american working class

Groups Trump has harmed:
• Refugees and asylum seekers
• Muslims
• Native Americans
• Working class Americans (including the coal miners)
• Syrian civilians
• Transgender people
• People of color
• Immigrants
• Servicemen and servicewomen
• Basically all the animals
• Flowers & trees
• The ocean
• Outer space (emotionally traumatized)
• His children

Groups he hasn’t harmed
• Russian hackers
• His corporate “friends”

A good friend of mine was diagnosed with liver cancer when we were in high school. She was 16. Some time later, upon hearing that a surgery had not gone as well as hoped, I sat down with my guitar and wrote her a song. A few other good friends of hers strung together some photographs to make a music video and we sent it to her to watch from her hospital bed. When those same friends gathered together less than two years later to sing the song at her funeral, the dissonance was jarring. This was meant to be a work song, to see her through the hard days when the task of healing was tiring. It was not supposed to be a funeral hymn.

In June of 2015, we as a band decided that our LGBTQ community deserved a new song for Pride Week. This was days after the Supreme Court ruled that state-level bans on same-sex marriages were in violation of the Constitution of the United States, and it felt like the whole country was celebrating.

But as we began to write, I couldn’t help but think that although we had won this particular battle, the hatred and fear ailing our nation seemed as malignant as ever.

I knew this because people were still dying.

At least 21 transgender women were murdered in 2015. A disproportionate percent of our country’s homeless youth were (and are) LGBTQ adolescents, forced to reckon with the impossible task of staying healthy and safe without a home or proper health care.

We knew that if we were to make a song that truly spoke to the American LGBTQ community in 2015, it would need to address both victory and violence.

With “I Know a Place,” we chose to imagine a place where none of us would need to be afraid. In honor of Pride and the rich LGBTQ history of turning bars and ballrooms into safe havens, the space we imagined was a dance club:

I can tell when you get nervous
You think being yourself means being unworthy
And it’s hard to love with a heart that’s hurting
But if you want to go out dancing
I know a place
I know a place we can go
Where everyone’s gonna lay down their weapons

At the time, we intended the dance club to serve as a metaphor. Then, on June 12th, 2016, a gunman walked into Latin Night at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida — a queer space, a brown space, a safe space — and shot 49 people to death.

“I Know a Place” was never supposed to be a funeral hymn. It was meant to be a work song, like Yoko Ono’s full-page ad in the New York Times that proclaimed, “War Is Over!” in December of 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War. We wrote our song to be the voice in your head that tells you to celebrate peace during wartime, because our battle is only just beginning, and one day our war really will be over.

It was also meant to serve as encouragement for our community to remain vulnerable and kind and hopeful in the face of violence. We cannot build a better world without first imagining what that world might look like, and by creating that space inside ourselves first.

After the Pulse shooting, the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus led a crowd of two thousand people outside City Hall in song:

We are a gentle, angry people
And we are singing
Singing for our lives

We sang with a unified voice that cried out, “We do not accept that this is what our world will look like.” And that night, people all over the country went out dancing — not just because it was Pride Weekend, but because they felt it important not to give in to fear in the face of hate.

People came together in dive bars, bedrooms, and places of worship to celebrate and to grieve, to love and protect one another, and this gentle resilience was nothing less than radical resistance.

Today, in this post-Trump America, many of us feel badly bruised. We, as a band, understand this. We believe it is a mistake to see this incoming Administration as anything other than a threat to the livelihood of our brothers and sisters; the LGBTQ+ community, the Muslim ummah, women, POC’s, indigenous Americans, undocumented people, the working class, and beyond. At the same time, we believe it is a mistake to say that a man whose best assets are hate and fear truly represents America. We say this because America has always been an idea, a utopian concept of a multiethnic, multicultural democratic republic, and therefore its home lies in the imagination, not in the House or the Senate or in a Trump Tower. In the bridge of the song, we implore:

They will try to make you unhappy; don’t let them
They will try to tell you you’re not free; don’t listen
I know a place where you don’t need protection
Even if it’s only in my imagination

Let us push ourselves to imagine a peaceful America where no one has to live in fear. Let us continue to build spaces with our humble means that reflect the America of which we dream. Let us keep up the fight.

