I was so naive at one point, then I learned Santa Clause isn't real and that the moon is not made out of cheese. Reality is so much uglier than 6th grade Civics class would have us believe.

Anywho, wage slavery. It's just a fact that every economic system, regardless of the political ideals attached, requires a vast slave class in order to function. It's nobody's fault, it's no sort of moral failing, and it's not something that will ever change. It always has been, and always will be. For there to be winners, there must be losers. For there to be big winners, there must be big losers, and lots of them. The winners are the wealthy. The losers are those who work for the wealthy in exchange for the scraps that they are thrown.

The images that are conjured when we hear the term "slavery" are probably black people in the 19th-century South picking cotton and being beaten by "massa". This is one of the last examples of slavery in its most pure form - forced labor performed by an imprisoned population. Prior to this, slavery had existed in this exact form for as long as humans have gathered in groups. There was never any sort of problem with it; the moral strings attached only appeared as society progressed and the idea of human rights came to be.

All over the world, legislation was passed and the practice of slavery was abolished by civilized nations. But of course, you can pass laws until you're blue in the face; reality will win out in the end. Laws or not, the need for a slave class to do a majority of the work for very little of the share did not disappear.

It was about that time the industrial revolution came about. Factory workers, children included, were "forced" to work in deplorable and dangerous conditions. In return, they earned the most meager of livings, if that. The one and only change between slavery proper and the new "working class" was that slaves were housed and fed on their master's dime and were valuable pieces of property to be maintained; the "working class" were far more disposable. Instead of being taken care of, they were simply paid a pittance and left to the wolves. Slumlords exploited the workers, the workers were forced to send their children to work in order to be able to barely afford the most basic of survival necessities. And the best part (for the employers), if the workers were to die, become disabled, or become unwilling to work, they could simply be replaced without exigent cost. As opposed to owning a slave who cost about as much as a new car by modern standards, the new model of labor sounds most advantageous to the wealthy who needed almost-free labor, right?

Labor unions eventually came along. They twisted employers' arms into providing the workers with a living wage, humane working conditions, and benefits. Not too long ago, it was practically a standard for a worker to belong to a union who protected their rights as human beings and laborers. Nowadays, "union" has become a dirty word. I remember the hours upon hours of videos Walmart shows to their workers about the "evils" of unions, while they pay and treat their workers according to the pre-union status quo; barely enough to survive on, if that, with no benefits, no protections, and a status as human beings less than that of a pallet jack.

Slavery has not ended. It has just changed forms. All over, the people who make this consumer-based economy tick are going home to crappy apartments they can barely afford eating ramen noodles for every meal and driving their barely-working cars to their places of enslavement where they will work their miserable jobs all day for the wages that will all go to the bills that provide their meager existence that allows them to keep coming to work every day for more of the same. They will have little-to-no disposable income and will probably be saddled with debt that they can never repay, further deepening the enslavement and further ensuring their compliance with their "willful" employment.

This must end. This will end. The human spirit of rebellion has, in one form or another, prevented tyranny from reigning supreme throughout human history. I am referring to slave rebellions, but logic would dictate that that has changed forms as well. What will the modern iteration of a slave rebellion look like? Will it even happen, or has tyranny won? Only time will tell; I'm smacking my lips at the prospect of the chaos that will logically follow the ballooning of oppression that inevitably leads to social pushback. This should be a very interesting lifetime indeed.

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Gritches
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