it is a desperate thing to search for pictures on “refusal of work” and constitution of shop floor commons over the internet. The “refusal of work” search tab, reports few pictures of diagrams describing the procedures a company must adopts if a worker refuses to work for health and safety reasons (see aside), and a bunch of unrelated issues . . .The search begun because I am looking for a photo that is impressed in my memory, of a group of Italian factory workers in the late 1960s or 1970s (Fiat?), who were in the action of refusing to work (one of them was sleeping, the others I thing playing cards) . . . In reality I am looking for any type of photos that document refusal of work on the shop floor (that is refuse capital’s measure of life activity), because I want to make a case that commons also emerge on the shop floor . . .I know they exist from the tales that Italian factory workers have told me back in the 1970s . . .I know it also for what some time ago I read about Ford, Harley Devidson etc. in the United States in the same period. . .I tried to search for “workers playing card”, I tried “ford workers 1970s” and a series of variation on the theme . . . nothing, pages after pages of workers who were pictured in the act of working, or, at most, pose for the group picture (now that is a very temporary commons!). . . quite frustrated I tried a different technique in my google search, and I entered the tag “workers history” and variations on the theme . . .then I realised that our historical photo album is pretty much peculiar: photos of union leaders, some demonstrations, some posters, some image of proud worker . . but very little, if not, sense of the community that these people were sharing and constituting in their daily practice and struggles . . . in other words, we look at the pictures of some of the past actors of our history as subjects of struggle, and we do not see them as kin as a sort of family, that is as card players hiding from the boss, laughing behind the back of authority to recover the dignity lost on the line, teasing each other, arguing or fighting or coming together in companionship, and organising for a big push the next strike . . . all this, it seems to me, is not documented in images, and it is as if our family photo album was filled only with passport pictures of our relatives.
Archive for the 'work' Category
Here is a news item I wanted to highlight some times ago, but it fell off my desk somewhere. It is about the debate in China about a new draft labour contract law that would grant new rights to Chinese workers. Although there would be very moderate reforms, they are strongly opposed by international investors, which have found an organised platform in the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (representing over 1,300 corporations, including 150 Fortune 500 companies), The US-China Business Council represents 250 US companies doing business across all sectors in China, and the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China representing more than 860 members.) Read on the full report from Global Labour Strategies or the extract in Focus on Global South.
We eat crap because it is cheap, and “taste good”, we make our children to eat crap, because it is cheap, they give them toys and it “taste good”, somewhere . . . someone . . .along the line, must live a crap life . . . here it is. (more…)