I punched my boss in the face

I punched my boss in the face

A delivery driver's account of, well, punching his boss in the face after being threatened with a pay cut. Which strangely enough got his boss to reverse the cut!

“You just punch the clock / Too scared to punch your boss!” - Dead Kennedys

I punched my boss in the face. He told me he was going to lower my pay. I invited him to suck my dick and walked out. He followed me into the street and got in my face demanding to know why I was leaving. I told him that he was far too much of an asshole to be tolerated for any less than I was already being paid. Short of anything else to say, he offered to fight me. So, to quote Muhammed Ali, “We got it on, because we did not get along."

We threw down right on the Bushwick sidewalk as dudes cheered us on in Spanish. I found out afterward that he didn’t expect me to actually fight him; he was just talking shit. But I got right in there and roughed him up pretty good. I grabbed him by the hair with one hand and blasted him over and over in the mouth with the other. A big chunk of his hair came out in my hand. But he toughed it out and only called a truce after his left eye swelled shut.

By then I’d had enough and I accepted. I told him “Nice working with you!” and tried to walk away. But he called me back. He had experienced a mysterious change of heart and he would let me stay on for the original pay rate. I had collectively bargained like a true Boston asshole.

I should have been suspicious of this guy to begin with when he spent half my interview trashing all his other employees for being lazy and incompetent. But I’ve come to expect that everywhere I work. Bosses and their workers have opposing interests, the bosses know it well, and workers need a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome not to recognise it. Anyway, I’ve worked for plenty of major dicks over the years and none of them paid as well as this guy, so he had that going for him. Most of all, being unemployed sucks. So we shook on it, and I was welcomed aboard.

On my first day a co-worker gave it to me straight. The owners make delivery schedules that are impossible to meet and blame the workers when things don’t go smoothly, hurling paranoid accusations around when the real culprit is everyday NYC traffic. The workers put up with it because the pay was good, but they hated the bosses, and it was mutual. I got a taste of this right away. The dispatcher accused me of not knowing how to drive a truck and of conspiring with the other drivers to lie about how long the deliveries took. And it only got worse after that. Before long I was being told that I had lied about my experience and my pay would have to go down. The rest is history.

At first the feeling was euphoric. After years of taking shit from a bunch of losers because they were my bosses, I thought I had no other choice. This time I felt like I had finally stood up for myself in a meaningful way. But even before my knuckles healed up I began to think otherwise.

The late 20th Century saw one defeat after another for organised labour in the United States. Ronald Reagan’s firing of the striking air-traffic controllers in 1981 was only the most public example of a vigorous anti-union backlash that continues to the present day. The result has been a devaluing of labour in many skilled trades, the loss of benefits and full-time positions throughout many sectors, and a diminished standard of living for the American working class. And it’s tough to reverse this trend, as anti-union legislation makes it difficult to organise, and the unions we already have are constantly under attack.

Most workers are now profoundly alone. They’re deprived of job security, isolated from their co-workers, and stretched so thin by juggling multiple jobs and taking care of loved ones that there’s no time for anything else, even if they decide that organising is worth the risk of being fired. A friend of mine got a job at Wal-Mart, and the first thing they told him in orientation was that unions were necessary 100 years ago, but nowadays the manager’s door is open to grievances, and that’s how they should get things settled.

Isn’t that exactly what I did?

So no matter how amazing it felt when I punched my boss in the face, I just embodied the profound impotence of the 21st Century worker. Instead of cooperating with my co-workers to form a union capable of fighting for our common interests, getting higher pay, slowing down work, and going on strike if we don’t get what we want, I stood as one.

The fact that I got what I wanted is irrelevant; This won’t work 99.99 percent of times it’s tried, never mind the million reasons why workers would be unable or unwilling to blast their boss like they were Mark Wahlberg on the Red Line. I’m not a Christian; I don’t renounce violence for moral or tactical reasons; and I don’t have an ethical objection to what I did. But punching your boss is no alternative to fighting back for real, and that can only be done together.