Let us keep singing for our lives.

ー Katie Gavin, MUNA

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five: “Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say Napoleonic times. Many novelties have come from America. The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor. They do not love one another because they do not love themselves.”
To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now
Focusing on core competence and outsourcing the rest has made U.S. companies lean, nimble and productive. It has also left lots of people worse off.
By Neil Irwin

By Neil Irwin

Gail Evans and Marta Ramos have one thing in common: They have each cleaned offices for one of the most innovative, profitable and all-around successful companies in the United States.

For Ms. Evans, that meant being a janitor in Building 326 at Eastman Kodak’s campus in Rochester in the early 1980s. For Ms. Ramos, that means cleaning at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., in the present day.

In the 35 years between their jobs as janitors, corporations across America have flocked to a new management theory: Focus on core competence and outsource the rest. The approach has made companies more nimble and more productive, and delivered huge profits for shareholders. It has also fueled inequality and helps explain why many working-class Americans are struggling even in an ostensibly healthy economy.

The $16.60 per hour Ms. Ramos earns as a janitor at Apple works out to about the same in inflation-adjusted terms as what Ms. Evans earned 35 years ago. But that’s where the similarities end.

Ms. Evans was a full-time employee of Kodak. She received more than four weeks of paid vacation per year, reimbursement of some tuition costs to go to college part time, and a bonus payment every March. When the facility she cleaned was shut down, the company found another job for her: cutting film.

Ms. Ramos is an employee of a contractor that Apple uses to keep its facilities clean. She hasn’t taken a vacation in years, because she can’t afford the lost wages. Going back to school is similarly out of reach. There are certainly no bonuses, nor even a remote possibility of being transferred to some other role at Apple.

Yet the biggest difference between their two experiences is in the opportunities they created. A manager learned that Ms. Evans was taking computer classes while she was working as a janitor and asked her to teach some other employees how to use spreadsheet software to track inventory. When she eventually finished her college degree in 1987, she was promoted to a professional-track job in information technology.

Less than a decade later, Ms. Evans was chief technology officer of the whole company, and she has had a long career since as a senior executive at other top companies. Ms. Ramos sees the only advancement possibility as becoming a team leader keeping tabs on a few other janitors, which pays an extra 50 cents an hour.

They both spent a lot of time cleaning floors. The difference is, for Ms. Ramos, that work is also a ceiling.

Continue reading the main story

Humans are terrifying

what if an Alien race started gathering information on us because they were curious, but slowly became terrified because of our lifestyles? We eat a lot of poisonous food and such, and we travel places that could easily kill us.

heck, we even exploded radioactive bombs in space just to see what happened! imagine if an alien kept a log about what it discovered about humans over time, and how they reacted.

Log 5:8:23:24556

Humans should be closely watched as an enemy, as they have developed ways to send radiation at high rates in space. Though they have not been able to send their own kind past the fourth planet from their own, and have built a station on the planet Mealincan. They seem eager to leave their planet, though they do not have sufficient equipment to do so successfully. We have still not been able to send one of our own down to their surface for further surveillance, due to their harsh atmosphere. We are hoping we can catch one already in space and question them about life on their planet.

Log 5:11:23:24556

We have captured a human, one who refers to themselves as a “Proud, conservative, American.” We plan to question it about what sub-race “American” is. So far we have questioned him about his planet’s geography, but it was not very helpful, it told us it “Dropped out of high school” When it was “15”. we will question it further about what high school is, how high up it is, and what it has to do with education, as well as what “15” means.

We questioned why it was up into space, and it told us that it’s “Government” was sending it to work on growing plants on Mealincan. The humans are planning to colonize Mealincan should their planet fail them. Humans are strange creatures, trying to leave their planet before they have the technology.

Log 6:34:24:27786

We have had success! We captured another human, one who seems to know more about the science and geology. The other human, who we have learned is called “Berny” and is of the gender Male, it still on the station with us, and we have been using him to observe how human sub-class American works. We intend on using the other human for research as well.

