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Ana Bazac


In the following I will sketch some ideas about the new Romanian Labour Code, initiated at the end of November 2010. The Romanian on line journal CriticAtac ( has already delivered a critique of the Code in 9 articles until the holiday of the end of year. Beside these articles, any voice of the “civil society” and intelligentsia did not raise up against this extraordinary initiative to reduce the rights of the labour force and the common human rights too. Not even the leaders of the unions – more-over lacking any credibility since they have enriched from their position bargained with the political parties, especially with the social-democrats, thus using the unions as manoeuvred mass pressure in order to always change the team in charge – have seriously discussed about the Code, insisting that the new modifications would only “disfavour” the employees and the state1.


Why the opposition toward the Code was so weak?


In fact, it is not only about slight aspectsthat could be neglected by the population, the more so as the majority does not work, but is retired. Just the passivity of the majority and the fearand sentimentof the workers that they are missing any power and support on behalf of the so-called left-wing organisations and leadershave constituted the supposition of the entire political class when it proposed in a real unanimity the new Code. The supposition that the rulers ought not to be afraid of the revolt of the ruled is not only the result of media communication controlled by media moguls – where any kind of novelty of maximal importance, like the new Code, is quickly drowned in the idle talk of talk-shows and in the uninterrupted number of events and kitsch-news – but also follows from the deep separation between the working people and their leaders. Yes, from this standpoint Trotskyites have reason insisting on the treason of the leaders as a main cause of the historical crisis of the left and of the alternatives to capitalism.

Literature has long ago emphasised the opportunismof the leaders and the bureaucratisation of the political parties, including those of left type2. (Certainly, letting apart the problem of political bureaucracy, generated not only by the complexity of the modern system (Weber) but also by the model of political party as such issued from domination-submission relationships and traditional social division of labour – physical, intellectual –, opportunism is a behaviour feature and thus the psychological cause would be easier to understand, since it is directly visible. But let us remember Marx’s and Engels’ sketch of the material determinism of the productive forces over the conscience of men: “this development of productive forces… is an absolutely necessary practical premise because without it want is merely made general, and with destitution the struggle for necessities and all the old filthy business would necessarily be reproduced”3. Rarity (Sartre, Critique de la raison dialectique, 1960, 1985)4is the ground of “the old filthy business”5, including so much opportunism on behalf of the left-wing union or party leaders. However, this objective basis explains why the majority of leaders are opportunist, but it does not justify at all the individual choice of a leader or another. Indeed, this choice is the result of the individual’s strain of his/her own will, of the confrontation between the temptations turned up in different moments of life and, on the other hand, the ideals and rationality of judgements: in short, the individual is responsible for the choice he/she makes.


Memento: the human being as autonomous individual


The ideology of modernity has developed the illusion that men would be autonomous units which could undertake what they intend from their own free will. If fact, people are knots within a social web of intertwining and overlapping webs and their will has to accommodate with different and many direct and indirect wills: the social institutions, norms and directives are issuing from the composition of these wills (interests, forces, information). This does not mean that human beings are deprived of autonomy, thus responsibility, but simply that their acts are not the unilateral consequences of their eventual subjective wills, but the result of the clash of personal and other different social impulses. The human autonomy – as Castoriadis remembered us its etymological sense6– is a multi-contradictory fact and if theory is not sensitive to that, it navigates on an idealistic ocean made through the method to start from non-questioned suppositions, and not from the praxis.

There were two main causes of the above-mentioned illusionof the Western thinking accompanying the birth of modernity : first, the urgency to destroy (or, at least, to alleviate) the domination-submission structural relations of pre-modernity has erased or sent at the depth of theoretical conscience the evidence of the interdependence of men, as asymmetrical could it be within the social construction; thus the idea that counter-posed to the domination-submission structural relations was that of the free will of the individual. Second and as Marx has observed, the new-born bourgeoisie has transfigured its struggle to liberate the political conditions of its goal of free enterprise as the freedom of mankind itself; consequently, it has legitimised the bourgeois unlimited search for profit as the human being’s genuine manifestation of free will.

The entire modern thinking has moved within this illusion. Its destruction is one of the most important end of the present social conscience. We have to mention that, in the wake of Marx, the post-modern Foucault and Derrida have focused on the power of social institutions to constitute the limits or the framework of individual projects and desires, thus to forge these projects and desires. What follows from this line of reasoning is not the annulling of man’s capability to think and act in his own manner aiming at his own ends generated from his own sensibility and worldview, but on the contrary to critically treat both the prejudice of his own free will and the one of the untouchable institutions.

May be paradoxically, there is also another path to attack the illusory supposition of the abstract free will: that of Kant’s exactingness that in society one has to respect the dignity of all. But if there is this exactingness, it means that in reality this requirement is not fulfilled. Why that? Because human beings, and rather especially somecategories of human beings, are treated as means, not as ends – as the ethical imperative (related to the principle of reciprocity) demands. Thus from the beginning of Kant’s practical philosophy, we see that the supposition that everyone could manifest as free human being is jolted. It’s not important here that Kant solved the need of universality in a speculative manner: that the moral values (the moral law, the standards) would be things in themselves, offered not by the experience but as a prioriknowledge. Nor is important the coexistence of the quest of the good and the radical evil within the human nature. Nor, again, the coexistence of the supreme power of the people – in the logic of the theory of human dignity – and the fetish of representative democracy. Nor, once more, the contradictory prescription concerning the duty in the private and the public space (What is Enlightenment?–1784) and the internal antagonism between the worth of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité (The Contest of Faculties– 1798) and, on the other hand, the representation of property as result of synthetic a priorijudgements. But the requirement of universality in the human behaviour as such suggests that a simple critique of feudalism from the standpoint of moral enlightenment is not sufficient: the critique of domination-submission relationships as such has to be had in view. This is the reason why Marx, while criticising Kant, appreciated his revolutionary openness and developed the above-mentioned critique.

