Thursday, November 18, 2010

words from G

i am writing this down cos i wanna remember this for myself. as things get nasty at work with management clamping down on us trying to break down our collaboration and resistance, i have been getting into a lot of political conversations with folks about how to move forward -- all while we are changing diapers, cleaning and lifting. i like this combination of activities.

but G. shared a really deep insight with me today. i believe it struck him the same time he expressed it and there is something sad about this observation, even as it is sharp.

management has been loading us with a lot of work and practising discrimination -- giving those they favor (like the damn bz who volunteered to be a snitch AND shower aide to kiss management's ass *snitch bitch*) less tasks, easier tasks, while loading me and other coworkers with heavier, more burdensome shit. my coworkers know i am hella pissed and they tell me that i need to keep a smile on my face when i interact w the bosses cos right now the shitheads are looking for every reason to fire me. in light of this increased workload, we have created a very collaborative and solidarity culture amongst ourselves, recognizing that they are doing this because we fought back. we know we havent won, but the effort scared the shit out of management and this is their retaliation. i appreciate the words of caution from these coworkers whom i trust.

G said 2 things today which struck me.

First, was like compliment and it made me happy. he said that the charge nurse was probably pissed and confused cos they couldnt understand why me, an asian person, would be so close to the ethiopians at work. he pinpointed how management hires asians, africans, african-americans and white folks -- to make it hard for us to unite, so we would racialize our differences. but they are probably really confused now because the bosses wouldnt expect that asians and africans would come together, but here and now, my coworkers and my solidarity is an expression of that and they are pissed.

for me, the ethiopians in the workplace are the fighters. i am a fighter too. so, to the extent that we are fighting together, these colorlines can be broken down in a deep way.

As we were trying to get through the massive workload -- cramming in many patient transfers into the last 30 min of our workday, G suddenly stopped and observed the temporality of our solidarity and the challenges/material pressures that it faces. he said something to the effect of:

who knows, with all this work they are loading on us, we might also fight amongst ourselves.
who knows, if they put so much work on us for a long time and we get used to it, one day one of us might go to the boss to say the other person isnt helping out enough.

this was really deep for me. my response immediately was: G, if we had issues, i would kick you and punch you and fight it out w you before i went to the boss on you.

but this is a reflection of how much pressure our solidarity faces. the bosses shape our material reality at work. and unless we change that material reality together, consciousness that our strength comes in our unity, can be very vulnerable

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