Friday, June 24, 2011

What is Class Hatred?

I hate the word "classism" cos it always feels to me that it's about rich people being nice to poor people, rather than about fighting capitalism. Yet, "class oppression" or "capitalism" itself doesnt encompass the emotional dimensions of how class oppression plays out. I think there is a more developed vocab describing the impact of racism and sexism, than there is for class oppression, and that probably has a lot to do with how there has not been a working class movement or identity in this country for a while.

More drama at work -- the kitchen manager, R, is extremely mean and disrespectful. She comes into the dining room, doesnt greet any of us, and crosses her arms, towers over us to supervise us. A nurse working a double shift (6am to 11pm) left her food in the pantry area. We all know we arent allowed to leave our food in the fridge, so this nurse left it next to the coffee maker that is meant for employees. The kitchen manager comes in, and just dumps out the food in the garbage. Her excuse: You all aren't suppose to eat in the pantry anyway."

They switch up the rules on us, with no explanation for why and expect that we follow it. As of 2 days ago, we were allowed to eat in the pantry area. The nurse, having skipped her meals and breaks cos she had been so busy, came into the pantry area at around 1130am, and found her food in the garbage. The woman balled. We were all pissed.

What is most infuriating about the actions of this kitchen manager is the utter disrespect she shows for workers. This isnt the first time she has done this with food that is left for us, either by residents' families, or food that co-workers bring for one another. If the kitchen manager really thought the food shouldnt have been there, she could easily have asked around for whose food it was, and given a heads up; or she could have left a note and asked the person to get the food from her. But to throw out someone's lunch? That's cold.

Back to the topic. Some manifestations of class hatred. There's a lot of overlap with race and gender:

- Thinking that working class/poor people are lazy and need discipline coming from rich people

- "If you give them an inch, they will take a foot" - thinking that all our actions are irrational and based solely off of greed and laziness.

- Seeing our legitimate grievances as "complaints" and "bitching."

- "Hang the dead cat to scare off the others" kinda thing --Thinking that we are guided only be fear. That it is up to them to teach us "life lessons" or "lessons"

- Switching up rules on workers to make us more efficient. Thinking that we are too dumb to ask: Why. And then giving the roundabout/not making sense when we ask them why.

- Reminding us everyday that we owe it to them to have a job, and thus a life. And so we need to be obedient and subservient.

- Perpetuating the "It get Better" myth when it comes to poverty and difficult financial times.
Remember when Dan Savage did the "It get better" youtubes for addressing queer violence? CNN is the emodiment of "It gets better" politics for working/poor people. We need the "I get stronger" version and say: Eff the system! Down with bosses!

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