[Marxism] Kaepernick as a worker in a totalitarian workspace

Dennis Brasky dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 30 11:16:46 MDT 2017

in many US workplaces employers can enforce a dress code, read your emails,
record your phone conversations, inspect your personal belongings, subject
you to random drug tests, forbid casual conversations with fellow workers,
prevent you from using the bathroom, and penalize you for any infraction of
these rules. They have authority not just over wages, benefits, and hours
but the technology that will be used and the products that will be
produced. And thanks to at-will employment
the standard in American labor contracts — they can terminate you for
everything from posting on Facebook
 or failing to exercise
having premarital sex
, being too attractive
or engaging in political activism

Yet because these autocratic decisions are typically viewed as the result
of an especially unfair boss — as a case, say, of wrongful termination —
their basic foundation in the capitalist economy goes unexamined.

The essential problem here isn’t that an employer might treat their workers
unfairly: it’s that an economic relationship in which employers call all
the shots makes a mockery of the question of fairness itself. It’s that
employers hold all the cards, whether or not they act with magnanimity.

Because of the property relations that form the basis of capitalist power,
workers get to keep their jobs only so long as the boss decides, for
whatever reason, not to fire them. Short of that, management can deploy any
number of punitive measures — demotion, pay cuts, bad hours — to discipline
workers who step out of line.

Which brings us back to Kaepernick.


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