Log 6:35:24:27786

Humans are without sanity! They eat poisonous foods such as honey, rhubarb, Puffer fish, caster oil (One bean kills a human, four kills a horse), raw almonds, nutmeg, kidney beans, and raw cashews, for fun. They actually enjoy eating these poisonous foods, as well as a few radioactive foods such as a “banana”. The new human, called “Doctor Cho” explained as well how they live, and where! They live in places that could kill them at any moment, with wild life that could kill them easily. They even challenge themselves by traveling to one of the most dangerous places, called “Australia.” for fun!! I highly recommend we try and make allies with them before they can become our enemies, they sound as if they could kill us with ease.

Okay so I’m researching for my dissertation and I’ve come across a historical event that (probably shouldn’t be, but is) absolutely hilarious to me. 

So in America in 1849 there was a lot of socio-economic tension between the classes, and this included a tension in the kind of theatre that audiences wanted to consume. As settlers had come over from England, a lot of theatre at the time was being sent over from England, rather than being produced in America, so you had a lot of British touring companies doing their Shakespeare thing around the country. 

The Americans didn’t like this. 

Tension built up between the Anglophile middle classes in America and the working classes who wanted to break away from their British past, and this all came to a (unbelievably bloody) head when a British actor called William Charles Macready and a working class American actor called Edwin Forrest got into a huge, nineteenth century flame war over whether British or American actors were better. Obviously the upper and middle class Americans sided with Macready, and the working class Yanks sided with Forrest. 

This was the original fandom war, guys. 

The nineteenth century folks went really hard when it came to loyalty to their fave actors (there weren’t a lot of acting “stars” back then because beforehand it had been seen as basically a form of prostitution and was only just starting to break away from that stereotype). You wanna know what these super fans did? They started a riot. Forrest’s supporters bought a bunch of tickets to a performance of Macbeth that Macready was acting in at the Astor Palace Theatre in New York, and they egged him while he was on stage. Apparently up to 10,000 people were waiting in the streets outside, and the police and army had to be called in because they were all beating the shit out of each other with their top hats and show bills or whatever. 


Brooklyn anti-gentrification protester in downtown Brooklyn. Too many working class people are being pushed out of their homes and are being replaced by luxury buildings and venues. Brooklyn has undergone radical changes and many people of color, immigrants, and the poor can no longer afford to live in their homes. 

When I think about rebellion, the truth is that I never rebelled against my parents. There was nothing to rebel against. They were working class people. My mother was a waitress, my father was a truck driver - what’s to rebel against? Parental rebellion is a very Orange County thing, rebelling against your rich parents. And that certainly wasn’t my life.
—  Billie Joe Armstrong (Kerrang May 2010)

Dear English Major, 

You’re going to find yourself asking “what’s the point in my degree?” at least once before you get to fourth, or fifth, year. You’re going to wonder what it all means.

An English degree means late nights and early mornings. It means showing up to your faculty advisor’s office at 8:30am with coffee and breakfast for them because you’re stuck on a paper. It means courses starting with ENG. It means American literature, Children literature, Canadian poetry, Restoration and 18th Century Drama, Science fiction literature, Contemporary poetry, Survey of Lit, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Arthur, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf.

It means sitting in your favourite profs office crying because you don’t know what you’re going to do and you’re questioning your self-worth.

It means writing a single essay all night. It’s having one of your peers edit your essay because most of it was written after 2am. It’s constantly being asked to proofread your friends essays and not being able to escape it. It’s having an unhealthy tea or coffee addiction and bringing one wherever you go.

It means carrying a book with you even though you know you don’t have time to read. It’s actually appreciating poetry. It’s Frankenstein, Dracula, Tom Sawyer, Fiction from Ireland, British Romantic Literature, Comic Books, Edgar Allan Poe.

It’s knowing everybody that you’re graduating with. It’s tight knit classes knowing how your profs work. It’s seeing the same faces in every one of your classes. It’s reading a book for your class and already knowing what your peers are going to say. 

You probably chose an English Major because you like books and reading. You’re only going to read half of the books that are assigned to you no matter what your best intentions are. You’re going to graduate and realize you should have taken that Theatre Studies class.