Kant’s ethical imperative to not treat man as means, but as endchallenges our conclusions. First, as it already was mentioned, especially somepeople are treated as means, and this fact is sending to the framework where this utilitarian treatment has fundamental consequences over communities and society as such: the public one. Just within the public sphere the processes of social selection, domination and taming take place and are relevant for society as a whole and for every individual. Second, it would be easy to infer that, if man is treated as means, then labour also is seen by the human beings and theirs speakers as a means: as something “we have – or do not have –“, thus a means through which people earn their living, and not “what we do7.

Why would make sense for our focus on labour this entire too philosophical discussionabout autonomy? For it highlights the deep contradiction between the ideologies that form the capitalist “humanism”8, the illusion of universality of man and, on the other hand, the real differentiating treatment of the human beings by other human beings.

In front of this contradiction, capitalism has developed the mystifying theory of individualism– as justification of the interests of private property but also as correspondent to the civic (political and juridical) freedom of the labour force. But this individualism does not mean at all individual autonomy, but a simple and illusionary taking refuge by the individual in his/her private space: letting apart here the fact that both the public and private sphere are socially and politically constructed – i.e. transformed according to the capitalist dominant values issuing atomisation, alienation, focusing on consume –, not the private sphere would be the typically human, but the public space of communication, understanding, debate and common improvement9.

The individual’s desire to exit from the containment created by the macro-processes where the institutions seem to be the demiurges has generatednot only illusions and mystifying approaches, but also the theory dealing with the autonomy of man/ individual through self-organisation and self-production, without suppressing the dependences he have: man is cognitively depending on his cultural (social) environment, but at the same time he has the capacity to save his autonomy10. However, if this capacity is suffocating by the compulsory forces of the social hierarchy, man loses his autonomy11and remains only a dependent being. The human experience has forged both an egocentric and an inclusive, altruistic principle according to which man is behaving. These principles have constituted from the bourgeois revolutions onwards the human rightsthat save just the autonomy of the individual, of the human species and of the human society.

Therefore, if man is not an abstract autonomous person, on the contrary, he is deeply channelled by social interests and institutions – i.e. his personal autonomy as such is a social construction –, then theory has to de-construct this complex determinism: and the main step is to consider man in a concretemanner. The fundamental level of this considering is the economic one.


The capitalist status of man as labour force and as free citizen


What is absolutely forbidden by epistemology (see Popper) is the confusion of domains, levels, problems: it is not legitimate to give demonstrations from a domain, level or problem as arguments within other domains, levels or problems. This requirement is not annulled by the development of inter and trans-disciplinary scientific approaches, nor by the demonstration (do not forget Marx and Gödel) that the last stage explanation of a system lies outwards it: simply, the above-mentioned epistemological condition means that an explicative system which is falsified within its logic (with its laws, concepts, inferences, experiments) does not become scientifically true through exterior elements to this system.

Remaining within our topic, epistemology is neglected by the capitalist mainstreamideology that covers, with its focus on the politicalrights of man as free citizen in the framework of representative democracy, the status of economicrights depending on the position of man in front of property relations, namely of the private property. Or, not only this substitution of arguments is not viable, but it involuntarily shows the contradistinction between the modern legitimacy (of the capitalist system as such, and not only of the political leadership) – “of the people, by the people, for the people” – and, on the other hand, the social antagonism and struggle related to the private property. While there is no contradistinction concerning the private property owners – the powerful within the domination-submission relationships –, the preoccupation of the modern dominant strata was and is to control and minimise the opposition of the exploited classes. And, for what is specific to the capitalist system is the overlapping of the economic and political divergent statuses of the ruled – the status of labour forcein the framework of capitalist private relations, and at the same time the status of politically free citizen–, both the class struggle, sprung or slowed, and the counteracting of the class struggle develop on these two grounds.

On the economic one, the class struggle has generated labour laws.

From this standpoint, there are two elements of the new Romanian Labour Code that have to be highlighted here. The first (A) is related to the characteristic of a labour right as civil/political right. The other (B) concerns the labour rights as specific to the economic settlements of capital-labour force balance.




As we know, a labour law regulates the status of man as labour force, thus the conditions of selling his/her labour force. But, because this status implies asymmetrical relationships between the seller as free citizen and the buyer as private property owner – i.e. implies structural power relations specific to the social hierarchy marked by exploitation and capital – the labour law is referring also to the status of the labour force as free citizen: and a proof and manifestation of freedom is, certainly, the right to oppose.


The right to strike as proof of class relationships


But do not illusion ourselves: even though this right– ultimately, inside of the political right to rebellion/revolution, or on the contrary to politically tending to prevent the motives of rebellion – is constitutive to modernity as such, it has developed as right to reduce the asymmetrical relations of power between the holders of capital and the labour force, only following a bold struggle of the working people. Only after a long and courageous pressure of the workers, have they arrived to the right to strike, thus to concretely oppose capital from within the economic domain, although in the fragmented manner generated by the fragmentation of capital. Though born from an economic struggle of workers as labour force in order to involve within the economic power, and even though they conquered the right of the exploited to temporary stop a concrete economic submission, the right to strike is at the same time a politicalright, legitimated by the general development of Western democracy and theory of human rights.

During the post-war welfare state, there were no fundamental reasons to limit this right, at least not formally: on the contrary, the international labour and collective bargaining standards included the right to strike as intrinsically related to freedom of association12, just as a proof of the enlarged human/fundamental rights13emerging from the end of the Second World War (WWII). It was the epoch that allowed rather the carrot than the stick in the developed countries, for the relationships between capital and the labour force were still constituted on national level: the former sold worldwide the merchandises produced by the later from within the developed country which was the main land of capital productive investment. Consequently, it was a “reciprocal” dependency between this national capital and labour force: and for the main source of profit of capital was the own national labour force, and also for the Western capitals still had a superior position within the international production and trade, and still being the beneficiary of colonies, the prestige of the democratic forces issued from the tradition of the Resistance in the WWII, including the pressure of the working people, led to the consideration of the social, economic and political rights of the many as fundamental human rights14.

