[Marxism] eating soup with a fork

Craig Brozefsky craig at red-bean.com
Sun Dec 24 19:18:17 MST 2006

Former employees sue Swift, alleging wage manipulation:

"When the Swift plant opened in Cactus, wages were approximately $20
 an hour," said another plaintiffs attorney, Michael Haygood. "Now,
 the average wage is approximately $12 to $13 an hour. Illegal
 immigration has fueled this depression in wages."


Blanca Valanzuela, a plaintiff in the suit:

 Ms. Valenzuela said she "felt sorry for the many Guatemalan workers at
 the plant who may go back to their homeland with injured bodies
 because that is what the company does to these people."

 Ms. Valenzuela added, "There are people who came from Mexico who came
 in the wrong way and took advantage of the situation, and now they
 all have to pay."


I was struck dumb when I read this.  I was unable to convince any
entities or speech acts from these articles to perform their duty as
actors on the stage off history.  My critical perspective was like a
fork in my soup.

A half hour later, my words returned with a stream of synaethetic
memories of lower, slower Delaware.

The chicken, seafood and frozen vegetable processing plants had sulfur
lights in their crushed clam shell parking lots.  The workers came in
late to the convenience store I stocked and mopped -- hair nets under
their hardhats with coats the color of those absorbent pads in the
bottom of a plastic wrapped chicken parts package at the grocery
store.  I shit you not.

When the wind was from the east, it carried the defrosting freezer
full of shrimp smell from them seafood processing plant.  The stench
was slightly stronger than the fried onion smaste that infected the
apartment over the sub-shop.  A sensual lightness of being accompanies
memories of skateboarding at the plastic injection factory loading
dock, or playing soccer with the Cantu brothers and their cousins in
the little grass yard at the telco exchange building.

Later, after the pre-fab housing developments metastisized into the
land sold off by farmers dying or retiring, a building boom attracted
teams of Guatemalan frame builders, whose skill was said to rival the
Amish, and with unmatched speed.  My brother tells me they were
brought in by contractors under a visa program -- conversations in
trucks on country roads is all I have to go on.


When the flashbacks slow to a trickle I can get my critical feet under
me again.

The social space is highly segregated, by gender, by language, by
ethnicity and race, by class, and now we are seeing "legal status".
The segregation emerges from and is re-enforced by processes acting in
several realms: institutional, psycho-social, and structural.

The domain in which any one of these oppositions (race, class,
language) is the forcing variable is localized both in space-time,
social network topology, and the realm the process unfolding within.

However, the current imperative of contemplation and systemization is
to identify the "linchpin" or "primary opposition" which dominates the
current dynamic state of the social space -- that is consistent across
the whole space.

The material substrate in which these processes etch themselves is
unified.  When one attempts to extract one of these oppositions and
make it the dominant one, it is only a partial representation of the
array of social relations any person experiences.  For various
reasons, I cannot shatter the subjects of my memories into a dozen
shards expressing these oppositions, let alone pick one out as the
lead or supporting actor.

Within political discourse, consciousness of this "primary" opposition
then becomes "true" consciousness, differentiated from "false
consciousness" or "insufficient consciousness".  Wether it is to unify
the masses in struggle into a single true working-class consciousness,
or to "Wake Up America" to the danger of immigrants and terrorists --
the "primary" opposition is energized by language and media.  This is
the method of mashalling entities and speech acts into reified social
forces (or actors), in a rational matrix (or on a stage of history).

I am unable to perform this transformation on my phantasmic childhood
Delaware, or the journalistically mediated Cactus, Texas.  I have
nothing to contribute on that level of discourse.  Even after getting
squared and stable in my critical stance, I am still trying to eat
soup with a fork.

Sincerely, Craig Brozefsky              <craig at red-bean.com>
Free Scheme/Lisp Software     http://www.red-bean.com/~craig
Less matter, more form!                       - Bruno Schulz
ignazz, I am truly korrupted by yore sinful tzourceware. -jb

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