Pocochina’s Weblog

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on strikes

Posted by pocochina on November 8, 2007

Before  I start, I want to get right on the table that I support the WGA strike unequivocally.  I find the solidarity coming out of Hollywood to be inspiring.  And my hero, Jon Stewart, is finding some way to pay his writers (I believe out of Busboy Productions’ pocket, not technically his own, but that’s a distinction without a difference if ever I heard one.  And I’m in law school.  Distinctions without differences are what we do.)

Speaking of Stewart, I think that the insinuations about how the Stewbert team should “get a pass” are kind of upsetting.  Yes, it’s a teachable moment for those of us who are young enough to think we won’t have or need unions, and gullible enough to drink the “free market will take care of you” Kool-Aid.  But it’s still asking an unapologetically pro-labor liberal to cross a picket line.  You don’t cross a picket line, and if you do, you lose a hell of a lot of credibility, and though the fellas deny they have that at every turn, well, everyone thinks that’s a joke, too.  I can’t help but wonder if it’s part of a not-so-subtle-as-you-think, NYTimes MSM effort to eventually discredit them. (Those kids shouldn’t just get off the NYT’s lawn, apparantly, they should publicly renounce Freeze Tag too.)

What makes me so deeply upset is that this should be available to everyone.  No, writers don’t make a lot of money; yes, this will have effects on them for a long time.  But writing is a relatively middle-class profession, with lots of people who have some sort of safety net, including a college degree.

But there should be this kind of debate, attention, and solidarity every time people are not paid for their work.

There should be this kind of uproar when teachers want their salaries to keep up with inflation.

There should have been bullhorns in the street the day the Supreme Court decided that pay discrimination was A-OK as long as your employer doesn’t get caught right away.

I want Martin Sheen and America Ferrara in the picket line when corporations won’t even allow unions to form; when people are losing their health care, when working conditions are unsafe.

I want the most vulnerable workers among us to have unions that work for them, who can organize picket lines that nobody will cross.

This is why free market capitalism is a blatant lie, but a useful one for the wealthiest among us.  Because when you assume money is the only way to measure and orgainze human behavior, you give people with huge amounts of money the unimaginable power to deprive everyone else of just compensation for work.  The free market is anything but free.

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