It isn’t work people are afraid of, if they are able to do some, it’s the idea of being forced. Let’s substitute work for sex, for a moment. Sex is supposed to be something freely given, an expression of love or lust between two people. For others, perhaps those who’ve been in a relationship a long time, the spark may have disappeared and partners may feel it a bit of a tedious duty, like others feel about having been in their job for too long, but nevertheless, they go through the motions, for other benefits. Those benefits in a marriage, could be for security, safety, companionship. The same could be said of work, the job may be stale, but there are benefits such as security, companionship, and of course, there may be financial benefits. Maybe there aren’t, maybe the money isn’t worth it, just as in the relationship, maybe it is dead, and time to move on.
But none of these cross a line. But forced work, is no difference to forced sex. Forced sex has a name. Rape. If a person doesn’t consent to have sex, then it is force. The raped person will feel abused, worthless, guilt, shame, devalued, angry, powerless. Long term effects may include anxiety attacks, panic attacks, agoraphobia, depression, suicidal thoughts and attempts. This is what happens when people lose control of their lives, lose their autonomy, their right to say who they sleep with and when. It is now agreed that in a civilised society that this should be a person’s right, it affords dignity, self-worth and self-respect. But hang on: shouldn’t this apply to work as well? Work should be a choice: something that affords dignity, self-worth and self-respect, shouldn’t it? We’ve all heard the government rhetoric but on the sly they are using compulsion and force. They aren’t the stereotype rapists who jump at you and overpower you in a dark alley. They are much too clever. They use subtle language, blackmail, power and authority to get you into bed against your will. The results are the same and they are devastating. They take away your autonomy, your ability to act freely, your capacity for choice, your capacity for creativity, your capacity to make a simple decision. They incapacitate you, in fact.