Don't mediate. Organize.
by Tom Sullivan
Not to go all fanboy, but this tweet thread yesterday from New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reminded me of something Maria from Fritz Lang's 1927 Metropolis might say about the exploited workers of her city of the future. Underground, unseen and disposable, they slave away so industrialists and business magnates might enjoy their shining towers and Eternal Gardens high above. Maria is a kind of prophetess to the poor.
Except, Maria urges the suffering underclass to endure until The Mediator arrives to lift their burdens and allow them to share in the plenty their labors create. AOC urges ours to organize.
Going from waitressing a year ago to now carries a LOT of life-adjustments.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 11, 2019
But 3 paychecks in has shown me how 1 of the greatest scams in US is the idea that financial struggle is due to “poor character.”
It’s a huge myth designed to keep people from empowering themselves. /1
When I was waitressing, I used to jerk awake in the middle of sleep worried that I may have forgotten if a bill cleared, or if I had enough 💰 to pay a Dr in cash.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 11, 2019
Was that bc I was “irresponsible?” No. It’s bc I wasn’t being paid a living wage as cost of living skyrocketed. /2
Now I’m going through a huge income transition compared to living off tips (which diff pay every week, very hard).— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 11, 2019
& I have HEALTH INSURANCE, which now means I have fewer expenses.
According to banks, I’d be more “responsible,” but my character hasn’t changed. Just my math. /3
The myth that bad credit or struggling w bills = irresponsibility is a heinous myth.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 11, 2019
Paying people less than what’s needed to live is what’s actually irresponsible.
GDP + costs are rising, wages are not. That doesn’t mean YOU’RE bad. It means working people are set up to fail.
It’s a big part of what makes this Chase tweet so bad.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 11, 2019
It’s the idea that if you choose to have any expense beyond mere animalistic survival - an iced coffee, a cab after a 18hr shift on your feet - you deserve suffering, eviction, or skipped medicine.
You don’t. Nobody does. pic.twitter.com/XKo6ayPfRJ
US GDP is at an all-time high. As a nation, we are more prosperous than we ever have been.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 11, 2019
But that’s simply not the lived truth. Even now, I’m paid similar to a doctor or corporate lawyer - many who‘d think they are “rich,” but it’s nowhere near what we actually mean in policy.
When we say “tax the rich,” we mean nesting-doll yacht rich. For-profit prison rich. Betsy DeVos, student-loan-shark rich.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 11, 2019
Trick-the-country-into-war rich. Subsidizing-workforce-w-food-stamps rich.
Because THAT kind of rich is simply not good for society, & it’s like 10 people.
Ultimately, living in a moral society, a good nation, means establishing some basic standards of dignity:— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 11, 2019
- healthcare as a right
- a living wage
- public education that prepares for civil society + economy (which now shld incl college)
- all people having power in the economy
And in the meantime, as we continue fighting for Medicare for All, a living wage, & more:— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 11, 2019
Unionize your workplace.
Demand a raise.
And don’t stop until you get one. 💪🏽
There is no Freder in our story. The privileged son of the master of the city is no mediator between the "head" and "hands," but a false prophet. And worse.
Lawrence Glickman, a historian at Cornell University, points to another false narrative in a tweet thread this morning. Like the "poor character" narrative, "Employing the word 'Washington' rather than naming the Republican Party, creates a 'both sides do it,' style of reporting that helps the GOP whose goal is to create maximum cynicism about the ability of government to accomplish anything constructive." Especially, for workers.
Mediation. Dignity for workers. Equitability. These are not goals for the elite. Control is.