@jarrodshanahan
From Vice magazine

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Steven.
Jan 7 2013 20:28

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  • No matter how amazing it felt when I punched my boss in the face, I embodied the profound impotence of the 21st Century worker. Instead of cooperating with my co-workers… fighting for our common interests, getting higher pay and going on strike if we don’t get what we want, I stood as one.

    Jarrod Shanahan

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Comments

Chilli Sauce
Jan 8 2013 21:27

Just want to say this is great. Def the best I've seen from Vice and a worthy addition to the library.

Steven.
Jan 8 2013 22:01

One of the comments on Vice was quite funny:

Quote:
i had to check my browser bar to make sure i wasn't actually on libcom.org!

good stuff.

they have quite a few good articles and documentaries every now and again, pretty hidden away amongst lots of silly stuff though

Wiggleston
Jan 8 2013 22:25

BAHAHA fantastic. Direct action getting results!

redsdisease
Jan 8 2013 22:34

That guy has some other good stuff, this one in particular: http://www.vice.com/read/bodybuilders-cant-lift-a-finger

martinh
Jan 9 2013 12:51

This article made my day

Webby
Jan 9 2013 22:30

I've spent the last few days trying to get my head around the idea that communism is not about individual bosses, good guys and bad guys etc. I was told that I need to get away from giving examples of decent employers or bad employees as it is irrelevant.
Then I read this. Suddenly it's a different story. Firstly, you don't know if the bosses were really so bad and that this guy was not not just a wanker, but even if we take it at face value by cheering this on you've done exactly the same thing as me by using individual examples. Simple prejudice, which is fine - I have prejudices myself. Everyone does. But admit that is what this is. Honesty is far more important than being right all the time. Over and out!

Chilli Sauce
Jan 10 2013 07:57

Did you bother reading the conclusion to the article?

Also, worth noting, I don't think this was written by a communist--at least not a libertarian communist as it appears to lack a critique of the trade unions (1, 2) which I think most regular posters on this site have.

Cooked
Jan 10 2013 07:56
Webby wrote:
I've spent the last few days trying to get my head around the idea that communism is not about individual bosses, good guys and bad guys etc. I was told that I need to get away from giving examples of decent employers or bad employees as it is irrelevant.
Then I read this. Suddenly it's a different story. Firstly, you don't know if the bosses were really so bad and that this guy was not not just a wanker, but even if we take it at face value by cheering this on you've done exactly the same thing as me by using individual examples. Simple prejudice

For many of us the boss is the personification of capitalism in our lives and is acting on capitalisms behalf in ways that are felt quite personally. That is not to say that 'our' politics is about these individuals.

Webby
Jan 10 2013 10:05

Yes, I read the conclusion. My comment has nothing to say about the article. He punched his boss, fair enough and I hope he enjoyed it! If the article is accurate I would agree that it looks like his boss was taking the piss and got his comeuppance, at least in the moment. I would also agree with the author that punching your boss is generally not a good idea. Nothing to do with morals, everything to do with consequences.
I completely understand that your boss can be the personification of capitilalism, which you see as your enemy and I think it is completely valid for you to think and post in this way. All I'm saying is that I should be afforded the same luxury in reverse, as my boss, and my father, who was once a boss are the personification of the positive experiences that I have had working for small businesses.
I know that this doesn't fit in with the communist, bigger picture viewpoint but nor do the responses to this article. This has been my point since I started posting here - it's impossible to look at things outside of the bias of your own experience.

flaneur
Jan 10 2013 11:19

Knock yourself out, you can believe what you want. A copper once gave me directions but then even a broken clock is right twice a day. That you've remembered having decent bosses says it all though, because when they decide to be not very nice or you know, just do their job of managing, they can be such a massive pain in the arse.

Shorty
Jan 10 2013 11:59
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Also, worth noting, I don't think this was written by a communist--at least not a libertarian communist as it appears to lack a critique of the trade unions (1, 2) which I think most regular posters on this site have.

