A Driver Asserts a World-Picture
Faridabad Majdoor Samachar
FMS#354 || Faridabad-NCR || December 2017
I saw an arresting scene in a film. As if it was for you. As if it were you speaking.
A woman worker in a factory in 1970s Germany astutely reads the management.
What’s her reading?
Two axes. One, that the management remains always enveloped in a fearful anticipation of our sudden collective halts, breaks, ruptures.
Ha ha. It’s always winters; they are always in search of the security of the quilt.
And second, that whenever management feels jammed in its bargaining with us, it presents itself as a social enterprise engulfed by, and helpless in the face of, global forces.
Has a sudden realisation!
Becomes immediately social!
Turns melodramatically ‘for everyone’!
It gains expeditious nirvana!
Such is the latchkey of capital. When under pressure, evoke global crisis. Say market is turbulent. Plead defencelessness. Cry unbridled competition. Quote all that is solid melts into air.
With that, they also find themselves relieved of the burden of surveilling workers and issuing reprimands one by one about how they are lazy, inattentive, incapable, and not as good as the machines they work. But at the same time, their control over the workplace also slips, becomes dishevelled.
Their confidence also melts into air.
One keeps hearing these days about companies that any of them might vanish any day. And this understanding is quite prevalent too, that companies belong to no one.
A friend of mine who drives Uber-Ola keeps trying to explain to his customers that the car is neither his, nor the customer’s, or even the company’s. The car is in his name, but it is mortgaged to a bank, and he pays monthly instalments on it. Then, also, a part of his income goes to the company as commission. The idea and the software are the company’s, but even those are linked to ideas and software of other companies. And as is the case with all companies, many companies will have invested in this company. And some of what is invested will have been accessed as loans.
Today there is a lot of chatter about banks and companies going bankrupt.
That is why my driver friend says that he himself is a pressure point. He senses the ups and downs both of the company and, through his customers, the world.
Does he feel pressure, or does he assert it?
Both. The pressure of the company’s ups and downs act on him. He keeps his customers in conversation about this. He says that creating an environment where pressure can be sensed and considered, is to create the conditions in which pressure can be exerted.
In cricket they say that you have to build pressure to create an environment in which a wicket can be taken.
There is a deep pleasure in bringing into conversation the world picture that emerges from ones own life and work. People enter such conversations very quickly, and build links with it.
This world-picture aspect of our lives sometimes amazes us, and sometimes makes us curious. Sometimes it feels beyond comprehension. Sometimes it troubles. Sometimes it feels obvious. And sometimes it exhilarates.
In winters this region gets a world-picture from birds. Enjoy it.