People's Unemployment Line

Unemployment Is a Crime Against Humanity

Work is our main life’s activity. From the earliest age, we prepare for it. Our schooling is geared to it. We spend all our active life involved in it. Work is the basis upon which society rests. Without it, there would be no food, no clothing, no shelter, no schools, no culture, no art, and no science. In a very real sense, work is life. To deny a person the right to work is not just to deny him or her the right to a minimum standard of living. It is to deprive a person of human dignity, to cut them off from civilized society, to render their lives futile and meaningless. Unemployment is a crime against humanity.

—Alan Woods, Reason in Revolt

Contrast this to the reality of life under capitalism. For the inhumane system that dominates our lives, unemployment is necessary to make workers compete for lower and lower wages and to increase the bosses’ profits. This truth is usually hidden from view, but every so often, the capitalists say the quiet part out loud.

Australian property developer Tim Gurner recently told an audience of landlords that “unemployment has to jump 40–50%.” He wants to condemn millions to poverty and idleness to achieve “less arrogance in the employment market.”

The irony of a pompous luxury real estate investor with slicked back hair calling building trade workers “arrogant” appears to be lost on him. The multimillionaire went on to say:

We need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around … Employees feel the employer is extremely lucky to have them as opposed to the other way around. So it’s a dynamic that has to change. We’ve got to kill that attitude and that has to come through hurting the economy …

In other words, we workers must be grateful for your system, in which you allow us to eke out a living by receiving your wages. These are not the uninhibited words of someone who has had too much to drink. These are the real needs of the capitalist class: unemployment and poverty so that a few can live in luxury, with this type of sick, inhuman psychology in the minds of those on top.

While most often the bosses couch their greed in niceties about “hard work” and “opportunity,” we can at least thank this particular landlord for his honesty. Gurner claims that “people decided they didn’t really work so much anymore through COVID … They have been paid a lot to do not too much in the last few years.” But we may ask all landlords: what do you get paid “to do”?

It is we, the workers, who produce all of the wealth in society. Without us, Mr. Gurner and his ilk would have no houses to hoard or to rent out for a fortune—let alone luxurious wines to drink, clothes to wear, and penthouses to live in. It is you and your class, Mr. Gurner, who are the parasites. You need us to work and to die to create your wealth, not the other way around.

But we don’t need a half-baked “apology” from Gurner. What we need is a communist party to organize the workers and youth for a fight against this wretched, deplorable system; a fight to put the working class at the helm of managing the economy, so that we can have guaranteed quality jobs, housing, healthcare, and education for all. We will rid the world of all unemployment. We will do so by removing Gurner’s class from power through communist revolution.

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