Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Leftism and Wrestling: Freedom to Go

Neville's potential comeback to WWE is only possible because WWE holds all the cards
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Even though capitalists and conservatives run and populate the wrestling business, as an artform, it lends itself to leftist ideals. This series hopes to show wrestling fans why they should embrace the left, not just for the sport/art, but also for themselves.

Neville walked out on RAW a month ago and hasn't been seen since. His tenure with the company felt SO DONE that he was removed from the 205 Live intro. However, WWE being WWE, it didn't grant him his outright release at the time, instead opting to go the Rey Mysterio route and holding him to his contract even if he was sitting on the sidelines. Even though the company didn't think his services were valuable enough to feature on main roster feuds despite actually engendering reactions and getting people excited before turning him heel and sticking him on the show barely anyone in the front office cares about, those same people thought he'd be valuable enough on the indies and in other corporately-owned entities to hurt WWE's global hegemony. Basically, WWE has held him hostage since his walkout, which, as the pedants in the back row in the "All Hail!" t-shirts will tell me, is well within WWE's rights.

The holdout has circled back around to amicability though, it seems, as WWE and Neville have progressed in talks to get him back into the fold. No harm, no foul, right? As noted college football pregame show co-host and mascot-head wearing enthusiast Lee Corso might say, "Not so fast, my friend." One person's "cooler heads have prevailed" is another's "WWE has won another war of attrition." If I've done anything with this series of posts, I hope that it's illuminated how the gap in resources between WWE and even the most well-compensated wrestlers on its roster is. Neville definitely wasn't making Brock Lesnar money, and even if he was and was saving his resources judiciously, he wouldn't have the wherewithal to sit out the rest of his contract or win a legal battle against WWE's hundreds-of-millions of dollars ability to legally block him. Rey Mysterio and CM Punk barely had those resources to do what they did, and the latter got hit with his own legal battle from WWE after he left for "defaming" the quack doctor who tried giving him a Z-Pak for a staph infection. The fact that Neville had scant few choices other than renegotiating with WWE shows a distinct peril for any worker in America.

Regardless of what those who defend the status quo say, you are not truly free in the United States, because you are not guaranteed an income. The leftist dream is to eliminate as much work as can be done by humans and use the revenue garnered from automation to fund a guaranteed universal basic income that correlates to a living wage. In the absence of the conditions needed for UBI, leftist thought on labor shifts towards giving as much power to the worker as possible. Part of that power is the freedom to move on from a workplace that is unsatisfactory, toxic even. A corporation or any embodiment of capital should not be able to block someone from leaving their place of work, especially if that entity retains the right for at-will termination. Why should one entity have that power while the other doesn't? It's the money, stupid, and that's why so much leftist theory concerns the concentration of wealth and why so much leftist praxis remains set on distributing that wealth to more people. Wealth is power, and if everyone is equally powerful, no one can get an unfair advantage over another person.

Neville should have been allowed to walk away from WWE if he wanted to when he wanted to. He should have been able to take his talents and ply them at a place that would've made him happiest. The fact that he might be coming back to WWE is a textbook example of the house always winning. If you vest way too much power centrally, the people who wield it will abuse it. Nothing is a more addictive drug than control, especially over another human being. When people awaken to that fact, only then will things start to get better.