[Marxism] About Amazon

Clay Claiborne clayclai at gmail.com
Sat Jan 9 13:47:45 MST 2016


It looks like I am heading into the eye of this storm.

When started my job with Rackspace a little over a year ago it represented
a return to the ranks of the industrial proletariat which I left more than
30 years ago when I worked as a Motor Inspector (electrician) at Bethlehem
Steel and an experimental machine electrician at Honeywell. Working as a
Linux Sysadm in San the Antonio HQ for 3 months was an eye opener, 4000
workers in a half-million sq. ft. of converted mall space in a depressed
area of town and aptly named "the Castle."  I hadn't worked at a place this
big since Bethlehem's Vernon works in the late 1870's. This experience was
very different, yet strangely, the same.

Now I'm a work-from-home racker, but still part of the team of several
thousand sysadms, dcops, netsec, dbas and infrastructure techs collectively
called "the engine room" in the company. All this stuff we do on the
Internet requires an engine room to maintain it and I work in it 40hrs. a
week - today is an ETO day.

So what does this have to do with Amazon, by now you are probably
wondering? I'm getting there, but first on background:

Rackspace grew up as an open source software company in San Antonio, has
contributed to the OSS community, particularly in supporting the open stack
OSS cloud software and Linux. I has also been influenced by Linux community
values, which is why it located in a depressed community, partnered with
local schools to build the cloud academy, has long been on Forbes' best
places to work list, and would hire someone like me. So how it had grown up
to a 6K employee company with facilities from London to Hong Kong and still
maintain the kind of work environment I've generally only seen at small
shops.

But even as I started, the winds of change were blowing, and not a good
wind. As I was coming in the door, the founding ceo was headed out and the
new ceo was away fighting takeover bids from some of the bigger players in
cloud. Wolves were beaten back but management said Rackspace would have to
become more productive to survive. Capitalist pressures will Trump the best
of intentions.

Rackspace is the leader in managed cloud. Amazon in biggest player in cloud.

Already there was an article from the NYT or WSJ about working for Amazon
in the tech area that was making the rounds in the engine room as a
cautionary tale emphasizing what we'd already heard from the Amazon
refugees in our ranks, when management announced a new partnership with
Amazon. It seems we are going to be managing part of their cloud for them.

So that's where things stand now going into 2016. We are to be trained on
the Amazon cloud, and with it, the Amazon methods? grumble-grumble. Already
last year they introduced this new thing they call "metrics." This year
looks to be a "clash of civilizations." Everybody welcomes the Amazon
business but nobody wants to find themselves working for Amazon or like
Amazonians.

I got this job so I could continue my political work but for a Marxist,
this is a situation that is pregnant with possibilities.


Organize!

Clay


Clay Claiborne, Director
Vietnam: American Holocaust <http://VietnamAmericanHolocaust.com>
Linux Beach Productions
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 581-1536

Read my blogs at the Linux Beach <http://claysbeach.blogspot.com/>
<http://wlcentral.org/user/2965/track>

On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 7:08 PM, Andrew Pollack via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> Excellent piece. More proof that Amazon is objective socialization on
> steroids - and therefore ripe for the plucking once workers' struggles,
> especially by Amazon workers, pose the question of putting its technical
> and organizational advances in our hands.
>
> On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 8:14 PM, Philip Ferguson via Marxism <
> marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
>
> > ********************  POSTING RULES & NOTES  ********************
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> > Amazon - the global digital East India Company of the 21st Century?:
> >
> >
> https://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/amazon-the-global-digital-east-india-company-of-the-21st-century/
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