Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Shallow Marxist Trashing of Truckers

Mao Zedong quote: As for people who are politically backward, Communists  should not...

There’s a talking point being passed around by certain self-identified marxists and socialists, dismissing the truckers who are resisting vaccine mandates because they are not “workers” but “owner-operators” who, since they “own” their own trucks are actually small capitalists and therefore not worthy of class solidarity. Indeed, they can be treated as class enemies.

It’s hard to conjure up a shallower, more self-defeating use of marxist language.

These truckers “own their own trucks” the way most struggling families own their own homes—they own a debt, which makes them more economically insecure, and places a further burden on them to work harder for the banks and finance companies that are always one step away from depriving them of their livelihood. What kind of self-sabotaging “socialist” political paradigm would dismiss all homeowners as petit-bourgeois class enemies rather than approach them with solidarity, working hard to ally with their concrete struggles and persuade them to ally with the more general socialist project—since they are in fact indispensable to it?

“Owner-operator,” “contractor,” “self-employed”—all these ambiguous class locations are the constructs of neo-liberalism, which has reveled in confusing class relations by hiding the power of big capital behind a sea of socially-weakened, infinitely-at-risk, “entrepreneurs.” The project of neo-liberal capitalism has been to destroy jobs themselves, to dispense with any smattering of job security, and to abolish all concepts of capital’s relation to, let alone responsibility to, labor. It’s precisely neo-liberalism’s wet dream to turn the working-class into a mass of incipient "entrepreneurs," every one dreaming to hit the Shark Tank jackpot in a social economy that dooms most of them to failure. For a non-shallow marxism, it’s should be seen as a reversion to a modern version of piece-work. You know, like the nineteenth-century women sent home to work on their sewing machines. Owner-operators.

So, when a diverse and united group of workers actually stands up in solidarity and collective action to resist an injustice for the whole of society—which is what they (and I) consider these mandates to be (argue that if you want, without the faux-marxist diversions)—it is utterly foolish, and destructive of any chance of developing a class-based revolutionary politics, for judgemental “leftists,” using the shallowest of marxist rhetoric, to reject and shit on them for occupying the social position neo-liberal capitalism has forced them into, for not being the abstract “worker” they are supposed to be.

It is a complete abandonment of marxism/communism 101: A mass, left, working-class movement, which we lack, has to be built with the working-class we have, not the one we wish for.

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