Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A slightly more pessimistic take on the state of the American worker

Sir Charles, a labor lawyer, on the current plight of the American worker,

Somewhere along the line all of this changed for reasons both complex and simple. Working class Americans increasingly got the shaft as we became a nation obsessed with shareholder value and "business porn," a world of glossy magazines celebrating the likes of former GE CEO Jack Welch, whose major life accomplishment seems to have been sending 100,000+ good jobs overseas. The ulitmate wet dream of a company in this world was Wal-Mart, which combined the anti-union thuggery of the 1930s, with the wage payment philosophy of late nineteenth century capitalism, added a smiley face, and won the hearts of small town Americans everywhere, determined as they were to destroy their way of life and standard of living to buy cheap shit from China.

I am rooting for the folks at Republic to win at least a moral victory and to get the money to which they are entitled. I am praying for a more audacious working class to emerge from this current debacle. It is time to say no to employers who steal the labor of working people -- and sometimes "no" means actions outside of the acceptable norm -- it means a brick through a window, a fist to the nose, a mysterious fire here, a sugared gas tank there. It means standing the fuck up and saying that I've taken all that I can take and I ain't taking no more. It means making the Waltons and the Welches of the world a little less comfortable, a little less safe, so that they might think twice about those who work for them and so that "shareholder value" is not their only concern.

Food for thought.

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