Monday, September 12, 2011

Beyond Daily Humilitations: The Struggle for Meaningful Work Amidst the Capitalist Crisis

“…work, is, by it’s very nature, about violence – to the spirit as well as to the body. It is about ulcers as well as accidents, about shouting matches as well as fistfights, about nervous breakdowns as well as kicking the dog around. It is, above all (or beneath all), about daily humiliations."
-Studs Terkel

Is it possible to find meaningful work, to make an honest living amidst the current capitalist crisis? Millions of recent college graduates are confronted with this dilemma, along with so many others who have been laid off from their jobs and those drowning in debt from health care bills, student loans and credit cards. As unemployment rates continue along a record-setting trajectory the cost of living shows no sign of declining. What does this mean for those of us looking for work or trying to create a better life?

So-called expert analysis and commentary on the dismal state of economic affairs has saturated corporate media as non/working people struggle to make sense of it all and to feed themselves and their families. But one does not need to hold a PhD in economics to be able to accurately comment on and analyze the world in which we have found ourselves. In fact, the collective experiences of people navigating the ruins of the twisted free market fantasy are more revealing and honest. These stories must be shared with each other in order to dig ourselves out of this mess and to work together in creating something better.

My own story is not unique, but I think it is worth telling. My recent experience in job-hunting and eventual employment, like those of millions of other unemployed or low-wage workers, must be looked at within the context of the crippling structures of capitalist society and its latest permutations. In sharing this I hope to make more sense of what has happened, both to me personally and in the world I have found myself.

to be continued...

-Matt Dineen 

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