Processed World #12

Issue 12: December 1984 from

Submitted by ludd on February 9, 2010

Table of Contents

Submitted by ludd on December 29, 2010

Talking Heads

from our readers

Any Port In A Storm?
analysis of voting, by med-o, melquiades, & maxine

The Pits
fiction by susan packie

Them That's Not
tale of toil by peter wentworth

Hot Under The Collar
ibm workers united, block modeling, vdt propaganda & rebuttals

Let Them Eat Technology
reproduction of painting by paul pratchenko

b train
fiction by the kansas clerical conspiracy

We're #1!
article by lucius cabins

Down In The Valley
tale of toil by "doc"

Byting Into Books
book reviews by tom athanasiou


Talking Heads


Submitted by ludd on February 9, 2010

As we go to press, we're not sure who won the election. But does it matter? For most of us, our daily lives remain the same.

The results of the election won't affect us as closely as our face-to-face encounters with police at the Democratic Convention last summer. Our choices on the street then were as limited as our choices in the voting booth.

The Convention was one of the summer's most spectacular events rivaled only by the Olympics (see "We're #l!" in this issue). San Francisco had been specially sanitized for the event. City agencies dumped one set of undesirables - street people and prostitutes - cashless in the suburbs or industrial outskirts of the city. The police were out to win their own gold medals with the other set - protestors. A solid wall of cops with a quick-arrest policy busted nearly 500; free speech and rights of assembly were a farce with people being snagged for "conspiring to block a sidewalk" or even for just looking like a protestor. Several of our own circle were arrested for pushing a peaceful Trojan "Peace Ass" (i ate money and shat missiles and conventional arms).

When the conventioneers had gone home and the cops had returned to their normal levels of hostility, everyone was still at work. Some who had taken to the streets with spirit were left with an unsettling question: was it worth it? Those who are still facing many months of agonizingly slow legal procedures may end up doing time in jail. But most would do it again. For them, Mistress Feinstein's enactment of a Democratic Party-controlled police state made it even more clear that we need to take to the streets, and often. Others felt the show of the macho vs. the powerless wasn't worth the beatings and arrests - they'd rather find alternatives in their everyday lives for expressing their dissatisfaction.

And the election season drags on. Some will vote, some won't. Some will sleep through it, some will get drunk ' (For further discussion on voting, see "Any Port in a Storm?" in this issue.) For those who rely on elections to make a difference in their lives, the prospect of one more term with the Gipper is depressing. Others feel despair as movements on the left lose momentum, lose touch with reality, or turn upon their own. The political situation, like the situation at work, arouses two related feelings, despair and outrage. Tension builds and wavers between sadness and fury. It releases into different kinds of political response with one unifying theme: we refuse to passively accept the limits imposed on our lives by the political system, by the government, by the job market, and by commodity culture. Two features in this issue focus on making changes. In his piece, "Down In The Valley,"

'Doc' discusses the resistance he encountered while working for Tandem Computers in Silicon Valley. Our new regular feature, "Hot Under The Collar," explores instances of office rebellion and issues against which to rebel. And as usual, we have an array of provocative graphics, poetry, and short fiction to take the imagination beyond the mundane. We crave your thoughtful letters. Air your thoughts in PW's Letters section! Write to: PW, 41 Sutter St. #1829, SF, CA 94104.


Any Port In A Storm?

analysis of voting, by med-o, melquiades, & maxine

Submitted by ludd on February 9, 2010

... although the Devil be the Father of Lyes, he seems, like other great Inventors, to have lost much of his Reputation, by the continual Improvements that have been made upon him.

Jonathan Swift, 1710



If you didn't then you are an uncaring idiot who didn't do your part in trying to get rid of the most brutal President yet. If you did, well then you're a good dupe legitimizing a 2-Party monopoly whose left hand holds a .38, the right a .45.

Like all election years, U.S. citizens this year were bombarded with appeals to do their bit for democracy and get out'n'vote. The old rallying cry that 'this time voting will really make a difference' had great appeal. Orchestrated election hoopla was bigger and more expensive than ever before. But if millions were mesmerized by images of leaders, far fewer people bothered to cast their ballot.



For many, voting Reagan out was considered crucial to avoid escalation of U.S. intervention in Central America, to protect what remains of welfare and civil rights programs, and to prevent the appointment of more conservative judges to the Supreme Court.

At first glance, Mondate's position against covert aid to the contras in Nicaragua appeared to make him a "peace" alternative to the more obvious war posturing of the Reagan administration. But then Mondale said he would "quarantine" Nicaragua if the Sandinistas didn't fall in line behind U.S. foreign policy. An effective quarantine would mean placing U.S. troops and military resources around Nicaragua's borders, a strategy that would increase the likelihood of direct U.S. intervention in the region. Moreover, Mondale openly applauded aid to El Salvador and endorsed Reagan's invasion of Grenada. From Woodrow Wilson's explicit campaign promise of non- intervention in World War I to "peace candidate" Johnson's escalation of the Vietnam War, the Democrats' track record is dismal (see sidebar The Democrats' Long and Sleazy History of War and Militarism) .

The prospect for poor and minorities under Mondale was equally dismal. The Carter-Mondale administration championed underprivileged interests by proposing $27.6 billion in domestic cuts, including reductions in job training, Social Security and other programs. Four years later at the Democratic Convention, the Mondale-Ferraro faction rejected all but one of the (already tame) minority planks put forth by Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition, leading one of his supporters to comment: "We were treated like song and dance men ... treated with arrogance by Mondale." Meanwhile, Mondale took great pains to embrace Bert Lance, a living symbol of corrupt, Southern monied interests.

The spectre of a Supreme Court stacked with anti-abortion, anti-civil rights, pro-prayer conservatives provided the most convincing reason to vote against Reagan. Such a realignment could threaten the few substantial civil liberties than can still be defended in U.S. courts. Mondale's choices for these positions of power would almost certainly be more moderate than Reagan's. But given the prevailing political climate, Mondale appointees would likely be more conservative than the two remaining liberals on the Court, Brennan, age 78 and Marshall, age 76. Election results aside, the overall injustice of the U.S. legal system would persist.

The attention given to presidential elections was ridiculously disproportionate to the real effect of ballot casting in our daily lives. Voting gives us some influence over who wins but no reassurance that the winner will serve our interests.

