Archive for the ‘Socialism’ Category

Just chillin’

November 4, 2022

Weather, outside, frightful, etc.

Sorel, God of Cold Feet, paid us a surprise visit last night.

Hard to believe the glider boyos were cruising the friendly skies just the other day.

The day before Halloween Herself and I saw three gliders working the thermals near the Menaul trailhead.

But Halloween has come and gone. We “fall back” on Sunday, and then slide at high speed into Thanksgiving, winter solstice, and Christmas. It ain’t always sandals-and-shorts weather, even in The Duck! City.

I’m not ready. I never am. I used to race in this shit? When? Was I still on drugs?

Herself is made of sterner stuff. She bundled up and sallied forth with a fellow Democrat to distribute campaign literature.

Comrade Eeyore is likewise on the hustings, telling The Guardian that Democrats “have not done a good enough job of reaching out to young people and working-class people and motivating them to come out and vote in this election.”

Hey, comrade, Herself is no passenger in this garbage scow. Ain’t her fault the officers are all rumdums.

Being of the Vanguard, I was needed here at Headquarters to propagandize over hot tea and a Taos Bakes bar. Arise, ye prisoners of starvation, and fetch me another mug of tea.

While I await the Revolution I’m also baking a loaf of bread so I don’t have to stand in line for it like the proles.

Here in a bit I’ll go for a run, if only because I never know when I might have to. It’s all this weather is good for. You can’t ski in it, or make snowballs with it, so you might as well pound ground, keep the muscle memory sharp.

The forecast for the day after Election Day is not encouraging. We may be feeling the heat, but not in a good way. I’m thinking of feet held to the fire.

One step beyond

August 31, 2022

Your money’s no good here, and neither is anything else.

Mikhail Gorbachev has died and gone to Commie Hell, which looks a lot like Walmart.

Capitalist Hell, of course, looks more like Bed Bath & Beyond.

If I cared to visit a BB&B, which I do not, I could wander right on in with my face hanging out as in days of yore, and not just because there would be no other customers (and possibly no employees).

No, it seems that overnight Bernalillo County has switched from Condition Red on the Bug-O-Meter to Go-Anywhere Green, for reasons which elude me.

Oh, wait, just thought of one: The Labor Day Drive Far and Spend Heavily While the Gas is Still Cheap(ish) Holiday Extravaganza. Get out there and buy something, you sissies!

I suppose it beats hanging out in the castle with Prospero, waiting for the Red Death to come knocking despite the “No Solicitors” sign on the door.

And if worse came to worst one could always bunker up in a Bed Bath & Beyond, which has to be the closest thing to a sterile environment outside the Wildfire lab near Flatrock, Nevada.

But still, it all seems a bit one step beyond. Madness!

Chop some wood, do you good

May 1, 2022

Remember, kids, when you’re smashing the State, keep a smile on your lips and a song in your heart.

A workin’ man can’t get nowhere today

September 6, 2021

Luck of the draw.

Happy Labor Day, comrades.

I’m barely a worker these days; my paying chores have dwindled to one “Shop Talk” cartoon per month for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

Of course, now that BRAIN is a part of the Greater Outside Globe-Spanning Vertically Integrated Paywalled Conglomerate, I find myself negotiating a contract to keep my faded Levi’s up and buckled while I continue to do what I’ve been doing for nigh on to 30 years. So it goes.

Thus, in solidarity with all y’all still on The Man’s clock, here a few random tales culled from our workaday world:

• Hotel workers serve as an unsung pit crew for the firefighters battling the Caldor blaze.

• Job openings outnumber the unemployed. But a gulf between the jobs available and what workers want has led to a “Great Reassessment.”

• Speaking of assessments, are the bots trying to upend the MeatWorld JobMart or are we just stumbling around in the dark as per usual? Kevin Drum has some brief thoughts on the topic.

• Is the boss watching, even when you’re working from home? Maybe. Say hello to “tattleware.”

• Can a workin’ man get somewhere today? He surely couldn’t back in 1978, according to Merle Haggard.

Live together or die alone

May 1, 2021

Masque of the Red … Revolution?

May 7, 2020

¡Viva la huelga!

I’ve been wondering when someone in the mainstream media would write something about the potential for increasing union membership and labor strength in the Year(s) of the Plague.

Here’s a start. It’s short, focused largely on the so-called “gig economy,” and written before a Washington Post-Ipsos poll that indicates some laid-off and furloughed workers may be overly optimistic about whether they will be able to return to their old jobs.

How does an activist pitch a union to a worker with no job? Is a patchwork of small, decentralized, tightly focused labor organizations preferable to One Big Union? Are people ready to rethink their notions of who is an “essential” worker? Will stock clerks trump stockholders?

