Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bummer: An Update

Shortly after I got home from work last night, there was an email that the ISS contract had been terminated as of today, instead of mid-May as originally planned. The new company was supposed to start today, except the protest has moved to camping at the gate with kids blocking the vehicles trying to get in.

Some crap left on a table that no one was around to clean up. Also it rained mud last night because that's something that happens here for real.

Plus 161 people lost their jobs and truth be told, there's fuck-all anyone can do about it. Corporations are too busy fisting everyone else in the ass to give a shit, and I don't expect things to change.


I guess I should be glad I'm not yet so completely cynical that a little bit I believed there might be a better outcome. Or maybe I just keep trusting some people in power are still have some human on the inside. Hey, guess what? I was wrong about that once again. Oh well. Moving on.

A brief article on NTV today is the only thing I've seen about all this in the mainstream press (not that I've been looking, aside from Facebook shares), though it's getting more coverage in online leftie papers. Radikal has done a couple of articles, here and here. Radikal is mostly sort of mainstream and not quite as radical as the name would have you believe, so that's something.

I'll be honest. After I wrote the post about the march, I started thinking about this whole imbroglio (imbroglio!). And a lot of stuff occurred to me, as it does when I can't sleep.

For one thing, somewhere in the whole kerfuffle, it became unclear to me whether the university was the bad guy in the story, or ISS. In the end, I realized I didn't really know what the protest was all about.

Okay, workers' rights, I get it. Of course I get all the problems in the grander sense. But a protest usually doesn't make grander things right. At least, I don't expect there are many people involved here who are willing to dig in their heels for the long haul needed to make things just a little bit righter.

Are you an outside agitator?
And then I got to wondering if, somewhere along the line, everyone had gotten dragged into something that wasn't what they thought it was. I got to wondering if we (as the faculty, I mean) had somehow encouraged the workers to get into something bigger, or if it was the other way around. Or maybe there is encouragement coming from places that have nothing to do with any of us.

And naturally, given this particular swipe from Rektör's mighty blade, I've gotten all paranoid about contract renewals.

For some people, this is a game. For some people, it's about higher ideals one wants to defend in theory, but for whom there's no real risk in defending those ideals. And for the people who lost their jobs, they're screwed and the risks are for real.

A few of the workers from the new subcontractor managed to get on campus today. They looked nervous and furtive and I can't imagine what it felt like to be them. They didn't get put to work. A lot of guys in suits were milling around in serious conversations. It seemed like they didn't know what to do either.

Shiny new equipment all lined up and ready to go.
It's good fun though, the protest. The thing is, a lot of kids at my school have a social conscience, and a lot don't. A lot of them are looking for stuff to ally themselves with. A lot of them are rightfully furious about so many things, and there's not really a good place to put their rage.

These kids get to march around and camp out and yell and feel what it's like to believe that good things can happen from organizing and shows of spirit. Given what goes on at other universities, these kids have the good fortune of not getting hurt in the process. But the jandarma and police are hovering at the gates.

Most of what I'm writing at this moment isn't sitting right with me. A lot of it feels paternalistic and some feels jaded and some feels naive and some just feels stupid and limp.

And some feels maternalistic because I keep thinking what else would I want for my kid than to have a social conscience and not get hurt in the process?

A lot of things aren't sitting right with me now. It's just that I can't quite figure out what they are.

Probably I just need some sleep.

1 comment:

peapod said...

I just can't find the words to express how badly I feel about all these scummy 'service provider' mega corporations. I read your last post and this with a thumping heart and a lump in my throat. Similar is happening here in the UK with the privatisation of our National Health Service and local councils.
It's all shit. So depressing and distressing.