Politicians make all kinds of promises and projections during their campaigns that are left unfulfilled by the end of their terms. The most important issues are rarely voted on. This year, for example, voters cannot decide whether the government will authorize nationwide cobalt irradiation of fruit, vegetables and grain; whether U.S. Steel, G.M., Atari and other corporations can again shutdown major plants and ravage nearby communities by suddenly throwing thousands out of work; or whether computer chip-making is worthwhile as long as chlorine gas and other known cancer-causing toxics are necessary to produce them.

In 23 states the citizenry can raise pertinent questions through popular initiatives. This process has placed on the ballot issues that concretely affect people's lives (rent control, repeal of sales tax on food, gun control). In recent years, the initiatives have also included symbolic measures such as municipal declarations of nuclear free zones or opposition to federal military aid to Central America.
But what began as a mechanism to supercede party politics has largely been captured by monied interests. To place a measure on the ballot, proponents must secure petition signatures from the electorate, and this activity in itself has become a "big business". Political management firms now specialize in acquiring signatures for a price. The California Fair Practices commission reported that in 1979 sponsors of the Gann "Spirit of 13" proposition to roll back property taxes paid $537,000 or almost $1 per name to get the necessary signatures. And when a measure gets on the ballot the big money really starts rolling. In a record for campaign expenditures that still holds today, five tobacco companies and the Tobacco Institute spent $6 million (to their opponents' $0.5 million) in 1978 on a California measure limiting smoking in public places. Voters' information channels were flooded with advertising which turned around an initially favorable attitude toward the proposition.

Popular local initiatives are also threatened by tremendous financial support from outside special interests. This year, California's Proposition 37 for a state lottery saw in-state opponents (mostly race track interests and churches) raise $88,000 in total contributions. In one fell swoop, an out of state lottery ticket supplier, Scientific Games Inc. made a $1.5 million contribution in support of the proposition. Not surprisingly, as money becomes the crucial factor in posing and deciding initiatives, they become increasingly conservative, such as California's Proposition 41 that would immediately cut welfare benefits by 40%.

The emergence of a voting industry has turned voters into political "capital" for those who run the business of American democracy. For political machines, people are 'votes' to be bought, sold, and traded as the candidate's strategy and warchest dictate. Leaders of large organizations from the Moral Majority to the Nuclear Freeze Movement to the AFL-CIO, broker their members' votes as stock in exchange for campaign pledges and planks in party platforms. For pollsters and electoral analysts of all kinds, 'voting blocs' are vital data for determining the winning party 'ticket', how districts should be re-apportioned, which incumbents may be most vulnerable. The 'black vote,' Yuppie vote, farm vote, youth vote, Christian vote, labor vote, senior vote, peace vote have become so many chips
in a complex, multi-million dollar poker game. The recognition of our exchangevalue as voters calls into question the use-value of this alienating industry.



Office-holders are not guided by the humble concerns of most of their constituents, but instead are led by the huge non-elective state bureaucracies like the Pentagon, CIA, FBI, and Federal Reserve Board. For example, once the Pentagon begins a program like the B1 bomber, a Congressional member has little control over the scientific, technical, and military experts intimately involved. Rather, elected representatives must rely upon them for pertinent information in deciding defense budget allocations.

Campaign "donations" also have a unique impact upon a politician's perspective. And 1984 was yet another record year in the price of candidacy. Congressional campaign spending alone has gone well over $200 million dollars, over $50 million of which was contributed by Political Action Committees dominated by corporations and military-related unions.

The notion that politicians are accountable to their constituents is questionable considering the source of campaign funding. For instance in California legislators received over 90% of their funding from outside the districts they represent. Even in county and municipal elections, such "tainted" financial support is the rule. In San Francisco, city supervisors seeking
re-election received roughly two-thirds of their campaign contributions from the following "public-interest" groups: developers and real estate concerns, major corporations and banks, professional groups (such as law and accounting firms), and other businesses. "Returns on investment" for large campaign donors are the promises politicians do keep.

[center]WHY VOTE?


With so few options and so much corruption, it's a wonder voting enjoys the legitimacy it does. For tens of millions of Americans, what historian Charles Beard once called the "sound and fury" of election politics has dwindled to a whimper. Research indicates that voters and nonvoters alike increasingly share a common attitude skepticism over the government's ability to solve their problems. (see, e.g. "The Decline of Electoral Participation in America" in American Political Science Review No. 76).

The loss in enthusiasm for elected government parallels a steady and significant decline in voter turnnout. Since 1960 (when 63% of the adult population voted) the percentage of voter turnout has dropped to a low of 53% in 1982. Barely half of eligible voters voted in the 1980 presidential election; 78 million did not. If this trend continues, by 1990 more eligible voters will not vote than will.

Voter profiles suggest that the affluent are over-represented at election-time. Participation in the 1980 national elections confirmed a long term trend: 70% of those with annual incomes over $25,000 voted; only 25% of those with less than $10,000 did.

The more money one has, the greater is one's power over and stake in the narrow spectrum of policy changes candidates can be expected to make.

For example, the combined boards of directors and major stockholders of real estate, investment, law, insurance and banking corporations have the most to lose in the short run by even slight changes in tax and banking policies that politicians can and do change regularly. And if the choice between an MX or Cruise missile is a no-win proposition to most, to arms contractors and subcontractors with billions riding on one project or the other, and to the careers of Pentagon and intelligence agency factions, the controversy is one of substance.

But for the rest of us, the motivations for voting are more symbolic. In a culture marked with isolation and alienation, election day provides people with an opportunity to feel they are a part of a nationwide collectivity participating in vital public decisions. Like going to church every Sunday (and then acting with insensitivity and self-interest the rest of the week) voting every year or two provides a quick, easy way to do your duty. The cajoling and guilt-tripping of voter registration campaigners reinforce the sense that when we vote ' we really are doing something for ourselves and society.
Nonvoters are dismissed by the media as "uneducated," marginalized by sociologists as "alienated," explained away by voters as apathetic. But non-voters are part of a significant trend in American politics saying that voting makes no immediate difference in their lives. For them, and for many voters too, official politics has lost its vitality and relevance. But nonvotes don't count for much of anything. Without exercising other avenues of political expression, disaffected voters are little more than a reflection of malaise.



