19 Comments
Jul 3, 2023Liked by Hamilton Nolan

maybe this essay is 'simplistic' (like hamilton says) but i suspect that the most basic fact in here still escapes people: you are the working class. it doesn't matter if you're an 'online platform contractor' or a 'sandwich artist' or a 'knowledge worker' — you work for a living and your economic adversaries do not.

thinking that your labor isn't legitimate enough to need protection, or that your work isn't 'specialized' enough to give you leverage, or that you're better off bargaining with ownership by yourself: these are all thoughts designed by others to keep you weak and isolated. every time you think some pathetic shit like this, mitt romney strokes his nipples.

look, it would certainly be easier to recognize this fact if we were all beefy dudes with a bunch of stickers on our hard hats, but that's not how it is. the idlers who own this country have determined that profits are best maximized by having us do all kinds of weird, vague shit instead of 'honest labor.' this situation means we need class solidarity and unions *even more*, not less.

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"Give the class war a shot. Think about politics as the outcome of this fight, rather than as its cause."

brilliant

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Here’s my worry: I’m a contractor, pretty much the least protected class of workers (well, maybe second-to after those workers who can’t legally work), and my family lives and eats and is housed as a result of my work. We can be fired or simply “not called” for any reason or no reason, and I need to put food on the table. How does one survive with the inevitable unemployment that follows union stirrings?

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I think you've distilled the essence of something I've been saying for a number of years: The only war worth fighting is a CLASS WAR. Politicians on the right distract us with hate and politicians on the left distract us with outrage. It's a vicious circle that only benefits the ownership class.

I wish leftists would STOP SPEWING 19th century Marxist jargon. Frankly, if you've ever uttered the word "praxis" in conversation, you're probably a twat.

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Oh man, even for someone like me who was told by a neuropsych doctor that I have way above average intelligence, Marx is hard to read. Mainly because it's just so tedious. It's incredibly inaccessible for the masses, which is ironic. I just picked up about 20 or so modern socialist books at the Marxism Festival and will be recommending any that I think are easier for the busy, modern reader here on Substack.

If our cause is going to be widely taken up, it's really important to meer people where they are and not be intellectual snobs, so I really appreciate this piece. Holier than thou Leftists being condescending is partly the reason it took me longer to really come around and embrace full-on socialism. I'm trying to be very mindful of that as I try to talk to others. It's hard sometimes though!

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founding

I have a few messy and imperfect thoughts to add, so bear with me...

I am a small business owner. A consultant that helps small food businesses not kill their customers with their food. My biggest competition is land grant universities that use my tax dollars to compete against me.

I am also a clinical vet in a private equity backed consolidator.

I am having a tough time at my job because of practice culture reasons...it is a culture of end runs and it is very disorienting.

I am 10000% pro union. But what do we do in places where we have docs like me that make a ton of $$ (which is going to pay off business debt) and my support staff end runs me when I ask them to do their job. Which, incidentally, I can do nothing to improve, even though I have the skills, having been told by management and HR this week that my job is to "diagnose, prescribe and treat".

Very specific situation but part of me is considering getting out of this situation by buying a clinic. I actually have thoughts about a co-op clinic but wow do I not know how to make that a reality.

All that said...in class warfare where do small business owners fit in? I am qualitatively different from a PE company. I have run a biz on debt to family and consumer debt and revenues from clients.

I have time, talent and treasure to make a difference but I am not sure what would be helpful.

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Jul 3, 2023Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Looking forward to a book!

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The only downside of class war I see is the emotions it sometimes generates. People are being manipulated by bad actors through their emotions and the ones that generally lead them to dumb ass demagogues and simple pointless cul de sacs tend to be the hostile suspicious emotions. Fascism plays on the same emotions, with more vivid targets (whatever ones will preserve the corporations; it's just easier to hate real people like ethnic and racial minorities) which is why it it is always used as a foil for leftism.

Not like I don't have these emotions--how can you not be suck with fury at what cruelty is allowed to happen in our system--but what we might also need as a counter is what unions provide which isn't just anger at the system but solidarity and love for the people getting screwed, a sense of our own worth and that of other people. We need a motive to build something too, concern for the people, not just a motive to destroy something. Otherwise, it's easy to be taken advantage of.

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#hotlaborsummer

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As an actual union activist, fuck you and your childish "frame." What you have is an ideology that blinds you to complexity. I'm in the trenches and I know just as well as you that economic inequality is at the root of our national disease. But if you don't give a shit about national politics and its consequences - in this year alone, loss of bodily autonomy for women, education access for students of color, aid forgiveness for indebted students, the constant assault on voting rights, and on, and on - if you think that labor power alone can overcome this - in short, if you're not holding your nose and voting Democrat, then you and Jill Green and Cornel West and Chris Hedges and the rest of you truly unempathetic assholes who get off on your own self-righteousness can fuck all the way off.

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