"...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

Sep 9, 2011

Sabots and sans-culottes

When I wrote this externalized dialogue in my head, I had something almost exactly like this in mind:

"U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton said Thursday afternoon there are legitimate issues between the union and EGT Development, owner of a $200 million superterminal in Longview. But he told the union's lawyers in a hearing that 'you are the messengers' and that they must get control of their clients.

The hearing came after the long-simmering labor dispute turned violent about 4:30 a.m. Thursday, and as Longshoremen stayed off the job in Anacortes, Tacoma, Everett and Seattle. Port spokesmen said they have no information about when Longshoremen may return to work.

At least 500 Longshoremen stormed the Port of Longview and broke out windows in the guard shack, according to Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha. As men wielding baseball bats and crowbars held six guards captive, others cut brake lines on boxcars and dumped grain, according to Duscha."

I understand that cautious and temperamentally conservative people will argue that rash and intemperate actions endanger labor's position in our brutal and simultaneously complacent society. Others, especially those possessed of a need to chase the meth high of dialecticism, might insist that everything must occur at its appointed hour, when conditions have ripened and proper historic and revolutionary awareness has developed.

To which I write - labor has never been weaker. Theory has never been less likely to persuade actual workers* with actual concerns to act/wait for the right moment.

I don't know if that's a cause for celebration. Probably not. I personally don't subscribe to the school of thought predicated on the belief that if conditions continue to deteriorate, good and noble souls will rise up to right the wrongs. Then again, I think Jefferson was also wrong about the "natural aristoi," so...

Here's what I know: some longshoremen "cut brake lines...and dumped grain." They've also shut down ports in the Northwest. And that a judge hearing the time-wasting and spectacular portion of the longshoremen's dispute with ownership is pissed enough to chastise union suits for failing to keep their flanneligans under proper control:

"In court Thursday afternoon, Leighton said the violence, vandalism and threats must stop now.

'They do no good for their cause' by acting like hooligans, he said of the union members.

'This is a mature process that requires restraint,' Leighton said. 'Your clients have none of that.'..."


When a hundred hands of longshoremen can get a federal judge in such a tizzy that he demands they act with restraint and within a "mature process," they are fucking well doing something right.

And that is worth celebrating.


* - ...yes, "the proletariat" is a symbol/model which is in desperate need of revision...

(h/t I Cite)

8 comments:

The Somewhat Intoxicated Mr. Drunken Pundit said...

"When a hundred hands of longshoremen can get a federal judge in such a tizzy that he demands they act with restraint and within a "mature process," they are fucking well doing something right."

Fucking Goddamn Right!

zencomix said...

Dumping grain instead of tea, time for a Grain Party!

Jack Crow said...

Grain Party. Like the sound of that.

Randal Graves said...

Yeah, but then The Man's minions will come out with Against the Grain t-shirts, and there goes the propaganda battle.

chomskyzinn said...

More than a grain of truth in this:

Dump first, then ask questions.

Ready, fire, aim...

Whatever the case, let's hope for more of this.

rapier said...

There is what I thought was an iconic graphic of a sabot falling into giant gears I used to see. Just simple black and white as I recall, perhaps a poster. The sort of thing that says Paris 68 perhaps. Oddly it never shows up on a google image search no matter what search terms I use.

Jack Crow said...

rapier,

That provokes a memory. Don't know if its just a build up upon your image, but it seems familiar to me.

I tried to google several variations of "sabot" and "gears." Got a lot of photos of bullets.

hipparchia said...

There is what I thought was an iconic graphic of a sabot falling into giant gears I used to see. Just simple black and white as I recall, perhaps a poster. The sort of thing that says Paris 68 perhaps. Oddly it never shows up on a google image search no matter what search terms I use.

was it any of these? some flickr collections of art/posters from the may 1968 protests:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12533165@N05/with/1345695841/

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=paris%201968#page=10

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12533165@N05/sets/72157601909673220/with/1345695841/