Voter apathy has presented a challenge that the media has taken up with gusto. The absence of substantive differences between candidates leaves ample room for the "media politics" of image-manipulation to transform some boring old farts into celebrities. As former Nixon speechwriter Ray Price succinctly put it in an interview with the Village Voice: "[the voters'] response is to the image, not to the man ... It's not the man we have to change, but rather the received impression."
The primaries are "previews of coming distractions" and psyche the electorate for a full season of entertainment before the big climax in November. Politicians are judged more on their
performance than on the soundness of their views and policies. The media coverage of the preelection debates focused more on style and appearance - Reagan's vocal inflections, Mondale's make-up job- than on the political content of the debates. After the second Mondale-Reagan debate, the bags under Mondale's eyes prompted. more commentary than his contradic
tory remarks on Central America and the arms race.

For many voters, candidates' records are far less important than their ability to project optimism for a bright and shiny future. Referring to the "art of controlled [media] access" with which Reagan screens his political moves from public scrutiny, New York Times White House correspondent Steven Weisman recently observed: "Reagan and his aides have understood and exploited
what they acknowledge to be the built-in tendency of television to emphasize appearances and impressions more than information." Hence, Reagan's reputation as a "Great Communicator" survived despite his rejection of informal press conference questioning, his refusal to disclose plans to manage a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit, and his muzzling of the press during the invasion of Grenada.



''The historical memory of the left is like that of a pillow: it changes shape when pounded by a fist. But it doesn't know how to avoid the blow, and it always peacefully regains its original shape, ready for the next pounding " (JeanFrancois Revel, 1976)

It is plainly a mark of desperation that many of today's loudest supporters of the ballot were yesterday's civil rights marchers, student radicals, draft resisters, and workplace rebels. Desperate for signs of hope, veterans of nonvoting politics saw in Reagan an easy mark, and in voting, an easy method. With near breathless unanimity, former activists not only enthusiastically supported anti-Reagan voting, but often did so with appeals to the good ol' days, as if, to paraphrase voting were merely the continuation of mass struggle carried out by other means.

This sentiment was taken to the parks this summer by the San Francisco Mime Troupe in the production 1985. A street - guerilla- musical theatre previously focusing mainly on strikes, occupations and confrontational politics, the Mime Troupe surprised us with a rousing pitch - and real live booths for voter registration.

The dismantling of the Great Society and War on Poverty programs fought for and won by 60's activists was a strong motivation for anti-Reagan voting. Ironically these very programs were not the fruit of voting, but came out of an unconventional political rebellion that, at the time, seemed practical. As Robert Brenner recently observed:

"It was quite clearly the deepening radicalization of the civil rights movement, marked by its growing opposition to the Vietnam War, and above all the explosion of urban rebellions in Detroit, Watts, Harlem, Newark and elsewhere, which concentrated Lyndon Johnson's mind on his 'Great Society. 'A suddenly reform-minded congress passed the civil rights acts and War on Poverty program from 1964-1965. " (Against The Current, Fall 1984).

These programs failed to challenge the sources of poverty and racism, were inadequately funded and administered in a way that further stigmatized recipients. Still, they have made a practical difference in the daily lives of many people. The gains also suggested the efficacy of a politics not based on voting or political parties.

Unfortunately, the 60's movement toward confrontational politics never cohered - its leaders assassinated, jailed, Reborn or appointed to teaching posts, its constituents in retreat to the respectable politics of lobbying and voting or to the increasingly marginal New Left. Confrontational politics steadily declined. The hard-won 60's programs and the token military restraint the anti-war movement could claim to have won have been dismantled by succeeding Democratic and Republican administrations alike.

Debate of social issues that enlivened previous elections -- such as critiques of the 2-party system and analyses of the limitations of voting as a means of social change -- were muffled in campaign bunting. In an unabashed call to walk precincts for the Party of Cruise and Pershing 2 missiles, Mother Jones editor Deidre English's "How to Beat Reagan" (MJ April, 1984) summarized the sober reflection of a conference of 60's and 70's movement activists:

''Our discussion took off from the assumption that this is no time to think about forming a third party, boycotting the elections, ignoring presidential politics or - in the long run - splitting the vote. It was clearftom the vety start that a consensus has developed at the leadership level of many progressive organizations that this is the year, if there ever was one, to get involved in the campaign in ways that will count in November. "

English concluded "the message is clear ... if Reagan gets us into war in Central America or the Middle East, we're the ones who are going to have to run the antiwar movement (again). So instead of spending the next five years protesting -- let's get our hands on some power. "

To claim that power, an anti-Reagan hysteria was whipped up that rarely engaged critical reasoning. Formerly engaged radicals were sucked into a voter registration strategy. The hope that if un-registered voters, especially poor and minorities, would turn out, then "we" would "get our hands on some power" backfired. For the first time in decades Republicans vigorously conducted successsful voter registration drives. In October,newly registered voters favored Reagan over Mondale by 53% to 40% (ABC-Washington Post) ' Hispanics from Texas to California registered the Republican way, and 18-24 year-olds claimed Republican affinity in droves.



With the possible exception of referenda, electoral politics tend to table aspirations for social change by making social change itself the preserve of 11 experts," i.e., professional politicians. With little recall available other than the next election, and with the dominance of media-sculpted image over critical political discussion, direct popular control over our lives will remain elusive.
Confrontational politics bypass the hardening artery of electoral politics and force the hands of "experts" far more effectively than the ballot.

It was only when housewives in Love Canal banded together and forcibly held an EPA official 'hostage' that action was taken to deal with the toxic pollution swamping the community. Part of their political confrontation was inward: women isolated in their homes broke down walls of alienation by talking to neighbors for the first time; mothers realized it wasn't their "inadequacy" that made their children sick; and everyone refused to stay passive and I I calm down" until EPA experts, scientists and government officials got around to helping them.

Similarly, the direct action of antinuclear activists (along with the declining profitability of the nuclear industry) played a role in slowing government licensing of new U.S. plants.

It is these kinds of disruptions that will help generate real alternatives to the stifling society we live in.

Confrontational politics, unlike electoral political culture, bring people into open and direct contact with one another, allowing people to discover a collective power that can stir dormant imaginations with the creative perspective of rebellion. Preoccupation with electoral politics inhibits this creative potential.

Until mass confrontational politics re-emerge, the hope that U.S. politics can transcend a spell-binding dependence on voting and political parties is, well, as good as a politician's promise. What Jonathan Swift called the "Guardian Spirit of a prevailing Party" - i.e., the "Goddess" of "Political Lying" - will "fl[y] with a huge Looking-glass in her Hands to dazzle the Crowd, and make them see, according as she turns it, their Ruin in their Interest, and their Interest in their Ruin."

