YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

September 5, 2016

Labor Day kvetch 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 5:59 pm
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Shutterstock.com/allyy

Shutterstock.com/allyy

This is what people are not talking about on Labor Day 2016. (For a related blog, see https://clarespark.com/2015/07/11/jobs-jobs-and-less-jobs/.)

  1. The notion that there was once an international Labor Day, celebrated on May 1, not the first Monday in September.
  2. The coalescence of the words “hard” and “work” (hardwork), also known as “the dignity of labor.”
  3. The disappearance of “the labor movement.”
  4. The Democrat Party as the party of Big Government and tamed unionized Big Labor.
  5. Worker health and safety.
  6. Anything having to do with “class” as an objective category to be looked at as either an expression of repressive class domination or as a more fluid category allowing penetration by the upwardly mobile ex-worker.
  7. Women’s work in the home as hard, skilled, often exhausting labor. (Gender differences are objective, not socially constructed).
  8. “Race” as a socially constructed category; i.e., apart from obvious physical differences between groups, the (racist) notion that mental and moral characteristics are inherited and predictable. This all-encompassing notion of “race” wipes away attention to different material (social) conditions that shape opportunities for advancement.
  9. Psychological warfare on behalf of social relationships over the dissenting individual.
  10. The idea that togetherness (or my neologism, “groupiness”) is the natural condition of humanity, which is ostensibly “unity;” (i.e., only bad politicians are divisive).

But they are talking about

ABC News photo

ABC News photo

  1. The presidential campaign of 2016, especially recent poll numbers and debate prep, and the fecklessness of Trump.
  2. (Waning?) NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand up during the (now sacred?) national anthem as an expression of free speech, hence constitutionally protected.
  3. Colin K’s pig-police socks.
  4. The black “community.”
  5. Apple’s upcoming release of the latest I-phone, watch, and play stations.
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July 11, 2015

Jobs, jobs, and less jobs

Muhammad-Ali-Quotes-on-Success-Hard-work-Life-Thoughts-Muhammad-Ali-Images-Wallpapers-Picture-PhotosAre we puppets on a string? It is striking that the would-be Presidents on the Right (whether “establishment moderate” or conservative) are all promising more “jobs” to the electorate, while entirely ignoring the labor question (assertions of exploitation, the nature of toil, labor competition between ethnicities, “races”  and genders) that has roiled the world since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. I took it up here, because I was struck by the constant repetition of the value of “hard work.” (See https://clarespark.com/2014/02/12/is-most-work-alienating-and-boring/.)

Back in the day when I read labor history, the emphasis was on bloody strikes, Taylorism, the Haymarket Massacre, competing labor organizations, the “de-skilling” of workers, the anarchist communes of the Spanish  Republic, and the “false consciousness” that prevented “the working class” from adhering to the precepts of dialectical materialism by making the revolution that would free the world from poverty, war, and the humdrum lives led by the toiling masses.

Such talk has faded from view partly because such countries as Soviet Russia, Cuba, and Venezuela turned out to be something other than workers’ paradises. Faced with obvious failures, even “progressives” turned to “race” and “gender” as the divisions that mattered, or, even more disturbingly, are now rehabilitating “the Middle Ages” with their Good Kings, mysticism, aristocratic hierarchies and allegedly happy peasants and artisans, kept in line through benign religions. Or, the Left took up critical theory that blamed workers for consumerism (and sports) made popular by the new mass media that misled them into 20th century dictatorships.

Ukraine collective propaganda poster

Ukraine collective propaganda poster

Right-wingers have nothing to offer the working class other than “meritocracy” (i.e., upward mobility out of the class into the petit-bourgeoisie, where immigrant families are free to “work hard” and exploit their families). As for the populists, they are haters, whether of finance capital, [red] atheists (https://clarespark.com/2015/04/24/multiculturalism-vs-yid-red-spies-which-agitates-the-right/), or the Northeastern liberal establishment that goes for education reform, free trade, and regulated “socially responsible capitalism.”

Perhaps meritocracy is the best we can do. But the Republican Party should stop pretending that the labor question is a dead letter. As for the opposite party that ostensibly celebrates “the Common Man” while favoring teachers unions over kids, they deserve all the terrible things that could happen to this country under another Democrat administration.

The Labor Question (vintage postcard)

The Labor Question (vintage postcard)

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