For some Marxists who have odd notions about what a worker is.

ermadog at freenet.edmonton.ab.ca ermadog at freenet.edmonton.ab.ca
Wed Sep 26 23:25:21 MDT 2001


Actually, you didn't address my notion of what a worker is; you simply
recycled an odd notion about the make-up of the group of executives who
had worked at the World Trade Centre.

You are right: Michael Moore is no revolutionary. He is very good at what
he does, which is describing the human costs of the decisions made by
corporate executives - costs which were largely ignored by, for instance,
the 3500 employees of Morgan Stanley, against whom CorpWatch had organized
a fax campaign. This fax campaign has been discontinued because, well,
Morgan Stanley no longer has a fax address as of Sept. 11. Those who wish
to see the dead of the WTC as innocent victims might want to look a little
closer at the activities of companies such as this.

There may indeed have been a few janitors in the Centre on that day; but,
it seems unlikely. Whenever I have cleaned office buildings, the work was
done at night, not during the day. One newspaper report described the
people fleeing the WTC as "the most expensively dressed refugees in the
world". These aren't janitors; these are people who spend more on one
natty suit than I spend on food in a year - the Masters of the Universe
who were at work at their desks at 6:30 in the morning at the most
prestigious address in the world, who raise the money for corporations,
and who insure the most expensive property in the world, as Teresa
Taduscco said in her interview with the CBC.

Likewise, I have to wonder how many employees qualified for the
designation of "secretary". Since the advent of office automation in
the mid-80's, the ranks of clerical staff of all levels have been
decimated; and the gap between the entry level clerical worker and the
upper level secretary has become more clearly defined - as can be attested
by any clerical worker who has watched her "sister" claw her way up to the
rank of Personal Assistant, Executive Secretary, Office Manager, etc. to
ally herself with the Boss against the lowly clerks.

It is said that "We know what we do; but, we don't know what what we do
does to others." The numbers crunched by people such as the employees of
Morgan Stanley tell the story of the social costs generated by the
day-to-day workings of the poliices promoted by the IMF, the World Bank,
the WTO, etc. How is it possible to live amongst the evidence day in and
day out and yet somehow remain convinced of the worthiness of the job?

To answer this requires an understanding of the false meritocracy which
bolsters petty bourgeois individualism of mainstream culture, of the ways
in which personal success is said to accrue to personal talent rather than
to class privilege, of the ways in which intellectual labour is privileged
over non-intellectual labour, and of the ways in which corporate culture
atomizes work. And it requires an understanding of what Hannah Arendt
called "the banality of evil."

Above all, it requires an understanding of what Marx called "false
consciousness."

Joan Cameron

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