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lament of the unemployed

July 29, 2012

I am the unemployed. Sitting, thinking, worrying about the future: that is me, as I sift endlessly through help-wanted ads, a hapless recruit of the reserve army of labour, that unholy legion, condemned for all eternity to suppress wages and frighten workers into submission by its very existence, and I by mine—a statistical example paraded around factory floors and offices, behind counters and in the fields, throughout workplaces of all kinds, to keep the workers in line.

“See?!” the angels of Capital thunder. “See what happens if you don’t play by the rules? See how little you’re actually worth when not selling your labour to Capital? Capital gives you meaning! Capital gives you purpose! Capital is your sovereign; and it is through your role as obedient subjects to the whims of Capital that you fulfill your purpose and give your existence meaning!”

I am a phantom, a boogeyman. I am the monster lurking under the working-class’ bed at night. I am a warning, a cautionary tale told to all the good workers in order to teach them the blessings of selling their labour for Capital’s gain; to teach them the joys of subservience; and more importantly, to instill in them the fear of self-determination and freedom.

“For Capital, and only Capital, is the one, true job Creator! Capital is the alpha and omega, the first and the last!” the angels trumpet. “And it is only through Capital that you may be productive and enter into the kingdom of heaven. Beware! Idle hands are the devil’s plaything. Disobedience is the original sin; and the price of sin is death!”

I am the unemployed, my labour-time unrepentantly unproductive in the all-seeing eye of Capital. I am wretched, sinful, and undeserving of salvation; but only through the benevolent grace of Capital can I be saved.

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