With the process of globalisation– emerged from the inner logic of competition and concentration and centralisation of capital –, things became to change. Capital became to de-localise, depending onwards on the labour force from the entire world. He became migrating, investing where the “business environment was friendly”, so blackmailing the states in order to reduce taxes and the obligations concerning the labour force. This situation generates a competition between the states themselves: every one, and especially those lacking of reserves (industrial power, markets, relative strong currency, thus an entire history of Centre type country), wants to attract more investments, and thus every one would be obliged to create a “friendly business environment”15. An important aspect of this environment and a proof that the state is first of allthe instrument of capital, and of the strongest capital in each moment, is the endorsement of privatisation by the state. The reduction of state ownership and the difficulty to have a job lead to the decrease of unionisation: even letting apart the bureaucratic character of union leaderships, unions have no more the big old prestige: they do no more obtain the bonuses of the welfare state, they obtain nothing, on the contrary, they pact with the patrons and state in order to decrease the welfare state and to keep under control the general discontent.

From the standpoint of labour rights, the really existing socialism was the pendant of the Western welfare state: we have here to note only the socialist type legitimating valueswhich endorsed the labour rights and welfare ends and even preceded those from, for example, the Matignon agreement in 1936 and the post-war Western labour laws. (Certainly, the bureaucratic character of the leadership, which perverted the realisation of the general rights and political ends, has to be here let apart).

This similitude between the post-war Western welfare state and the socialist welfare state, as well as the need of Western (European) capitalism to demonstrate the viability of his model in front of the American one, and to attract the Western and Eastern populations has generated the inertia of the social model of welfarein the official post 1989 Western propaganda: “over the past decade, the process of European integration has been accompanied by the emergence of what is now referred to as the European Social Model (ESM). This concept is used to refer to a number of social policy arrangements, including social security and social dialogue institutions, which are believed to be characteristics that distinguish the European from the American business model…there are major reasons to doubt the viability of common European social policies…many of the new member states have enacted neo-liberal policies in a radical way – under the often unrecognized influence of international financial institutions and this add to the neo-liberal orientation which some of the EU-15 member states are also pursuing to varying degrees”16. Therefore, afraid of the competition of workers coming from the East, “trade unions have protested against the ‘Bolkestein Services Directive’, and have insisted that Polish and other CEE workers are only welcome as migrant workers if their employment conditions comply with the collective agreements of the host country”17.


The first feature of the present change of the (Romanian) Labour Code


The right to oppose capital is the first type of rights highlighted by the changes of the present labour laws.

Indeed, the state of things in a peripheral country like post 1989 Romania is very important for the understanding of the problem discussed here. A part of the articles from CriticAtac has underlined the continuityin the situation of the Romanian labour force before the present law, but after 1989, and now: even before the present changes in the labour law, the compulsion of labour force – thus also forcing this one to accept the black or informal labour market as well as to be part of the use of unions as politically affiliated instruments and politically directed pressure – was strong. The main reason of these facts was the aim of the new developing bourgeoisie to acquire as much profit and power it could in the shortest interval. This also explains that either the laws taken over as the acquis communautairefrom the EU missed the sanctions without which any law is emasculated, or nobody, and especially the new rich, did respect them.

This feature of continuity between the former and the present situation of the Romanian labour force doesn’t mean that the present changes in the Labour Code are not important. On the contrary, they show not only the contempt of the powerful towards the working people – contempt sanctioned by the new Code –, but rather that the dominant class aims at the imposition of a new epoch of class relationships: the epoch when the working classes are legally deprived of the labour rightsconquered during the really existing socialism, or – because of the above-mentioned correspondence – during the post-war Western welfare state. And this initiative of both the Romanian capital (and Western capital acting within Romanian frontiers) and the Romanian political class points out two phenomena: that, at least at the beginning, in the European periphery is easier to introduce the infringement of labour rights than in the core of advanced European capitalist civilisation, and that this infringement at the periphery will act as a precedent and a “fulfilling prophecy” at the centre.

Why would be easier to annul at periphery any illusions concerning the human rights under “democracy and market economy”18? Just because from December 1989 onwards there was a process of accustomingthe population tothe fact that the permanent neglect and reduction of welfare and rights would be finally normal, since “democracy and market economy” proved to be the winners in front of the accidental and abnormal Stalinism. This process of habitualization consisted in and generated the institutionalisationof the reduction of labour rights: but in most of cases this institutionalisation took part informally, while media communication pressed for the general understanding of the human rights culture as only the culture of political, representational rights. The entire post 1989 political class, including the union leaders, is guilty for this situation. For this reason, it would be incorrect to oppose only the present government, by putting the blame only on it.

Simply, the present moment, uncovered by the crisis, is that when the relations of forces allow the victory of capital over the labour force. Thus, the former Art. 59. “[prohibition of permanent dismissal] The dismissal of the employees shall be prohibited:
b) based on the exercise, under the terms of the law, of the right to strike and to unionisation”19is erased.

It is not the only attempt to annul this important right at periphery20, nor at the centre21. More, it is not a problem only at European level: since capitalism is a world system, the capital-labour force relationships are structural, everywhere the same: see the smooth reasoning of a Canadian researcher about the human right revolution and the labour rights22. Thus the Eastern European tendencies converge with the world and developed countries processes initiated by the world capital to destroy the capability of the world labour force to oppose capitalism. These tendencies and processes are pressing against all kinds of labour rights23and, after the abdication of the left parties and unions, are more aggressive than before: they focus on the laws. What for? Just because laws are the formal recognition of the balance of forces, and obviously the new balance is for the moment more favourable to capital. But we have to underscore that the former law issued from the post-war reality was an important argument of the defence of the working people. The attack on this law is led in order to accredit a social “worldwide class apartheid”24.

