portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary global

labor

Why it matters when your neighbor loses their job.

Inspired by the famous poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller.
First they sent the engineering jobs to Japan, but I said nothing because I didn't have an engineering job. Then they sent the manufacturing jobs to Mexico, but I said nothing because I didn't have a manufacturing job. Then they sent the tech support jobs to India, but I said nothing because I didn't have a tech support job. Then they came for my job, and there was no one left to speak for me.
We should all be worried 25.Dec.2003 10:07

your neighbor

It is easy to forget sometimes, how interconnected we all are. If I am out of a job (I am) then my family and friends worry about me and they try to help if they can. But they are still stressedout. We dream about what we could do to earn some money. Or start thinking can we move in with our parents? Or our grown kids? Will we end up on the street if things don't get better? End up looking for help from the social services? Oh yeah, I forgot, they don't have any money either.
It's a mess and there's nothing fun about it. Multiply the number of unemployed by the number of their family members and friends and suddenly you have a whole lot more people being affected by this bad economy. It's never just the people who are out of work.

it would be better if 25.Dec.2003 10:40

we think

the economy is ok

the government is bad

The government 25.Dec.2003 14:12

George Bender

The government is what maintains all the safety net programs -- unemployment, welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security -- that keep us alive when the economy fails us. If we don't support full funding for these programs we are cutting our own throats.


Bizarre thinking from the right 25.Dec.2003 20:26

Salmon Girl

In the last few days, I've come across a very weird linked pair of assumptions from conservatives:

One, no one is entitled to a job.

And, two, people who can't find work are lazy scum (because anyone can find a job).

Can anyone help me make sense of this?!?

No 26.Dec.2003 22:53

Bill

I cannot make sense of it because it is nonsense. At least, it is nonsense if you are inquiring about logic.

It is a form of dispute which is common among abusive families, totalitarian states, religious bigots, and authoritarian socialist parties (for example, Maoists). Whatever one argues, an authoritative response crushes all possibility of contuation -- "no one ever dared contradict Da", police riots, scriptural quotations from Isaiah, or Mao.

Dictats which contradict each other, or reality, are kept carefully isolated, by fist, by pepper-spray, by clever or crude sophisty, by whatever forms of raw force are customary in the particular relationship.

The responses are not intended to express truth (in the academic sense).

They are statements of power.

Notice, in particular, that those which you cite are not statements of objective fact, but subjective judgements of personal worth. Also, that both of them assign blame and deserving, not to mention inevitability.

A primary purpose of the 'education' and 'entertainment' systems is to train you to accept these as proper arguments.

Recall the long list of ridiculous excuses advanced by government and media for the occupation of Iraq, most typically the repeated lie about UN weapons inspectors. Clearly, people were expected not to remember from one day to the next what was said.

I was impressed by Colon Piwells's smirking attempts to bully European governments. Wolfowitz's later boast that they knew their public claims were lies is classic narcissism.