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Against precariousness

2019-03-16 | Statements

There is no better capitalism

The logic of capital is easy to understand: a capital that does not reproduce, that fails to produce profits, dies. And if profits are made, they get converted into capital and have to be recouped in the next cycle as well. Capital augmented with each profit cycle needs to produce new profits, and in the absence of new markets –real or fictitious, that is: created on the basis of credit –this can only be achieved by increasing exploitation. There are two ways of doing this.

  1. The “ideal” according to the bourgeoisie itself is to incorporate technologies that make it possible to produce more within fewer hours of work, that is: to increase relative exploitation. In theory this would allow wages and profits to be increased at the same time, but only on condition that the market expands as well. This was the motor of capitalist expansion throughout the world during the 19th century. But for a century there have been no “virgin” markets. In fact, Spanish capital has access to fewer and fewer markets. The inevitable consequence is that technological improvement does not produce increases in the total wage bill, but rather unemployment.
  2. The other way is simply to pay less per hour worked, lowering wages, signing 4 hour contracts which in reality are full time, doing unpaid overtime, etc.

The first path is that of robotization, digitization, etc. The second is that of precarization. For decades, the organization of work has been reorganized and restructured on all sides, disassociating the worker from work places and teams, basic services, contract expectations and stable incomes. They break and atomize us so that, in the end, they exploit us more.

Precariousness is not a policy but a necessity of capital. Their laws will not defend us.

In Spain today, one out of every two euros of growth is remunerating capital. This is how capital has come out of the crisis... by impoverishing us and making us precarious.

That is why its legislation is not going to protect us. They would not raise the minimum wage if at the same time they could not lower wages for skilled jobs. They pay us a little more than the minimum but they equalize us all downward so that overall capital can pay us less. With the crisis, 30 billion in wages have been lost but profits have increased by 14 billion.

Workers do have no country... no sector

All over the world we are called upon to close ranks with the needs of this or that faction of capital: to save national industry, to support small business, to discover supposed common interests with Catalan, Andalusian or Venezuelan capital. But the truth is that the less capitalized a sector, a country or a region is, the more urgent is the need to increase exploitation in absolute terms for capital. That is why the scourge of young workers, from Berlin to Buenos Aires passing through the door of our house, is the service sector, the least capitalized of the large sectors. That is why countries and regions with weaker national capitals are becoming precarious ever faster. To envelop ourselves in the regional flag or to defend the sector would be to put the rope around our necks.

The Trade Unions organize Precarization

That is why trade unions have been and are the first agents of precarization. In Navantia (shipyards) they tell us that without contracts, without sales, it makes no sense to struggle, that we have to subordinate our needs to the presence of profit and accept to work – and get paid – only when the company has sales. In the automobile industry (Opel, Seat, PSA, Ford) they organize the auction of the working conditions of the plants. They sell us the idea that only if we accept insane shifts, lower salaries and contracts without protection, will we be able to be competitive with other plants in other countries... where the unions tell the workers the exact same thing.

What is to be done

One of the advantages of precarization for capital is that it atomizes us and hinders collective struggle. Today we are hired a for a week to clean, within a month we'll do a loading shift at an oil mill, a weekend we save serving at weddings and if we're lucky, we are hired for a telemarketing campaign for three months. We are interchangeable, flexible... and if it were up to them, we would be completely isolated, hoping without seeing anyone who deigns to exploit us.

That is why the first thing we have to do everywhere, is to break the dividing line between fixed and temporary work, the division between workers hired by the company and subcontracted ones, between one sector and another, between one company and another. We are all workers, we are all more or less precarious and if we try to figure out who is worse off, we will all end up below the biological minimum for the greater glory of national capital and its competitiveness. We must all mobilize together, as a class, and collectively direct every conquest we make.

For a mobilization of all workers together against precariousness and unemployment

Assemblies without divisions by contract or employer in companies of a certain size, assemblies of neighborhood workers in the hotel and small trade

End of piecework, of work without a contract and overtime

Reduction of the maximum working day to 30 hours per week with the same monthly net amount.