We live under capitalism, its cruelty is both intentional and absolute. And that cruelty comes primarily in the form of apathy and indifference. That apathy comes from the system itself and those who represent it. But it’s even forced into the souls of those who wish to simply live.
Capitalism steals everything from those it brutalizes. And I do mean everything, not just money, not just things, not just time. It steals concepts and emotions. No matter how fundamental something is, capitalism will steal it.
That includes simple joys like waking up in the morning and being ready and willing to greet the day. It’s difficult to wake up and appreciate the morning when you have to sell your body, mind, and soul for most of your waking hours with the expectation that you do it all again tomorrow.
It’s even difficult to simply appreciate the quiet moments when we’ve nothing to do because our tasks are complete. Quiet moments that once upon a time would be used for reflection and thought are now filled with dread for what comes next, dread for the exploitation we’re subject to.
And then while at work there’s no satisfaction to be had from a job well done because the reward for good hard work is more work. You’re actively disincentivized from caring about what you do, and you’re even further disincentivized from doing it especially well. Mere competence, but not exceptionalism is instilled into us due to the lack of reward for a job done well.
Beyond that, capitalism also robs us of things that are necessary to us. The capacity to grieve and mourn has been stolen from us, and ironically we’re unable to grieve that loss.
That capacity to mourn that we’ve had stolen from us is due to a combination of a system in which cruelty is the point and apathy which is built into the system to facilitate that cruelty. When someone we know and love dies, we don’t get to mourn how we ought, we don’t get to celebrate their life, we don’t get to stay sad about their death, we don’t get to treat death as anything but an inconvenience.
We’re sad for a day, if we’re granted the day off for the funeral at all, and then we’re forced to move on. The feelings linger, but we’re forced to put them on a shelf to be ignored. We tell ourselves that we’ll get to processing those feelings later, but that’s a lie. Because that’s not how it works. We’re forced to just keep working. All the while never working on processing our losses, and those losses are innumerable.
We’ve had our capacity to mourn stolen from us. Robbed of us by a class which seeks to parasitize us for their own benefit. A class which seeks to subjugate us to their will and desire, but never to allow us our own. Mourning has been killed by capitalism, but it can be resurrected.
An act as simple as taking time to grieve is an act of revolution when that act is disregarded as unproductive and inefficient. So please, mourn and grieve your losses in whatever way you deem appropriate; for we are all, each of us, individuals subject to a system of cruel oppression, but together we are a collective refusing to bow.
Dedicated to Staughton Lynd, friend of the union and Fellow Worker Forever.