Strikes are not selfish

21 September, 2018

When we workers examine our position in the company in which we work, we face two opposing forces. We struggle to receive adequate remuneration for our everyday basic wants. Whatever the bosses say, these are not “selfish needs” they are basic needs –such as decent working conditions and a living wage– basic needs that we would like to see given to all working people. But companies are more interested in paying dividends to shareholders – dividends that are paidfor by the workers.

The bosses have the nerve to ask us to get behind the company, which really means seeing our living standards worsen in order to pay more dividends. They have the nerve to tell us that the level of our pay and working conditions depends on the profits they make and that if they can’t pay their shareholders dividends, then our needs are not “fair” but “selfish”.

What is worse, some of the profits are turned into more capital that also has to produce a return. A return on this reinvested capital leaves even less for the workers who actually produce the goods and services. A society like this, which increasingly exploits and oppresses the producers of everything that is consumed in society is a world turned upside down. And this is the world in which we live. Out of this comes all the wars around the world, the destruction of the planet, the marginalisation of hundreds of millions of people… And the only way to change things is to put human need before profit.

When we, workers, defend our living standards in each strike, in each company, we show that a new and just world is not only possible but necessary; a world organised in order to satisfy human needs and not for producing profits to pay the bosses and shareholders.

A society organised around the idea of “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs, is what is called communism. It is the opposite of totalitarian dictatorships, militarism and nationalism. It is for that society, the only one that can offer us a real future, which Emancipation is fighting for.