Wednesday, February 26, 2014

To Andrew Cuomo

To:  Andrew Cuomo, Governor, New York
From:  the Labor

Re:  Efforts and Results
Date:  February 26th, 2014
To Andrew Cuomo

You lord about in limousines
As you had done before.
And then you bellow, bellicose,
Demanding more and more.

You dance around with denizens
Of regions that are tony.
You coddle them and bully us
With “reasons” that are phony.

Oh step out of your limousine
And fancy tie and suit.
Come shovel muck like workers do,
In dollars’ grim pursuit.

Oh Andrew, leave the Kennedys
For dinner at our “diner”.
Come eat it standing on the street,
And do not be a whiner.

An office?  Tie it on your back
Or cart it on a wheeler.
A desk?  A phone?  Remember, you’re
No more a wheeler-dealer!

Give up on sleep, oh Andrew, and
Work night and day – and harder.
And then perhaps you’ll understand
The viewpoint of a worker.

And when you’ve slaved enough, you’ll find
In your mailbox, see – a letter.
“Trying is nice, efforts are nice,
But results, oh slave, are better.”

And when you're fired, you could throw
Another temper-tantrum.
But you're no longer money's boy.
So try another mantram!

2014 February 26th, Wed.
Brooklyn, New York

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Re: Work in the name of love

Re: Work in the name of love 
Thanks, Steve. I read the article (at the link at the bottom). It is definitely worth reading.

While it is of course true that it is desirable to find a livelihood that gives one some enjoyment and satisfaction, the sad truth is that, in the setups that prevail in most economies the world over, most of us -- indeed, the overwhelming majority -- have to labor at jobs or in enterprises that offer little of either.

Given this fact, it is important that those who work have some collective power to influence the conditions under which they work, to limit the amount and pace of the work  that they do and to ensure that the compensation they get is fair and something they can survive upon. (The word "survive" may be argued about.  I suppose the best way to understand it is to imagine oneself and one's family in the worker's place.)

When this collective power is achieved, workers then have the leisure to attend to their responsibilities to self, family, friends and the wider community, and to explore and indulge in activities that are more fulfilling.

This also provides those who work the chance to do their jobs well, attending to details, paying attention to beings and their needs, and being creative, rather than doing things in a rush, cursorily or "by the rules". This gives them some measure of enjoyment and satisfaction in the work that takes up a major part of their lives on our planet. 

Unfortunately, we see that workers have, all over the world, grown increasingly disempowered.  Here in this country, over the last three to four decades, the amount of work each (average) worker does has expanded, and the pace of work has correspondingly increased.  Work is carried over, in many cases, into after-job-hours, being basically work done out of obligation or pressure, for free.

Slogans that sound appealing, such as the one this author discussed, have only furthered this disempowerment.

It is the focus on the individual to the exclusion of the collective, which is the bigger picture, that lies at the root of this. Those who are focused only on themselves may still thrive in such an environment, because they feel little obligation towards others, especially the ones that need the most help -- such as elders, the disabled, the ailing and children -- and so do the minimum, efficiently, by the rules, making sure they look good and rise up. They may even have more than enough leisure for other things.  Those with a conscience or those who by habit attend to details suffer most.

 In all things, there is a balance. It seems to me that the balance has shifted in a direction that has been atomizing our societies and even our families, putting impossible pressures on some individuals while allowing others to avoid their basic responsibilities.  I do not think that this is a prescription for the long term survival or well-being of our species, let alone of other species on this planet.

I recommend this article (reachable via the link below your note) to others. There are insights and facts there that I have not gone into in my long preamble above.  While both the author and I have had this country primarily in mind, the situation in other countries should not be ignored. The author does draw some attention to that. Those in academics might also find this article relevant.

-- Arjun

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Brown <>
To: sjanah <>
Sent: Sat, Feb 1, 2014 9:53 am
Subject: Work in the name of love