A history of the tech worker uprising

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/10/16/never-again-again.html


Nice job with the IBM reference. And by nice job I mean nice job missing a great opportunity to actually make a comparison with some reflective value vs just throwing it all away on some sort of half baked post modern raised eyebrow slur. The whole IBM in Nazi Germany thing is pretty deplorable but it really makes no sense in this context. Instead, you could have talked about how Big Blue has in the past decade pretty solidly shat upon their workers again and again and again; that would be an interesting counterpoint to the thesis of this article. Instead you went for the lazy, easy, and not very insightful characterization. You can and should do better.

Speaking to a tech worker here in SW Ontario the other day they expressed their distrust of unions. “I think it’s good to have a fear that you might be fired. It makes you work harder. These union workers are lazy because they know they won’t be fired.”

“My wife’s a unionized nurse and she works very hard. She makes decisions based on scientific evidence in an attempt to save people’s lives. Couldn’t a fear of being fired introduce bias into scientific results? Or result in avoidance of certain scientific investigations altogether?”, I asked him.

My colleague simply stared at me, unable to formulate a coherent response that wasn’t simply a talking point he’d heard on the nightly news. He has an advanced degree and understands the fundamental principles of capitalism, but he has been indoctrinated so as not to criticize that self-same system.

It’s going to have to get worse, before it gets any better.


My reply would be that working harder usually means working longer. Working longer means working when tired. Working when tired means you are more likely to fuck up your work. Fixing the fuck up will take time that could have been used to do the next bit of work correctly. If the unions are fighting for fewer working hours they are also fighting to make the business more efficient, even if that is not their intention.



I tend to agree with @doctorow. I think you’ve missed the point here. Did you read the entire article? Also, there’s no need to start redefining the term “nice job” in such a sarcastic way.

Try taking that tact with someone who’s anti-union the next time you have this argument and let me know how it goes.

There’s a reason union membership has fallen so swiftly in North America over the last 40 years. Part of that reason is violence and part of that reason is public relations.

I don’t disagree with you @the_borderer. But my point is that arguing with the indoctrinated is a losing game. Only organizing - as a nurse, as a garbage man, as a knowledge worker - will achieve anything. And to @doctorow’s point, it’ll often get you fired first.


Not just a good point about not dying in a fire like that in Tamanny Hall there, but great. You can organize people who are going to (plan to) follow and hurt a partisan out of completeness and logical wholism, but it’s important to follow through with at least the polish and completeness of the writers and editors of Deadpool, and with the self-assurance of say, Jamie Metzl (was going to say Timothy Leary, not feeling it;) if the head of the CIA, not fighting executive orders to mess up other nations’ organizing democracies (just watched Sam O’ Nella’s YouTube about Banana Republics…thanks for taking a hiatus, YouTube;) and at a coincidental unbilled (‘Joe Cocker Licensed Cover Band And CIA;’) all-hands meeting of the State Department (please tell me that is not a current description of all their meetings.)

It’s going to have to get worse…

Tilt! Er…[thumbs Handbook of the Transition from 1860 to 2010] Cheats in!


The copy here is so much nicer than in Tablet that I’m almost inclined to blame it for Tablet getting shorted eyeballs. Take that, people (me) inclined to blame Pes. (2 authors over) for craven clickbaiting with Moth and Lamp articles.

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