But it beats being unemployed amirite?
No. Seriously. Sorry for the radio silence, I have had some big nasty health things happening which have left me kind of washed out and tired and really grateful to have health insurance for the first time in seven years.
But honestly. Lets talk about the state of the laborer. You know how I like to go on my filthy pinko rants.
So working– working specifically in America.
Listen workers. I hate to tell you this. I know how happy and excited you were when you got that job, how you were caught up in the whirlwind excitement of it, how you tried to be your best self, and then– when that job offered to make it permanent so soon, you said yes! Yes! Yes! Maybe it was a little fast, but that’s ok, because you love that job, and it loves you back. Sure, sometimes that job pushes you around a little, but it’s just so stressed out, what with the economy and the stocks and stuff. You know it doesn’t mean it. I mean sometimes you feel really zoned out, and you try to hide it, because that jobs just wants whats best for you. And that job would be so disappointed if you weren’t giving it 100%. And you make that job so angry sometimes– you know how stupid you get.
Well. Let me tell you, American workers. That job? Is abusive. That job that makes you work unpaid overtime just so it won’t kick you out into the street? That job that belittles and harasses you and then complains about your morale? That job that constantly threatens you with the knowledge that you could be replaced by a much hotter model at any time? That job that blames you for it’s own dysfunction? Is abusive.
If that job were a significant other, you would be well advised to get a restraining order against it. Sometimes that job is really unsafe, and is a hazard to life and limb. Sometimes that job threatens your kids (with poverty), if you don’t just shut up already.
The problem of course, is that even if you leave that job, you’ll probably just end up with another one like it, or worse. Better the devil you know!
And that job doesn’t want to hear your whining. It has all the power. It’s a fucking catch. Anyone would love to have that job. You think the other jobs will believe you when you tell them that that job is abusing you? Not a chance. That job has a good reputation, and you’re just a pathetic worker. That job has important people to please, and you just don’t understand– you’re too stupid to realize how worthless you are.
Sound familiar? It’s because workers have no power at all anymore. Unions have been dismantled, so there is no authority to which we may turn if our jobs begin abusing us. Most state labor agencies give as much of a fuck about workers rights as most state cops give about domestic violence.
A quarter of the wealth has been stuffed down the underpants of 1% of the country, and that sweet crotch scented cash is the result of abuse. And of making us buy into our own abuse. By making us believe that we don’t deserve living wages, respectful harassment free work places, benefits, security, and agency in our working lives. By telling us that we aren’t shit. By making it impossible for us to leave them, or to fight them. By making it clear (in so many words and with a quietly closed fist) that if we get together with our friends and their friends, they’ll just maybe beat us all up. And nobody (in the government) will believe us when we complain. They’ll just pat our hands and say ” well, it’s the way things are, dear. Maybe if you just tried harder, you know [buy some lingerie, cook a nice dinner] [useless “career” advice]…” They will say “Oh, but thats a such a nice job! I just can’t believe that that that job would do such a thing! And I know how you lie!”
And the other jobs will be sure to let you know that they think you provoked that job, that “it takes two” and “everyone is equally responsible.”
So here we are, American workers.
Our only option is collective action. Much like a victim of domestic violence cannot just up and leave with any support structures, individual workers can’t change things. We have to demand accountability. We have to demand the right to unionize. We have to insist that our government treat workers like what we are– the foundation of the economy and the country. The wealthy don’t create or maintain jobs. We have ample evidence of this, historical and recent. The wealthy don’t even use their money in their own long term fucking interests, by putting it back into the system. The wealthy are stupid are stupid and short sighted, they are insulated, and believe that their wealth will protect them from the consequences of seeking short term profit. The wealthy, in short, are not qualified to run things, and they certainly don’t deserve to abuse us.
Obviously, things for workers are worse in some places and better than others. I recognize the unfortunate UScentric focus of this post, but it was inspired by my time at Big Evil Credit Card Company of Evil Did We Mention We Are Evil?