- Melquiades, Med- 0, & Maxine


James Greenlee, former cook, Greyhound cashier, assembly line worker
and the youngest of 11 children from a South Carolina black family: "I'd love to vote if I thought it meant something... I am saying something by not voting. Hell, it may not be the right way. But it says something - like the sound of silence.

45 year old Enrique Mixco, a 21-year-old emigre from El Salvador advised his son (who strongly believed Reagan must be voted out because he is crazy and might get us into a war): "To me it makes no difference. Whoever gets in here, it's the same for you. The people running the city and the country don't care about the poor. So many people are hungry on the streets-people looking in trash cans for food. And the rich get richer...
[quotedfrom S.F. Chronicle]

Med-0, electrical worker and 2-year resident of S.F.: "Despite my desire to vote against some cruel and unjust state propositions, the trade-off simply wasn't worth it. My driver's license and other sources of ID are from another ~ate. Registering to vote would have given California authorities a way to race me. No thanks."

Be part of PW's post-election attitude all. Whether you voted or not, PW ould like to know why? Reasonable & unreasonable answers will not be discriminated against.


The Pits

by Susan Packie

Submitted by ludd on February 9, 2010

I used to be a pitter for Land of Plenty Dates, and I probably still would be if I hadn't been fired for incompetence. Not true, I was far too competent.

I took the job on a dare. I had just graduated from high school. All my girl friends were humming wedding marches. My parents were beginning to wonder when I would start to date. Then I saw the ad:

WANTED: m-f date specialist - pits

Since I have always been the pits, I applied immediately. The interviewer was afraid I was overeducated, but I quickly disabused him of this illusion. I asked if the process was painful for the dates.

My first week at the job was uneventful. A machine did most of the work. I just had to oversee the operation - regulate the flow, make sure the contraption didn't jam, help out the boxer, Maggie.

She must have answered the wrong ad, too. She looked strong enough to take on Muhammad Ali. As the dates plunged at her, she would make up little poems about them.

After the second week, I began to get a little - fruity. Maggie's ditties about dropping crates of dates down grates and spitting pits were driving me up a date tree.

Finally, when I was just about to walk into the main office and tell everyone where their dates would fit, I hit upon the ideal solution. A pitted date has a hole in it, right? An empty space. Why couldn't I roll up little pieces of paper and stuff them inside? They would be
like Chinese fortune cookies! I could write all sorts of messages and send them throughout the fifty states plus Japan - our market area.

My first message was very innocuous - "Hi. I'm your pitter. Do you want to pitter-patter with me?" I didn't get an acceptance, but I didn't get a rejection either. I sent out about a thousand more of these date surprises. Then I lay low.

Three weeks later, I started inserting my name and phone number. I thought of adding my measurements, but 31-2837 doesn't excite many people. Maggie had been replaced by Hubert. He polished each date before boxing it. I didn't see a bright future for him at Land of Plenty.

Six weeks went by and I still hadn't heard anything from my note receivers. In despair, I switched tactics, cramming "STUFF IT!" into the ugly little monsters. I was busily working away when I heard through the partially open office door "Aaaggghhh!!!! " What had happened? No one ever ate the dates. They all knew better.


Poor Mr. Hardon had been so proud of his product. Wouldn't his mother like to try one? Just bite down and taste the sweet, crunchy pulp, and ... out came "STUFF IT!"

So I'm back in my bedroom reading help wanted ads. All my girl friends have been married and divorced since last June. Hubie is taking me out tonight. Mr. Hardon's mother also noticed the unusual shine on her date. So I couldn't have been all that incompetent if I ended up with what I was really after.


Them That's Not

tale of toil by peter wentworth

Submitted by ludd on February 9, 2010

The clangor of the nine o'clock bell jerks me out of my seat in the warmth of the Teacher's Room and hurries me down the corridor and out into the playground. It is a raw, gusty November day. I clutch my mug of tea like a talisman as I approach the wobbly, wriggling line of kids back up behind the big white "20" painted on the worn asphalt. All down the length of the building, the other teachers are doing the same with their lines of kids.

"Good morning," I say, unconsciously slipping on the teacher's mask (impartial friendliness, enthusiasm, and firmness in equal part) and the teacher's voice (the same mix, pitched to carry without effort, pushed out by the belly muscles like an actor's). A couple of rather desultory "Hi's" and "Good morning, Mr. Wentworth's." Antennae up, I move down the line of kids like a politician, shaking hands, checking body temperatures. This is the toughest hour of the day. If we can get through this without any major incidents, it's all downhill until 3:15.

The typical day in Grades 1-3 kicks off with an hour for Reading. At Warren G. Harding Primary School (a pseudonym, as are all the other names associated with the school I'm writing about) we have "split reading." That is, about half the children in my second-grade class come in for reading and "Language Arts" at 9:00 and leave at 2:00 while the other half arrive and leave an hour later. Following the near-universal practice, my slower group is the one that comes in early. When the faster comes in we have roll call, "sharing time," and the baroque business of
collecting lunch money. This involves sorting through the change that flustered parents scrabble out of purses and pockets while the school bus mumbles and honks fretfully at the corner, and passing out the tickets (free, half rate, full rate, single, multiple, milk only). If a teacher is lucky, she/he has an aide to deal with this. If not, bang goes teacher's recess.

After recess, usually Math. After Math, lunch - a blessed forty-five minutes at Harding, most other places only allow half an hour. Then comes the loosest hour in the day - Science, Social Studies, Art, or whatever usually in half-hour chunks. At two o'clock, the early group packs up and heads for the bus while the late group gets ten minutes recess before struggling back in for its dose of Language Arts. After dispatching this last group at 3: 10, most teachers spend a couple more hours preparing lessons and materials for tomorrow, correcting children's work, and cleaning up the classroom. Depending on the complexity of the plan, one may be there as late as 4:45 to 6:00 pm. Bilingual teachers, who have to plan two sets of reading lessons routinely stay until 5:30.

As I walk down the line little Teresa Paganloc wraps herself around my hip with a joyful grin. Richard Guiton, handsome as an Ashanti warrior, shows me an elaborate paper airplane his dad helped him to make. Aminah Freeman, big and sassy, grabs my hand and tries to yank me next to her. Billy Erskine stands glowering, hands jammed in pockets, jacket hood up.

