[lbo-talk] apply for WBAI program director!

lbo83235 lbo83235 at gmail.com
Mon Aug 15 14:07:50 PDT 2011

On Aug 15, 2011, at 5:44 AM, Dennis Claxton wrote:

> You don't know that Doug was a top fundraiser at WBAI and now he's not there anymore because their management is fucking bananas?

Not that it will matter, but yes I knew that. I followed the whole sad, ridiculous saga - and I assume WBAI is pretty much the shithole thereby indicated. But it's also (supposed to be) a public radio station and, like Michael P., I once upon a time found it to be a lifeline. I "get" cynicism as catharsis, but I don't accept it as policy - public or private. Which of those are we doing on this list, just so I know, for future reference? Might save some time, and some Gaviscon.

On Aug 15, 2011, at 5:19 AM, socialismorbarbarism wrote:

> lbo83235: "And who the fuck are WBAI to make anybody feel like an
> "employee" anyway?"
> Because they are... an employer?
> "Feelings" have nothing the fuck to do about it. It's a fact. A social
> relation under capitalism. Great if you have good personal relations
> with those who hire you, and great if they treat you well, but it
> doesn't change this fact.

This is prolly gonna make me seem like even more of an asshole than I am, but I humbly suggest you missed my point. Specifically, your unproblematised (I was tempted to say "non-dialectical," but I know those are fighting words, and I don't see any good reason to fight with you) invocation of factuality suggests to me that you may not be inclined to think of this in terms of interpretive framing. So we may not even be able to reach common ground for productive disagreement here.

> Rule of thumb: Any boss who says he "won't treat you like an employee"
> or, the worst, "like family," is saying, "I will feel free to demand
> anything of you and you must expect nothing in return." BTW, "We're
> not in this as a job, we're in this for the Movement," is simply a
> variation on this, as Doug indicates.

There's clearly some other stuff going on here, since I didn't invoke the images you're using, but I agree with the gist of this. But you seem to have thought I was somehow endorsing WBAI's own bullshit hocus-pocus (which is weird, actually; nothing of the sort). And okay, now I have to go there: Why accept that framing? (That's posed as a question to others on the list; I think I can anticipate your [SorB's] answer.)

Roughly three-quarters of an hour later, socialismorbarbarism wrote:

> BTW, I agree that WBAI is not likely to hire anyone for this position
> who thinks like an employee. Because from the job description, it is
> clearly a management position.

I don't want to seem flippant about this, but "management" and "employee" only make sense as analytical (and, in certain contexts, agitational) categories. Obviously they are categories that pick out, among other things, profoundly consequential trajectories of opportunity and influence across generations, but (translating that into the dimensions of "an average human lifetime"): once the shit starts to go down it's about calling out surnames, knocking down walls and taking our shit back. (Or how else does this work? Somebody please tell me, so I can stop looking for my pick-axe.)

To the degree you internalise the identity of "employee" - as opposed to being an unacknowledged value-creator, an unjustly disenfranchised owner of the means of production, a subversive revolutionary, all the while masquerading as an employee - then I say you're complicit. That's why I pulled in the Biko quote. Analogy: to the degree one or our darker-skinned sisters or brothers internalises the identity of the colonised subject - the slave, the N-word - s/he helps perpetuate precisely the oppression s/he should oppose. You can borrow my knife if you'd like to castrate yourself, too - but I wouldn't recommend it.

*Of course* they think of the position as "management." Fuck them. Take it as a worker. Stop expecting them to behave "reasonably" (from your perspective), and stop expecting somebody to provide you with a template. Have you no command of rhetoric? Make it up as you go. Be sneaky. Take the shit back, or at least go down swinging. Yes, that will likely mean long nights pacing around in your underwear, working out how to hatch your cunning plan. But how cool is that?

Or do we still envy their privilege more than we love the oppressed?

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