Sunday, April 30, 2006

Today's Boycott

It's going to be one hell of a May 1st guys. If people at my school follow it, the classrooms will be empty tomorrow, as will the cafeterias. Let's see how the subway runs now. Some mysterious commenter on this blog mentioned it and linked to Facing South's" article" critical of the "progressive blogosphere" for its failure to discuss the imminent boycott. Chuck Mertz, my current favorite radio talkshow host, asked a similar question of an immigrant rights organizer following the huge Chicago demonstration last month. "why is there such a big separation between the immigrant rights movement and the anti-war movement?"
Her answer was simple: people in the immigrant rights movement are coming out in response to something that affects them directly and while immigration "reform" is newly up-to-the-minute, the discimination against immigrants has been an issue for a long time. They're not all liberal, they're not all conservative, and they're a large and essential part of our communities.
I do think there is a separation between white, English speaking middle-class anti-war activists and progressives in general and the immigrant rights movement. The immigrant rights movement seems to be coming from community organizing around direct needs rather than ideologically oriented organizations, who have gotten involved only after immigrant service and self-help organizations got the ball rolling to begin with. I hear more about these protests through my union (which supports immigrant rights) than I do anywhere else. I have wondered who is organizing demos and actions in NY. So far, I've found two answers: I have seen a flier about a May 1st demo from the "Troops Out Now coalition" (an offshoot of the IAC) and this much more mainstream coalition is supporting the boycott.
If you want my opinion on the whole matter, I say: shorten the working day, keep the pay the same, and you'll have more jobs to go around. The reason we don't have enough jobs for people now is because capitalists benefit from unemployment. They also will always try to increase their profits and productivity at workers' expense. It doesn't matter where the reserve army of labor comes from. Also, I continue to find it ironic that we are constantly told to celebrate corporate mobility and flexibility, and yet to be afraid of worker mobility. If laws loosen it up so Shell can go Nigeria, etc.etc., why don't they loosen up in the other direction too?

3 comments:

norbizness said...

This is one of those complete unknowns for someone like myself who is completely disconnected from the activist base. However, I did read this snippet on News8Austin: "All four locations of Kerbey Lane in Austin will be closed on Monday. Owners said they wanted to 'take pressure off workers.'" There will be rioting in the streets from hungover poseurs! Incidentally, I have never seen Sergio's Arau's A Day Without A Mexican

fruuf said...

Shelby Steele writes in the Wall Street Journal:


...Since Vietnam, America has increasingly practiced a policy of minimalism and restraint in war...

...The white West--like Germany after the Nazi defeat--lives in a kind of secular penitence in which the slightest echo of past sins brings down withering condemnation...

If a military victory makes us look like an imperialist nation bent on occupying and raping the resources of a poor brown nation, then victory would mean less because it would have no legitimacy...

Anti-Americanism, whether in Europe or on the American left, works by the mechanism of white guilt. It stigmatizes America with all the imperialistic and racist ugliness of the white Western past so that America becomes a kind of straw man, a construct of Western sin...

America and the broader West are now going through a rather tender era...

White guilt imposes so much minimalism and restraint that our worst problems tend to linger and deepen. Our leaders work within a double bind. If they do what is truly necessary to solve a problem--win a war, fix immigration--they lose legitimacy...

White guilt's worst effect is that it does not permit whites--and nonwhites--to appreciate something extraordinary: the fact that whites in America, and even elsewhere in the West, have achieved a truly remarkable moral transformation. One is forbidden to speak thus, but it is simply true. There are no serious advocates of white supremacy in America today...

This is a fact that must be integrated into our public life--absorbed as new history--so that America can once again feel the moral authority to seriously tackle its most profound problems. Then, if we decide to go to war, it can be with enough ferocity to win.

Anonymous said...

Shorter Shelby Steele: Kill the brown people