"Hey, Billy," I say. "Looks like somebody hit you with the grumpy stick." No response. "What's the trouble, Billy?" I insist.

"Ma-a--a-n," he growls softly, staring at the ground.

"Spit it out," I urge him.

"These two kids been teasin' me on the bus. I didn't say nothin' to 'in, but they won't leave me alone., Ma-a-a-n, after school I'm gonna kick their butts! " He smacks his fist into his palm two or three times, sealing his resolve.

"Relax," I say - a word I probably use with him more than any other. "During recess you tell me who those kids are and I'll talk to their teacher. Meanwhile, we've got work to do, OK?" Billy nods sullenly.

My heart sinks. If Jaharie and Angie are in the same kind of mood, the chain reaction will blow their reading group clean out of the water. It will also probably mean the Principal's office and parent call before the end of the day.

An increasing proportion of children in urban public schools are from what used to be called "broken homes." That is, they are being raised by their mothers, sometimes in tandem with grandparents and aunts. Father is (check where applicable, as they say on Welfare applications): separated; on the lam; in the joint; psychopathic; alcoholic or heavy drug user; and/all of the above.

Nowhere are the deeper consequences of "Reaganomics" (i.e. current capitalist reality, whoever's in charge) more visible than in public schools. The decrepit buildings, obsolete textbooks, and overworked, underpaid staff are trivial side-effects compared with the havoc the 80's corporate counterattack is wreaking on poor and working-class children in the home. 55% of Black children are born to single mothers, many in their teens; unemployment for Black men is officially around 20%; men are leaving the labor force at about the same rate as women are entering it; rape and child abuse are on the rise. In my classroom, these statistics take on a savage three dimensionality.

Billy is a case in point. Mrs. Erskine is a computer programmer in a downtown office, clinging to job and income
by the skin of her teeth, but at least making the same rate as her white female counterparts. Billy's father hasn't had regular work in four years. They separated two years ago, after a good deal of misery and some violence. Most of what I know about him comes from Billy, since Mrs. Erskine hardly speaks of him. I've met him once on the street, a soft-spoken, gentle-eyed man in worn slacks and watch-cap, taking Billy out for a cheese-steak sandwich on a Friday night. Billy introduces us, with surprising pride in both of us. My teacher. My Daddy.

"I know Billy got some problems in school, but we always tellin' him to study," Mr. Erskine said. We shook hands. Walking away, I thought about the millions of women working for five and six dollars an hour in offices while their men, workers who once pulled twelve hundred a month before tax, along with health, dental and retirement plan, mope in front of the TV or haunt the corner by the liquor store. Now the rage and humiliation accumulates - inside them, abruptly grounding its voltage through the bodies of the very women and children they have been trained to believe it is their masculine responsibility to "provide for." These are the actual human consequences of what economists call "the shift to a post -industrial, service-based economy.

The other children in line are getting restless and testy. "Hey, Mr. Wentworth, can we go inside? It's freezin' out here!" Thomas yells. There is a small chorus of agreement. "OK, let's go," I call. Behind me the line shuffles toward the door.

It takes three minutes to get everyone up two flights of stairs. Mrs. Atkins, my aide, lets in the first arrivals, while I break up the two quarrels that have developed at the rear. This is a worse morning than usual, but not an exceptional one.

Mrs. Atkins is fairly typical of the classroom aides in our district - a tough, shrewd, good-humored Black woman of about forty. I was an aide for about a year and a half before I became a teacher, so I know the group pretty well. Most got their jobs when the district was integrated in the mid-sixties. They were mothers of children in the same schools in which they now work, who came in (initially often as volunteers) to save White teachers who had not the faintest idea how to cope with working-class Black children.

The aides' miserable pay - $5.33-6.20 per hour for what are usually twenty-five or thirty-hour-a-week jobs - and low status is a result of this situation. While most aides have become literate enough to teach elementary school children, few have formal qualifications beyond a high-school diploma. Nevertheless, they are indispensible - and to a young, inexperienced teacher like me, invaluable. I learned more about managing young children from the aides in three months than I learned from my "master teacher" in a year.

When I was an aide, I once asked our Business Agent, a puffy, thirty-fivish little bureaucrat, why our pay was so bad. At first he took this a personal affront, but after a little he settled into a confidential, one-white-man-to-another knowingness. Without actually saying so, he implied that "these ladies". couldn't possibly earn more anywhere else, that after all they mostly weren't too bright, that besides, the fringes were good for part-time and that when you came right down to it, they were pretty lucky. I walked away cursing myself for being too cowardly to tell him what I really thought of him: but at the time I needed the job and knew he could screw me with the district if he took a disliking to me.

Mrs. A takes the most advanced subgroup to read a story out loud together from the reader. I assign the middlelevel kids some pages in their workbook and steel myself for the lowest group Billy, Jaharie, and Angie. I've tried some "Language Experience" when I've had time - getting Billy to dictate a sentence which I write down, then having him copy it over and read it out loud, then draw a picture of what it says, that kind of thing - but I can't work one-on-one very much of the time. So the Reading Specialist (who can't work with them himself until they've gone through the lengthy bureaucratic procedure of Referral to Special Ed) has prescribed a "linguistic reader. " This is a simple narrative that builds on "word families" (chub/cub/tub, hen/Jen/ men) via extensive repetition of a tiny vocabulary. The group has already read the story about three or four times and is crawling through the workbook an inch at a time; filling blanks, checking boxes, tracing letters.

I settle the three of them around me in one corner of the room.

Billy groans. " Oh man, not again! I don' wanna read this dumb book!"

Jaharie sees his chance to score off Billy." I do, Mr. Wentworth! I do! I wanna read it. I can read this book good!" Billy scrunches down in his chair with his arms folded tight across his chest, pouting, Angie makes a face at him and giggles sneakily.

"Be quiet, Angie!" Billy snarls. Angie grins triumphantly.

"OK, let's read," I say. "Jaharie, you start." I have long ago given up trying to get Billy to read when he refuses like this. Jaharie reads a page at a reasonable pace with few errors. At the end of the page he pauses triumphantly.

"I did good, hub, Mr. Wentworth?" Before I can say a word he goes on "Hey, Billy, you only doin' that 'cause you can't hardly read nothin! "

Billy does his fist-in-palm routine and throws his book on the floor.

