Lately, various ideas and concepts that have been more heavily promoted in popular capitalist-owned media and culture for years are suddenly noticeably peculiar/ sinister. The one concept that has struck me most recently as both strange and completely absurd is the prominent myth of the “victimized boss,” or the “cheated bourgeoisie,” who is “taken advantage of and swindled” by his laborers.
There are many versions of this myth, all of which are presented in the form of opinions and generalizations of the boss-worker relationship, and presented as an honest analysis of the workplace, but they all contain the same basic formula: “The boss is just an honest person, trying to get by in this crazy dog-eat-dog world with their business, but they are being cheated by the laziness/downright theft of their employees.”
Wow, that is an incredibly twisted, completely backwards analysis of the worker-boss relationship. This is like shooting someone and then cursing them for stealing your bullet. For a boss, a bourgeoisie, a bloated parasite on the working class who exists on exploited profits, to accuse his laborers of cheating him out of profits is outrageous. This is beyond the pot calling the kettle black; this is the leech complaining that its host is withholding blood.
This fairytale, this notion that has even proliferated among workers and has turned toilers against each other serves the interests of the exploiters in so many reactionary ways, as this falsehood provides the ideological basis for their various anti-worker assaults. The bosses claim that they are “forced” to import foreign workers and subsequently lay off domestic workers because domestic workers are “lazy”, and “lack the work ethic” of their third-world counterparts, who, coincidentally, will work for lower wages, and have next to no rights, both of which are very attractive to capitalists.
The anti-union offensive is conducted under this pretense, by spreading the imagery of unionized workers as obese and sluggish, always trying to “work the system.” In this scenario the boss is once again the “victim,” as these mooching union workers are protected by the union above their head, so once again the poor, victimized boss is forced to shrug and endure the abuse and extortion of the lazy union workers. Everything from the axing of jobs, the shutdown of industries and the outsourcing of labor to the passing of reactionary and draconian laws against the workers are based on this myth of the “exploited boss.”
In my experience, I remember that my old boss used to drive workers from the job site to the office and back again. The thing is, he was unable to do so without loudly complaining about the gas money involved, and making sure that we all “felt grateful” for a job necessity that he considered a great favor. Finally, one day I had enough and told my fellow workers “Look, we are the ones who pay for his gas, not him. We are also the ones who pay for his gigantic new vehicle, his office, his house, his country club membership—we are the ones who earn the profits, and he is the one who takes them. At the very least, he owes each of us a ride to work, let alone the other half of the profits we generate, which we are never seeing.” This sentiment was well-received, and it has been for years as I have retold it.
Marxism-Leninism upholds that all profit is produced by labor. This is called the theory of surplus value, and is a central tenement of Marxist theory. That said, if all profit in any business/industry is produced by labor, what right has any bourgeoisie to claim that they are “being cheated,” let alone lay any claim to said profit in the first place?
Listen here, I produce thirty dollars an hour, you pay me ten; it isn’t you who is getting cheated, and don’t ever forget it!