Jack Saturday

Friday, February 29, 2008

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotation 202

The Country Of Everyday

Tom Wayman

About the second day, the foreman told us
he wanted one corner of the site cleared.
So we started moving a huge pile of beams
blackened with dirt, that had been ripped down
when the building's interior was gutted.
Mark and I worked almost two hours
carrying the beams across the width of the site.

There is a terrible fatigue that begins in the body.
This is not the abrupt refusal of legs
that are new at the job to keep unloading lumber.
Nor when hands still soft suddenly uncurl
from around a board that can no longer be lifted.
This is a heaviness like a deep grief
a weariness that slowly works up from under the earth
passing through the soles of the boots into all the body.
This is Newson at the end of his shift
too tired to take off his plywood mill shoes:
falling asleep dressed on the bed, or in a chair
or with one boot off, the heavy leather of the other
dropping out of his hand onto the floor.

The beams were rough-edged, splintered. The foreman
has us move them back across the site a week later, when he wanted
the further corner. This time we stacked them properly:
a row of them, then two-by-fours crossways, then another row.
And out of the continual weight of the work, a stone
presses inside the body. It is like a piston
rising in the great cylinder of the rib-cage
squeezing the breath, so you gasp and strain for more air.
But when the air already in is compressed enough
A spark ignites, and a tiny flame
begins to burn in the brain like the pilot light of a stove.

This is the flame of hate, of the madness of labor.
This is why there is such rage when our checks are delayed.
Why we crash the metal scaffolding down as we disassemble it
Like a garbageman tossing empty cans back onto the driveway.
This is why some of us retreat into doing very intricate work:
Skilled finishing lace-like carpentry
A hand cupped carefully around the flame so that no one will see.

Mark and I moved the thick beams a day after that.
The foreman wanted the first corner again, so we piled them outside
at the rear in the lane

But the light always burns. It waits
for a new gust of fuel so it can roar into fire.
That is why one shrieks with the nail that bends as he drives it.
Why even the foreman tosses his hammer through a pane of glass
when the owner leaves the site after his daily tour.

That is why there is so much drunk.
But the flame singes the edge of the beer, and sometimes
the fluid ignites: fire burns along the surface
black smoke pouring into the brain. Fists
fly into faces, connect, the tables turn, and the cheap glasses
smash into chips and foam. The bouncers move into the centre of it
and then the door looms up, and outside
are all the indifferent faces of the street

After the rains began, Mark and I brought the soaked beams inside;
the foreman said he didn't want them to get any wetter.

Always the low flame. When it has burned long enough
the cavity where it flickers in the mind hardens.
Without saying a word, without a single electrical nerve
passing from the back of the brain down to the belly
every part of the body knows it is scum.

The knowledge is a wind that shakes the body, a wind
blowing continually like breath
brings the fire of oxygen to the furnaces of the cells.
You are scum. An object
owned by the company
like a crummy or a shovel. You are worse than that:
you are replaceable. You are not so necessary to the project
as paint. That is what the body knows.

And when the job ended, the owner thought
it would be useful to salvage the beams. Mark and I
spent an afternoon hauling them outside again
and carrying them down the lane to the other building.
We stacked each beam inside there.

This is the madness:
a young man crouches over like a child
his head between his knees, only breathing. The body
at last treated by you as any chalk-line or broom
so even off the job the body is driven like a car
whose payments you can't meet: use it
get your money's worth, run the fucking thing before
it is repossessed once more and taken away.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wise Old Man 2

Wise Old Man 1

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotations 199-201

China has largely failed to generate new jobs: an endemic feature of neoliberalism. Indeed, a 2004 study by Alliance Capital Management reported that manufacturing jobs are being eliminated faster in China than in any other country. Between 1995 and 2002, China lost more than 15 million factory jobs: 15 per cent of its total manufacturing workforce. (Jeremy Rifkin, 'Return of a Conundrum', The Guardian, March 2, 2004.

"Suddenly the number of Chinese who live below the World Bank's poverty line of a dollar a day jumped from about 100 million to 300 million." That is the same size as the entire population of the United States.
'Creative Destruction' -

The Madness Of The Global Economy - Part 2
By David Cromwell
ZNet Commentary
February 16, 2008

Now, just think of this: A basic income policy can change that for the first time in our history. It can ensure every Canadian has a living – regardless of age, gender, region or income level. It can mean that we live up to our commitment to the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights: " ... everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family ..."

But don't be alarmed that this would really be one big boondoggle. The program will be self-funding through the tax system, this basic income being added to whatever else a person is receiving as salary, wages, pension, dividends or anything else.

So, before you throw your hands up in amazement that anything as "far out" as this can be recommended by otherwise rational people, just face one fact: In principle, we are already doing this with one segment of the population. All Canadians, aged 65 and over, are entitled to the Old Age Security Pension. And it's taxable so that seniors receiving above a certain income can find all or part of it "clawed back." If that works with part of society, what makes it unworkable with the rest?

…this method can be more efficient than what we are doing. Not only can it rid Canada of poverty, it can do it in a cost-effective way because it can require far less administration than the multitude of social work-driven programs – plus their professional fundraisers – we now pay for. mmm

… it will actually add to the economy because the money people receive will be spent on goods and services that keep Canadians working. If you think that's "voodoo economics," just ask why just last week, the U.S. Congress broke all legislative speed records to approve a multi-billion dollar program to revive the economy and avert a recession. That's what a Canadian basic income policy would do all year, every year.
An income for all Canadians
Reginald Stackhouse
Toronto star

Feb 17, 2008 04:30 AM

The only lasting remedy, other than for Americans to accept a lower standard of living and for businesses to adjust to a smaller economy, is to give middle- and lower-income Americans more buying power — and not just temporarily.
Totally Spent
New York Times

Published: February 13, 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ron Hynes

Thursday, February 14, 2008


You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotation Of The Week 198

What ever crushes individuality is despotism, no matter what name it is called.
John Stuart Mill

Friday, February 01, 2008

Anti-Wage-Slavery, Pro-Freedom Quotation Of The Week 197

Leisure is a receptive attitude of mind-- a contemplative attitude, and it is not only the occasion but also the capacity for steeping oneself in the whole of creation. ... Leisure is not the attitude of mind of those who intervene, but of those who are open to everything. Not of those who grab and grab hold, but of those who leave the reins loose, and who are free and easy themselves. ...Leisure stands opposed to the exclusive ideal of work qua social function. A break in one's work, whether of an hour, a day, or a week, is still part of the world of work. It is a link in the chain of utilitarian functions. The pause is made for the sake of work and in order to work. ...Because wholeness is what man [sic] strives for, the power to achieve leisure is one of the fundamental powers of the human soul. ...in leisure the truly human values are saved and preserved. ...Aristotle says of leisure, "A man [sic] will live thus, not to the extent that he is a man, but to the extent that a divine principle dwells within him.”
Josef Pieper
Leisure, The Basis Of Culture