On his twitter he links to black orchid collective, so he might well be. Though I'm not sure a VICE magazine article is the place for developing or expounding a critique of the trade unions. smile

Webby
Jan 10 2013 13:26

Flaneur - Your response doesn't really connect with my post at all, does it? It seems that when confronted with someone that doesn't comply with or understand the position taken by the majority on this forum a shut down occurs. In the same way that I've tried to understand where you lot are coming from, I think that you need to do the same with people like me. Saying 'you belive what you want' is just silly. It goes straight back to my main point - I can't believe what I like. You don't 'choose' your beliefs - they are formed through your enviroment, your experience and the way that your thinking extracts conclusions from those 2 things.
Being exposed to communist ideas over the last few weeks, has in the last few days really got me thinking and actually quite excited. Somebody posted a quote from Oscar Wilde about the effect of socialism on individualism that on re-reading and reflection over the last few days has really opened my mind to a new idea. But years of experience and a particular way of looking at the world aren't just going to dissapear overnight, if at all, and the (not explicitly stated) view on here by many, that, when you boil it down, all capitalists are bastards, is simplistic, infantile and really not very helpful. Unless you want this site to be a closed shop just for the already converted.

flaneur
Jan 10 2013 14:25

It's more I'm not silly enough to believe whatever I or anyone else says is going to change your mind. Like you said, beliefs are made by experiences, not polemics. I don't think anyone has suggested all capitalists are bastards, certainly not me, though we've all probably felt the need to give our boss a slap at some point. They have a structural role, and though they might be nice people, that role is antagonistic to those they manage by the fact both want conflicting things. I want to get out of bed at midday, managers would rather it was in time for 9AM.

jfrey
Jan 10 2013 14:49
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Did you bother reading the conclusion to the article?

Also, worth noting, I don't think this was written by a communist--at least not a libertarian communist as it appears to lack a critique of the trade unions (1, 2) which I think most regular posters on this site have.

I heard a rumor that part got edited out and the author was just excited and amazed by everything else that didn't...

Chilli Sauce
Jan 11 2013 11:38

jfrey, oh wow, that's interesting.

Webby, the Wilde quote was me. You should try reading the whole article. It's called the Soul of Man Under Socialism and is available on libcom and elsewhere too I would would imagine.

However, I still think you're missing the point when we say our politics aren't personal. It doesn't matter if you're the nicest person in the world with the best intentions towards your workforce. If you're a boss, your choices are limited by the fact you need to make profits and need to compete with other capitalists. In fact, the problem is that healthy human relations between otherwise friendly and helpful people are obscured by the fact profit, not human need, is the driving force between the economy.

On top of this is the fact that hierarchies (something inherent to the boss-worker relationship) are destructive towards true friendship and kinship. There's an inevitable conflict between what we want as workers and tenants and between what capitalists want as bosses and landlords. It's not personal, it's structural and economic. That's the point.

Webby
Jan 11 2013 20:59

Thanks Chilli, I'll make a point of reading the whole article.
I daresay I am missing the point. I think my point is being missed too but I guess it is bound to happen both ways as we have very different experiences and long held beliefs. We could keep batting it backwards and forwards but there's not really any point. Maybe I'll get it some way down the line. If I have a point for you to get it won't make any difference as your beliefs are so well developed and your conviction so strong. What is true is that I had absolutely no idea what communism(as defined on this site) is, so me studying here will at the very least put me in a position of informed opposition. Some of the stuff on here has already changed my viewpoint though so I'm interested to continue. A few things have annoyed me here although being called a dick(thanks for that!) wasn't one of them. I felt that the response on this thread was rather hypoctrical and I reacted, but as you say, maybe I'm just missing the point. I did make decision to stop posting on here as I felt I was, in the eyes of many, being a pain in the arse. I just couldn't help myself on this one though. I am genuinely excited at the prospect of looking at things from another angle through what I'm learning here so I've reversed that decision but am still a bit concerned that this site isn't really the right place for someone of little knowledge and a basically oposing view to be asking questions and making statements?
Something has occured to me as a result of questioning myself about why I think in such individualistic terms and that is a long time ago, as a drug addict, I found the solution to my problem to be a program of recovery in which you take ABSOLUTE responsibility for any harm that you caused ignoring the actions of the person that you harmed whatever they may have been. I won't go in to detail but having lived a clean and totally transformed life for 15 years as a result of adopting the principle of avoiding blame I hope that you can see why I would be biased in this direction. Or maybe I just sound like a nutjob?!!!

