Workers Hold the Keys

Chibber, Vivek; Farbman, Jason
Date Written:  2017-03-23
Publisher:  Jacobin
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20537

In a discussion of the history and practice of socialist ideas, Chibber and Farbman discuss precarity and the changing composition of the working class, how socialists should think about unions, and how the Left can get off the college campuses and into the workplaces and streets.



There's no doubt that the current variant of capitalism is truly inhumane, certainly more so that the one that proceeded it. That's one reason why you don't see the word capitalism very much. But first, it's important to understand that if you compare today's version to capitalism with its place in history, it's actually not the exception. We're reverting back to capitalism’s pure form. It's a system in which everybody is thrown out onto the market, and they're told 'Sink or swim, man. It's up to you."

The era of getting social supports, some kind of social insurance, of basic guarantees, the welfare state -- that was an era that dated to about the 1930s and 1940s. But it was a departure from the norm in capitalism. We're going back -- neoliberalism is actually just capitalism in its pure phase.

There's two ways you can look at this. One is on an absolute scale: does capitalism on an absolute level actually deny people what they need on an everyday level? The answer is that for most of the world, it does -- it fails. It fails because most of the world now is in a very unalloyed, barbaric form of a market society. In India, in China, in Africa, in the Middle East, the vast majority of people still live barely at a subsistence level. And that's not an accident; it's because they have to work for employers that simply don’t care about them. So on an absolute scale, for most of the world, capitalism is failing.

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