"Knock it off, Jaharie!" I say, sharply. "Now Angie, you read a little." Angie, as usual, has not been paying attention. She divides most of her time between day dreaming and trying to get attention from the boys in the class - mostly by flirting and "love notes," sometimes, as with Billy, by provocation. Now she giggles again and starts reading, stumbling over every second word.

"Oooh, you readin' bad, Angie!" Jaharie coos, with a brilliant smile on his guilelessly beautiful face. "You almost as bad as Billy."

"Shut yo' mouth!" Angie snaps.

"Shut up yourself, faggot!" yells Jaharie, illogically. Angie begins to cry and kicks Jaharie. I send her back to her desk with her workbook, threaten Jaharie with being sent outside, and concentrate on Billy.

With me at his side, encouraging, giving total attention, Billy struggles through a sentence word by word, like someone crossing a river by leaping from one slippery, wobbly rock to the next, his whole body tense with the effort. Another sentence, the same way.

"Good, Billy, great!"

Billy shakes his head. "I don' wanna read this book no mo'! " He pulls his jacket over his head, which usually means he's going to cry. At her desk, Angie is sitting, eyes unfocussed, occasionally giving her head a little shake or giggling, otherwise doing nothing. Jaharie is actually writing in his workbook. In a few minutes, or tomorrow, I'll try again.

Every urban elementary classroom I've worked in has contained at least one or two "emotionally disturbed" children who "act out": in other words, angry, bitter, self-hating kids who can't get along with their peers, their teachers or themselves. Most I've met were Black or White, some Latino, very rarely Asian. Most also come from Billy's kind of home - raised by their mothers alone, by foster parents, or shuffled around between relatives. Many are also "learning disabled": that is, they have trouble learning to read. These three problems - damaged family, anger and self-hatred, and learning difficulties - interact in
complicated and destructive ways.

Declining test scores have forced a widespread recognition that the obviously "disturbed" and "disabled" children are only extreme cases of problems that afflict much larger numbers of children a lot more diffusely. In the recent flurry of anxiety over the decline in public education, the Blame Thrower has been trained in all directions - at teachers of course, at "permissive" curricula and parents, at TV, and so on. There are grains of truth to most of the accusations (except the idea, favored by Reaganoids, that the abolition of, school prayer is where everything went wrong) but none of them really get the whole picture.

It begins with parents - single or couples - under terrible economic and social pressures. Too much work or none at all, not enough money, isolation, frustration, boredom, despair. Children born into this set-up - often into a relationship that's already coming apart by the time they can talk - are chronically insecure. They depend for emotional sustenance on one or two adults who, worn out by survival, seldom have enough time and energy for them.

Mrs. Erskine, a handsome, welldressed woman in her mid-thirties, sits trembling at the corner of my desk for our twice quarterly conference, which we've had to schedule during recess.

"Often times when I get home I'm really exhausted," she tells me, tears forming at the corners of her eyes. "And, you know, Billy want to play, he's got, so much energy, but I'm just too beat, so he keep on at me and then I speak harsh to him... I just don't know what to do sometimes." She wants me to find some solution, some magic that will put Billy back on track. Every month or two a parent will unburden her or his soul to me as she/he never would to a psychiatrist ("I'm not sick!") and expect me as a "professional" to be able to sort it out. Even as teachers are denigrated in the mass media, workingclass parents are turning to them more and more as primary collaborators in the basic socialization of their children.

School is merely a continuation of the problem. Harassed teachers with classes of twenty-five to thirty children cannot possibly provide enough individual or small-group attention to make up for nurturing deficiencies in the home. Nor can they substitute for the home's crucial educational function. Children learn the essentials of language in the home, not at school. If the home lacks "complex verbal transactions" (i.e. real conversation) between its adult members, the child's early language learning may be critically impaired. Meanwhile, the child in the "language-poor" home usually winds up parked in front of the TV - a world of constant exciting violence, of flashy expensive toys dangled before her eyes, of reality chopped into three-minute segments. Children thus electronically weaned can only be infuriated by the relatively rigid collective structures of
the classroom, the static dullness of words on paper - and utterly unprepared for the complex tasks it requires of them.

By 11:45, Billy is in a bad way. He has thrown his books and pencils on the floor several times and is hiding under his jacket again. If I try to get him to do anything, he just shakes his head violently. Finally he mumbles: "Gimme a knife."

"A knife? What do you need a knife for? "

"I wanna cut myself."

In a horrified rush of understanding, I put my arm around his shoulders and speak very quietly in his ear. "Billy, it's not your fault. You've been trying hard, and when you don't get angry you do good work. You're a good guy, Billy, and I'm your friend."

In a moment his anger melts and he begins to cry, pulling the jacket over his head again. I stay with him for a while,
wishing I could just take him out of there - out of the noisy, chalky, faded room into the open air, and walk and talk with him. But I have twenty-seven other children I am paid to deal with . I get up and go back to the front of the classroom to line the children up for lunch.

Everything conspires to make children like Billy blame themselves for the disaster that is befalling them - the short tempers of exhausted, frustrated parents, the reproaches and punishments of exasperated teachers, the fact that the majority of their peers seem to be doing all right. When they see those peers outstripping them in reading, math, drawing - peers whose parents have time enough to talk to them, education enough to fill in for the teacher, money enough to stock the house with books and educational toys - they feel inferior. They are trapped
in a violent oscillation between selfhatred (manifested as depression, inability to concentrate, bitter contempt for every scrap of schoolwork they actually manage to do) and outbursts of rage (smashing things, verbal or physical attacks on other children). In between are more subtle symptoms compulsive lying and stealing. The fact that their parents often feel the same way about themselves slams the trap shut.

At 12:07, the Teachers' Room is already full of conversation, clattering plates and tobacco smoke. Most of my colleagues are women over 45, several only a few years from retirement. Since declining enrollments and slashed budgets resulted in a virtual hiring freeze throughout the late '70's, new teachers like me are still a relative rarity except in Bilingual, where the majority are young. As a result, there are cliques, pecking orders, unwritten rules that have evolved over decades of association. The same groups tend to sit at the same tables, day after day. I've long ago given up trying to spot the Invisible Shields around this or that chair, table, or conversation and simply plop down wherever I feet like it, ignoring snubs. Sometimes I'll select the most likely conversation, other times I'll seek out somebody who can give me advice on a particular student.