The present worldwide tendency of capital to destroy the labour laws – and, generally, the human rights laws inherited from the post-war epoch of social state which tried to reduce the asymmetry between the rights of capital and the rights of the labour force – does not demonstrate only the new balance of forces, though in the epoch of system crisis, but also the understanding by the world dominant strata that the former laws could be used by the world labour force as weapon (from a standpoint offered even by the bourgeois society) against capitalism. Indeed, if democracy is the common dominant slogan, then the majority of population could fight for the realisation of human rights just by showing that neither these rights nor even the simple laws are put into practice in a consistent manner: thus by opposing to this fact just “their laws”, the former democratic capitalist laws. But, as we know, democracy is becoming more and more autonomous toward the citizens and even the principles it uses in order to legitimise itself. Consequently, the laws themselves are changed by the world capital. Certainly the change is made step by step following a huge pressure of the dominant ideology over the working people, but it shows that not even the appearances are kept anymore: nobody from the political classes cares the false discourses and obvious lying political tactics. For this reason, a more powerful opposition against every stepof this politics ought to function. How to put into practice this political behaviour that constructs, just through its progress, the new historical subject able to win the senescent capitalism25is the big problem of our epoch.




The welfare state legitimating of labour rights during the work


The right to oppose capital is somehow an external right of the labour force: first of all it takes part of the rights exercising during the work process only in an indirectmanner, as presupposition of the working people that they could challenge the asymmetrical relationship with capital, as latent state of spirit corresponding to the conscience of their civic and political freedom. The right to oppose is a permanent possibilitas, manifesting only in a discontinuousway: if the work process itself, i.e. the process of realization of the human needs – letting here apart the social pattern of this realisation – requires a continuous activity of the labour force, the modern status of this force generates a permanent re-establishment of the economic contract which formalises its concrete economic situation, and this re-establishment includes not only the power of capital to compel the labour forcebut also the right of workers to oppose.

The labour rights which directlyregulate the concrete position of working people inward the work process are of a different order than that of the right to oppose: of the order of realitas, of permanentmanifestation duringthe work. And just for they follow from the unanimous conscience of the potentialities of the human persons, i.e. unanimous worth given to the human beings – this leading to the norms of human rights as minimalconditions in the public life in order to allow the manifestation of these potentialities26–, the labour rights tend to allow these human rights on the workplace.

Obviously, this inference is only conclusive: in the second half of the 19thcentury, the unions, as well as the First International, have pressed for a more decent sale of the labour force specific to the first industrial revolution; since this labour force was the most advanced in those times, this fact can suggest that the liberation of the working people was possible only in a fragmented and selective manner, just the most advanced sectors having priority in this process; only the pressure of democratic forces worldwide and in the post-war welfare state has changed this situation, by generalising the labour rights to the whole of the labour force from within the developed countries as well as from the “really existing socialism”. Only in that period, the arguments concerning the human rights, the worth and potentialities of the human person and the duty of the state to assure the legal conditions of the progress of these potentialities have gone on.


Legalisation of the shrinking of labour rights within the process of work


The world process of globalisation has generated a more and more visible contradiction between the former legitimating theory of human rights and labour rights and, on the other hand, the needs of capital to have a more “flexible” workforce, i.e. to better exploit it in order to counteract the decrease of the rate of profit.

In Romania after 1989, this process took part in an informalmanner: not only because the workers were and are compelled to accept any conditions since they miss any other means of living27, but also thanks to the lack of information related to their rights. This fact generated the coexistence of the former Labour Code, stipulating some decent conditions of labour force selling, and on the other hand the real and wild exploitation of the working people.

But the new balance of forces of capital and labour, as well as the absolute defeat of the so-called unions and left political parties that left the labour force without any defence led in 2009 to the change of the above-mentioned situation: not by putting up the real situation to the level of formal stipulations related to the human rights, but by bringing down these stipulations to the level of reality. Thus, a) the probationary period was prolonged (the former Art. 3128was modified), the employees having no more the rights presumed by an employment contract; b) more, they could be fired with a simple notification; c) the former limits of probationary periods were abrogated29, focusing the preoccupation of workers not on their relationships with the employers, but on the competition with other workers; d) the contracts on determined periods were prolonged – reducing again the obligation of employers; e) the working time was prolonged “according to the specific targets and ends”, as if all the employees would be managing executives; f) at the same time, the working time was prolonged to 48 hours a week – by annulling the former normal length of 40 hours a week30– thus annulling the former differentiation between the normaland the maximallength31and ceasing to pay the overtime.

These measures are “incredible” only comparing them with the former employment contract: in the European Union the length is a 48 hour maximum working week (as we know, without Saturdays), whilst in the United Kingdom is more if one “choose to opt out of the 48 hour limit”32and “a typical workweek in South Korea is 44 hours or longer”33.


Intensification of labour


But, as we know, the length of working time is only the most visible side of the intensification of labour, the other being to speed up the track. And there are no ways to oppose this type of intensification34just for it involve quality and not quantity in labouring. And the attack on the qualitative aspects of the intensification of labour leads to the understanding of the new quality of labour as such in relation with the new IT technology: this new labour is no more propicious to be measured in time units (or products made in a unit of time), thus neither the worth of the products could be estimated according to the direct and obvious time to produce them, nor the worth of labour could be estimated according to the old measurement based on the value of products made by the employee. And if employment falls with the introduction of IT, robots, IA and nanos, not this type of labour has to be desired by the working people, nor would it be preferable with any intensification instead of unemployment. Therefore, the rise of new qualitative aspects of work and conditions of work could be the ground of a new class conscience of the world working classes.

