This reserve now extends well beyond the roughly 218 million unemployed, an astronomical 1.7 billion workers being designated the "vulnerably employed." A significant portion of this reserve is undoubtedly wageless, composed of members of marginal domestic economies who eke out material being through unpaid labours, scavenging, and other "Dickensian" endeavours of the kind associated with life in the favelas, barrios, and shanty towns of the developing world.
Against the refusals of what are presented as orthodox Marxism, which we suggest contain as much easy caricature as critical dissection, we offer a more open-ended understanding of how to approach the diversities of proletarianization and, in particular, the study of the wageless. If Denning finds terms like the reserve army of labour and the lumpenproletariat inadequate, just as the declaration of lack that is present in more mainstream designations of the unemployed inevitably forces consideration in directions of the determinative influence of the wage relation, we find in all of these categories something of value.
(23) A wageless, diseased population, increasingly visible on city streets and challenging its ruling order's sense of public propriety and paternal responsibility necessitated a response.
As Stanley Ryerson long ago noted, the proletariat, waged and wageless, was "not yet in a position to act in [its] own name or give independent leadership to the struggle." (27)
Nonetheless, the crimp nalization and institutionalization of the wageless reflected both the growing unease among the patrician and propertied, as well as their panicked recourse to discipline the unruly:
(34) Toronto's wageless would exist in the shadow of the House of Industry for decades.
The Left and the Toronto Wageless Before the Great Depression, 1900-1925
And among some in this often fissiparous and differentiated left, antagonism to the wageless as little more than capitalism's refuse would surface in denunciations of the poor as parasites.
In this climate, when the wageless were driven to destitution and marked out for a variety of coercions, the left critique of capitalist crisis undoubtedly registered more forcefully with Toronto's dispossessed.
Rebuffed by the Mayor, who stated clearly that temporary employment would never be provided solely as a means of relief, the wageless retreated.
A few days later, the wageless again convened at City Hall, their mood described as "dangerous." Albert Hill climbed atop a wagon to address the large throng, which had once more spilled over into streets, prompting the police to disperse the gathering.
As Drury detailed the great suffering experienced by the wageless, he was told by the Mayor that the House of Industry was always available to the destitute.