Most are glad to be asked. Teachers (like jazz musicians, field surgeons, and any number of other kinds of skilled workers) instinctively socialize their knowledge and experience, not out of ideological conviction but out of necessity. Standard openers over the Tupperware boxes of chicken salad and glistening mounds of Saran Wrap:

" What do you do with a child who ... ?"

"You know what Lamont did today?"

"How's your little Marina these days? Any further out of the zone?"

"How'd that egg-carton activity work out? "

Good teachers are obsessed. They trade advice, references, anecdotes about the children the way other people trade recipes and gossip. Mediocre teachers join in too, because it's easier than trying to go it alone. Yet in all this rich exchange of information, the amount of social reflection, of stepping back from the trees to look at the forest is generally negligible. Not that they can't make the connections if they get around to it. I once heard a group of aides and teachers go from the comings of the school lunch program, to increased military spending, to the risks of intervention in Central America, to the dismal future for their pupils, all in less than five minutes.

As a rule, though, primary teachers don't talk much about social questions. Nor do they think of themselves as workers, although some participate in union affairs. When a strike is called, they go along. Unlike high school and junior-high teachers, who tend to be militant, elementary teachers seem to regard teaching as simultaneously a profession (rather than a job) and as a duty, an extension of the mothering they have given their own children, part of their traditional role as women. For the most part, they do not question this role (nor the continuing grotesque sexism of many teaching materials, and, for that matter, of children's TV, books, etc.), any more than they question the content of schooling, the power relationships within the educational apparatus, or the class division of society which presents itself so painfully in the lives of many of their pupils. But also for the most part, and for some of the same reasons, they do their best within the terms of their situation.

I watch the "two-o'clockers" charging across the playground to where others are already lined up waiting for the buses. Billy, whose parents helplessly love him but can't live with each other. Jaharie, whose junkie father goes in and out of jail and in and out of marriage with Jaharie's mother. Angie, whose father from all the signs (extreme aversive reaction to adult male touch alternating with open sexual suggestiveness) molested her until her mother kicked him out. Brian and Jake, my two White working-class toughs, whose parents keep them awake screaming at each other. Aminah, bounced back and forth between an easygoing alcoholic father and an ultra- authoritarian Fundamentalist mother. Teresa, whose struggling immigrant parents punish her unmercifully every time her grades are less than perfect.

Then I turn back toward the room as the "Three-o'clockers" come in from recess - almost all of them cheerful, studious, cooperative kids. Kids who have at least one parent already there to welcome and talk and play with them when they get home at three-thirty. Kids who are read aloud to every night, who have their endless questions about the world patiently answered, who get to travel to faraway fascinating places, who are encouraged to dream, who are regularly celebrated as the center of attention. For them, the foundations of learning are so firmly established at home that the deficiencies of the schools - the insufficient individualization of learning, the dreariness of the classroom situation, the necessity for overrestrained and uniform behavior that is imposed by this situation - affect them relatively little. For them, the problems will come later when the kindly, luminous world of middle-class childhood starts to wither around sixth or seventh grade. Even then, for many, the pleasure they take in learning will survive the schools and everything else, though it may well be extinguished by the necessities of selling their lives away in order to survive.

Conversely, some of the "two-o'clockers" may find some emotional stability and some jump-start of motivation that will enable them to catch up with the others and escape the trap that has been prepared for them. But the fate of the majority has already been decided:

"Them that's got shall get,
Them that's not shall lose.
God bless the child
That's got its own."


Hot Under The Collar

ibm workers united, block modeling, vdt propaganda & rebuttals

Submitted by ludd on February 9, 2010

[h3]VDT Eyes: Embossed L.A. Road Maps?[/h3]

"I'm so light-headed when I walk out at night sometimes I'm afraid to drive home, confided Susan, a secretary.

"Since I've started working in front of the screen, I've become allergic to my hypoallergenic eye-makeup," bitched Jeri, a marketing secretary.

An optometrist prescribed glasses for Felix, a computer systems operator whose eyestrain (and migraine headaches) began after working in front of a Video Display Terminal (VDT).

Susan, Jeri, and Felix work for a large Silicon Valley microchip corporation with over 450 VDTS. Recently the company purchased over two dozen IBM workstations for secretaries and the publications department (where I work). The workstations include a printer, a dual floppy-disk drive, and a VDT. The workstations are called Displaywriters, a.k.a. "Dismaywriters. "

None of the inhouse training sessions or 13 volumes of manuals mentioned VDT dangers. Nor were such hazards generally known among secretaries, many of whom had negligible VDT experience.

One day a memo made its way through corporate offices nationwide. Addressed to Displaywriter users, the memo began "Do your eyes feel like embossed Los Angeles County Road Maps at the end of the day?" Attached was a VDT danger fact-sheet put out by a company selling conductive mesh, non-glare VDT screens (conductive mesh is said to screen low-level radiation as well as reduce glare.) The memo suggested a "collective pur chase" of VDT screens, gratis of the corporation.

The notion that headaches, irritability, eyestrain, allergies, back pains and the like might be linked to VDTs had a gutlevel plausibility. Nearly half responded positively to the memo. (Among those who didn't, several expressed concern over VDT dangers but said that they didn't use VDTs enough to warrant protection.) Concern over VDT dangers spread quickly workstation users passed the memo to other VDT workers who then expressed a desire for protective screens.

The manager in charge of hardware acquisitions was not reassuring. He responded to the requests for screens by announcing that there was a "purchasing freeze" and that no accounting procedure existed to accommodate a collective purchase across department lines (!).

A second memo circulated, this one informing workstation and other VDT users of this absurd, bureaucratic impasse. This time, the two-page "The Ugly Truth about VDTS" (PW #10, pp. 56-7) was attached. The memo noted that the price of the mesh screen was 1/2 of 1% of the cost of a workstation and suggested that "those of us in accounting ... find out ... how we might get around" the impasse.

Several days later, the memo's author was told to report to Accounting. There, a manager apologetically suggested
that a group purchase order could be arranged after all. Three weeks later, after consistent harassment, the manager cut a group purchase order for protective screens for everyone in the company!

It's not exactly clear how the manager was swayed in our favor, but rumor has it that a pregnant workstation operator in Accounting, her concern over VDT dangers to her fetus, and perhaps the perceived dissatisfaction of her workstation users, had something to do with it.