For the time being, capital pushes to maintain the old quantitative measurement of labour, pressing at the same time the labour force to take over the capitalist pattern of class relationships and pressure. That this is already out-of-date is obvious, but the interest of capital generates this making a time thrust. The intensification of labour is, as Marx has showed, the solution of capital in front of the fall of the rate of profit generated by the spreading of a more productive technology. In present, the same solution, named “flexibilisation” of labour, is offered by the world capital facing the huge productivity of the new technologies. It is hard to see how capitalism would avoid not only many catastrophal turns in the world civilisation but first of all the decrease of the rate of profit issuing from the rise of new technologies: a “conversion to postcapitalism” seems to be necessary35. From this standpoint, the “flexibilisation” of labour may have a contradictory effect: it could bring forth a radicalisation of the labour force, but also a focalisation only on the excessive aspects produced by the present tendency to flexibilise labour.

The last observation here: just for capitalism is already in its globalised phase, and for the socialist counter-model to the savage capitalism has disapeared, the intensification of labour was and is imposed everwhere, obviously depending on the tradition of class opposition in a country or another. For this reason, the changes occurred in the labour laws of the former really existing socialism are stupefacting only for those thinking within the pattern of the former laws. It’s true that, as I already mentioned, the drastic reduction of labour rights – being easier to be imposed in a country devastated by the internal corupt high bureaucracy and rapacious “new rich” together with the Western capital and depending on the the money lent by this capital – is not only a mirror of the general tendency of capitalism in this epoch but also a competing model for the former welfare statelaws.

Thus though there is a supra-determination of phenomena in the present capitalism of a country like Romania or whatever by imperialism or “global suprasociety”36, or Empire37, this supra-determination itself is but the manifestation of the genuine capitalist relations.


How to “compensate” the missing labour force


The present strong compulsion of the labour force is generated not only for it still is the source of profit, but also for it paradoxically seems that capital has no workforce.

Therefore, as long as machines (robots with artificial intelligence equal or bigger than that of man) will not accomplish their work the realisation of goods necessary to the human existence, the labour force is and will be compelled38and is and will be the source of profit. But the present scientific and technical revolution is allowing not only more rapid development of the means of production than capitalism – with its deviation of funds and goals toward weapons, wars and security – permits, thus annulling the material causes of exploitation, but also a new level of the labour force. Just by working with IT in a world spiritual atmosphere imbued by communication, the employees become specialists – i.e. they are their own technical surveyors, or they themselves survey from a technical standpoint – and do not need political surveyors (political compulsion in order to economically compel the working people) for their technical performances39. The compulsion of labour force is thus prolonged not from objective, technical, reasons, but from political ones. Just this contradiction between the level of productive forces and, on the other hand, the inertia of productive and political relations constitutes the system crisis and manifests through so many forms.

One form is the above-mentioned “lack” of workforce. Indeed, for the working people are politically free persons, and for they all live in a globalised world, they could (or at least they press for) move in countries where wages are higher than in a peripheral country like Romania. Consequently, the capital faces shortages in its need of concrete labour force to be used in investments related to the process of delocalisation, and not to the real industrialisation of the country.

But the active people are not only moving abroad, but also limit their want to work, and even to gain for a decent life. Since they are free, they could choose to not hard work in constructions, factories or big farms: they could be satisfied with a frugal living in their very small farms40, or could develop some very modern agricultural techniques in these small farms in order to sell their products in the market, or could involve into informal mafias or individual delinquency, or could reduce their living to the social benefits given by the state for children, old age, handicaps, free access to healthcare and education. Briefly, the original human rights and the tradition of welfare state proved to be brakes within the process of capitalist employing. The urgency of measures to counteract them was quickened by the emptying of state reserves which supported the banks in the crisis begun in 2008. As we know, everywhere the funds for the development of the repressive function of the state have raised, and before the crisis (prisons etc.), while everywhere the alliance between capital and bureaucracy have generated, and much before the crisis, waste of state funds and their transfer in big proportion to the clients of the above-mentioned alliance.

This entire context has pressed for the reduction of the welfare state. And, although the redistribution of state support for education, healthcare and workplaces to the working people through state investments has decreased at a great extent, it was not enough. Thus in front of the reduction of welfare state policies, in front of the consolidation of the model of social ascension through non-working, and in front of the (relative) freedom to live the country, and facing labour force shortages, the new Labour Code was added with stipulations regarding the reduction of social benefits. The most known is that concerning the protection of mother and child: mothers are entitled to benefit a maternal wage only 1 year. Another example is the reduction of unemployment benefits. All these measures aim at whipping the labour force: back to work!


Decrease of the welfare state, generalisation of the “Third World”


This entire process of aggravation takes part from the general tendency of “thirdworldisationing” the selling of the labour force: not only the structural adjustments of countries according to the IMF politics generate their lowering to the usual status of a third world country41, but first of all just the new dependent status of the labour force worldwide. Yes, working people could emigrate searching for better conditions to sell themselves, but not this is the solution: since they meet everywhere the same power of capital, domination-submission relationships.

The new Code legalises the extreme exploitation. The extreme aspect of exploitation could be a danger for the awakening of labour conscience: although people grasp the existence of exploitation rather when it is extreme – wages are very low, the intensity of work is very big –, being difficult for them to understand the structural character of exploitation both in the restricted and large sense, they tend, because of the very hard conditions, to put as their specific ends only the annulling of their recent loses in matter of living standards42. In fact, they will not arrive to a decent life and dignity within a decent society if they will not focus on exploitation as such and the social organisation around the private property.

By legitimising the excessive exploitation, the present (Romanian) capitalism unveils its new historical phase when it no more cares about appearances and undisguisedly despises its “partner”, as it uses to name the labour force. At the same time, the new Code is a signal that the destruction of the welfare state model of life, including the right to oppose, would give room for a new level of the domination-submission relationships.


