(fwd from Tom Lincoln) wage labour

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Mon Nov 18 07:31:20 MST 2002

Jurriaan quoted this:

"We demand wage-labour's abolition.  As far as I know, there aren't any other
unions doing this."

Then he said:
Whilst I am sympathetic to the Wobblies, the question occurs to me how you
would organise claims to the social product, if you abolish wages. I could
of course say "I am for the abolition of the wages system, because I don't
want to work anymore"

You can't "organise claims to the social product"
without a wages system (or something worse). But
the socialist project aims to create a society where
we don't distribute resources on the basis of
particular claims. We work out collectively what is

However the main point in Marx's call for workers to
"inscribe upon their banner the slogan 'abolition of
the wages system'" is to put an end to alienated
labour. If you don't do that, you haven't really got
beyond the capitalist realm, (which BTW is part of my
argument for the theory of state capitalism). If we
do it, people will want to work.

Jurriaan also wrote:
Marxists rarely discuss the political economy of socialism, arguing that we
will leave that till "after the revolution";
...My opinion is that this is wrong; rather socialist political
practice must prefigure the kinds of things we want in the future

The traditional view that we "shouldn't predict" is
a bit questionable after the experience of stalinism.
People quite reasonably want some indication of what
you're lining them up for. But I think the broad
outlines are clear enough. The core of it is abolishing
alienated labour. We are out to do that. A society
that doesn't is crap.

But real socialism will be great. Trust me ;)

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