Labor

Which is worse? That our owner lives in Hawaii, never works, watches us on camera and extracts all of the wealth that we create and uses that wealth to start new businesses or that our coworkers are bootlickers? What do you think is worse?

“I dunno man. I don’t think I have an opinion on that. I’m just trying to pay rent.”

Nevermind.

Do you ever think about how it’s unfair that the person who makes the most money is also the person who is never here and never does any work? Do you ever find it frustrating that all of the managers —  front of house and back of house — fucking hate each other and don’t communicate? As a result, the workers receive mixed messages. They keep us in the dark and they feed us shit. We’re not important, even though we do all of the fucking work. No one ever asks us what we think because that’s a dangerous road for the capitalist.

We already do all the work. What would happen if they ask us if we have any ideas or if we have developed any techniques that could increase production? We might realize that we don’t need managers and bosses and capitalists. That these people are bloodsuckers, vampires, parasites and leeches who contribute absolutely fucking nothing to society but continue to take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take and take.

This is exactly how they want me to feel after I come home on a Friday afternoon. I don’t have any emotions. Except anger. I always have anger. I don’t know if I’m more angry at the capitalists who exploit us or for what they have done to my brothers and my sisters. They are uneducated, which makes them easier to exploit and manipulate. They are oppressed but instead of looking to the top, they direct their hatred toward their unemployed brothers and sisters receiving benefits. No one wants to work anymore because of the dole. They hate “woke culture” and how everyone is so sensitive now. We can’t have fun movies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective anymore and laugh at the blatant transphobia. They remain unvaccinated in a county of 26,000 which had 92 new cases of Covid-19 last week, with outbreaks in several local schools and the jail. They get their news from “doctors” on YouTube and don’t believe the mainstream media. In their world, the delta variant is no more contagious than alpha and viruses always get weaker when they replicate. You can’t trust the vaccines. There are going to be long-term side effects.

They barely have high school degrees yet they believe themselves to be smarter than all of the scientists and doctors in the world. But they are still my brothers and sisters and I still love them.

I believe in solidarity among all working people. I will never buy into the zero-sum game. 

“What do you mean?”

A zero-sum game means that if someone wins, someone else has to lose. It can be between racial groups, like a white man getting angry that a black man gets a raise. Or getting angry at your coworker for having an easier assignment at work. Or EMT’s getting angry that fast food workers want to make $15 an hour. It’s just another way for the capitalists to divide and distract us. It’s like sleight of hand magic, “Don’t look at me and my hoarded wealth, I’m not the problem. Those other people, whose labor I’m also exploiting, they are your enemy.” I don’t buy into that bullshit.

I will never be able to convince my brothers and sisters that socialism is a viable alternative. All they know is that socialism has caused genocides and, like, just take a look at Venezuela. I can explain Dr. Wolff’s description of worker-self-directed-enterprises and how things would be different if all of the workers were members of the board of directors instead of one guy in Hawaii telling us what to do and taking all of our wealth. But it’s futile. The biggest obstacle to socialism in America is the distinct lack of education among working people. We will never organize and seize the means of production if workers do not know history. The capitalists know this. That is why they defund schools, recall liberal school board members and bring religion into the classroom.

My brothers and sisters have been indoctrinated their entire lives into believing that capitalism is the only way. I can only think about the alternatives. For this, I will never be happy.

Alienated

What’s your five-year plan?

I laughed and told her I don’t have a five-year plan or any sort of plan and I think that’s when she decided it wasn’t going to work out between us.

Life is a lie so what’s the point in having a five-year plan anyway?

There’s also a good chance that we, collectively, don’t have many years left.

About the lie though. I spent my formative years in an insulated levittown, nestled comfortably between the man-made lake in my backyard and pothole-free streets and the metro bus stop that goes straight to The Pentagon. But it was all a lie. Like I was living in the cave and the entire system did everything in its power to prevent me from investigating the shadows cast on the wall.

They didn’t want me to know about poverty and hopelessness and how many people have seven DUIs and how many people leave their dogs chained up outside year-round. I never saw exploitation and wage theft and I never really understood what it means for a white man to own the fucking means of production and what it means for his children and their children.

