We are unfortunately in an environment where a consistent advocate for the abolition of human rentals would be a pariah, as many interactions lend support to human renting institutions. While it is never pleasant to compromise one’s beliefs, in practice people accept a some level of hypocrisy in their actions. Which compromises should be made, and at what cost, needs to be an active discussion among modern abolitionists. Those choices are a sign of a vibrant movement dealing with the realities of applying theory in practice. Theory for its own sake is pointless. It is only when theory becomes widely known and widely applicable that it can reach its full potential.
Time and resources are limited, so it is important to think strategically about the most efficient ways to have an impact. This does not mean everyone should reach the same conclusions. Circumstances differ, as do abilities, and energy. Embrace these differences as a sign of progress and diversity.
There are many steps that can be taken to abolish human rentals. By analogy one can think of appropriate actions if we were seeking to abolish slavery. I will list a few things that can be done here, some more practical, others less so:
Refuse to rent yourself – Demand a vote and demand profit appropriation at your workplace. Demand your business be converted to a worker cooperative. Or become self employed.
Boycott businesses that use rented humans – Refuse to support them through your consumption. This obviously isn’t so easy in today’s society, but shifting consumption to worker cooperatives when possible definitely helps.
Divest from business that use human rentals – Don’t finance them by investing in the stock market and don’t buy their bonds. Socially responsible alternatives do exist. For starters use credit unions instead of banks. While credit union workplaces typically aren’t democratically managed it is a small step in the right direction.
Support worker cooperatives – Purchase from your local worker cooperative, learn about what they are doing, how they operate, and how their members and community benefit. Join a worker cooperative or help them expand.
Educate your friends, family, and colleagues – Spread awareness by starting a discussion. Due to some heavy ideological baggage this is a difficult topic to initiate with strangers, without sounding crazy. Leverage existing relationships and connections.
Organize, protest, demonstrate – Demand the abolition of human rentals. Asking politely is never effective for these types of matters. Civil disobedience has historically been the most effective opposition to injustice. Business as usual means people’s rights can continue to be ignored.
There are impediments to taking action of any sort: personal inconvenience, monetary cost, loss of social standing, and incarceration to name a few. To act in face these or more serious consequences requires courage and support. People typically draw the line when action might threaten their career, which they deem to have invested too much time to risk. Besides, an income producing job is rarely something people can sacrifice. That barrier is undoubtedly present here. Advocacy on this issue carries significant risk and the need for mutual support is essential. Efforts to provide support and build a viable alternative should not be neglected.