Nick French at Jacobin gives us a look at the protests that arose shortly after the Great Depression took hold. He argues that radical groups, among them the Thirties-vintage Communist Party, forged a bond of solidarity between the jobless and those still working that helped make FDR’s New Deal possible.

The conditions are different today, he concedes. But the public-health issue may give workers more leverage this time around. Writes French:

By forcing sick people to come to work, or by unnecessarily exposing people to coworkers or customers who might be infected, employers are hastening the spread of the coronavirus and putting everyone at risk. This means that all workers, employed or unemployed, have a common interest in these workers winning their demands.

Boy howdy. Dead broke is bad enough. I hear dead is worse.

• Addendum: As white-collar types join workers from the restaurant, travel, hospitality, and retail industries on the sidelines, experts say there’s no way to calculate how many jobs might come back as states consider lifting shelter-in-place rules. according to The New York Times.

Many businesses, particularly small ones, may not survive, while others are likely to operate with reduced hours and staff. The job search site Indeed reports that postings are down nearly 40 percent from a year ago.

“We don’t know what normal is going to look like,” said Martha Gimbel, an economist and a labor market expert at Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative.

• Addendum the Second: How should unions organize? From The Nation.

• Addendum the Third: Comrades, identities, and attachments. Also from The Nation.

Socialist wheelism

May 2, 2020

Forward!

I actually shot this last May Day, but I don’t think I ever got around to using it for anything.

When Herself and I rode out yesterday for our own small International Workers Day parade, we were clad in red, but it was Mad Dog Media kit we were wearing, and I was aboard my red Steelman Eurocross, not the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff.

The People were out in force as well. With temps in the 80s, and there only being so many DIY home projects one can bear, we saw quite a few folks out and about, the highlight being a couple walking one Chihuahua and pushing the other in a baby stroller.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is relaxing some restrictions, allowing some retailers that had been closed to do business via curbside pickup and delivery; reopening state parks and golf courses; and allowing gun shops to resume operations via appointment only.

While short outings for grub and exercise are officially approved, the general stay-at-home order remains in effect through May 15, however. Socialist distancing remains a thing, as does masking. And while the GOP is raving that the gov’ is not doing enough to return New Mexico to Bidness As Usual®, the gov’ — who has been getting some ink for her work in response to the coronavirus crisis — says further steps depend on us continuing to tamp down the spread of The Bug.

“This public-health crisis has also become an economic crisis,” she said. “There’s great urgency to address both.”

Added Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase: “We have to move carefully. slowly, step by step.”

Sounds a lot like rehabbing a broken ankle, only a helluva lot harder. The trick is to lose the crutches without winding up flat on your back.

Comrades, come rally. …

May 1, 2020

… whilst observing the proper socialist distancing, of course.

• Labor Day demonstrations reimagined worldwide.

• Virtual May Day rally, live on Vimeo.

• Amazon, Instacart, Shipt workers plan walkouts.

• Thousands of Americans expected to join rent strike.

The indignity of labor

September 2, 2019

Holiday, schmoliday: The trash crews are on the job.

It’s Labor Day, but trash collection continues as scheduled.

This delights the neighbor kids, who jump up and down and shriek at the trash truck working our cul-de-sac until the driver toots his horn a couple of times.

I don’t know how much fun the trash guys are having. But I applaud them for their generosity to a couple of little girls.

We’re told that it’s easy to find a job these days. But what kind of a job? How much does it pay? What are the benefits? Is there a future in it? Will you need more than one of these jobs to make ends meet?

Our cul-de-sac does pretty well for itself. We work for Sandia National Labs, the University of New Mexico, the U.S. Postal Service, and local government. One loser scribbles nonsense for a couple bike mags, but every good neighborhood needs a bad example.

But I expect we all know a few people who aren’t eating quite so high off the hog.

Without even breaking a light sweat I can think of one colleague who hasn’t been paid for a few months while his corporate masters hunt for new suckers … er, investors. They didn’t ask if he’d work for free during the search. They just quit paying him. The work, of course, arrives as per usual.

Another quit a job he hated, only to go back to it for some reason. I expect it had something to do with paying the bills.

I’m a geezer and long since gone from the job market. My little bit of business doesn’t show up on anyone’s statistical radar. But I still identify with the working class, though I don’t work and have no class, and so I agitate, however feebly, on their behalf.

Thus, here are a few Labor Day notes from around the Innertubes. Chime in with your own notions in comments.

And remember, when you’re smashing the State, keep a smile on your lips and a song in your heart.

• One job is not enough. From The New York Times.

• Strike! From The Nation.

• General strike! Also from The Nation.

• A different approach to collective bargaining. From The American Prospect.

May Day

May 1, 2019

So, comrades, come rally. …

Up the rebels, y’all. And when you’re smashing the State, don’t forget to keep a smile on your lips and a song in your heart.