The Disconnects in the Minds of Workers

by MICHAEL YATES

Clarity of thought is rare in the United States. This is not surprising given the constant barrage of propaganda to which we are subjected during every waking hour. Nowhere are systematic falsehoods presented as truth more than with respect to the nature of our economic system. I have discussed this before, but here I want to focus attention on working people’s understanding of our political economy..

The edifice that is capitalism is built upon a foundation of exploitation. Profits derive from the ability of employers to compel workers to labor longer than necessary to meet their basic needs. Employers are able to do this because they monopolize the access to the jobs workers need to survive. Without exploitation, neither profits nor the growth they make possible could exist; indeed capitalism itself could not exist.

In modern capitalism, there is precious little that any worker can do to guarantee his or her employment. It would be a contradiction in terms for everyone to be an entrepreneur. Furthermore, there is not much individual workers can do to make their pay and benefits higher once on the job. Overwhelmingly, we are replaceable cogs in some production machine, and our employers will make us aware of that should we become too demanding. We can do nothing to stand out in a way that would make the boss pay us more money. And if we are young enough to make pre-labor market choices, we will soon enough discover that what determines whether or not we “succeed” is circumstance and not our own qualities. The wealth, education, and social connections of our parents, the state of the economy when we begin seeking employment, any number of public policies, and just plain luck—these are what matter most. There is no such thing as the “self made” man or woman.

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Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

February 17, 2017 · $20.00 USD

Location: MayDay Space
Where: 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: Friday, February 17th at 6 PM to Sunday, February 19th to 4 PM

Political Context

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time—together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.

Key Deadlines

  • January 8th: Travel Scholarship for Air Travel (for application see below)
  • January 15th: Travel Scholarship for Non-Air Travel (ex: bus, car, train, etc.)
  • February 3rd: Early Bird Registration Ends - Tickets prices go up from $5 to $10
  • February 10th: Free Housing - We have limited free housing. You need to first register, then you will be sent an application for free housing.

Apply for a travel scholarship here! (First Deadline January 8, 2017)

Check out the working program (subject to change)