Economic slavery

Image: Three pence none the richer – Diorama.

Ordinary people always pay – income tax, rates, fines, duties and VAT, council tax, road tax, death duty/inheritance tax, national insurance, stamp duties, government sanctions, inflation, parking fees and fines, clean air tax, congestion charges, import duties, late payment fines, interest rates, water rates, minimum wage (less than we need to actually live on, for which we pay a high price), zero hours contracts, lotteries and gambling, capitalism and global exploitation.

From the cradle to the grave we’re robbed blind, cash cows that keep on giving and for which we are treated with contempt, with never a hint of gratitude or so much as a thank you. We are despised as scroungers and a burden on the state, when it is the state that’s the burden on us. They talk about free markets but never free people, yet it is we, the people, hands on, who run the country, but not a lot of people seem to be even remotely aware of that. Governments are no more than managerial administrators, they do not run the country, but they do organise it, well or badly, and it is we who are afflicted by their incompetence or assisted by their competence, as we keep the real fabric and materials of life and living running.

All our working lives the bulk of the value of our labour (what Marx calls Surplus Labour, which we produce above our own subsistence needs) is taken from us as company profits. And it is we who are set upon to pay and pay and pay in maddening, never ending, streams of financial duties and burdens. Our obligations increase constantly, whilst the burdens of those we enrich are reduced constantly and the reward for our obedient slavery is the sneering contempt and disdain of those who rob us. Democracy is reduced to voting for those we perceive as the least worst oppressors, yet who are frequently the worst of all the available evils, as now, but the best liars, aided and abetted by a corrupt media.

The eternal problem is ‘the powers that be’ rely on our lack of vision and understanding of how seriously they abuse us through familiarity. Most of the time we wander round like amnesiacs, we don’t know how much we’ve forgotten, blinded by the familiar and the habitual. Plus, they have an overwhelming and overweening sense of their own (unholy) righteousness. If we dissent it is we who are the cranks, the no goods and ne’er do wells, as this piece will very ably demonstrate, appealing to the few, not the many.

Jiddu Krishnamurti wrote – ‘It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.’ And therein lies the problem, too many people are well adjusted to a profoundly sick society/world. The use of antidepressants continues to rise, yet that does nothing to address the problems, which don’t even get a mention [1]. The end of slavery was achieved through abolition, not happy pills. Yet, as much as slave owners resisted abolition and were compensated for their loss of property, slaves received nothing and ‘supposedly freed slaves were in fact committed to six to 12 years of further service as unpaid ‘apprentices’, meaning slave owners were compensated to the tunes of millions – and continued to get free labour’. The loan for compensation given to slave owners wasn’t finally paid off, by us, until 2015 [2]. Liberation means very little without the means, and to this day that means remains absent for the vast majority of us who continue to be robbed daily.

Today, money is ever more the means of our slavery. From the minimum wage to the brutality of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to Amazon to zero hours contracts to British Gas ‘fire and rehire’, the modern slave trade is alive and obscenely well. Grubbing for a mean subsistence is hardly achieving our full human potential, yet the UK government is forcing creativity out of schools, because it has an entirely blinkered view of humanity as mere profit producing worker drones in the post Brexit Tory fiefdom of Little Englander Britain.

There is nothing that money can’t fuck up and it is long overdue we found a solution to our economic slavery. We may not have the answer yet, or even the vaguest clue where to start, but unless we look for it and talk about it, we never will.

Keith Lindsay-Cameron. 25 October 2021.

[1] https://pharmaceutical-journal.com/article/news/antidepressant-prescribing-up-6-since-2019

[2] https://taxjustice.net/2020/06/09/slavery-compensation-uk-questions/

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