Blog post in which I pass off 140-character bursts from Twitter as enigmatic libertarian communist analysis.
2. This reimposition of work can only be understood as the product of a system – capitalism – which lives by exploiting living labour.
4. The drive to reimpose work, to extract more labour for less pay, is an expression of the social relation called ‘value’.
5. Value is the relation by which ‘the invisible hand’ works: the ‘double freedom’ to sell your labour, and having nothing else to sell.
6. Capitalists who don’t conform to value soon cease to be capitalists. If workfare becomes established, eschewing it will not be an option.
7. Workfare is not slavery but wage labour on the terms common in most of the world: work or starve. £64/week is a wage – a poverty one.
8. Workfare only appears as slavery in relation to the welfare ‘safety net’ which many of us have grown up with.
9. Welfare itself reflected capital’s fear of insurgent labour. As that fear has receded, welfare has been rationalised to reimpose work.
10. The present conditions are incomprehensible from a post-class/value perspective that can’t grasp capital's necessary dependence on cheap labour.
11. Rising social inequality represents successful exploitation. The cheaper labour costs, the richer the rich become.
12. ‘Neoliberalism’ has not been a shrinking of the state but an off-shoring and downsizing of the old centres of working class militancy.
13. The class struggle has continued to be fought by the other side.
15. Organisation is not synonymous with unionisation. The trade unions, based on social partnership, can only negotiate conditions of surrender.
16. Hence the battle against workfare cannot rely on the trade unions, though it may drag some of them along in its wake.
17. This battle is not primarily moral but political and economic.
18. We must impose costs on workfare firms, whose use of workfare is based the cost-benefit analysis demanded by value.
19. Only by increasing the political and economic costs of using workfare – turning away customers, tarnishing brands – will it be defeated.
20. All major parties support workfare. Labour introduced it. Politics is not in parliament but in our workplaces and in the streets.