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Business owners in I.W.W. ?!?

Further reflection to the article "be syndicated IWW and self-employed" .

It is true that the I.W.W. syndicates everyone except the representatives of state authority (police, judges etc.) and those in authoritarian situations on other workers out hereinafter called the boss ...! Employers as a business owner and their lackeys that are the managers and other executives who are ,according to my understanding, under the category of "boss".

But what is a "self-employed" ? Is not a business owner ? N.. Yes : If we stick only to the definition that gives us the liberal economy. This would be the case judging by the definition given on the site educa-Law :

" In fact, the self-employed and individual enterprise are one, that is to say the self-employed worker carries on a business and that business is the result of his own work. Since we can not say that the self-employed is itself a "business form", rather they say he operates a "single undertaking" of which he is the sole owner. »


With regard to this definition, it is not surprising that we wonder about the legitimacy of the self-employed "sole owner of a business" because indeed, if his business grows, the self-employed worker can quickly become a "boss" : This happens in particular in the agricultural sector where the company, incorporated in the name of a farmer - sole owner, often obscures the free contribution of a spouse, children occasionally. This is also the case in the craft business (which encompasses bakery to crafts and fashion design, areas in which it is even sometimes the students of the "recognized master" who see their work hidden, and poorly paid - if at all). Should we be against mutual aid within the family ? Certainly not ! But you have to be vigilant since the status of sole owner of your business, as defined above, may involve situations where the "self-employed worker" becomes the boss of a spouse or children who do not have direct recognition or compensation for the work done ...

From this ambiguous situation, the self-employed worker must be taken away, by redefining it according to our criteria, because occult work in no way hinders the system but contributes to blurring the boundaries between the roles we play in society : parents, conjoint-e-s, workers, employees, entrepreneurs, consumers, client-e-s. But these roles have evolved in such a way, since industrialization, that workers are increasingly isolated and cut off from their peers. Isolated ? Cut off from their fellows ? This is not without harming our class solidarity ; this is not without serving the interests of our masters.

What about a slightly more "critical" definition of self-employment ?

The individual micro-enterprise model has been touted to us for years 80 like the ultimate freedom ! It gained popularity with many excluded workers (unemployed) who sought an alternative to precarious jobs that had become the norm. We have been praised the virtues of free market (the very one that made us unemployed!), the freedom to be self-employed. The "american dream" of 30 glorious reached the climax of his utopia with this figure of the self-employed worker who only has to want very hard (he) to sell, to succeed and survive. Thus, society no longer has to worry about the economic survival of individuals through quality jobs and social programs to which companies are required to contribute through taxes. : The dream of self-employment is the bursting of collective rights and the increasingly intense isolation of the person confined to competition with his peers (other former unemployed who have become "entrepreneurs"). In this dream world of "Freedom", responsibility for success, understood not as the happiness of the individual, but its profitability, and solutions in the event of failure or collapse, are just as individual : if you don't succeed, you haven't done enough, that YOU didn't do the right thing. If you are sick and can no longer run your business, if your clients have bad debts, it was necessary to provide good private insurance coverage. This is what a responsible entrepreneur does! The self-employed model, it is the last atomization of the individual after that of the family.

"The neoliberal state is a state that educates individuals to empower themselves from the state, to take personal responsibility for social risks (unemployment, disease etc).and to become "entrepreneurs of themselves" by developing their attractiveness in a competitive labor market through self-investment strategies (like going into debt to complete post-secondary education). It is as if the "competitive entrepreneurial spirit" that has become embedded in the thought and practice of state governance from management schools and the private sector, now colonized the "me"
(David Sanschagrin "the fourth undemocratic revolution" Revue À Babord, Dec 2015 –Jan 2016)

Are we really free in the solitude of self-employment ? I find it hard to believe it when I see so many entrepreneurs becoming the exhausted victims of the multitasking and stress of surviving and growing their business in a world of competition and monopolies.. How are we freer when we expose ourselves to burnout? How many micro-enterprises survive in this model *?

What is freedom worth without the power over one's living conditions which is necessarily associated with it? ?

What power do we have when isolated? The self-employed worker, more isolated than any other, should therefore be seen, by a revolutionary union, like a worker who has been stripped of his class identity more than any other; and in that sense , we must welcome him to our ranks. Since only our unity as a class can make us win fights against those who try to separate us and weaken us, we cannot see the self-employed worker as a business owner and thus be duped by liberal terminology.

As opposed to the Uberization of the worker who has ended up convincing that he is no longer a proletarian but an "entrepreneur" , the business model needs to be better known collective and self-managed.

It's only inside this form of business, collective enterprise, democratically managed by those who drive it, either its workers, that we will find true freedom in work : that of social solidarity. It is also only by taking collective responsibility for the company that we will find the power to influence the type of production, and the production rate, that we find acceptable for the future of the planet ; that we will have the power to influence the type of social and interpersonal relationships we want, that is to say egalitarian, and the real gain of "ownership" of what is nobody's own and therefore belongs to all. This is also the meaning to be given to "the abolition of wage labor", the central idea defended by our union : No longer having to choose between self-exploiting or selling ourselves to bosses that we own like a machine. Yes, there is indeed a third way, this is what we aspire to for all workers.
Willie Morris , membre du SITT-IWW

* As for the survival rate of individual businesses versus that of collective businesses, It is worth pointing out that according to an often cited statistic, cooperative-type collective enterprises have a significantly higher survival rate than traditional enterprises, and this after five years (62 % vs 35 %) or ten years (44 % vs 20 %).
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