My mission statement
This is a mission statement from someone who hates mission statements and sees them as dusty documents that few people care about. I am a reluctant blogger, attempting to take up the labor issues in a country whose current media works long and purposefully hard to ignore them. There is a financial section in almost every newspaper, but no labor section. The stock market is advertised on the so-called news like it’s a spectator sport and we’re all on the same side, when Wall Street’s interests often prove to be different from Main Street’s. I guess those who control our media have decided that most Americans have plenty of liquid cash that they’re just waiting to invest; it certainly isn’t filled with people who work for a living. They substitute plenty of liquid credit to make up for depressed real wages and they tell everyone to go shopping. Labor has been demonized. It is repeatedly referred to as a special interest while corporate money is equated to free speech. Last I checked, money is money and speech is speech.
To me, labor means the jobs I’ve worked and there have been many. At different times I‘ve been: a writer, an educator, a non-union employee, a union employee, a tour guide, a reporter, unemployed, a child care worker, a student, as well as someone who worked plenty of substandard jobs. The “economic royalist” comes from the FDR’s speeches of 1936 when there was a real threat of revolution in America from the left (see Huey Long, Father Coughlin and not the imitation kind that’s promoted by the 24 hour cable stations). The serfs come from a much earlier time, pre-democracy, which many in this country seems eager to get back to. In my mind, a strong labor market is essential to both small businesses and the community as whole as people who have money tend to spend more money than people who don’t. We either find a way to make our labor class vibrant again; or surrender our country to the economic royalists who will rule from inside their gated fiefdoms, protected by (campaign contributions) paid political lackeys pretending to serve two masters – a fake one, their constituency, and a real one their paid sponsors, and who help keep them above the teeming mass of serfs left fighting for the scraps of the old American empire.
Five or six companies control the current media system. They only tell us what they want us to hear. The clog up the bandwidth and leave very little ground for the vast majority to communicate with one another. There interests are not ours. They pit one group of workers against another by giving us false choices to argue over. I hope this blog can become a space where those of us who work for a living and who are interested in others who do too can communicate with one another through interesting articles from the “old” media, commentary, and through “new” material.
The new labor war is on and labor is losing, badly, but cable television’s talking heads (who pontificate for a living) won’t declare it a war unless someone complains. It’s business as usual if we continue to allow their patrons to rob us blind. The media seems baffled as to why houses remain on the market for so long. They very rarely dwell on people losing their jobs, the unemployed who after so many weeks are no longer even a statistic, or those who are forced to settle for less well paid jobs as one job equal one job no matter what it pays. Those stories make us sad, and the media knows that sadness isn’t good for us. Instead they dazzle us with the latest shiny object (see Lindsey Lohan, Anthony Weiner’s wiener, John Edward’s love child, Oprah’s farewell season, the latest sports controversy, or currently - in Boston - Whitey Bulger).
I guess it all goes back to that old adage: if a labor war falls in the woods and no one hears it did it really fall. It is my belief that we must turn this ship around or else the last man or woman, still working for more than minimum wage, should be prepared to turn his or her lord or lady’s lights off before they make their way to ye ole mall.