by Jer Hurdis
RABBLE REVIEW No. 1
Yes, we start off light on this blog. By now there are so many reasons I am opposed to capitalism that this could be a very long thread, but I don’t have time to go over every reason—and that’s the keystone reason right there. Who has command over their own time anymore?
I was told as a youth that rent should be one third of one’s income. Imagine advising the same to a youth today! Working full time barely makes rent for a single bedroom apartment in the city. The normative forty-hour work week is not enough, and it’s already too much! We ought to redistribute work as well as the profits, but capitalism thrives on unemployment, that surplus population kept desperate enough to accept any low share of the wealth they produce.
Marx and Engels had exhorted in the Manifesto that we should all unite: “You have nothing to lose but your chains!” If conspicuous consumption in the mid 20th Century gave the illusion of something to lose——however tenuous, however dependent on exploitation—-Marx’s original call has, in the 21st Century, regained its full relevance after decades of Neoliberalism and its ever worsening attacks on our quality of living.
We work for the wealth of another, only to return home and reassure our audiences on social media that we’re okay. Better, that we appear happy, that we tend censoriously to our image—our brands. Always seem happy. (Your next employer might look you up.) Worse, it’s a responsibility to appear happy. Being sincere in unhappiness risks feelings of guilt, for infringing upon others’ (seemingly) good day. Worse, we’re encouraged to ‘unfriend’ the unhappy, the anxious, the ones who need their frustrations recognized, and to recognize their frustrations in others too.
But broadly, we share the source of our frustrations in the alienating exploitation we experience under capitalism, even when we don’t give voice to it, or when we can’t find the words to do it. Climate change is easy enough to point out; even liberals do it. We need to share our frustrations with capitalism, to hear our grievances resound with others, to build the clamour for a post-capitalist possibility.
This could go on, of course, but we, all of us, do deserve to be genuinely happy. If, in search of happiness, we must pass through despair, then solidarity will see us through. The 1976 film, Network, gave us the famous scene of people opening their windows and shouting, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” One person might do it and be derided. It’s when neighbours join in, share the frustration, that the burden suffered in private becomes a shared reality, and hope is made, not found nor bought.
It’s not hard to find protests on the streets these days. There is much to oppose. Remember to build, too. Build mutual aid, community projects, avenues for communicating our grievances and networks to alleviate our burdens. Let’s not take it anymore.
The first issue of RABBLE REVIEW releases on 17 September. It’s been a long time coming, as our contributors can attest. Its contents err on the bleaker vision of what capitalism is, and what it is doing to us and the world around us. There are positive visions we need to explore too, of better worlds, equitable societies with real freedom. RR No. 1, however, is that frustrated shout out the window. We’re mad as hell, and we deserve so much better.
Editors of RABBLE REVIEW will take turns posting on this blog, and after RR No. 1 releases the blog will transition to more informative posts on current issues and local movements, as well as the occasional free-form post like this one.
I look forward to hearing who shouts back.