"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jun 19, 2011

Until Their Dreams Become Blood Red Ruin And They Learn To Calculate Their Fear

Retail is a tough nut to crack. It has remained relatively impervious to unionization, in part, because its worker base is generally unskilled, hand to mouth labor. Especially in the case of big box chains which specialize in retailing household items marketed for consumption by people who live paycheck to paycheck, retail employees are sub-proletarian. They do not have skills with which to negotiate. Their labor does not produce enough profit for their employers that they can be remunerated with salaries that allow them to afford single family homes, and the amenities of middle class existence.

Target's management - national and local - understood this as it faced a unionization test case in the State of New York.

Target could intimidate its employees into voting against their own interests because Target has all the power. That's a fairly obvious observation. We're not breaking any new ground, here.

The takeaway:

"Some Target workers arrived to vote in free shuttles or with bus passes provided by the company. Target said free rides and bus passes were a way to make sure everyone participated."


"...Target is clearly cognizant of the stakes. In advance of Friday's vote, the company has unleashed an aggressive anti-union push, distributing pamphlets and other propaganda to employees in recent days. Pro-union employees accuse the company of engaging in an intimidation campaign. In recent days, the UFCW has filed numerous charges with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the company of "unlawful denial of access to the store, unlawful dress code policy, unlawful no solicitation policy, unlawful use of social media policy as well as threats, interrogation and surveillance," according to the union press release. The UFCW claims the company has threatened workers with the closure of the store in the face of a vote to join the union. 

Target broadly disputes the union's accusations, asserting that it has broken no labor rules, while maintaining that it has merely sought to convey to its employees that they are better served through a direct relationship with the company, free of intermediaries. 

The company specifically denies threatening to close the Valley Stream store.

'We've never said that,' said spokeswoman Amy Reilly. 'Stores stay open when they're economically viable. We do close a couple of stores a year if they're not performing.'

But a pamphlet Target distributed to its employees warns that a closure is a real possibility. 'Will the story close if the union gets in?' the pamphlet begins. 'Nothing is guaranteed.'..."

Which is nonetheless, I guess, a significant comparative improvement over the lot of Brazil's lumpen-proletariat, which has been met with effective and coordinated militarized policing campaigns since the early 1970s, especially in the favelas of Brazil's largest cities.

Another campaign is currently underway, in advance of Brazil's contribution to the history of sport as a means of neoliberalization:

"Brazilian police are raiding another slum dominated by drug trafficking gangs in an ongoing program to bring peace to areas near Maracana stadium ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

Photographers and cameramen from The Associated Press on the scene have seen hundreds of police officers and troops invading the Mangueira shantytown, backed by helicopters and several armored vehicles.

Rio state public security director Jose Beltrame said in a televised news conference that police have taken control of the slum without exchange of gunfire.

Seventeen other shantytowns have already been pacified by security forces taking over the city's poor communities.

Maracana will host the World Cup final and the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics..."

Of course, the justification for the milice seizure of entire neighborhoods is "crime" and "drugs." That's what poor people do, especially according to the shared canons of political conservatism, liberalism and neoliberalism. And there is a truth to be found within that assertion. Poor people live out existences defined as crime by law and custom. It is often enough criminal, or at the very least morally suspect, to be poor in the Western world.

In the US, the modern criminalization of poverty followed the ridiculously thin gains of the civil rights era, and was tested out (with  relish and abandon) upon the captive black populations of already ghettoized and economically isolated communities. Today, we call this the "drug war" while politicians positions themselves as "tough on crime."

If you are still reading, you likely already know this.

I'm not telling you anything you don't know.

We can, then, dispense with the preliminaries.

Until those who run things dream of blood red ruin, until they are plagued with nightmares that last beyond their waking, until they can no longer sleep for want of security, until they abandon all consolation for fear of retribution and betrayal, until they curse their gods and their pasty skinned saviors, until they learn to calculate not only their fear, but their cowardice, until they wake in the night and imagine every creak and groan of their homes to be the sneaking footsteps of those who would settle the score and finally, irrevocably deal them back the blood price of their gluttony, until every officer of every unit, station house and command refuses to report for duty in the face of unprecedented condemnation, until the board members and shareholders of every corporation open their statements and see only losses , until the lackies in the press and the aides to every politician tremble and piss their pants in anticipation of another morning of relentless unrest and agitation, until the banks burn and the malls are smashed for the raw material of barricades, we are not doing enough to push back - we are not doing enough to make it stop.

We aren't doing enough.

But we still have the numbers to do something about that...


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

In the US, the modern criminalization of poverty followed the ridiculously thin gains of the civil rights era, and was tested out (with relish and abandon) upon the captive black populations of already ghettoized and economically isolated communities

Attending the criminalization of poverty were massive profits for arms suppliers and the privatized prison industrial complex.

JM said...

You might just get your wish:

Jack Crow said...

Truth, BBBB.


I'm not surprised by NATO's admission, but I don't think it will trigger a red and/or fighting labor movement.

Soma said...

Here here.

There's a little irony in the phrase, "Anarchy reigns supreme," but if we want real freedom, that's what we need to strive to achieve: an end to structured control and global power brokering.

Jack Crow said...

I'm with you, Soma.