Instead of conclusions


Who is guilty for this situation? If the left has no the power to generate the reforms society needs, than the right makes them: but in its right-wing manner, by aggressively promoting the interests of capital. The lack of power is due to the left itself, thus the generative forces of neo-liberalreforms are not only the right but also the “left”.

The contra-revolution against the communist values promoted in a way or another by the really exiting socialism took place after 45 years of cold war. In that period the popular psychology, the horizon of expectations, the spiritual atmosphere open to non-communist values was prepared. Nowadays, the new open aggression of world capitalism against the world working people could lead to a new period to prepare the communist revolution: the new enlightenment does not mean that the light would propagate from the enlightened intellectuals to the crowd – from which those enlightened intellectuals await for revolting –. The intellectuals are a part of the people and the new enlightenment could rise only from this common popular ideological construction. To insert within this huge process, possible but asking for permanent self-critique, assembling and not fragmenting the problems, researching and publicly promoting this understanding – is the main task.





Adams Roy J., Labour Left Out: Canada’s Failure to Protect and Promote Collective Bargaining as a Human Right, Ottawa, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2006

Arendt Hannah, The Human Condition, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1958

Aristotle, Politics, translated by Benjamin Jowett,, Book one, part IV

Bahro Rudolf, The Alternative in Eastern Europe(1977), London, New Left Books/Verso, 1978

Bazac Ana, „Aristotle and the labour force. Aristotle’s tradition in the present-day industrial revolution ideology”, Revue roumaine de philosophie, 1-2, 2004

Bazac Ana, „Sartre şi aventura conceptului de raritate”, in Adriana Neacşu (coord.), Sartre în gândirea contemporană, Craiova, Editura Universitaria, 2008

Bazac Ana, „Sartre és a hiány koncepciójának kalandjai”, Eszmélet, 77, tavasz, 2008

Bazac Ana, „La révolte et la lutte: Albert Camus et Jean-Paul Sartre en dedans et en dehors de l’existentialisme”, Revue roumaine de philosophie, 2, 2010

Bazac Ana, “La gauche roumaine et l’appauvrissement: quelques remarques théoriques”, 2010,–quelques-remarques-theoriques

Bieler Andreas, Ingemar Lindberg and Devan Pillay, „What future strategy for the global working class? The need for a new historical subject”, in Andreas Bieler, Ingemar Lindberg, Devan Pillay (eds.), Labour and the Challenges of Globalization, With a foreword by Samir Amin, London, Ann Arbor, MI, Pluto Press, University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2008

Castoriadis Cornelius, „Pouvoir, politique, autonomie”, in Cornelius Castoriadis, Le monde morcelé. Les carrefours du labyrinthe, III, Paris, Seuil, 1990

Chakravorty Spivak Gayatri, “Righting Wrongs – 2002”, Other Asias, London, Blackwell, 2005

Conte Bernard, „La Grèce et l’Irlande en voie de tiers-mondialisation”,

Djilas Milovan, The New Class: An Analysis of the Communist System, New York, Frederick A. Praeger, 1957

Elster John, Making Sense of Marx(1985), Cambridge, Paris, Cambridge University Press, Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 1999

Engels Friedrich, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, 1884,

Gernigon Bernard, Alberto Odero and Horacio Guido, ILO Principles Concerning the Right To Strike, 1998,—ed_norm/—normes/documents/publication/wcms_087987.pdf

GorzAndré, Reclaiming Work: Beyond the Wage-Based Society(1997), Cambridge, Polity Press, 1999

Hardt, Michael & Antonio Negri, Empire (2000), Cambridge, Mass., Lond., England, Harvard University Press, 2001

Heidegger Martin, Letter on Humanism(1946), Translated by Miles Groth,“Humanism“.pdf


Kuçuradi Ioanna, „Les droits de l’homme, en tant que principes éthiques et fondements de la loi”, in Philosophie et droits humains, UNESCO, 2004

Leisink Peter, Bram Steijn and Ulke Veersma (eds.), Industrial Relations in the New Europe: Enlargenment, Integration and Reform, Cheltenham, UK, Northhampton, USA, Edward Elgar, 2007

Marx Karl, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, 1843,

Marx Karl, The Class Struggle in France, 1848-1850, first chapter,

Marx Karl, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, 1852, first chapter,

Marx Karl, Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology, 1845,

Michels Robert, Les partis politiques. Essais sur les tendances oligarchiques des démocraties(1911), Traduction par le Dr. S. Jankélévitch, Paris, Flammarion, 1914

Morin Edgar, „Individu, société, espèce : pour une éthique”, in Philosophie et droits humains, UNESCO, 2004, p. 41,

Mosca Gaetano, Teoria dei Governi e Governo parlamentare. Studi storici i sociali(1884), secunda edizione, Milano, Soc. An. Istituto editoriale scientifica, 1925

Reuben L. Norman Jr., The Internet, Creative Destruction and the Falling Rate of Profit Crisis, 2000,

Ostrogorski Moisei, La Démocratie et les partis politiques(1903), Paris, Fayard, 1993

Pareto Vilfredo, Traité de sociologie générale(1916), Paris, Payot, Édition française par Pierre Boven, revue par l’auteur, 1917, II, pp. 1442-1490 

Rizzi Bruno, The Bureaucratisation of the World, 1939,

Rizzi Bruno, Le collectivisme bureaucratique, 1939,

Romanian Labour Code,,

Sindicate: Proiectul noului Cod al Muncii defavorizează statul şi angajaţii,½9/proiectul-noului-cod-al-muncii-defavorizeaza-si-statul-si-angajatii/

Szakacs Gergely, Hungary govt MPs propose limiting right to strike, Dec. 20, 2010,

