"...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

Aug 10, 2011

Braining the Chicken

I'm a polemicist, partially out of a mild case of what I believe to be a reasonable paranoia. I don't trust anyone all that well, and as ready as I am to identify that I live in NH, was once a bit of a tough and spent a number of years doing awful things to stay alive, worked for Republicans as a sniffer, and then later crawled up and out high enough to manage several large money making concerns before I regrew a conscience that fit at the back of my head like an orange sized tumor, I'm not all that identifiable.

That suits me fine, though I have no illusions about der guegler, the FBI or the Wisconsin state labor board being able to identify me with a warrantless request to dump my personal data into a policeman's save file, if they wanted to.

Polemic is easy, anyway. It's a good way to avoid earnest recommendations, optimism or other serious effort which gets you noticed. I almost never manage more than 100 page hits per day; I get to interact with people who, though mostly anonymous or pseudonymous, write replies which I respect, enjoy, debate or at least over which I get to have strong emotions and temporary amusement.

I also write polemic because it has a minor function, and I have no illusions about my talents, competencies or ability to do better, or worse. I used to write analysis for politicians, trend analyzers and loss prevention specialists. I was very, very good at it. I don't know what it actually feels like to have a "frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter" in one's mouth, but I imagine that it cannot be too dissimilar from finishing a long day pouring over printouts, doing trend analysis to identify, finally, on which shift an employee was most likely to have stolen a Snickers bar. And then firing the poor sod because, damn it, corporate numbers don't lie. Unless, of course, you spent the previous three months teaching an assistant ass kisser to do those trend analyses, on the advice of corporate, and she managed to turn that knowledge into a medium duration grift and graft which only cost six people their jobs, their health insurance, and for one of them, a weekend in county. Let me reiterate, now, what others elsewhere have already written: a store video camera's footage can be interpreted any number of ways. It's amazing what corporate loss prevention and the cops will see on the tape, once they've decided in advance who is the guilty party.

Polemic never leaves that imagined taste in my mouth.

A needlessly wordy introduction now out of the way, I've apparently written something serious, earnest and perhaps even useful in comments below, and have been asked by people I respect to make a post out it.

I'm vain enough to make a go of complying, so here gives -

Slim Charles asked:

"...So (and I'm sure you expected the question, so here it comes), what, in your opinion, should the unions have spent their money on if not the recall election?

In other words: what is a better use of their time and money if electoral politics is self-defeating?"

I unthinkingly replied:

"At the point of work:

1. Wage hikes.

2. Vacation time extensions.

3. Increased health care coverage.

4. Shorter working days.

5. Shorter working weeks.

6. Anything which forces a company to reduce contributions to its profit statement.

Outside of the work place:

1. Larger strike pay funds.

2. Comprehensive child care facilities.

3. Independent and semi-independent food supplies, so that striking workers and their families can eat without fear of starvation.

4. The construction of low rent or no-rent union residences, so that striking workers do not have to calculate the hit to their paychecks as a first step to eviction.

5. A better outreach to women and minorities, by ending "outreach" efforts and agitating for exactly what they want: equal pay.

6. A coherent message which can be simplified to this: It Should Be Easy For Everyone. This conservatarian/bootstrapper ethic which dominates our culture and society has got to be fucking attacked, and mercilessly. Hard work and poverty don't improve character. They break lives."

Well. There it is. Have at it. Or not.


Cüneyt said...

Well, I'm only pissed because I was going to post about it myself.

And, no shit, the word verification is "balstain."

JM said...

I agree with your wishes although I confess to understanding the recall elections in that it's likely that any push for change will be struck down by the government.

Abonilox said...

I like polemics! Keep it up.

You know, what the hell ever happened to labor in this country anyway? It really does boggle the mind.

And this is where the usual political divisions just don't work. There had to have been a concerted, concentrated, intense multi-generational effort by both parties in collusion to completely emasculate and destroy the labor movement in this country. And it happened at every level. Interesting.

Anyway, you guys are much better historians than I am and can surely explain this to me.

Even when I was a corporate shill I couldn't understand why people didn't organize. Even the rank & file seemed to hate unions. They were just so damn happy to work for such a fucking great company! We're not workers, we're "Team Members" or "Associates" or whatever euphemism your latest corporate HR fuck comes up with. And people eat it up.

So America's workers! How you liking that company now? You still feeling the love!

Cabeza de Vaca said...

oh MAN. i especially like "It Should be Easy for Everyone"

Cüneyt said...

When I dropped out of college I worked at Universal Studios for a while. Something kinda eerie happened during orientation; Disney was going through labor troubles at the time and our orient- um, -tator informed us that we were a--he punctuated this with a fist pump, though it was before Jersey Shore--"union-free!"

Everybody in the room cheered. I know that a lot of unions are rotten, and the job wasn't all bad, but Disney's employees--even the Republicans and libertarians--have told me how much they appreciate the union. One of them wouldn't have known he was being screwed out of benefits if a union rep hadn't talked to him to make sure he was getting what was owed to him as a result of his time. Unfortunately that's not always the case, and I'm of the opinion (semi-informed) that most unions merely replicate the structure of the company.

And Abonilox, you should read up on union infiltrators. And the Pinkertons, and, and, and... I know woefully less than I should, but you're in the right place.

Cüneyt said...

Sorry--some Disney employees. I haven't talked to all of them. :)

Slim Charles said...

Yes, it's a great response! Thanks! And I agree with Cabeza that "it should be easy for everyone" is great!

Randal Graves said...

Until I get shorter work days, I simply work shorter.

Hard work is fine for the pitch & Pong, though if you're not having fun, I feel bad for you.

Jack Crow said...


d.mantis said...

Thanks for this...I know many were asking for it, but fuck them. This was in response to me!

Anyway, what i enjoyed about it was the fact that in a brief reply u managed to outline a clearer strategy than anything else I have read.

In ur "unthinking" way you refudiated the last 20 years of labor union activities. FUCK POLITICS. Its about the 9 to 5, motherfuckers!

d.mantis said...

by the way...sorry for the "u" and "ur". Texting is destroying the fabric of written language, and I am a mere victim.