You’re going to graduate and an employer is going to ask you what a liberal arts degree is worth. You’re going to graduate and probably go onto graduate studies, most likely nothing related to your discipline. 

You’re going to spend 4 years doing what you love. You’re going to have a library in your house of all the required books you had to read. 

You’re going to graduate and you’re going to be okay.

—  an english degree is the most expensive, and proudest, book club you’ll ever join
At first, Macron’s liberal boosters seemed to be getting what they bargained for. Macron stood up against Trump, publicly airing his disagreement with him for pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accord while saying, “Make our planet great again.” There was his pre-emptive white-knuckled handshake with Trump which demonstrated firmness.

But look closer, and a much more complicated picture of Macron’s politics emerges. To start, he won the presidency with a weak mandate in an election in which over a third of French voters abstained or cast white ballots. His party En Marche! won an overwhelming majority in parliament only amid record-low turnout. This weak mandate, coupled with his effort to push through controversial labor reforms without debate in parliament, does not sound deeply democratic.

Macron, who took Trump to Napoleon Bonaparte’s tomb, has himself earned comparisons to the French emperor, something he doesn’t entirely seem to mind: He has previously said that France needs a king and Jupiter-like president. Macron has also given other offensive and sometimes utterly bizarre commentary. When he was recently asked if Africa would implement a Marshall Plan for Africa, he described Africa’s economic problems as “civilizational.” After the president skipped the traditional Bastille Day news conference, an administration source explained that Macron’s “complex thought process” didn’t lend itself to interviews with journalists.

Macron has emphasized tax cuts for businesses and limits on public spending. When the new French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe spoke to FT and was told that these were right-wing measures, Phillippe allegedly burst into laughter and responded, “Yes, what did you expect?” Macron has made a concerted effort to lure capital to France, particularly bankers leery of Brexit. When Macron speaks of revolutionizing and transforming France, in sounds more like a Silicon Valley-style neoliberalization than pro-worker reform that might benefit the poor and working class. Americans, at the very least, should know that this has not been to solution to the plight of workers.
32 Musical Artists You Can Support if You Care About Media Representation

Alright, we can all have endless debates about whether Taylor Swift is feminist or not, but the best way to make sure we see progressive representation in music is to actually listen to and support marginalized artists. I have a massive music library, so here are a few musicians I’ve picked out for people looking to support artists who are LGBTQ, racial/religious minorities, disabled, or otherwise underrepresented in their various genres. Please feel free to pass it around and add to it! I don’t listen to these artists because they’re [insert marginalized status here], I listen to them because I believe each of them is a talented musician deserving of exposure and each of them has at least a handful of excellent songs. Some of them create art that specifically deals with minority status. Some do not. I cannot guarantee that none of them have said or done awful things any more than I can anyone else who I only know through listening to their music; I also cannot say that they haven’t done great things.

The Internet A project by Odd Future collaborators Syd tha Kyd and Matt Martians, The Internet is a hip-hop neo-soul group, slickly produced and with huge, foreboding atmospheres. Syd tha Kyd is an openly gay woman of Jamaican descent. Their most recent album, ‘Ego Death’, was released this year. Listen to: “Get Away”

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Angel Haze At the age of only 23, Angel Haze already has an extensive discography of mixtapes, on which they rap with dexterous flow and fierce conviction with pop-friendly choruses. Angel most famously did their own cover of Eminem’s ‘Cleaning Out My Closet’ in which they detail their childhood sexual abuse in gut-wrenching detail. They are a genderqueer artist of African and Native-American descent. They have a new mixtape, Back to the Woods, coming out September 14th. Listen: “Werkin’ Girls”
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Antony & the Johnsons/Anohni One of the most prominent transgender musicians in the indie scene, Antony’s milky, dolorous voice has been her calling card for her erudite chamber-pop since 2000. She is currently working on an album under the name Anohni. Listen: “Hope There’s Someone”
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Samantha Crain Samantha Crain makes plaintive and delicate music that straddles the line between folk and alt rock while telling detailed stories of the American working class. Her new album, 'Under Branch & Thorn & Tree’, came out this year. She is of Choctaw heritage. Listen: “Elk City”
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Torres Brooklyn artist Torres’ new album, Sprinter, is a nine-song tour de force about religion, adulthood, anxiety and homoeroticism. She is currently touring with Garbage. Listen: “Strange Hellos”
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FKA twigs
FKA twigs is a British musician and dancer whose sparse, sensual electronic music is at the forefront of a new incarnation of R&B. She is of Jamaican and Spanish descent. She recently released an EP titled 'M3LL155X’. Listen: “Two Weeks”
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Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Do you have any book recommendation that are relatively easy to understand for young people/teens (like me) who are trying to learn more about socialism and communism and revolutionaries? Thank you in advance for your time and help!!