The right to strike, Sarko version, 2007,

Trotsky Léon, La révolution trahie (1936), Traduction de russe par Victor Serge, Paris, B. Grasset, 1937 

Voslensky Michael, Nomenklatura: Anatomy of the Soviet Ruling Class(1970), London, The Bodley Head Ltd, 1984

Weber Max, „La vocation de l’homme politique” (1919), in Max Weber, Le savant et la politique, Traduction de Julien Freund, Introduction de Raymond Aron, Paris, Plon, 1959

Zinoviev Alexander, Global Suprasociety and Russia,


1 Sindicate: Proiectul noului Cod al Muncii defavorizează statul şi angajaţii,½9/proiectul-noului-cod-al-muncii-defavorizeaza-si-statul-si-angajatii/

2 See Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, 1843,; Karl Marx, The Class Struggle in France, 1848-1850, first chapter,; Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, 1852, first chapter,; Gaetano Mosca, Teoria dei Governi e Governo parlamentare. Studi storici i sociali(1884), secunda edizione, Milano, Soc. An. Istituto editoriale scientifica, 1925, pp. 249-298; Friedrich Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, 1884,; Moisei Ostrogorski, La Démocratie et les partis politiques(1903), Paris, Fayard, 1993 ; Robert Michels, Les partis politiques. Essais sur les tendances oligarchiques des démocraties(1911), Traduction par le Dr. S. Jankélévitch, Paris, Flammarion, 1914; Vilfredo Pareto, Traité de sociologie générale(1916), Paris, Payot, Édition française par Pierre Boven, revue par l’auteur, 1917, II, pp. 1442-1490 ; Max Weber, „La vocation de l’homme politique” (1919), in Max Weber, Le savant et la politique, Traduction de Julien Freund, Introduction de Raymond Aron, Paris, Plon, 1959; Léon Trotsky, La révolution trahie(1936), Traduction de russe par Victor Serge, Paris, B. Grasset, 1937 ; Bruno Rizzi, The Bureaucratisation of the World, 1939,, or Le collectivisme bureaucratique, 1939,; Milovan Djilas, The New Class: An Analysis of the Communist System, New York, Frederick A. Praeger, 1957; Rudolf Bahro, The Alternative in Eastern Europe(1977), London, New Left Books/Verso, 1978; Michael Voslensky, Nomenklatura: Anatomy of the Soviet Ruling Class(1970), London, The Bodley Head Ltd, 1984.

3Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology, 1845, Part I: Feuerbach. Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook, A. Idealism and Materialism, [5. Development of the Productive Forces as a material premise of Communism],

4 See Ana Bazac, „Sartre şi aventura conceptului de raritate”, in Adriana Neacşu (coord.), Sartre în gândirea contemporană, Craiova, Editura Universitaria, 2008, pp. 105-162 (Romania), and „Sartre és a hiány koncepciójának kalandjai”, Eszmélet, 77, tavasz, 2008, pp. 184-205 (Hungary) [Sartre and the adventures of the concept of rarity]; and „La révolte et la lutte: Albert Camus et Jean-Paul Sartre en dedans et en dehors de l’existentialisme”, Revue roumaine de philosophie, 2, 2010, pp. 239-266.

5 And today, with the entire huge development of the productive forces – this meaning the present science and technique, as well as the labour force fir for this technique – capitalism induces a false rarity: just because it allocates resources in an irrational manner.

6 Cornelius Castoriadis, „Pouvoir, politique, autonomie”, in Cornelius Castoriadis, Le monde morcelé. Les carrefours du labyrinthe, III, Paris, Seuil, 1990, especially pp. 113-131.

7 AndréGorz, Reclaiming Work: Beyond the Wage-Based Society(1997), Cambridge, Polity Press, 1999, p. 1.

8Let’s remember that Heidegger’s critique of humanism pointed out that „the opposition to ‘humanism’ by no means comes out in defence of the inhumane, but rather opens up other prospects”, this meaning to question “the truth of being” beyond the really existing humanisms; but this also meaning that modernity itself, with all its inhumane appearances, was covered by a metaphysical veil. To destroy this veil would mean to question – perhaps this time beyond Heidegger – reality itself (certainly, through the critique of presumptions of thinking): for, let’s not forget, “the question about the truth of being has not only not been posed, but rather <is> blocked

<from being asked> inasmuch as metaphysics continues on in the forgottenness of being”, Martin Heidegger, Letter on Humanism(1946), Translated by Miles Groth,“Humanism“.pdf

9 This is the point of view of Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1958.

10Edgar Morin, „Individu, société, espèce : pour une éthique”, in Philosophie et droits humains, UNESCO, 2004, p. 41,

11Or capacity of being a subject, thus situating himself in the centre of his world in order to judge and consider the world, ibidem, p. 43.

12See Resolution concerning the Abolition of Anti-Trade Union Legislation in the States Members of the International Labour Organisation, 1957; Resolution concerning Trade Union Rights and Their Relation to Civil Liberties, 1970.

13 “It is interesting to note that, with a few exceptions, until the late nineteenth century, strikes were generally considered to be an unlawful activity of a criminal nature, and that they were unlawful in many countries until beyond the mid-twentieth century. It is therefore remarkable that the right to strike subsequently became a fundamental right recognized by the large majority of countries, was embodied in the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966, and has been protected by the ILO supervisory bodies (principally the Committee on Freedom of Association — since 1952 — and the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations — since 1959)”, Bernard Gernigon, Alberto Odero and Horacio Guido, ILO Principles Concerning the Right To Strike, 1998,—ed_norm/—normes/documents/publication/wcms_087987.pdf, p. 57.

14However, this consideration did not rarefy the rights of capital to profit from the exploitation of the labour force and from the political domination. See AndréGorz, ibidem, p. 160, notes: even in the German post-war social state “between 1979 and 1994 German company profits rose by 90 per cent, while wages increased by 6 per cent. However, company taxation as a percentage of tax revenue fell from 35 per cent in 1960 to 25 per cent in 1980 and 13 per cent in 1994. If company taxes had remained at 1980 levels, Germany’s tax revenue would have increased by DM, instead of falling by 9 per cent”.

