By Arthur J. Miller
Alone in your cubicle, a slave to a keyboard, as time seems almost to stand still. Driving a truck, hours upon hours that numb the mind, at the controls of 16 wheels and just one split second mistake could cause the death of you and others. Toiling in a fast food factory producing unhealthy meals for people who, like you, have had their time robbed from them. Condemned to a dehumanizing existence BECAUSE you must survive each day, so that you can repeat it all again the next.
You hope each hour of labor will go by quickly. That each day of the workweek will speed by, so you reach your few days off. Your existence is spent wanting to get through your time swiftly, even though the faster your life is used up the quicker you get to your death. BECAUSE your life is lived for the benefit of someone else.
Exposure to toxic chemicals and dangerous biological hazards, working in conditions that are needlessly dangerous. The cost analysis shows that greater profit is made when less is done to protect you, the worker. Maximized profit of a few is the purpose of this society and the well-being of you the worker is not important BECAUSE you can always be replaced with another.
The wages paid are kept as low as possible. Only enough for the work to still get done. Though all wealth that is produced is done so by our labor, those that do not labor, but only own by right of pieces of paper, take the greatest amount of the wealth for themselves. Though logically this makes no sense, this is the prevailing reality BECAUSE we are nothing more than wage slaves.
We wonder why many things don't work as they should. Why a few have far more than they need and many are forced to go without. Why there always seems to be some type of crisis going on. Is all this because industry is inherently flawed? No, it is BECAUSE those that do the work--you and me, the workers--do not control our labor.
We workers are given tasks by the employers and it is up to us to find ways to get the job done. What stands in the way of creating better products and services is the employer's interference. Sometimes they do not even allow us to take the time to do a good job. Sometimes the employers sabotage production and services to increase profit. We workers can improve the goods, services and efficiency of industry BECAUSE of the creative power and knowledge that we possess.
Regardless of the social conditioning the rulers force upon us, we are as dependent upon the environment as is any other living thing. The maximized profit system will carry on its purpose no matter what harm it does to the world around it. Even if that means putting all living things in danger. Why does this madness continue? BECAUSE we who do the work, who produce, do not take responsibility for what we produce or how our production is used.
Throughout the history of capitalism it has been clear to the employers that we working people are strong when we stand together and are weak when we are divided. The employers have tried to divide us with racism, sexism, nationalism, religious and cultural bigotry, and even by trade. These divisions are also used to create a super-exploited class at the bottom in order to keep wages and benefits low. These divisions are used to try to get working people to identify with their employers and view other workers as a threat. There is a great cultural diversity within the working class, and that diversity is a powerful creative force if we do not let it divide us. All working people, regardless of who we might be, have common interests that are far stronger than any differences. Thus we working people should all join together, with respect for our diversity BECAUSE unity is our power and division is our weakness.
Throughout history, wars have been fought that have benefited the few at the expense of the many. The different rulers of the world, who only identify with our exploiters, have control of the economic system and have had working people kill each other by the millions. Our interests are not served by war. Our interests as working people consist of having our daily needs fulfilled and good conditions in our workplaces. Those things are not ever gained by killing or dying in the bosses' wars. They can only be gained at the point of production by our labor and by our industrial organizations. We workers should resist being used to fight wars BECAUSE those that we fight are our Fellow Workers. They should be our allies.
Alone on a job as individual workers, we seem powerless against our bosses. But if we join with our sisters and brothers on the shopfloor, we can harness our greatest power. BECAUSE there is no job without our labor.
Many of our bosses have gone beyond just owning one workplace. And thus we must join together with all other workers in our industries and form industrial unions, BECAUSE no industry can function without the labor of the workers in that industry.
Corporations exist beyond industrial lines and thus our union organization must be made up of workers in all industries. BECAUSE the wider our organization is within all industries the greater our power will be.
The corporations do not limit themselves to countries and national borders. They have become multi-national corporations and they have joined together in massive trade organizations. We cannot gain much by just battling parts of corporations within single countries. Let us organize industrially on an international level, BECAUSE only an international industrial worker's union can take on international bosses. What we need is a One Big Union of all workers.
As long as there has been a class that owns industry and controlled the class that does all the work by means of a wage system, there has been conflict between those two classes. That conflict comes about because the interests of the owners is maximizing profit at the expense of us workers and our interests: to make a good living in good conditions. There is no common ground between the bosses and the workers, between their profit and our lives. Thus there has been a conflict between these two classes that will go on as long as the class system exists. Do we want this class conflict to go on forever? Can our world survive the maximized profit system forever? The answer is, of course, no. That we need to make a change to a better system where those that do the work control their labor and what their production is used for. We need to organize! BECAUSE only when the organized power of the working class is greater than the organized power of the capitalist class can we make that change and put an end to class conflict.
Our tactics are rather simple. Direct action and industrial solidarity. We act directly in our own interests on our jobs, in our industries and in all of our One Big Union. Worker solidarity must become a way of life for us workers; never cross union picket lines, never do the work of striking workers, never supply shops on strike with any services, and never handle scab goods including buying them. When needed we fill the streets with workers marching in solidarity with other workers. In our union no worker stands alone, BECAUSE in using direct action and solidarity we are "making an injury to one an injury to all."
As we organize and begin to act, we are building our new world within the shell of the old. Once our organized power is greater than the organized power of the owners we can take control of the means of production, withholding goods and services from the owners and their agents of repression. And then BECAUSE of that power we can control our labor and produce for the benefit of our class, and take responsibility for our production so that it does not harm Mother Earth or aid the warmakers.
All this will not come easy for us. It will be a struggle. But we have struggled all our working lives just to survive. Now we need to put as much struggle into freeing ourselves as we did being wage slaves. We call this a struggle BECAUSE it will not be easy.
And struggle we must, for day-to-day concessions from the employers and for a new world. There is one clear thing handed down to us from the ages and that is why we must struggle. BECAUSE capitalism cannot be reformed!