It remains to be seen how many VDT users will take advantage of the opportunity by participating in the group purchase. Nor will protective screens block the corporation's sales of chips to military contractors. But we learned something about the dangers of VDTS, and most importantly, won something that will make our jobs less

- Anonymous

[h3]IBM Workers United[/h3]

For eight years now, a handful of workers at the IBM plant in Endicott, New Jersey, have been agitating among the coworkers, urging them to take action, make demands, and get organized to confront management on a variety of issues. In an early issue of their newsletter "IBM Speak Up, " IBM Workers United raised the demand that workers have "a voice of their own," separate and independent from management. "We find that the management-controlled grievance procedure no longer does the job, especially in the manufacturing plants where mandatory overtime and total management control over our lives exist." Other issues raised by IBMWU:

* Aside from making demands for better wages, seniority pay and daycare, IBMWU has sought to unite IBM workers and the surrounding community around health and safety issues. Through their newsletter, they exposed many incidents of hazards to workers and residents of the area resulting from use of toxic chemicals, irresponsible disposal of toxic wastes, and IBM's attempts to cover up information about dangerous substances. Rather than rely on company doctors and government agencies that almost invariably condone company policies, IBMWU calls on workers to organize their own safety and health committees, independent of management, to force IBM to come clean.

* In a letter distributed to stockholders in 1979 entitled "Would IBM have sold computers to Hitler?" IBMWU publicized and protested the sale of IBM computers to South Africa. The IBM computers were used in a registration system known as the "Book of Life" which requires everyone to carry a pass book with personal information. This system is obviously used to enforce apartheid. The letter pointed to the hypocrisy of IBM's claims that they would not bid any business where they believed products were going to be used to abridge human rights.

* In a recent issue of their newsletter, renamed "Resistor, " the group explains what kind of union they are: " So are we a union? By today's standards, no. Far too many unions/ leaders have neglected the average worker, have forgotten the principles of the early days and have become ,another boss.' But, if you take Webster's definition, 'confederation of individuals working for a common cause,' then yes we are. We are independent but we do work with other unions in coalitions to share information that is vital to workers.

For years, IBM Workers United was an underground organization to protect members' jobs. But in 1984 members took the risk of coming out into the open in the hopes of encouraging others to work with them. A sympathetic newspaper report on the 1st International IBM Workers Conference in Japan held in Tokyo in May (which was attended by IBMWU organizer Lee Conrad and representatives from five other countries' IBM workers) helped publicize their efforts. Despite management harassment, they have met with growing interest and support for the organization.

For more info, write: IBM Workers United, PO Box 634, Johnson City, NY 13790 or call: (607) 797-6911.

[h3]Personal Information System: Block Modeling[/h3]

Universities and private firms are researching and (mostly secretly) implementing the most sophisticated and intrusive Personal Information System (PIS) yet. This technique, called Block Modeling (BM), is based on the vacuum-cleaning school of data gathering - it sucks up and analyzes everything. A lot of the information it needs is already in company personnel data banks - the schools employees attended, their age, race, gender, their career history, their neighborhood. Much is gathered more stealthily.

Communication channels are analyzed by compiling complete records of phone calls made, phone calls not returned, cc's at the bottom of memos, car pools, bowling club teams. The proliferation of all the new small computers expand the scope of the information that can be collected (Beware your computerized appointment calendar!).

The obvious use of this technique is to "X-ray" groups of workers to search and destroy troublemaking dissidents, find and reward obedient brown-nosers. Personnel planners across the globe are envisioning conflict-free worksites. Those workers most alike culturally and attitudinally are grouped together in ways that will supposedly reduce dis ruption of production.

Interestingly enough, one of the first users of BM was a Roman Catholic monastery. The technique identified three factions who later played a part in dismembering the monastery--loyalists, "Young Turks," and outcasts. Other institutions that have at least researched block modeling are Bell Laboratories, the American Broadcasting Companies, the Wharton School, and the Institute for Social Management in Bulgaria.

Is your boss playing with blocks, too?

- Paxa Lourde

[h3]Reality Chasm at B of A[/h3]

Bank of America Corporation's "Personnel Relation Update" monitors higher management, labor legislation and union organizing activity. One recent article was "Health and Safety Aspects of Video Display Terminals."

In response to the VDT protection legislation introduced to the California Assembly, the article denies that VDT's are potentially harmful - on the basis of incomplete and misrepresentative information. The article mentions a National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report as evidence that radiation levels are safe. But it neglects to mention that the same NIOSH report found that VDT operators had higher stress levels than any other group of workers, and has since been discredited by outside research.

B of A's update routinely details preventative measures as if they themselves followed these measures. On the matter of 'mu sculo skeletal discomfort' (those severe body pains you get after being at the terminal a long time), the article says they can be averted by "rest periods, variety in work tasks, and proper workplace design and furnishings. " On damage to our eyes, the article says that "proper ergonomics [solves the problem], i.e. adjustable chairs, tiltable screens, detachable keyboards, contrast controls, and glare-free lighting." The article skirts around the issue of job stress, saying that "the level of stress depends on the nature of the work, the way it's used, individual preferences as well as management practices. "

Sounds good to us, Bank of America. But PW researchers working as temporary word processors have found that B of A isn't following its own advice. In most departments, the terminal is shunted off to the harshly-lit utility room. The same small room also contains the printer (usually without a hood) and a noisy photo-copier (love those toxic fumes and blinding lights). As for ergonomics, any old, too high desk will do for the Wang terminal with its non-adjustable screen and keyboard. And glare - few departments had protective shields (glass, definitely second rate), and none provided cleaning fluid and soft towels for the layers of finger smudges and dust.

The VDT legislation, if passed (unI kely), would not be stringently enforced. It's up to us to look after our own interests. Insist on taking your breaks. Go after management to buy screens and better work tables and chairs. Check into having them shut off the flickering fluorescents and providing you with a couple of adjustable, diffuse work lamps. Be a pest - it's your health

-Paxa Lourde


'Obstructionism,' a tactic and strategy used by the FIOM (Italian Metalworkers' Union) in August 1920 in Turin:

1. Do nothing you aren't trained to do.
2. Clean or repair no equipment until it is completely off.
3. Do no job if you don't have the right tools.
4. Don't volunteer-do only what you're told to do-nothing more.

From French underground during WWII:

1. Take as long as you can to repair anything that breaks (they recomended against sabotage-keep the factories running).
2. If a worker is fired other workers should continue to come to work anyway (active support workers).
3. If the bosses lock out, occupy the premises.

-Primitivo Morales