Tuesday, April 21, 2020

It doesn’t have to be like this

Letter to the Editors from the April 1996 issue of the Socialist Standard

Dear Editors,
We have a choice. But who are we? We are the working class, a majority suffering from the manipulation and intimidation of a privileged minority. Why do we let them get away with it? We have a choice!
They keep on telling us with their own devious brainwashing techniques, through schooling, university education methods and other more sophisticated types of propaganda, how to be good little citizens in this ever-changing world of technology.
How nice it would be if all the tales of leisure and pleasure were true; alas, for the majority of us. the reality could not be more harsh, despairing or demoralising.
I relate my own personal experience as a victim of the society which we all inhabit.
I have recently parted company with my employer of some six years, to find myself depending on state handouts to support my wife, two children, mortgage etc. A story familiar, no doubt, to many thousands of families. My income more than halved.
The irony is that with less money now than I have ever had in the last 16 years of selling my mental and physical skills to the highest bidder, not forgetting the necessity to purchase essentials like food to eat. clothes to keep warm, the feet remains that I have never—throughout my working life—experienced such feelings of overwhelming satisfaction, and pleasure which I derive from simple things in life (as we know it), like being able to go to a library, taking a stroll in the park, enjoying the local wildlife, all at no direct expense. The true value of some of the most breathtaking scenery in this otherwise spoiled, war-torn world is awesome.
I have just left behind sixteen miserable years of being stuck in a fume-filled factory churning out poxy pop group fly-posters, laboriously and repetitively standing in front of a manual hand-operated printing table, sometimes for up to fourteen hours a day, in order to achieve a decent wage to be able to "afford” essential commodities and appliances like cookers, washing machines, fridges, etc. or other less necessary items like portable CD players, and that other all-mod-con, the glorious television, on which programmes of interest are few and far between. I used to waste many an hour glued to the likes of Dale Winton, churning out his usual "camp” (or should it be crap) style of innuendo and obscenity. all in the name of entertainment.
The more I think and wonder at the complexity of the world-wide capitalist system which the majority of us have to endure, and the minority have on their side, the more I ask myself, why? Why do we continue to restrict ourselves to its unforgiving grasp?
It doesn’t have to be like this. We have the power, the resources, the technology and the communication skills to free ourselves from its relentless torture, but only we the working class can do it The master class will not volunteer to do it for us. They depend on our skills, our labour. Let us not be denied the true fruits of these labours. Throw down your shackles, fellow workers, rid this world of the ongoing bloodbath that we see. night after night on our TV screens.

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