“It was the workers in these industries who taught me that there was a systematic conflict between profits and health.… When you start thinking that, when you start to interfere with the forces of production, you’re going to the heart of the beast.” –Tony Mazzocchi, leader of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International (OCAW), who… Continue reading To the Heart of the Beast
What we’re leaving behind today, at record pace, is whatever belief we might once have had in the value of unstructured time: in the privilege of contemplating our lives before they are gone, in the importance of uninterrupted conversation, in the beauty of play. In the thing in itself – unmediated, leading nowhere. In the present moment.
-Mark Slouka, on the virtues of idleness, in “Quitting the Paint Factory“
“Today, Apple unveils the new iPad. If it is like Apple’s past products, it will be a sleek, gorgeous gadget, hand-assembled by underpaid workers forced to put in illegal and dangerous amounts of overtime.”
-SumofUs, in their demand that Apple release information about their workers’ overtime. Sign the petition here.
There’s no calls for some sort of post-industrial personal fulfillment in their labor – very few even invoke the idea that a job should “mean something.” It’s straight out of antiquity – free us from the bondage of our debts and give us a basic ability to survive.
“What we have in academia, in other words, is a microcosm of the American economy as a whole: a self-enriching aristocracy, a swelling and increasingly immiserated proletariat, and a shrinking middle class. The same devil’s bargain stabilizes the system: the middle, or at least the upper middle, the tenured professoriate, is allowed to retain its prerogatives – its comfortable compensation packages, its workplace autonomy and its job security – in return for acquiescing to the exploitation of the bottom by the top, and indirectly, the betrayal of the future of the entire enterprise.”
-William Deresiewicz, in The Nation
The competent systems managers who went to the good schools, those of us now so consumed by our busy lives, are responsible for maintaining the panopticon of modern American culture, in which we can all see the goal, but we can’t see each other.