The Work Less Party
Updated: 21 May 2008, 22:58
Originally written: 15 December 2004
A new capitalist political party has been formed and registered in British Columbia, Canada: the Work Less Party. The formation of a new capitalist political party is of little concern to socialists. There are so many capitalist political parties; they come and go so quickly, and they have previously-failed policies which cannot solve the problems people want solved. But the Work Less Party does make some important points. For starters, the Work Less Party has apparently chosen to have no leader. That in itself is worthy of note. Leaders have nothing to recommend them, and have consistently misled.
The Work Less Party says that we live in a world in which selling is the most important activity, creating buyers for things we do not need. It is about time that somebody other than socialists figured that out.
Apparently the major reason for forming the Work Less Party is its members concern about human impact upon the environment. Environmental political parties never seem to come clean on how far they want to go to satisfy their aims, and what price the average person will pay for electing them.
The Work Less Party is completely mired in capitalism. Its policies, from the Work Less Party web site:
- Restrict and control rental costs and property prices.
- Increase taxes on luxury goods and goods that are detrimental to the environment.
- Reduce the work week: from 40 to 32 hours at present; in the future, to whatever is necessary.
- Promote the arts, education, sports and research.
- Do whatever is possible to foster cooperation instead of competition.
Policy 1: Restrict and control rental costs and property prices.
Rent control is nothing new, and it assumes that workers are poor enough to require rent control. Controlling property prices is simply rent control for those who can now barely afford to buy a home. As long as people have to purchase housing, food, and health care with wages which do not relate to people’s needs, society guarantees poverty.
Policy 2: Increase taxes on luxury goods and goods that are detrimental to the environment.
We already pay environmental taxes. If any country actually does anything about the Kyoto Accords, more environmental taxes (direct or indirect) are likely. Consumption taxes widen the gap between the rich and the rest of us. As an example, you could triple the price of an SUV, with taxes, and millionaires will not have to hesitate before buying one. The rest of us, however, with lower incomes forced upon us by the Work Less Party, will go without. Capitalism’s political parties always make working people go without, while keeping the rich, rich. Taxing the rich requires that the rest of continue to keep them rich.
Policy 3: Reduce the work week: from 40 to 32 hours at present; in the future, to whatever is necessary.
Reducing the work week is nothing new. Trade unions have been working for that for more than a century. The Work Less Party couples this with less take home pay for working people. No mention is made of the rich. The Work Less Party’s policies assume and maintain wage labour, which is the same forced labour environment capitalism has always required.
The phrase “to whatever is necessary” should raise alarms in our heads. The implication in the phrase is that no matter how low our take home pay goes, if the environmental result is not good enough for the environmentalists, our take home pay goes down again.
There is no doubt that if environmental catastrophe occurs we will have no choice but to make drastic changes, but because the Work Less Party does not directly address the cause of human-generated environmental problems, it is very likely that their policies will not avert catastrophe.
Policy 4: Promote the arts, education, sports and research.
What do they mean by “promote?” The Work Less Party does not suggest how this promotion will work. Under capitalism, the arts, education, sports, and research cost money. The Work Less Party appears silent on that issue (except that workers will have less take home pay).
Policy 5: Do whatever is possible to foster cooperation instead of competition.
The Work Less Party does not address the root of this problem: the inherent competition of capitalism. That competition does exactly what the Work Less Party suggests — it hinders cooperation, courtesy and compassion — and the Work Less Party is hooked on the cause of the problem: capitalism. The Work Less Party restricts “whatever is possible” to whatever is possible under a social structure which inherently promotes competition. In other words “whatever is possible” means “nothing.”
So, the Work Less Party is but another reformist party, with no solution to the problems we face today and which we can expect to face tomorrow.
Consider instead, a political party which does address the cause of the problems. Consider a political party with a social analysis which is so good that its basics have needed no alteration in over a century, and still shows up the huge failings of other social analysts. Consider the World Socialist Movement. In Canada, its Companion Party is the Socialist Party of Canada.