Why abolish human rentals? Can the problems with the human rental contract (employment contract) be fixed simply by legislating and enforcing better treatment and compensation for workers? By analogy was there anything wrong with slavery that couldn’t be fixed by legally requiring the benevolent treatment of slaves combined with effective enforcement of those laws? Or was there something else wrong which required the abolition of slavery under any conditions?
The ownership or rental of humans both seek to violate the same inalienable rights, namely a person’s of decision making authority and responsibility for their actions. The issue at stake is the legal non-personhood of the slave or employee. While the specific treatment of people matters, we must also ask whether the structure of working relationships is internally consistent with people providing labor. In the case of both human ownership and human rentals they are not.
The question of how best to achieve the abolition of human rentals remains open. However, abolition involves more than demanding the immediate and unconditional abolition of human rentals. It is like wishing for world peace, a noble goal, but hardly a strategy.
Merely understanding is not sufficient to create real social progress, though it is an important first step. There are two common reactions once the essence of human rentals is grasped: 1) feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem, leading to apathy and discouragement 2) wanting to be told what to do, so one can then say it is impractical and thus comfortably do nothing. Both outcomes must be resisted.
Real action and changes in behavior are essential. These matter, however small they may be. Effective advocacy and applied pressure requires careful thought and assessment. This must be an active an ongoing process.
There is no “correct” solution. There are different solutions for different people depending on their situations, their circumstances, and their abilities, which they must determine themselves. The cooperation of like minded individuals collaborating on a common goal is the way forward. The tactics of each group do not need to be the same, nor should they be. That is the strength of social movements, determining where the best opportunities are in a given situation and exploiting them. The grassroots organizing required to abolish human rentals is essential as establishment support is extremely unlike.