Everyone goes to college, you have a bright future, the world is your oyster. You gotta get good grades and score well on the SAT and get a degree so you can get a good job and afford to have kids and own a home and get married. Shut the fuck up. Just fucking stop with the bullshit. This world is garbage and capitalism has rendered life meaningless. I have developed immunities to your capitalist propaganda and highly-effective forms of American brainwashing. That shit doesn’t work on me. I live firmly outside of your fucking cave.

Regardless, there is no point so I don’t have any interest in thinking about a five-year plan and when she asks me questions about my likes and dislikes I squirm and contort my face because I do not have strong connection to The Self and I feel detached from this world and Buddhism teaches that its not good to have likes and dislikes and I’m always stoned anyways which increases my indecisiveness.

I just feel alienated. Marx was right.

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Within a society that operates in the capitalist mode of production, there is no point to life for the wage slaves, who make up the bulk of society. We have no agency in our lives.

No point in making friends; falling in love. We cannot afford to buy homes. An unforeseen illness can plunder an entire life of saving in this fucking gilded oligarchy.

Yet we keep our eyes aimed on each other — we fight amongst ourselves because we have been trained to believe that capitalism is a zero-sum game and that the government is the enemy. We are bootlickers. We hold grudges against our brothers and our sisters and fight over tip money but never raise our eyes above the cave walls, where Mr. Capitalist hoards his wealth and reaps the benefits of paying his wage slaves the bare fucking minimum required by the laws his friends wrote.

I do not feel a connection to any specific group of people. Some people care about their hometown football team or religion or their gender or skin color or hobby or whatever. I don’t feel a connection to anyone. No one understands me and whenever I talk about capitalism they call me crazy. When I say Americans are brainwashed they tell me I am brainwashed. I feel no connection to white people in America, who have benefited immensely from the long history in this country of genocide, slavery and capitalism yet today seem to believe that we exist in a vacuum. I mean, Jesus Fucking Christ, there are actual Nazis. Furthermore, there is no geographic boundary to which I call home or feel a significant connection.

I really just want one thing.

I want to tear down the capitalist mode of production and fight for the liberation of all humans and non-human animals.

I’m coming for you, Mr. Capitalist.

Sorry about the potluck

Hi Dawn,

Thanks for your message.

I didn’t go to the potluck because I’m tired of the vegetarians and their cognitive dissonance.

It’s absolute bullshit. John is the worst and he started the group. He doesn’t even seem to contemplate what it means to be vegan and how vegetarians like him still pay people to kill animals for them. I don’t really care for his company.

I also didn’t go because I was laid off from my shitty wage slave job at the Holiday Inn Express.

A week or two before I was laid off I had several meetings with the general manager and assistant general manager and told them how upset and angry I was that so many of the housekeepers, mostly Navajo women, come in an hour early and work off the clock to get their carts ready and get all of their linen for the day. I told them that they feel pressured to work without clocking in because the hotel is run so poorly, there isn’t enough inventory, the storage rooms are rarely stocked properly, there’s one head housekeeper in charge of scheduling, ordering products, managing staff, keeping the housekeepers in line and managing the laundry staff. And the head housekeeper doesn’t even get paid benefits. It’s absolute bullshit. I told the GM that all of these issues are directly related to the absentee owners in Moab. Michael Henry Bynum, with the help of  his son, Zachary Daniel Bynum, has been exploiting Native American women at his hotels for 40 years in Moab and for 5 years now in Cortez.

Dawn… I just don’t understand how they are still getting away with this.

How can a world this cruel be allowed to exist?

The rich and powerful white men — whose faces change over the generations but never change — have so carefully honed and perfected this world to create a permanent upper class and a permanent lower class to exploit for their benefit. I see it in three phases, all intended to control the population. First, it was genocide. Get rid of the existing population. Next, bring in some slaves. We need people to work our fields for free. Now, it’s all about capitalism. Keep the slaves in the field but just change the laws slightly to let us pay them minimum wage and keep them on seven-hour shifts instead of eight so we don’t have to pay benefits.

How are they still getting away with it?

