Monday, June 11, 2012

The Answer for Me is Yes

Corey Robin:

This is a challenge to the left.

Not the left that’s out there already doing the hard work—the labor movement, the Occupiers, the immigrants rights’ organizers—but the left that’s like, well, me: the academics, the writers, the bloggers, the journalists, the think tankers, the kibbitzers. The people who talk too much.

My challenge is this: If you’re calling for the labor movement to be more radical—more adventurous, more willing to get out into the streets, to break laws, to challenge the social order (and let me be clear, that is an aim I share)—I want you to stop and ask yourself a question.

Have you ever organized a majority, even a plurality, of your co-workers—in an academic department, at a newspaper, in a think tank, at the little non-profit where you work—to confront the boss, whoever that might be, in such a way that all of your jobs were put into jeopardy?

Admittedly, it was a crappy job to start with, and many of my co-workers were retired steelworkers, so they knew the drill.

Even so, it is really, really stressful


doyle said...

It's not easy.

It's easier now that I don't have to worry about my adult children, but it's still not easy.

I can take the wounds inflicted by the powerful--it goes with the territory.

What I cannot take (politely, anyway), are the tears of a co-worker as she tells me I said what everyone else was thinking yet waited until we were out in the parking lot to say this.

Forget the drama. Back me. Now.

I'm going to continue to speak, I can't help myself, idiocy makes me scream. But feel free to squeak out a feeble "What he said..." when the time comes.

Stephen Downes said...

It's 'yes' for me as well. Not everybody who is a pundit hasn't done the work. I spent years, as it were, in the trenches before anyone ever heard of me in the wider world.