The State of the US Working Class

Workers of the World, Communicate!

French MInersOrganizing the Global Working Class

Many of the communications issues I work with are as much about communications technologies as they are about the struggle for power between social classes and the ruling elite. I believe that at the heart of inequality and social injustice in the US lies social class. In the US, even the existence of a working class is called into question by those in power and many working class people delude themselves that they are part of some enormous amorphous social group known as the "middle class." Stripped of their social consciousness makes it even easier for the powerful to subjugate those that perform the work that makes the USA the most powerful economic engine in the world today. The US working class has been forced backwards continuously for many decades,from the "Southern Strategy," to the global factory system, with its twin strategy of unionbusting and deindustrialization. Workers wages have fallen concurrently with the decline in unionization, particularly in the private sector. Workers are forced into a vicious "race to the bottom" as they compete with low-wage dictatorships around the globe. The decline in workers power is not only about wages, but perhaps more importantly, a decline in health and safety, in social participation and in maintaining a feeling of dignity and self-worth. Meanwhile, the greed and avarice of US management has grown precipitously, from the boardrooms of the Enrons, Walmarts and the oil companies to the poliical operatives that keep them in power. It is my firm belief that any and all attempts at creating an effective strategy for social justice in the United States cannot succeed without the vigorous and dynamic support of an independent US workers movement.

I have been active in labor activities for many years, worked as a community organizer for the United Farm Workers Union, and was a shop-floor activist in several traditional industrial manufacturing plants. I've worked on assembly lines in syrup plants, in glass bottle factories, in furniture factories, in electronic assembly plants, in canneries and in plastic plants. I've also worked construction, demolition, warehouse, printing and farm work. I've recently discovered some images from my life in electronic assemby plants in the late 1970's and early 1980s that I will be be uploading to my archive site. It's been such first hand experience that has driven me to always consider the perspectives of those who sweat and toil for survival when I consider research and creative projects.

I've written some of my experiences in books and articles over the course of the last few decades. Some of these have included (under several pseudonyms), "Sabotage in the American Workplace" published by AK Press and highlighted in Michael Moores television pilot "TV Nation." I've written my experiences working in an electronic assembly line in Processed World Magazine, that was translated into Italian and published as "Una giornata nella vita dell'impiegato 85292". (1998) In Ribellione Nella Silicon Valley. This same chapter was published by Verso Press in "Bad Attitude: The Processed World Anthology". While in Texas, I participated in a cross-border union organizing conference in Juarez, Mexico, that I video documented and wrote about in (sub)Tex newspaper. These transcripts were also used in a special report for radio broadcast on "Making Contact," a nationally syndicated radio program.

My doctoral dissertation is an in-depth investigation into the communications strategies of US industrial unions, particularly the United Auto Workers, the Teamsters, the International Longshore Workers Union, the Communications Workers of America, the United Electrical Workers Union and the International Association of Machinists. A synopsis of this research was printed in the Peace Review, entitled,"U.S. Labor Organizations and New Communications Technologies.