Welcome to the Abolish Human Rentals website, home of the modern abolitionist movement. This site examines the employment contract, the dominant labor relationship today. Employment is accurately described as a voluntary self-rental, where a person exchanges their own labor for a salary or wage. But whether voluntary or not, the human rental (employment) contract is incompatible with workers’ inalienable rights. A legitimate labor arrangement requires workplace democracy and worker ownership whenever peoples’ labor is involved.
The theory of inalienable rights is only useful to the extent it is widely known and consistently applied in practice. Inalienable rights are based on the already broadly held principle of the non-transferability of responsibility for one’s actions. The issue is not one of coercion or willfully choosing to be rented. And it is not about the level of compensation being to low for workers, though it is about workers appropriating the fruits of their labor, good or bad.
Inalienable rights proponents have already scored major social achievements including, the abolition of slavery (human sales contract), women’s suffrage (voting rights), the abolition of coverture marriage (wife’s rights to husband), and modern political democracy (prohibition of disenfranchisement through vote selling). The abolition of human rentals will be last remaining social victory in this category.
The abolition of human rentals will be no small task given their widespread prevalence and firm entrenchment in the economic system. The modern abolitionist movement must begin by destroying the false perception of legitimacy that human rentals currently maintain. Inalienable rights arguments pose a lethal threat to the practice of renting humans. At stake is nothing less than the employment system and the stock market through which ownership of human rental contracts are exchanged.
Inquiry into the legitimacy of human rentals has long been buried by a barrage of propaganda, with the complicity of the economic establishment. Such a fundamental question is notably absent from our education system, political discourse, and media. These ideas must be revived in the public conscious. As with slavery, inalienable rights issues cannot be addressed directly by proponents of human rentals without inviting destruction of the system. There are only two possible responses: Silence in the hope that inalienable rights are never widely understood, or vilification and harassment of the advocates in the event they gain traction. The strategy has thus far been successful in diverting attention from a profound idea and its revolutionary implications.
The alternative to human rentals is universal self employment in democratically managed worker owned businesses, or worker cooperatives. Workplace democracy eliminates the alienation of decision making power, and worker ownership means workers appropriate any resulting profits or losses, thus achieving financial responsibility for their actions. This will result in real worker sovereignty.