Vince Indy
Jan 22 2013 14:40

just think if all the workers punched their bosses in the face, over and over again.no more bosses

Webby
Jan 22 2013 15:07
Quote:
just think if all the workers punched their bosses in the face, over and over again.no more bosses

What a terrific idea. Well done for thinking of that.

Steven.
Jan 22 2013 23:03

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a fist punching a boss's face - forever.

Webby
Jan 23 2013 09:52

[quotejust think if all the workers punched their bosses in the face, over and over again.no more bosses ]

Yawn.

Webby
Jan 23 2013 09:58
Quote:
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a fist punching a boss's face - forever.

Yawn plus.

batswill
Jan 23 2013 10:48

admin: nonsensical comment removed. Please desist from making off topic comments as this is not the first one we have had to remove

Webby
Jan 23 2013 11:29

What??? That doesn't even make sense! And I thought I was the least brainy poster on here!!!

batswill
Jan 23 2013 14:25
Webby wrote:
What??? That doesn't even make sense! And I thought I was the least brainy poster on here!!!

Don't flatter yourself, I have that honor. I have learnt from childhood to function emotionally rather than rationally.

Webby
Jan 23 2013 15:09
Quote:
Don't flatter yourself, I have that honor. I have learnt from childhood to function emotionally rather than rationally.

Fair enough - a knock out blow delivered! Congratulations, I hereby hand over my title.

Chilli Sauce
Jan 23 2013 20:28

Seriously, can we warn Batswill for off-topic posts?

batswill
Jan 24 2013 01:00
Webby wrote:
Quote:
Don't flatter yourself, I have that honor. I have learnt from childhood to function emotionally rather than rationally.

Fair enough - a knock out blow delivered! Congratulations, I hereby hand over my title.

Title gracefully accepted wink But now I would like to return to the topic and discuss worker/boss relationships in the near future. I think we are slipping into a global tendency to regress into nationalist socialist identities, and we all know that means only one thing, a regimented workforce supervised by state-payed overseers. Things are looking drear!

Webby
Mar 3 2013 11:03

I've just finished reading 1984 again and realised something rather amusing - Vince Indy posted

Quote:
just think if all the workers punched their bosses in the face, over and over again.no more bosses

To which I responded 'yawn'

Steven then posted

Quote:
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a fist punching a boss's face - forever.

Now, I didn't realise that he was cracking a joke based on a line from 1984 and just thought that rather than being a witty fella, he was being a bore. This being the case I responded with

yawnplus

which looks like an attempt at wit by myself being a play on 'Newspeak'., but in reality was just me being thick!

So, in conclusion then - Steven - good work mate, very funny, and Webby - you're a dick!

Steven.
Mar 3 2013 13:12
Webby wrote:
I've just finished reading 1984 again and realised something rather amusing - Vince Indy posted
Quote:
just think if all the workers punched their bosses in the face, over and over again.no more bosses

To which I responded 'yawn'

Steven then posted

Quote:
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a fist punching a boss's face - forever.

Now, I didn't realise that he was cracking a joke based on a line from 1984 and just thought that rather than being a witty fella, he was being a bore. This being the case I responded with

yawnplus

which looks like an attempt at wit by myself being a play on 'Newspeak'., but in reality was just me being thick!

So, in conclusion then - Steven - good work mate, very funny, and Webby - you're a dick!

ha ha, well glad you got it in the end, I was quite surprised with your first comment because I thought I was being quite amusing!

Webby
Mar 3 2013 21:54

At that time I was probably blinded by the fact that I thought you were a bunch of po faced bastards on Libcom! As time has gone by I've found there to be some great humor here even if much of it has been at my expense - there's was a post by Nannernannernan taking the piss out of me and a few other posters on the 'Is Libcom voluntary' thread that was absolutely hysterical!