15 This is leading to the shrinking of state funds for investments and social expenditures.

16Peter Leisink, Bram Steijn and Ulke Veersma (eds.), Industrial Relations in the New Europe: Enlargenment, Integration and Reform, Cheltenham, UK, Northhampton, USA, Edward Elgar, 2007, p. 1.

P. 4: “the concept of ESM is relatively recent and the common views and principles which it represents include, according to the Nice Summit 2000, the importance of social dialogue, systems that offer a high level of social protection, and services of general interest covering activities vital for social cohesion”.

17 Ibidem, p. 2.

18This expression was used in Romania from December 1989 onwards instead of the simple word of capitalism.

20Gergely Szakacs, Hungary govt MPs propose limiting right to strike, Dec. 20, 2010, “In an amendment to Hungary’s 1989 strike law, two Fidesz lawmakers propose barring workers in basic services such as public transport and utilities from going on strike unless they agree with employers on maintaining a minimum essential service. In the absence of an agreement, a court could specify what constitutes minimum essential service, but the amendment also provides for a separate law to set these conditions, giving parliament broader powers to fine-tune strike rights”.

22Roy J. Adams, Labour Left Out: Canada’s Failure to Protect and Promote Collective Bargaining as a Human Right, Ottawa, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2006, p. 11-12: “During the last half century there has beena human rights revolution in Canada. The rights of aboriginal people, those with disabilities, visible minorities, and women have attracted increased protection. As well, respect for these human rights has been vigorously promoted by federal and provincial governments…Although the international community heralds labour right as deserving of equal respect, protection and encouragement, labour in Canada has been left out of the human rights revolution. Indeed…during the past half century the rights of workers have been diminishing: so too has been their ability to exercise their dwindling rights. In the public sector governments have consciously and repeatedly offended international labour standards they have solemnly promised to respect, protect and promote. In the private sector, governments have remained on the sidelines while employers have become increasingly bold in their attempts to thwart their employees’ human right to organize and bargain collectively.

The international human rights consensus that Canada formally supports, requires that all globally recognized human rights be treated equally and be accorded equal reverence and respect. Canada, however, has chosen to promote and protect certain human rights while allowing labour rights to languish. By doing so it weakens the global consensus on which millions of people rely. By choosing which human rights to honour and which to ignore or violate, Canada condones similar behaviour elsewhere. If Canada may choose to deny the human rights character of collective bargaining then other nations may claim that their local customs allow them to discriminate against women, children and ethnic minorities.

According to the global consensus, labour rights are a key element of human rights and respect for human rights is an essential element of democratic society”.

But also see the entire issue “Poverty as a Human Rights violation”, International Social Science Journal, September-December 2009.

23 See the new Hungarian law on media services and mass communication.

24Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Righting Wrongs – 2002”, Other Asias, London, Blackwell, 2005, p. 20.

25 Andreas Bieler, Ingemar Lindberg and Devan Pillay, „What future strategy for the global working class? The need for a new historical subject”, in Andreas Bieler, Ingemar Lindberg, Devan Pillay (eds.), Labour and the Challenges of Globalization, With a foreword by Samir Amin, London, Ann Arbor, MI, Pluto Press, University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2008.

26Ioanna Kuçuradi, „Les droits de l’homme, en tant que principes éthiques et fondements de la loi”, in Philosophie et droits humains, UNESCO, 2004, p. 34.

27 For this structural reason, the libertarian argument that people would be free to choose theirs employers does not resist: one cannot be free when selling his/her labour force.

29In the former law, Art. 33, The successive employment of more than three persons on probation for the same position shall be prohibited, ibidem.

31Art. 111, ibidem: The maximum legal length of the working time may not exceed 48 hours per week, including the overtime.

34 John Elster, Making Sense of Marx(1985), Cambridge, Paris, Cambridge University Press, Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 1999, p. 192, is only putting the problem: „If the length of the working day is the object of class struggle, it is hard to see why this should not also be true of the intensity of labour. Perhaps the subtleties of the pressure involved make it difficult to equalize degrees of intensity across firms and industries, so that political action by the working class would be hard to undertake, but one might at least expect that the workers in a given firm would be able to act in concert”.

35 Reuben L. Norman Jr., The Internet, Creative Destruction and the Falling Rate of Profit Crisis, 2000,

36 Alexander Zinoviev, Global Suprasociety and Russia,

37Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri, Empire(2000), Cambridge, Mass., Lond., England, Harvard University Press, 2001

38“For if every instrument could accomplish its own work, obeying or anticipating the will of others, like the statues of Daedalus, or the tripods of Hephaestus…
if, in like manner, the shuttle would weave and the plectrum touch the lyre without a hand to guide them, chief workmen would not want servants, nor masters slaves”, Aristotle, Politics(350 B.C.), translated by Benjamin Jowett,, Book one, part IV.

39See Ana Bazac, „Aristotle and the labour force. Aristotle’s tradition in the present-day industrial revolution ideology”, Revue roumaine de philosophie, 1-2, 2004, pp. 87-106.

40 After December 1989, a big part of the workers loosing their workplaces because of the suppressing of plants has moved back to the countryside: the destruction of industry led to the fact that in present half of the Romanian population lives in villages. Their gentrification – through the transformation of many productive zones in residential areas of the new urban middle-class – has generated the becoming of many former qualified workers in towns and villages as servants in these new residential areas.

41Bernard Conte, „La Grèce et l’Irlande en voie de tiers-mondialisation”,


42See Ana Bazac, “La gauche roumaine et l’appauvrissement: quelques remarques théoriques”, 2010,–quelques-remarques-theoriques