Why is it that when I try to tell the Navajo women to stop working off the clock all they see if an angry white man, an authority figure, who is accosting them for some reason but they have no education (part of the plan) or understanding of the world so they can’t even comprehend that they are being exploited and abused and manipulated and why I am so bothered by that exploitation? This isn’t how it has to be but I don’t know how to communicate that. I’m not from this world. I have no one to talk about these issues with in this town. If I mention capitalism I’m a fucking alien. So I further isolate myself.

This is all part of their plan and at this point I don’t feel like there’s anything I can do about it. I thought being a journalist would empower me to change the world because presenting the facts would surely change peoples’ minds. No. That’s very naive. I have no power. My writing is meaningless. For everyone decent journalism story there is an equal and opposite article from a capitalist propaganda outlet to counter reality. The world is evil, white men are evil and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about any of it. They are insatiable. I’ve talked to two union leaders and Denver and they said there’s absolutely no way any union is touching Cortez.

I’m unemployed now and have enough money to get me through the end of the year I think. I have my marijuana employee badge so I handed out my resume to the dispensaries but literally no one is hiring in this town for the winter.

I’m just one of the hundreds of souls in Cortez suddenly thrown to the wayside once the nice, rich, white families stop visiting Mesa Verde National Park. They all wear the same dumb clothes and white Reebok’s and Tommy Bahama shirts and when they go home they tell everyone they saw real Navajos (!) and I overhear them asking the front desk attendant what tribe they are from as they relish in their newfound multiculturalism. But it’s all a fucking game. The Navajo they see in the hotel are just being exploited by a rich white asshole developer in Moab who hasn’t actually generated any of his own wealth himself. No, his father owned a restaurant in Moab and then lil Mike was the star quarterback of the HS football team and got a scholarship to CU Boulder, where he studied law and then opened up a development/real estate law firm in Boulder with his good friend who went on to donate $10 million to the law school to employ in perpetuity “two senior faculty positions to be held by national-caliber scholars with a deep appreciation for and commitment to capitalism and free enterprise.” (Bynum and Chrisman also used their own law firm to work out all of their own development ventures, and the law firm’s name is on the bottom all of their Colorado business forms from that time. Great way to keep everything in house.)

Everyone praises the rich white men. He makes charitable donations! He creates jobs! He sits on corporate boards! Well, hold on now. He creates shitty minimum wage jobs because he’s incredibly selfish. He makes charitable donations because he is woefully under taxed. He makes charitable donations to ensure his money will not help the general welfare and the people he exploits, rather he wants his money to benefit people like him. Now because of his generous donation, young white men from privileged backgrounds can attend CU Boulder and learn all of the tricks to keeping as much money in his and his family’s pocket and far from the people who actually generated the wealth, working in the hotels, in the restaurants, with sore backs, endless cuts and scrapes on their fingers, getting sick from the women who had a cold in room 110, missing out on a day’s pay to take care of their child because any sort of sick time or vacation pay or healthcare is reserved for the people who actually matter! That is, the people who sit behind a desk all day and play with spreadsheets.

And the vegan thing. The GM called a staff meeting after I told him how I feel and they bought pizza. As I walked in, one of my laundry coworkers said she told the boss I’m vegan and they got a special pizza for me. My vegan anxiety began to swell. I’ve had plenty of experiences being vegan among coworkers and I always keep my expectations low. When the pizzas arrived I was not at all surprised to find a special small pizza just for me. I opened it up and found cheese all over it. So the head housekeeper took it back, which was very kind but totally unnecessary, and then she came back 20 minutes later and plopped a small pizza in front of me with no cheese. Then one of the housekeepers made a comment about how special and pampered I am. So I’m the weird one. I’M THE WEIRD ONE? I literally just don’t want to kill animals for no reason as well as destroy the planet and their own health. But I’m fucking weird.

It’s all bullshit Kathleen and I’ve decided that I’d rather just renounce the world. I’ve actually been thinking that it might be best to encourage the acceleration of global climate change to hasten our inexorable end. My fantasy is the world that will return after humans have killed themselves off. A balance will return to the Earth once we’re gone. That’s the only thing I look forward to these days.

 

Maybe I’ll see you around town,

Walter