The best and simplest to understand introduction to Marxism is this pamphlet by FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together) you can read here While I have a few minor issues with it, its a short, very easy to understand introduction to a lot of basic concepts.

Some good books that aren’t explicitly communist but are still anti-capitalist are The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klien, Capitalism: A Ghost Story by Arundhati Roy, 

The MLM Basic Course is also written in very accessible language and goes through how Marxism developed over historical class struggles. It was originally published for the study of CPI(Maoist) members who are fighting against the Indian state. It is a longer read though, but is divided into a lot of chapters so you can take it one at a time.

Lenny Wolff’s The Science of Revolution is also a good introduction

If you want to start with some shorter blog articles, here are a few that are good introductions:  X, X, X

If you wanted something less theoretical and more specific on some issues, theres all these (although some aren’t as easy to read as the others):

The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class by David Reedier
The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
Mediations on Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth by James Yaki Sayles
Black Bolshevik by Harry Haywood
Imperialism and Globalization by Samir Amin
Bodies of Water by JB Brager
Subterranean Fire: A History of Working Class Radicalism in the United States by Sharon Smith
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Feminism, Marxism, Method and the State by Catherine MacKinnon

Addressing institutional racism is not the same as firing a racist cop or punishing some other individual for a racist transgression. It is also not the same as blaming slavery or history for the continuation of racial discrimination. It would require a full accounting of the myriad ways that racial discrimination factors in and shapes the daily lives of African Americans, in particular working-class and poor African Americans. The second consequence would be a massive redistribution of wealth and resources to undo the continuing damage.
—  From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, Keeanga Yamhatta Taylor
  • Boomers: Work hard and you will get ahead in America! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!
  • Millennials:
  • Millennials:
  • Millennials:
  • Millennials: ......Okay..... that sounds fake, but okay.

Honestly, if the first two months of the Trump administration has taught Democrats only one thing, I hope it’s this: Republicans are going to oppose progress and anything that’s in the best interest of poor and working class Americans, and the GOP will fight for injustice whether Dems are “reasonable” or not…….so why keep wasting time with niceties & “grand bargains” that won’t ever be extended in return?

Conservatives will deny that climate change is real, and they will oppose racial justice, economic justice, LGBTQ rights and gender equality. From blocking sensible background checks after Sandy Hook, to repealing Affordable Healthcare, to banning Muslims, to removing laws for gender pay equality, to gutting internet privacy, Meals on Wheels, school lunch programs, and the Consumer Protection Agency, Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated that they are against American citizens, and on the side of banks, private prisons, insurance companies and big business—for all these reasons, the next *progressive* president needs to govern accordingly, and act as though another fascist like Trump (or a fundamentalist like Pence) could come along and in the blink of an eye, take everything away and reverse any progress we’ve made over the last several generations.

At this point, America needs to go hard left just to undo every awful thing Trump has done (thus far) and get within spitting distance of the REAL political center.

The next Democratic (or Independent) POTUS needs to abandon incrementalism & centrism and start every bargain as far left as possible, because starting from the “center” is an automatic, de facto concession to Republicans, who always move the goalposts further and further to the right.

In other words, we don’t need a candidate who chases after conservative voters and ignores the progressive base. Conservatism is the problem, so we really don’t need anymore “Democrats” who are “proud of their conservative roots.” We need a hardcore progressive.